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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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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0answers
38 views

Need the name of a novel from plot [on hold]

Folks, need the name of a novel based on the plot line. The plot is about an English guy who is very uptight and more punctual than a clock. One day, his wife leaves him for another guy and writes ...
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2answers
27 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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3answers
59 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
36 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
61 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
119 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
48 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
302 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
570 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
68 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
220 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
81 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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1answer
68 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
136 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
57 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
65 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
87 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
164 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
133 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
68 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
117 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
79 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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2answers
80 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
112 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
201 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
51 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
77 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
84 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
69 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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5answers
141 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
90 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
77 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 ...
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3answers
158 views

Should I completely eliminate passive voice

I have read that a lot of passive voice deadens the story to 2 dimensional even if you are just trying to show something that takes time when you use the passive voice. I quite often use passive ...
6
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6answers
534 views

Is it a bad idea to publish individual chapters of my book idea, online for feedback?

I have already typed at least 6-7 chapters of this book I've been focused on, but what I want to ask is, is it wise to post what I have so far online for feedback? Or am I just setting myself up for ...
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3answers
212 views

Is a novel with 50K words more likely to sell than one with 40K?

I'm asking this because I wrote a novel with 40K words, but somehow I feel it would sell more, or at least be more like a "novel" if I add stuff until it's 50K (I checked on Amazon and most ...
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2answers
377 views

Basics in the world building of a novel

About a year ago I started developing something like an alternative world. About two months a go I finally found some time for more work on this theme and now I am collecting information from few ...
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6answers
745 views

How to start writing a book?

I'm new to writing and I'm still young (preteen young). I want some advice on writing and help. How am I gonna start my book? What is the best way to begin writing a book?
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1answer
329 views

What are the poetry/quotes at the start of a chapter/book called?

For instance, "A Rasin in the Sun" starts with the poem "Harlem." I've noticed many (mostly contemporary) novels will start chapters with pieces of Poetry or quotes that are completely separate from ...
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8answers
617 views

How can I make believable motivations for antagonists?

I am writing a book. However, I can't quite wrap my head around making my character do bad things, while still making their actions and/or motivations for their actions believable. Here is an ...
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1answer
85 views

Nonlinear novels [closed]

If you are writing a nonlinear novel, say the narrative from Chapter 1 continues to Chapter 6, and Chapter 2's narrative continues to Chapter 9, etc, what is your opinion, to write Chapter 2 after you ...
2
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4answers
225 views

How Do I Fill In The Gaps Between The Chapters [closed]

I know this may come off as weird or strange but i want to know how do i finish my novel. The thing is that i already know how to end it and i have a impeccable beginning but that isn't how a novel ...
3
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2answers
200 views

Use of the Chicago Manual of Style by UK-English writers

I am Australian and have just finished writing a novel. The publisher I will be using is in the USA and uses the Chicago Manual of Style. Because I use UK English, I would prefer to leave my ...
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3answers
183 views

Female Pet Names that a Londoner might use

I was wondering about female pet names, like darling, sweetie, pet, babe etc. One of my characters refers to his other half as "pet" but I've been told that this is common to the North East (UK). As ...
0
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3answers
112 views

How political can an author's note be, would the following fly? [closed]

"If the ANC does to you what the apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the apartheid government." – Nelson Mandela I wrote this novel in what was at the time my ...
2
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5answers
452 views

How do I realistically describe using a whip?

I'm writing a character who is going to be using a whip. while the scenario is clear in my mind, whenever I try to describe the characters usage of the whip while fighting, the only thing I can come ...
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2answers
43 views

What are some common pitfalls when adapting a novel (thematic autobiographic in this case) to a screenplay?

I am working on an adaptation of a book into movie format, and I would like to know what experience and guidelines exist for this, so I can improve my way of doing this where possible.
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2answers
230 views

Should I turn my enormous novel into a series?

I am currently writing a novel and am 25,000 words into it, but only about 10% of the way in total. My intention was to write a single novel, but as I write, it has clearly evolved into what I can ...
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1answer
95 views

Any Good Method for Calculating Word Count Based on An Outline?

I've written short stories before (around 6,000 words), and I know what I have outlined is longer than a short story. But, I cannot decide if it is "novella length" or if it will break into "novel ...