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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Is it plausible to get a contract with an US/UK publisher as a foreigner?

Looking for some insight in the publishing industry. Is it even remotely plausible to get published in with an English-language publishing house (UK/US), when you're not a national nor a resident of ...
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3answers
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Should a long flashback be written in first or third person?

In my novel there will be a chapter-length flashback as one character relates a story from his past. The rest of the novel is written in limited third-person, seeing into one person's mind at a time. ...
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10answers
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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
167 views

What is the standard editorial timeline for genre fiction novels?

I'm signed with a publisher working on my first genre fiction novel. The editor is driving me crazy not getting her work done and putting the rewrites on me at the last minute up against the deadlines....
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4answers
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Defining a Prologue

I came across prologues of several novels, and I noticed that they all were different from each other. Some had a short excerpt picked somewhere from the novel, a few included some private notes from ...
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764 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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2answers
842 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 ...
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6answers
374 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
437 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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7answers
473 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
356 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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226 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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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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8answers
294 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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2answers
448 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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5answers
568 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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3answers
9k 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
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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
270 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 ...
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4answers
134 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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2answers
167 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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5answers
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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1answer
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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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10answers
6k 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 75,...
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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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303 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
337 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 ...
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547 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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7answers
374 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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3answers
354 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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4answers
716 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
123 views

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 advantages/disadvantages,...
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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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4answers
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Advice on portraying my protagonist's anger without making her insufferable

Background Info: My main character starts out the story with kind of a sad back story, it's not in a tragic way, just the normal kind of misfortune; losing family members, having to drop out of ...
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6answers
230 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
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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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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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142 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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2answers
245 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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2answers
139 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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6answers
161 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
96 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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6answers
182 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
225 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
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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
294 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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6answers
435 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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5answers
266 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 ...