Novels are long-form prose fiction, typically over 40,000 words. Questions that use this tag can relate to writing, editing, publishing, formatting or technique as applied specifically to novels. If the question applies to more than just novels, it should probably use the Fiction tag instead.

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How long can a first novel be?

I am writing my first novel, which has gathered about 150000 words. I guess it will be around 170-180k words when it is finished. Assuming that it will loose 20% after the first draft, it will have ...
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4answers
121 views

How do I write from a non-person point of view?

I am writing a novel with an ensemble cast. Each chapter is told from a different person's point of view. Some of the chapters are about a non-sentient machine that communicates with the human ...
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5answers
149 views

Is it a good idea to make the protagonist pull themselves together

Is it a good idea, to make the protagonist pull themselves together at a point in a work of fiction. I've been writing a novel, and for practically the entire first half the main protagonist has been ...
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6answers
130 views

Is a male character crying realistic or are his reactions here excessive?

I would like feedback on if this portrayal of male emotion is unrealistic. I have been told (beta readers) that men don't cry in real life (already know this is not true), he is crying too much, too ...
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64 views

Length of a scene?

Really, just how long should a solid scene in a chapter be? And what about when characters move setting but the topic is still relevant to the scene? How long would that be? Currently my scenes in ...
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1answer
36 views

My Main Characters Expostion Peaks at a Point, but How? [closed]

My book starts at the end of my main characters research on a topic. And I wanted to give a feeling of him being neck deep in research. I thought of those stereotypical moments on tv shows where a ...
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1answer
53 views

How long does a teen science fiction novel need to be?

How long/how many pages does a teen science fiction novel need to be in order for a publishing agency to take it seriously?
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119 views

Is it possible to publish a single copy of a book?

When I finish a novel, I'd like to get just one copy printed to give to my parents. Would a publisher do this? How would I get a publisher to do this? Note that I am not going through any people to ...
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1answer
82 views

Is there a hybrid novel writing method that incorporates both “pantsing” and plotting?

I have wanted to write a novel for the past three years. I have read books on writing and taken online courses. Some of that material recommended not using an outline to write a book, and some ...
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1answer
104 views

How to avoid “Adult” rating when publishing erotica on KDP

If you are publishing erotic fiction in KDP, how do you avoid getting the "Adult" rating that will stop the book being easily searched for and stop it showing up in any suggested reading lists? I ...
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1answer
48 views

Using chapter breaks

I know you are supposed to used Chapter breaks to cut between scenes, but I was wondering if you are supposed to use Chapter breaks when you reference a period of time elapsing within the same scene. ...
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1answer
57 views

Erotic fiction: Kindle Direct Publishing guidelines on pornography

In the KDP content guidelines it says: Pornography We don't accept pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts. However, they sell hundreds of erotic novels, including very graphic ...
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4answers
125 views

Do most e-book writers just self publish on Kindle to start with?

On a lot of writers forums and in articles, it seems like Kindle is the main platform most self-publishing writers use just because that one is the one that is referenced all the time. I was ...
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2answers
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Writing book jacket copy - first person perspective

I am currently writing the text for my book jacket. My book is a novel and it's written in the first person. Does that mean that the text on my book jacket should also be in the first person, or does ...
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4answers
80 views

Different ways to say “I looked”?

I find myself overusing phrases like "his eyes flickered to (object/person)" and "he shifted his gaze to (object/person)". I use the words 'eyes' and 'gaze' a lot to describe what the character is ...
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5answers
228 views

How would a knight act around a princess?

In my current book, the main character is a knight and in one of the beginning scenes, he interacts with the princess. He's intimidated because of who she is (royalty) and acts very formal around her ...
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2answers
70 views

If I have a cover for my novel, when should I let the publisher/agent know?

I've run into an issue with illustrations and cover designs. I have a member of my family who designs covers to the novels I'm writing, and a friend in Alaska that I'd like to have illustrate a ...
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5answers
84 views

Picking a place to start (In media res)

I'm about to start a new story, and I feel it would be better if I started in media res. (aka at some point in the middle.) I know this is a fairly common style used to hook readers into the story but ...
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58 views

When describing novel word counts to agents / publishers, are chapter titles and epigraphs included?

The current book I'm working on has named chapters with epigraphs... is it general practice to include these in the word count of the book when talking to agents / publishers, or do you just count the ...
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106 views

Referencing real and fictional people/characters in novels - legal implications

I've been going out of my way to avoid referencing famous people in my novel as well as fictional characters, but I keep seeing pop culture references in other books I read as well as in TV shows, ...
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3answers
42 views

How can a screenplay writer learn to write a novel?

I am the sort of person that is really great at coming up with amazing ideas, plot-lines, worlds, etc. for stories, but I'm not so good at putting them to paper - at least not in a novel. I'm really ...
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4answers
74 views

Which of the two cases of writing Flashback Stories is better?

I am currently working on a story which is based on a flashback event of life. I want the past scene to appear as a current phase to involve readers in my flashback event as if it is happening now. ...
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4answers
126 views

How can I tell if a novel idea is made for a series or a stand-alone?

If I have an idea for a novel (consisting, let's say, of a premise and a vague idea of characters), how can I tell if the idea will turn into a series or a stand-alone? I don't want to start ...
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1answer
54 views

Can I use the same message over a series of novels?

This question is slightly less straightforward than the title implies, and requires a little explanation. Firstly, I am an entirely self-taught writer. Because of this, my methods are probably a bit ...
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7answers
346 views

How to avoid the 'magic explanation' info dump in Fantasy novels

In the second book of his Inheritence Cycle, Christopher Paolini makes the grievous error of landing his main character in the middle of a serene woodland where he must sit and talk with an old elf ...
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4answers
594 views

Should I write something I don't care about first?

When I was 14, I had an idea for a novel but never wrote anything. I'm now 24 and just finished participating in National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo.org) where I wrote a 25k word "long outline" of ...
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4answers
73 views

When is passive voice acceptable?

I am working on a fiction novel and have had difficulties with the passive voice. I feel that in this case the sentence is stronger when the passive voice is used. "Born in a land without ...
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6answers
264 views

How should I have my male character express strong feelings?

I am a woman, and I wrote a book out of the perspective of a guy. His best friend tells him she wants to kill herself. So he writes her a diary (with her in mind as the audience) about everything they ...
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1answer
284 views

Is it possible to do novel-scale writing on a Chromebook?

I've been looking into Chromebooks for their portability and cost and was wondering what kind of writing tools, if any, exist on the platform that could be used to write larger projects without making ...
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2answers
107 views

If I write an erotic / porn novel now, what are the chances that it might impact my mainstream writing career?

Given that I have written a few erotic / porn novel now, what are the chances that it will impact my mainstream writing career later? Even if I do write using a pen name. Will people be willing to ...
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5answers
142 views

How to collect my ideas in one story?

I start to feel that i'm mad. I make storys from everything that i see on the street. A dialogue, an interesting personality, a funny couple, a hard question or a perfect view to write about. Words ...
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1answer
59 views

Do US literary agents accept manuscripts from UK?

I am two thirds through writing my novel and just wondered if any writer out there-wannabe like me or published has ever sent a manuscript from UK to agent based in the States. Thanks Eleanor
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1answer
72 views

Complicated names - spelling question based on a character hearing the name said

I'm writing a first person story and the main character will hear a number of odd names said. The odd names will be put into Google and her spelling will be corrected, but I was wondering how to ...
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1answer
91 views

(Negative) references to real people and places in a novel

I was wondering about how much freedom a writer has to refer to real people and places in a fictional work and in what situations it's best to get permission or avoid it altogether. I do know that ...
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3answers
177 views

Is trying to write an entire novel in one month possible?

Lately I've been thinking about trying to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), where the idea (at least I think it is) to write an entire novel in one month. Is this even possible? ...
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2answers
202 views

What's the exact format of letters/text messages inside novels?

The following is from The Fault in Our Stars: If I'm not mistaken, this is the formatting: The font should be half the size of the normal font. They should be indented with twice the indent ...
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1answer
75 views

Dialogue identifying the character that is currently speaking

I am writing a novel, and I am trying to find the right dialogue tags for identifying the character that is currently speaking. Here are some examples of two forms, and I am unable to decide which one ...
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1answer
149 views

How To Write An Unreliable Narrator?

So in my latest works I've decided to make my narrator, whom is my main character as well, pretty unreliable. How do I get this across to readers? I read a few short stories online that were pretty ...
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3answers
81 views

Punctuation help needed — first-time novelist [closed]

I am a first-time novelist and have finished my first novel that I hope to self-publish at the end of the year. My book is finished apart from teh punctuation questions I have. I have used guides to ...
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4answers
134 views

Can you sell a book for money while having it published online for free?

I write novels, I'm not a big name publisher or anything else but I have ideas that I think should have a chance to be seen by others. Most of my work is for private use, like sharing with friends ...
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1answer
160 views

How to ask detailed questions about a novel?

I'm taking Junior AP Eng Lit, and my assignment is to write some detailed questions about the beginning chapters of Catcher in the Rye and answer them. These questions are supposed to be in depth and ...
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1answer
81 views

How to write an instructor instructing others about complicated tasks?

I am want to write scenes in a story which include one character providing instruction to other characters on how to perform complicated tasks that require a lot of technical detail and applied ...
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3answers
226 views

How to Develop a Theme Before Writing a Novel

I've given some thought to this, and I decided that I want to either make or find a theme to my fantasy novel before I really get into it (as I have started a couple pages already). I did some ...
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2answers
56 views

Beginning to write a novel? [closed]

I already wrote the girl's (Ali) chapter and I'm very pleased with it as I've been trying a lot of different things for about two years now and when I start the boy's (Gunner) chapter I can't figure ...
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1answer
87 views

Learning to write transitions and segues [closed]

I'm a writer but unfortunately I don't read nearly enough, I'm looking for some suggestions for novels that feature well made or unique segues and transitions between scenes. My closest comparison is ...
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1answer
86 views

Writing a Novel [duplicate]

So, I am writing a story. I have book 1 done, half of book 2 and of course the ending in book 3. I am not an English major, and I am not at all great with grammar, or using proper English. Which ...
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2answers
80 views

If you could design writing software, what would be your top 5 required features? [duplicate]

I am a developer. I'm curious what features other writers look for in writing software. (I am, of course, excluding features of typical word processors such as options to change font size, paragraph ...
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143 views

How to handle a pidgin language?

Question: In reference to this question about how to show a foreign language in a manuscript, I am wondering: What is the best way to handle a pidgin language in a manuscript? In a wider sense: How ...
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2answers
108 views

Writing a Romance novel, starts in present but after two chapters the flashback starts

I am writing a romance novel and the story starts in present in a very tense environment. But after two chapters it goes into the protaganist flashback. The love story is all in the flashback. Is this ...
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2answers
95 views

Is there a problem in switching from present to past for a backstory sequence?

My understanding was that it's fairly normal for a present-tense novel to switch into past tense in a backstory sequence. But I was having a conversation with a friend and he insists any tense ...