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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Can I use real presidents (past and present) and real companies in a fictional story?

I'm not sure if I want to use real people and companies or make up an entirely different world with different people, presidents, and companies than our real world. If I did the latter I would offer ...
6
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2answers
753 views

Guideline on turning points in a novel?

What are some popular guides regarding structuring a novel, specifically what turning points the story should hit and approximately at what point in the manuscript? I'm looking for something more ...
6
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6answers
342 views

Is it possible to write a novel completely devoid of dialogue?

I am in the process of writing a novel, and I'm just trying to get some ideas and thought on this. I am not sure yet if I want to completely remove all dialogue, but at this point I feel that dialogue ...
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1answer
111 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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435 views

Are fantasy books expected to be trilogies?

Lately, more and more fantasy books I've seen are part of a trilogy. Is this because readers like it, or is it a cynical plot by publishers to draw out the story longer, so they can make more money? ...
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7answers
317 views

What's the most marketable title?

I am writing a novel about someone being chased by the Russian Mafia. A hitman is sent to save her and that's where the books takes off. I have way too many titles floating in my brain - three to be ...
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3answers
215 views

Is it really necessary to add things like “I thought, I wondered, etc,” in first-person narrative?

Example: The whole thing sounded a bit strange. How had she gotten my number? I wondered. I didn't know anyone called Maria. The whole thing sounded a bit strange. How had she gotten my ...
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5answers
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No English degree, what are my chances on successfully publishing a novel?

I don't have an English or Writing-related degree in any way. As of right now, I have no degree, but what I mean is that I'm not even pursuing a degree in writing. How does this hurt my chances? Do ...
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2answers
430 views

Any suggestions to improve these three introductory paragraphs of a novel I'm writing (e.g. writing style, description and flow)?

These are the paragraphs: Someone had called me at half past eleven. The phone rang six times breaking the silence and darkness of the room for about ten or twelve seconds. I didn’t pick up. ...
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7answers
220 views

Can I write same scene from 2 viewpoints?

I'm writing a romance novel and want to include some scenes that are described first from the female protagonist point of view and then from the male. Will readers think it's a waste of time (as the ...
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3answers
6k views

What is the recomended word-count for a fantasy-fiction book?

By recommended I mean what is the standard for it to be not too long and not too short. I know I should write until I am finished but I want to take practicality into account as well. Mainly when the ...
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4answers
518 views

Do I need to know anything to write a short story that I wouldn't know by studying how to write novels?

For a long time now, I've been reading books on how to get the first draft of a novel written. I've finally begun putting the knowledge I've gathered to practice and look forward to the results. In ...
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4answers
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Do Novels follow a 3 Act/2 Plot Point structure like most Movie Scripts?

Many Movie scripts use a Structure where there are 3 Acts (Setup, Climax, Resolution) with 2 Plot Points (end of Act 1 and end of Act 2) (Three Act Structure) I wonder if there are standards for ...
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2answers
212 views

Breaking the 'cooling down' rule after finishing the first draft

I've read that after finishing the first draft, you should distance yourself from the project at least a month. I just finished the first draft of my novel (10 chapters). I've been trying to not to ...
5
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8answers
291 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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2answers
155 views

What's the proper way of formatting writing from a character in a novel?

I'm writing a story that constantly shows what the characters are writing. I would like to know how to format that. Right now I'm doing it like this (please ignore the grammar, it is a rough draft): ...
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1answer
734 views

Scrivener project statistics is showing an incorrect word count

I just purchased Scrivener yesterday and am trying to get it figured out. After importing my manuscript, I cut and pasted it, separating it into the 23 chapters that are linked under "Manuscript" in ...
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5answers
118 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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4answers
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Do Fantasy novels have less readership than a Realistic Fiction novel?

Am I right in assuming that a fantasy book will garner much less interest than a realistic fiction novel? On one hand, fantasy has its own market of readers that are always looking for new, great ...
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6answers
280 views

How to tell a story with the least amount of writing?

I love to invent stories and come up with ideas, but I don't have the patience to fill out all the details that is usually a part of a novel. (For those of you familiar with Myers-Briggs or Jungian ...
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4answers
320 views

Misleading facts in the About the Author section

In the 'About the Author' section of Cuckoo's calling, it says that Robert Galbraith spent several years in the military etc etc. But now that we all know who Robert Galbraith is...does this not ...
4
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3answers
438 views

Starting a novel with internal dialogue?

What are your thoughts about having the first sentence in a novel be internal dialogue? What are the potential problems this could raise? what are the benefits? By internal dialogue i mean something ...
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3answers
329 views

Is it good to publish a novel online for free?

I am not after earning money but to spread knowledge about something for free. But if money is neglected, what else can be the disadvantage of publishing it online?
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267 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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4answers
598 views

Is it strange if a novel starts the first chapter without one of main characters?

I'm writing a novel with the following structure (I'm not very sure what's the technical term): Chapter One (based on the POV of Character C): C sees B for the first time Chapter Two (based ...
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3answers
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Should I specify the time/date at the beginning of a scene?

Example: That's when the thought hit me: I had to find out. I had to solve this mystery. And so, I decided to call off my suicide plan. At least for the time being. (Next chapter) ...
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3answers
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Single character POV vs. two POVs - how to decide?

I'm starting to look at my next novel, and I'm trying to decide whether I should tell it from one POV or two. I've used both techniques in the past, so I'm aware of the basic ...
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5answers
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I have too much dialogue, how do I add more description?

I was looking at the last book I wrote. In it, I failed to meet the word count I had set for myself by a big margin, like 40,000 words instead of 60-70,000. Doing a post mortem, I found that most of ...
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6answers
207 views

On the role of “accidents” in “realistic” stories

Accidents are a part of our real life. It is possible to see an old friend accidentally. It is possible to find a fallen comet accidentally. It is possible to kill someone by an accident, etc. Many ...
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2answers
874 views

How best to format a novel written in Markdown

I want to use a text editor (Emacs) to write a novel because I don't want to consider page layout and other similar issues. I want to use the Markdown format so that I can convert it to the docx ...
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3answers
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How to sell novel excerpts as short stories

Occasionally I've seen novel excerpts published in short story venues. They're usually sections of a recent or forthcoming novel that also hold together as a self-contained story. Alternately, ...
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1answer
111 views

How applicable are screenwriting ideas to novels?

My current goal is to write a novel (I'm already close to the 35K word mark). However, most of the books I've read about story structure are actually about screenwriting. While stories are stories no ...
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1answer
92 views

How would an agent approach a debut piece written by two new authors (co-authors)

This is still all in the realm of the hypothetical, but given that it becomes closer to the reality, I'm very curious... Let's say you have two new, previously unpublished and unrepresented authors ...
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9answers
4k views

Is dialogue in a novel necessary, or just padding?

I can usually tell the story I want to in less than 10,000 words. I'd really like to accomplish writing a novel and I have a complex idea I want to use and explore, but I am worried I won't need ...
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6answers
169 views

Is the following allowed under the ungrammatical exceptions in fiction?

I wrote the following: Under the shelter of the inn, a barbecue was taking place, red coal glowing in the dark and tiny sparks fluttering around from time to time. or should I change it to: ...
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4answers
204 views

Should I edit the first draft until I'm totally satisfied or should I leave that to the third draft?

After having waited for three months for the first draft of my novel to "cool off," I've finally decided to work on the second one. But now I'm presented with who options: 1) edit the this first ...
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3answers
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How to depict Australian characters

In my working novel, a character encounters an Aussie. Having nigh-zero knowledge of how to make dialogues in an Australian accent, I just opted to describe that he talks without any hints of an ...
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2answers
329 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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2answers
238 views

How to restart a novel(la)?

I've got a novel(la) of 33,000+ (130 or so manuscript pages) words that I would like to build up to 60,000 or so words - but I'm having trouble restarting the project... So my question is this: what ...
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5answers
204 views

How do I create the rest of the story when I only know the ending?

I know the ending of the first book I want to write but, I'm not sure how to start it or what will happen in the middle. I know I am completely working backwards on writing a story but, every time I ...
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2answers
190 views

How do you know if you have too many words for the amount of pages you have written?

I'm writing my first serious novel and I have 155 pages with 60,000 words. I'm wondering whether this is normal. I still want to write at least another 100 pages or more, but I don't want to write too ...
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3answers
149 views

Alternate universe vs. historicity: how to set the threshold/expectations?

I'm working on a novel which is set in the late 1920s, and the protagonist is a minor Lord in England. I wrote the first four chapters and handed it to an American friend, whose criticism largely ...
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2answers
237 views

Is it a bad idea to turn a short story into a full-length novel?

I've written a couple of short stories. I'm really satisfied with some of them, and I would like to turn them into full-length novels. They were meant to be short stories from the beginning, but I ...
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1answer
93 views

Editing: Those darn comma splices

I have a question regarding comma splices. I'm trying to learn more about comma splices and how to remove them from some work I am doing. I understand the basics regarding them but I have a question ...
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2answers
165 views

UK laws broken by piracy of novels

I'm preparing some briefing notes on various open licences and I'm looking for some clarification on legal aspects of standard practice in the UK. (If there is a better SE site for this question feel ...
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5k views

Adding breaks in a novel—spaces, asterisks, or a chapter break?

I am editing my first novel and wherever I find a natural break in the story, I add a few spaces. I want to go back and adjust what types of breaks those are, but how best to represent those spaces in ...
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440 views

Italicizing and adding accents to Spanish words in an English novel.

In my current novel I have a few characters who speak Spanish. The book takes place along the Texico border, so it happens frequently. I know that in more foreign Spanish, or when someone speaks a ...
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1answer
201 views

How do I find a ghostwriter for a series of books?

Where do I find ghost writers? It's for a series I am developing for the Kindle singles series, also to be combined and sold as novels. Word count will be 5k - 20k - I am interested in splitting ...
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2answers
108 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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498 views

Storyboard a Novel?

Sometimes I'm a contrarian and like to think things through backward. What about thinking first of a movie and then writing a novel about it? Would it make sense to storyboard and script a novel ...