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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

3
votes
1answer
69 views

What is the fine line between “confidence” and “presumption”?

I am about to apply to a grad school, and I have prepare the SOP for it (think it like a cover letter to apply to a job). I know the rule: show what I've got, not tell how I think I'm cool. I've ...
24
votes
8answers
4k views

Avoiding the “as you know” trope in exposition

When writing fiction, especially in universes other than our own such as sci-fi/fantasy genres, the reader often has to be given a piece of information about how the world works in order for what's ...
2
votes
3answers
133 views

Resources for learning how to craft plots

The main problem for someone moving from non-fiction to fiction is the development of a plot. It is especially frustrating to someone who already knows how to string words together and "write well", ...
1
vote
7answers
147 views

Can non-interactive stories make an audience feel guilt, and if so, how?

Interactive stories can do this quite easily- give the audience a choice, reveal choice to be a bad one, everyone is very sad. Simple. But can a story the audience has no direct control over manage ...
0
votes
0answers
10 views

What's the best way to make a catchy slogan? [duplicate]

I am trying to write a marketing slogan to draw people's interest. Because it's a slogan I only have a few words to do this in. How do I use just a few words to make the reader want to know more? ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

I'm writng a biography; what questions should I ask when interviewing the subject?

I will be meeting someone soon for a multi-session interview where I will be gathering information for the book i am writing about that person's life. I am not a journalist or a novelist nor have I ...
4
votes
4answers
223 views

What is the “inner consistency of reality” that Tolkein refers to in his essay On Faerie Stories?

I read Leaf by Niggle, and I've ever since been recommending it to just about anyone who will listen to me. Now, I want to know how The Magician did it. I read over his essay On Faerie Stories, and ...
1
vote
2answers
141 views

What are the drawbacks of writing too much in the active voice?

I always hear people say, "Write in the active voice," so I decided to eliminate passive voice from my writing (as much as possible). It made my writing stronger, but I wonder: Does writing too much ...
15
votes
12answers
1k views

Which techniques can I use to become a better editor when editing my own writing?

I'm looking to improve my ability to edit and correct my own writing. What are some techniques I can use to help me with this?
0
votes
2answers
59 views

I am writing a book, fiction and this is a question about technique [duplicate]

I am deciding between First Person and Third Person (and inclined towards First Person) One of the limitations of the protagonist is that he is a poor communicator and this impacts his relationships. ...
2
votes
3answers
115 views

Can a character with poor communication skills be used to create an excellent first-person narrative?

I am deciding between first and third person narration for a book (and am inclined to write in the first person). One of the limitations of the protagonist is that he is not a great communicator, and ...
0
votes
2answers
108 views

Writing about a future hapenning with a present time narrative

What sort of a literary technique is it when writers narrating their story in the present time (in first person) talk of an incident that happens to them in the future? I recently read a non-fiction ...
114
votes
21answers
6k views

The “Rules” of Writing

There are a lot of axioms that get tossed around in creative writing courses, books on writing, and of course, the internet. Often, these little gems are explained to new writers as though they were ...
7
votes
5answers
639 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
75 views

Humor in Writing [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 ...
5
votes
7answers
338 views

Does this writing create emotion in the reader?

The thing I hear most often about my writing is, "It's too dry." I'm sure this happens to other people too. I'm working on eliciting emotion through writing, and I'd like a critique on some of my ...
1
vote
3answers
160 views

How important is education for an author?

By education I do not mean to ask how important a degree in English is for an author. A literate person, without any formal education, could pen an amazing story. On the other hand, a PhD might not ...
1
vote
6answers
151 views

How to make distinguishing characters who have almost the exact same traits?

I have a problem. I have 2 main characters, A and B, who have pretty much the exact same personality traits. The trouble is, this is historical fiction and I can't change who they are. The 2 ...
10
votes
6answers
6k views

How do I cleanly show the passage of time, with multiple, varying time scales?

Semi-complex idea, more easily seen than explained, but here we go. I was re-reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone recently (notice I bring those books up a lot...I think they're brilliant) ...
2
votes
5answers
125 views

Spacing out dialogue?

I'm an amateur writer. Whenever I write, I tend to put in too much dialogue and not enough story. What are some techniques I can use to space out my dialogue? Thanks in advance.
1
vote
4answers
190 views

A good approach to show dialogues over radio communication?

The novel's in first person. I'm working on a scene where there are five people dispersed on different floors of a building, all talking to each other via tiny mics and micro-earpieces. The ...
12
votes
12answers
2k views

Is touch typing skill important for being a good writer?

Yes, I know - it is important. But my question is: does it influence the speed only? Do "two finger typing" and "peek typing" eat part of writer's attention and destroy creativity? Does the method ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

How to write a book in 2 weeks?

I got challenged to write a book of 100 pages in two weeks. I see this challenge as a game that can be played in many different ways. What are the most effective strategies for writing a lot in a ...
0
votes
3answers
81 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. ...
1
vote
1answer
119 views

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

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 ...
2
votes
3answers
120 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
265 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 ...
5
votes
7answers
233 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
162 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
247 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
75 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
30 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
471 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
31 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, ...
2
votes
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 ...
9
votes
9answers
3k views

Inventing names for Sci-Fi characters

How can I invent names for fictional characters in a future-setting Sci-Fi story so they won't be connected to any existing culture? I considered the following options: Invent some random names. ...
0
votes
1answer
275 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
114 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
320 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
991 views

Writing simple short sentences first and connecting them later

Recently, I've been experimenting with new ways to write sentences, and I came out with the following: I'll write very short and simple ones describing what's happening in the scene. After I'm done, ...
4
votes
1answer
352 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
270 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. ...
1
vote
2answers
159 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
197 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
931 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
471 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
57 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
423 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 ...
30
votes
12answers
3k views

How does the 10,000 hour rule apply to writing?

The 10,000 hour rule, popularised by Malcolm Gladwell, says that: the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours ...
13
votes
9answers
2k views

Time measures in fantasy worlds

I wonder, what could be a good way to provide time measures in a fantasy universe. I don't mean the calendar which is covered in the question: Out of this world... Giving it time?, but measures like ...