The tag has no wiki summary.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

19
votes
17answers
2k views

Are complex sentences uncommon or unwanted in English?

I wrote my opinion essay using a lot of different complex grammatical structures, linking words and so on, and some of the sentences were even over 4 lines long. However, I was afterwards told by my ...
17
votes
4answers
674 views

Should cliffhangers be used in every chapter?

This is not a great question but I use a lot of cliffhangers. And I have a habit of making cliffhangers in the end of every chapter that I write just to hook the reader. The question is, is it a good ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

Dashes vs. Commas vs. parentheses?

Occasionally I write sentences containing subparts with extra information. I never know how to block off this information from the rest of the sentence. Three ways I have seen are dashes, commas, and ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

What's a typical trilogy structure?

Is there a typical structure for a fantasy trilogy? To be more specific, would they usually follow the three-act structure, with an act per book? And would each book need a self-contained story arc ...
8
votes
4answers
563 views

How do I avoid a “mid-story info dump?”

I am revising the manuscript for a novel. About a third into the story, a major turning point occurs when the main character (through whom the reader follows the story) realizes that things are not at ...
8
votes
5answers
222 views

Writing from the middle

My biggest problem as a writer is that I always get inspired and then start writing from the middle, in particular scenes or moments which I think will be crucial. Climaxes. These scenes turn out ...
8
votes
2answers
411 views

How far into a speculative novel should one go before introducing the central conflict?

By speculative, I mean mostly science fiction, fantasy or intrigue. For example Neal Stephenson's Anathem, which is a 900-page book, goes well past the 200-page mark before the central conflict ...
8
votes
3answers
182 views

How to tell or retell basic character and setting information in a series?

I am writing a short children's novel and I want to expand this into a series made of several short novels. I intend to write the whole series at once so that the internal universe is consistent and ...
8
votes
1answer
186 views

Tools for exploring and analysing document structure?

I'm currently writing a thesis. Just the introduction is 25 pages/8000 words. The whole document will probably be 70 pages or so. With a document this large, and on such a complex topic, it can be ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

How to avoid repetitive sentence structure?

I've realized that I always start sentences with (name of character), he, she, it, they, her, his, the, after (a moment/that), and then. I wonder if there's any useful exercise or tip to reduce this? ...
7
votes
4answers
823 views

Preventing genre-savvy second-guessing in murder mysteries

In a murder mystery, most of the story is generally focused on figuring out who the murderer is; in "Fair-Play" mysteries, it's assumed the murderer is a significant character in the book, and the fun ...
6
votes
3answers
232 views

How to start a technical book?

Well, I am a experienced software developer and looking at question made by friends that are learning, questions over the internet and StackExchange, I noticed that I eventually could help more people ...
6
votes
4answers
210 views

How to give the readers breathing space, without putting them to sleep?

I remember reading somewhere that while plots should have tension, too much tension will tire the readers out, so there should be some breathing place, where the reader can get a chance to catch their ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the most effective way to deal with flashbacks in a novel structure ?

In writing a novel, often flashbacks are difficult to manage: if too long and detailed, they can appear as second class (at worst, aborted) plots whose only task is to sustain the main plot line; if ...
6
votes
4answers
436 views

Which goes first: summary, background or justification?

I am trying to write a long expository piece and cannot figure out which information should come first. Here are three candidates: A summary/abstract lists the main points, without necessarily ...
5
votes
6answers
939 views

How do I re-interest myself in a plot I am working on?

I've been working on my plot for almost a year now and every time I open my Excel sheet (yes,I know its odd to plot a novel in an Excel sheet but I find it's kind of a clean and clutter free ...
5
votes
5answers
745 views

Do episodes of the show House follow a constant structural pattern?

I've seen a few episodes of House M.D., and I wonder, are the episodes written according to a fixed structural pattern? If so, what are the details, and why does such a structure make the show ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

Example of a fictional story without any characters (the story being 1000+ words)

Guessing that there is no such example, but if there is, I'm very interested in knowing about it. Just as a short example, just to make it clear it's possible; the example is not intended to be a ...
5
votes
5answers
172 views

Choosing between your Mother Tongue and other language

Ok, I know I was warned, but what to do, I had this question since very long. I have decided where to write(platform like computer or notepad). I am in process of deciding my way of writing, but the ...
5
votes
7answers
177 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
3answers
228 views

Should The Secret Antagonist have dual goals set in the ending of Act I of a 3-Act-Structured Mystery?

Okay, There's this antagonist in my plot who is supposed to secretly frame my protagonist (due to some undecided reasons) and also help him publicly to cover his tracks. And since I'm working with the ...
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
635 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Could a different structure for “Feast of Crows” have been a better solution to Martin's five-year-gap?

The latest two volumes of Martin's Song of Ice and Fire have been poorly received compared to the series' earlier books. What's interesting here is that Martin's original plan did not include these ...
5
votes
1answer
80 views

What are the stages of The Guardian's Journey?

In constructing a story, I plan on following the following patterns: The Hero's Journey: The Hero's Journey The Villain's Quest: The Villain's Quest My question is, what would be the structure of ...
5
votes
3answers
268 views

Is there a name for this kind of sentence structure?

I've seen this construction quite a bit, although only in the last five years or so. It's a transcription of a way of speaking, where the speaker is emphasizing something by using a verbal full stop ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Using P.S. in a formal email

I had a quick question in regards to using P.S. I just finished writing up a formal follow-up email for an interview. I touched over a lot of information and brought up some new topics. Anyway, I ...
4
votes
9answers
247 views

Trying to indicate that the frequency is annoying

I am trying to state that a particular question is not annoying, but its frequency is. I have come up with the below sentence, but I feel like it could be worded better. It is an annoying question ...
4
votes
5answers
177 views

How can I reconcile the exposition of the three act scheme vs. starting out with a bang?

I am a few thousand words into my newest draft and starting to question if I picked the right beginning. As usual, when I get back into the habit of writing regularly, I have also gotten back into the ...
4
votes
4answers
203 views

How to avoid formulaic fictional structures while still using tried and tested techniques?

There are several books that provide an excellent breakdown of the elements that make a good story or script. For example, The Writer's Journey by Christopher Volger identifies common archtypes and ...
4
votes
4answers
348 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
1answer
445 views

Why Use Excessively Short Chapters?

Some of my favorite Frank Herbert books go 70 pages between chapters. All the James Patterson books go 2-3 pages between chapters. I know non=fiction uses chapters to help navigate, which means ...
4
votes
6answers
133 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
811 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
3answers
155 views

Adding more characters as the story moves forwards

I'm 20 and have been writing a lot of fiction since I was 11, and there is a story that I keep rewriting as I get older and learn more about writing and storytelling. Strangely I haven't done that ...
4
votes
2answers
519 views

Placing similes at the beginning and at the end of a sentence

Would the following sentences have different effects on the reader? He washed his hands thoroughly, like a surgeon after an operation. Like a surgeon after an operation, he washed his hands ...
4
votes
4answers
185 views

How can I consistently distinguish among tables, fields, and records in a database?

I am describing a database for a scientific publication. The database has many tables, and each table has fields (spreadsheet columns) and records (rows). I spend a lot of time discussing tables and ...
4
votes
2answers
103 views

How do you visualize plot structure?

I want to visualize the internal structure of my plot. I noticed several contradictions, and want to better understand what's going on in my tale. I'm not talking about differnt characters doing ...
4
votes
1answer
102 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
2answers
68 views

Should subsection headings sometimes repeat section headings?

In a technical or scientific text, such as a PhD thesis, should headings for (sub)sections be complete and sometimes repeat information from the headings of the levels above, or is it sufficient to ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Preventing the symbolic conflict of “Hunger Games” from overshadowing widespread social plight [closed]

SPOILER ALERT: Questions and answers may contain spoilers for all three books in the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Symbolic Conflict as the Climax of Social Conflict I noticed an ...
3
votes
5answers
258 views

My first act is lengthy. And I cannot shorten it. Any Suggestions?

After the great amount of encouragement that you all gave me here, you'd be happy to know that I finally started writing my novel and I'm writing whenever I get time. Special thanks goes to Lauren for ...
3
votes
3answers
249 views

Put text between section and subsection headings?

Are there rules about whether or not to put text between section and subsection headings (in scholarly works)? 1 section heading text / no text here? 1.1 subsection heading more ...
3
votes
3answers
179 views

My story portrays a process, not a conflict - how do I make the process my focus?

My current WiP is a science-fiction piece which is less about characters coping with a particular problem, and more about the process they go through in reaction to the SF-nal catalyst. My story is ...
3
votes
4answers
988 views

What software do you use for writing and then structuring a book?

I'm looking for good software for overseeing and rearranging the structure of a book. I have used Scrivener before, but found its exporting functionality frustrating and the software itself somewhat ...
3
votes
2answers
78 views

Parts, books, volumes, etc

Is there any standard (or at least common) heirarchical arrangement for major divisions of a fiction book? For instance, I occassionally see some large novels divided into "parts", and sometimes I see ...
3
votes
1answer
111 views

Is a chapter the equivalent of a sequence?

When I do my daily writing, questions often pop into my head, and I jot them down to ponder later on. I was going through all the papers on my desk today and couldn't help but wonder: are chapters in ...
3
votes
1answer
74 views

1-Part vs 2-Part pilot scripts?

Is there a guideline for when it's a good idea to write a pilot as a two-part episode, as opposed to a single-part? Obviously certain stories call for two-part pilots more naturally (e.g. Lost yes, ...
2
votes
2answers
256 views

How much outlining should I use in writing my book?

In my writing style, I make an outline of what I'm going to write, and I have fun in between. I was kidding myself in thinking outlining contrasted with "stream of consciousness" in which thoughts ...
2
votes
1answer
879 views

Characteristics of an “example” in essay writing

Example: an item of information that is typical of a class or group; "this patient provides a typical example of the syndrome"; "there is an example on page 10" (Google) Maybe I haven't ...