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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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
251 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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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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1answer
99 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
169 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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3answers
6k 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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3answers
528 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
150 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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6answers
596 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 ...
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1answer
210 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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3answers
109 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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1answer
106 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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203 views

Revising a manuscript and resubmitting to same publisher?

I have 7 publishing houses currently evaluating my manuscript for possible publication. Some houses have already read a few chapters and have requested the entire manuscript, others are basing their ...
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3answers
254 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 ...
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3answers
523 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 ...
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3answers
164 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 ...
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2answers
280 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 ...
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2answers
459 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: ...
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4answers
124 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
566 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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3answers
3k views

What is the expected target age for a YA (Young Adult) novel?

I'm curious about what the expected age for a YA young adult novel is, because it seems to have a huge range. I think most people believe these books are targeted at roughly 12-16 year olds, but to ...
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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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4answers
509 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 ...
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3answers
340 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?
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5answers
159 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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2answers
107 views

Which one is the correct dialogue punctuation format?

I am writing my first novel and this the very first confusion I would like to clarify. As I am not a native English speaker, I find it very hard to understand the punctuation scheme in direct ...
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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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4answers
276 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 ...
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4answers
3k 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" ...
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2answers
584 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 ...
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2answers
106 views

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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6answers
133 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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1answer
109 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 ...
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3answers
567 views

Can several related short-stories make a good base to write a novel?

I've been writing related short-stories for years, but around 10 months ago, I started to think about a novel based on these stories. The same universe, the same main characters but a longer story ...
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3answers
1k views

How many different words are in the average novel?

I realize there's going to be a bit of variation here from one author to the next and depending on length of the novel, but the range shouldn't really be too large. The thing is, I really have no ...
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2answers
90 views

How do I tell the story of a societal change using a discrete number of narrators?

When I started writing and first tried to characterize my work, I came across a wonderful word: psychogram - a story that revolves around the psychological evolution of a specific character. The ...
2
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1answer
121 views

How to format a novel synopsis

Is it standard practice to format a synopsis in the same manner as a manuscript (double line spacing, indented first line, 12 point, aligned left, times new roman size 12) when submitting to an ...
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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
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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1answer
161 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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3answers
105 views

A question about dialogue and paragraphs?

First question I've asked on here so hopefully it isn't a silly one. I am a little confused about a certain paragraph/dialogue convention I am using in something I am writing. Occasionally I have a ...
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2answers
1k views

How long does it take publisher to respond to requested manuscript?

I started sending my synopsis and cover letter out for my first novel about a month ago. In that time, 3 publishing houses responded that they were interested in reading my manuscript, and will get ...
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1answer
336 views

Are there any contests for teenage writers?

Are there writing competitions/awards for novel length works by authors under 18? There are certainly prizes for professional novelists, and amateur novelists, but I'm looking for something for ...
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3answers
64 views

Literary criticism handbook

Can you point out some reference books on literary criticism – from a theoretical as well as practical point of view – to hone and systematize my skills, acquired through first-hand reading of lots of ...
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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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4answers
997 views

what is the best way to make money on the side as a beginning author?

I am a new author and as I am writing my novels, I need a little revenue. Are there sites that would pay for articles being written? Any suggestions would be great!
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5answers
335 views

Use of realism in a fictional setting

I am writing a fictional novel. It is set in many fictional places and the book will have it's own set of rules of physics. However, I feel that if I lose the sense of realism too much there will be ...
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3answers
300 views

A novel without verbs?

A recent Snapple cap of mine proclaimed that: French author Michel Thayer published a 233 page novel which has no verbs. Does anyone know the name of this book? Can anyone explain how this is ...
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223 views

Why is this ‘loved’ italicized?

I’m interested in italics in novels. Italic writings in novels have a wide variety of feelings, for example surprise, delight, anger, irony, humor, etc. However, consulting reference books, I only ...
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82 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 ...