Common, repeatable methods of achieving particular storytelling effects or of avoiding narrative pitfalls.

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35 views

Is there a language technique for factual, philosophical style writing?

I recently re-read Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. I think the following line is interesting but am unable to determine what kind of language feature it is: "But man is not made for ...
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3answers
83 views

How to find the balance between research and the obvious

I'm embarking on writing my first popular science book on a controversial subject. For sure the writing must be rational, coherent with a clear train of thought and littered with references to be ...
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3answers
54 views

Narrating something that happened between chapters as a flashback in a present-tense novel

So say the novel is written in first-person tense. a chapter ends, and the next chapter starts 10 days later. Here I start narrating something that happened 5 days ago in past tense as a flashback. ...
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3answers
72 views

How to suddenly introduce a scary character, but include description?

I have a scene in my story where the main character (the story is told from his POV) opens a door and there is a monster in the room. I want a sudden introduction, to show how shcoked the character ...
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5answers
113 views

Subtle writing and speed readers

I want to write a dystopia and find it hard to convey that things aren't at all right. I had planned to convey this in subtle reading clues, but I am worried that certain types of readers - or perhaps ...
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1answer
178 views

Commercial novels, a prefered POV?

This pertains to the potential salability of electing to choose between POVs, here specifically between first or third person limited. There are several threads, like What are the advantages and ...
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2answers
62 views

Dealing with quick shifts in emotion

I have a character that, by design, quickly jumps between emotions. To put it into human terms, I have pictured scenes where he will, literally, within the span of a sentence, go from hysterically ...
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7answers
148 views

How to handle characters being funny in a dire situation without ruining the mood

There's one thing I always find impressive and moving when I see it in accounts of historical events or depicted well in fiction: gallows humour, when a person who is facing likely or certain death ...
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1answer
22 views

Advice on writing a research paper [closed]

I am a math major who hasn't written a research paper in 6 years, and I need some help. I have to write two thesis statements, and have both written, but I'm not sure they're right. I also must state ...
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0answers
29 views

How do I create different speaking styles for my characters? [duplicate]

In my fiction writing, how do I create individual speaking styles for my characters? It is more than giving one or two of them an accent or dialect. What techniques do you use to vary the structure, ...
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5answers
316 views

Condensing words, to condense or not?

I am doing a lot of writing lately. Novels, short stories, and so forth. I have one person that tells me, Immense improvement from the first version. A great deal of your description is ...
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4answers
125 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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1answer
75 views

What is the most important element of a drama, beside its message? [closed]

I am participating in a skit in school about superstition and science. How much will the presence of emotion attract the attention of the audience? What are other important things to attract ...
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3answers
87 views

A grand scheme or destiny in literature

There's one thing in literature that no matter how cliche or over used it might be, I always find very compelling. For example, when a story unfolds as if there is a larger force at work moving all of ...
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3answers
206 views

Clear steps for developing a powerful inner conflict

This question is similar to this one. However, it is different based on what I am looking for. I know what inner conflict is, and I know why I need it. I have tons of examples, and I can usually ...
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1answer
172 views

simultaneous dialogues in novels and short fiction

Suppose that several individuals are speaking. There are two conversations occurring at once in the same place. Both are heard simultaneously by each person that is present. Each person participates ...
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0answers
55 views

Humor in Writting [closed]

I'll be honest here and say that i'm a pretty funny guy. I tend to make my friends and family laugh from time to time but I've got a problem on my hands i have no humor in my writing. I'm writing a ...
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3answers
258 views

How to write a conversation

Conversation is the thing I have most difficulties with while writing stories. How do I write a conversation so it will be clear who said what, and in a way that's not like a court transcript? Should ...
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1answer
46 views

Avoiding passing time by switching PoV - Viable method?

I once wrote a short story that was around ninety pages. It encompassed approximately a month. Since it was a short story, there were necessarily parts of it where days, weeks even, went by without ...
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2answers
140 views

Critical Elements Of A Story [closed]

I've been writing a story and i wanted someone to proofread my story before i actually send it off for further checking. This person is my teacher and he wants me to categorize all my chapters in ...
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4answers
150 views

How to indicate the topic has been changed without using words?

I am writing an an article to share knowledge, not novel. Usually, when you change the current topic, at the beginning of the new paragraph you would like to use some transition words such as ...
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4answers
319 views

Writing techniques or exercises to improve ability to show rather than tell?

Does anyone have any effective writing techniques or exercises that you use to help you focus more on showing the reader what you mean rather than just telling them about? I know I often find myself ...
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1answer
146 views

What is this 'pretend dialogue' technique called

There's a style that is popular on blogs, and takes the form of a dialogue between the reader and the author, where the author provides both sides of the argument, like a ventriloquist. Often there's ...
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1answer
27 views

How to improve quality of this answer? [closed]

Someone asked on Quora I want to write my autobiography. How do I start? I have given following answer, You must be remembering lots of things when you were young. Just try to list them as you ...
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536 views

Show Don't Tell when Recounting Events

"Show, don't tell" is a popular ethos amongst writers, and one that is very important to writing engaging stories. However, I'm in a situation whereby my protagonist is recounting an event from a ...
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2answers
98 views

Is there a systematic overview over the approaches of describing a physical object?

If one tries to describe sth. very concrete, like a house, for instance, one could try it with different approaches: describing the very physical attributes: the house is 5m wide, 5m deep and 5m ...
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1answer
166 views

Word Clouds and Phrase Clouds

I'm familiar with word clouds (or tag clouds) as used on blogs or on sites like Delicious. It seems to me that a tool similar to that could be of use to writers like me, who don't have an editor, when ...
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1answer
80 views

Does a proposed graphical scheme exist to organize the whole story?

My language skills in general are very low, i have problems to form sentences, each sentence is a frustrating fight not won at the end of the point. Nethertheless, i would like to prove myself being ...
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1answer
76 views

[Words in brackets in print and online]

Unfortunately I can't find a reference now, but many times I'll read an article either in print or online, and I'll see a certain word or phrase in brackets []. Here's a bad ex. The man walked up the ...
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1answer
103 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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1answer
205 views

Chapter titles or numbers?

I am about to start writing a science-fiction novel, and having only ever written technical documents before, I have very little experience in the finer details of creative writing. In particular, I ...
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2answers
77 views

Need A Way To Avoid Excessive Use Of Subject When Refering To Character

I'm writing a short story, and need to avoid excessive use of a subject. Using he, his, or the man will get very repetitive over time since the character has no name. I'm hoping to find some way to ...
5
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1answer
133 views

Are newlines effective for adding weight to certain phrases?

Sometimes I'll write something where there's a few paragraphs of buildup, then a "whammy line" or two. I wrote a quick example, pretend it's a climactic moment from a bad YA romance. She wrung her ...
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5answers
369 views

Will using real-world cultural vocabulary in a fantasy setting disengage readers?

If I have certain minor rituals/garments/culture tidbits in a fantasy setting that mirror those of Earth, and I describe them using the real-world vocabulary, will that disengage readers from the ...
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3answers
192 views

How to describe a scene involving a shift in the environment due to forbidden magic?

Background/scene for question: A character witnesses his wife killed before him. While holding her, he begins screaming her name. With each time he utters her name, the world around him shifts as he ...
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3answers
509 views

Handling an Inauthentic Character

One of my main writing projects centers around a character rich with vices. Probably chief among them is self-interest, followed by dishonesty. When I say dishonesty, I mean more than lying to get by. ...
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1answer
76 views

Suggestions for revising style and cadence within a children's book

When I submitted a manuscript for a children's book to a publisher, they expressed an interest but wanted me to improve the style and cadence: The syntax and cadence would possibly work well in an ...
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1answer
55 views

Best blind sequence? [closed]

I'm trying to write a story in which the sun has essentially gone out and visibility is constantly limited, and sometimes completely gone. Being a very visual person, I'm finding it hard to describe ...
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5answers
297 views

Typical Fairy-tale Story Especially Princess Stories

I have a question. I am planing to write to a fairy-tale like a Brother Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson type of fairy-tale set in the modern time but after conducting research(reading fairy-tales of ...
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2answers
88 views

Template for IT technical report?

I'm looking for a template or guidelines for how to write a technical report. The report is IT-related and intended for a project manager to review the work of the investigation of a IT-related ...
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1answer
131 views

Do you set yourself daily goals and stop once you've reached them?

I don't follow any kind of time or word limit. I write when I have time and stop when the time is over (e.g. time to eat, to work, to sleep). But now I'm thinking of setting myself some daily goals ...
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5answers
573 views

How can we have foreshadowing in a story that takes place in a universe where the future can't be known beforehand?

In a (non-comedic) story where the philosophical implications of the existence of any way of predicting the future (except by accident) happen to be unacceptable or incompatible with the laws or the ...
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2answers
7k views

How to write a prophecy?

No, I'm not actually asking you to tell me how to predict the future! Several pieces of fiction I've read/watched recently have prophecies. One of my favourites is On the fields of Trenzalore, at ...
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4answers
141 views

Methods for writing from an alternate gender/age/cultural viewpoint?

While many aspects of a culture, etc, can be researched - there are intrinsic difficulties to writing from the PoV of a woman as a male author and vice versa, and I'd argue even harder for an adult to ...
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3answers
313 views

How to distill a plot into a logline?

A logline is a one to three sentence summary of a story, used to pitch a script to producers and other buyers. It should contain: the protagonist the goal of the protagonist the antagonist the ...
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5answers
520 views

How to introduce a world that's alien to the reader

I'm writing sort of a space-opera and I was wondering what would the best way to explain everthing about the world to my readers. The story is kind of a political intrigue, and it would be very easy ...
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2answers
176 views

Does this dream sequence work in my introduction? [closed]

I'm writing the introduction to a story. The intro starts with a dream, then the main character wakes up, and then he and one of the secondary characters have a conversation while waiting for a bus. ...
5
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1answer
1k views

Twist in kishōtenketsu vs. twist in Western plots

How does the “twist / ten / 転” phase in the Japanese kishōtenketsu narrative structure differ from the “plot twist” that is a standard element of many Western stories? I’m thinking, for example, of ...
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6answers
565 views

How short can a poem be until it can no longer be a poem?

I am on a small journey to help me understand what the definition of a poem is to different people, what poems mean to them. This made me wonder, some poems are longer than others, so: How short ...
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2answers
203 views

Name of writing style or structure of novel that is in non-chronological order

What is the name of the structure of a novel that is not in chronological order but moves between characters (viewing the same or different topic)?