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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

5
votes
7answers
396 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? ...
5
votes
7answers
302 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
199 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 ...
5
votes
7answers
612 views

How do I keep the plot interesting in a humorous book?

I am about to start writing a fantasy-comedy novel. A problem I found in 1-2 books of this genre is that the plot becomes weak, and the story starts to slow down. The reason I believe this happens is ...
5
votes
2answers
407 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. ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

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 ...
5
votes
7answers
195 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
464 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
191 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
votes
2answers
146 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): ...
5
votes
1answer
480 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
259 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

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 ...
4
votes
4answers
296 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
votes
3answers
341 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
309 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?
4
votes
4answers
409 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
148 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
103 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) ...
4
votes
4answers
809 views

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 ...
4
votes
3answers
933 views

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 ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

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 ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

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, ...
4
votes
1answer
104 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
87 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 ...
3
votes
9answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
6answers
153 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: ...
3
votes
4answers
191 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
701 views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
209 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
147 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
131 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
192 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
652 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
162 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
183 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
357 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 ...
3
votes
6answers
376 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
154 views

How can I get my romance through a two-year breakup?

My story calls for the main characters to break up for at least two years, before getting back together. (In this particular case, the breakup is for ethical reasons - the relationship began when the ...
2
votes
3answers
447 views

How to cover different perspectives/levels of thinking in one story?

I was reasoning with a friend about why movies/novels often get highly successful while others, despite having an interesting story/topic, don't get much attention. We came to speak about Matrix, Pulp ...
2
votes
2answers
227 views

How to know if the events in my novel are 'realistic enough'?

Sometimes I find my self wondering if the events in my novels are 'realistic enough.' I aware that they don't need to happen in real life, but I want the reader to think: oh yeah, this could happen in ...
2
votes
2answers
421 views

Is character driven fiction more successful than plot driven fiction?

I have heard that editors and publishers prefer character driven fiction, where the characters grow and learn, rather than plot driven ones. Is there any truth to this? Edit: In response to comments: ...
2
votes
4answers
176 views

Is my opening chapter too short?

I've just started writing my first proper novel, I've written short stories and started to write before, but never really had the motivation, but now I have a new, interesting storyline to write ...
2
votes
3answers
200 views

Is a glossary needed in a novel?

Is a glossary needed in a translated-novel? or I would only need to put the translation of the native words under the brackets?
2
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the “three-asterisk-break” section called?

What is the name for a text subdivision that is shorter than a chapter, but longer than a paragraph? They are always untitled (unlike chapters, which are at the very least called "Chapter 1", "2" ...
2
votes
2answers
430 views

How do I maintain flow and interest when handling numerous plot threads?

I want to learn how to maintain the flow of a novel's plot - there are so many characters and events to organize. What I find most difficult is the way a writer needs to shift from one phase of the ...
2
votes
1answer
91 views

Using citations in chapter headings?

I noticed in some books I read that under each chapter title, there is a citation, somewhat related to what the chapter in question is about. I was thinking of maybe using the same technique for my ...