Tagged Questions

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

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13
votes
8answers
1k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
86 views

Maintaining the consistency of voice and spontaneity throughout a piece

So straight to it, I don't write very long pieces. Usually poetry or flash fiction and a smattering of short stories whenever it needs to be longer, though I have aspirations (mostly just dreams) of ...
4
votes
3answers
329 views

Background speech with foreground dialogue

A few days ago, I stumbled upon an issue of the type; meaning I had two characters talking between themselves and another character talking in the background; actually delivering a speech. What the ...
0
votes
1answer
140 views

What literary tools can be used to make stories more immersive?

That question derived from my previous critique question. That's one of the problems I think is more obvious in my own writing right now and would like to know of ways to address it. What I know so ...
5
votes
5answers
221 views

Best Practices To Learn By Reading?

I've been browsing writers.se for a while and I've noticed a lot of folks state you have to READ to be able to write. I'm currently having trouble working time to read fiction into my daily routine. ...
7
votes
5answers
287 views

How should I introduce new and complex technologies or tools?

I'm writing a Science Fiction book. While this book doesn't push reality very far, there are some new technologies and tools that I have added. One tool is used more frequently than all the others, ...
11
votes
6answers
4k views

Effective techniques for describing pain

I've noticed something in writing: it's difficult to convey pain, and even specific types of pain, to an audience who's comfortably sitting at home in an easy chair. I can hardly imagine pain until ...
5
votes
5answers
206 views

Writing about a subject on which you have no expertise?

So I signed up for a novel workshop, and within a month the first chapter will be due. Problem is I that want to use characters who are well-versed in mathematics, especially group theory or model ...
1
vote
5answers
312 views

Are there rules for, or guidelines on, time gaps between a plot's scenes/chapters?

I've been reading a host of old favourites, classics and authors outside of my usual reading pool, in an effort to dissect the writing (from plot, characters and environment to voice, pacing and ...
3
votes
5answers
156 views

Combatting Excessive Familiarity Of Writing

Since writing my last question, I've been able to write a handful more items and have tried to nail down some more specific items I can ask about improving my writing. This issue became readily ...
7
votes
2answers
239 views

Learning storywriting for videogames - Handling deep nonlinearities

A recent question asked for pointers for writing for games, and the gist of the answers was that it's not very unlike writing books. The underlined differences were only superficial. There's a ...
8
votes
8answers
1k 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. ...
6
votes
4answers
359 views

Non-cheap ways to make villains evil?

Do you have any tried and true techniques to make villains of your stories truly hated by the audience? I mean, frequently it's "eh, sure, that's bad, he's got to be stopped" but the audience would ...
1
vote
0answers
51 views

How to fix writer's thought muddledness? [closed]

Honestly my problem here is that I've been on writing hiatus for like...a year and half. Apart from writing small stories here and there, I haven't really taken on a story to a larger scale in a long ...
5
votes
4answers
178 views

Is there a technique to help me write this character's notebook entries?

I wrote a short story in which the protagonist (Vasily) has a notebook. During my rewrite, I wanted to really emphasize the importance of the notebook and push the reader's focus onto it. I decided ...
2
votes
2answers
326 views

Issues with Scene/Sequel model

I'm using the Scene/Sequel model to go from an informal outline of my novel to a list of scenes. In summary, during a Scene the POV Character has a Goal, encounters some Conflict, and it ends in ...
4
votes
4answers
245 views

Are these fictional musings convincing or overwrought?

I've been working for some time on a story about a detective who finds himself alienated, delusional and hopeless while trapped inside a dystopic, postmodern dream. This segment voices some of the ...
4
votes
4answers
266 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
1answer
216 views

What is the name for the literary technique where the author writes him/herself into a book?

In a number of novels by Clive Cussler, the characters are sometimes offered help by a person whose surname is Cussler, same as the author. I believe this also happens in Sahara and Dragon, and ...
6
votes
7answers
916 views

How important is it to know the end before the writing the beginning?

One of the Rules of writing indicates that knowing the end before the beginning is critical to writing. Which I find odd, because in my writing (early days, probably doing it wrong), one of the best ...
7
votes
5answers
2k 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) ...
1
vote
1answer
147 views

Do I correctly utilize my naming adjective concept in this book?

In my story THE GOSPEL OF THE RETURN OF A CHRIST THAT WANTS ANSWERS I wanted to evoke a sense of the middle ages in a modern book. So I utilized a technique where whenever I referred to a character, I ...
27
votes
16answers
3k views

How can I catch more errors when I proofread?

I have a problem where I often proof my own writing and I don't catch all the errors while I am reading through it. I often miss entire words out of sentences or find myself repeating words. I can ...
5
votes
3answers
76 views

Deaf speechmarks? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How does one present spoken dialogue as a secondary language to signed speech? I want to write a novel and I was thinking of including a deaf character. I want to know ...
4
votes
2answers
413 views

What methods does Rowling use to establish Dumbledore as being wise and trustworthy?

In the Harry Potter series, Dumbledore seems to represent ultimate wisdom and authority. Harry (and the readers with him) hold him in awe; many times throughout the series Harry willingly accepts and ...
2
votes
1answer
156 views

Style signatures and uncommon formatting patterns

Style signatures are bits of words and phrases used consistently throughout the entirety of a work (but not necessarily among my unrelated works). I would like to try using style signatures in a work ...
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 ...
5
votes
5answers
191 views

How to write about things which depend on each other

I am writing a technical documentation about a product. Now problem is there are many interrelated and interdependent concepts. I am just confused how to put them in order. I mean if I talk about ...
4
votes
3answers
162 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

How to create varying, yet realistic, speech patterns

Different characters speak differently. If someone reads me a letter written by an immediate relative, I can tell right away who wrote it. I believe --and correct me if I'm wrong-- that giving each ...
7
votes
4answers
665 views

Using poetry in novels a good option?

I write fiction as well as poetry. And many a times I use poetry as a tool to bring out that acute feeling of pain or love (as required) in my explanations. What if I use poetry to introduce or end a ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Quality examples of 'in medias res' starting sequences in SF literature

You can find my initial trials here, and, based on feedback, version two here. I was trying to create a sort of 'flashforward' opening (please don't cite Sawyer) for a novel. That is: of the 45 ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

How to explain a war scene?

In my novel, I have a part where there is a war scene, and I need to explain it precisely from the king's point of view. How can I explain the war graphics vividly?
5
votes
3answers
706 views

Motivation Reaction Units?

In tightening up some chapters, I began to question some of the structure of my chapters. Has anyone ever come across the method of writing scenes as breaking them down to Scenes and Sequals, and ...
5
votes
8answers
4k views

Good examples of fear/terror inducing techniques used with enemies

What good examples of fear/terror inducing techniques do you know? Off the top of my head I am thinking of: the Apache Indians scalping of dead enemies and hanging them in their horses/spears/belts ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

What is a discovery writer?

From an answer to this question: How do I successfully structure a long fiction piece? I think I can infer the meaning from the usage but some elaboration would be helpful.
3
votes
2answers
1k views

On writing an essay, what are some good techniques to teach to schoolchildren?

I am currently teaching the way to write an essay as this: Step 1, write the topic sentence of the whole essay. Then, in the following first paragraph, develop the ideas that you are going to ...
26
votes
11answers
2k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
261 views

What literary techniques are evident in this quote?

What literary techniques are evident in the following quote? I read each bullet scar in the Quai stonework With an eerie familiar feeling, And started at the stricken, sunny exposure of ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Writing about drug induced hallucinations and paranoia

Not long ago I wrote a short story about a mathematics graduate student on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The young student is innocent and working to finish a difficult mathematical derivation ...
11
votes
7answers
348 views

Do books have to be written in sequence?

So can we write the interesting action bits first, then add in the in between stuff, that maybe needed to understand the story or characters, but isnt so exciting by itself? For example the ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

How Do you Stave Off Boredom While Writing?

I have about 20 half-finish novels sitting on my computer, in my filing cabinet, or under my bed. The story with each is the same - I start out with a full head of steam and great ideas, but about ...
6
votes
1answer
136 views

Is there a good textbook for understanding literary techniques?

I want to really understand literary techniques. I want to be able to say "Ah, I see this writer is making use of assonance," or "I think I will use a simile here instead of a metaphor." There are ...
15
votes
8answers
2k views

What breaks suspension of disbelief?

So much of Sci-Fi and Fantasy requires the viewer (or reader) to suspend their disbelief: The speed of light can be circumvented, magic works, vampires are real (and may or may not sparkle), etc. ...
5
votes
4answers
414 views

What makes a good action scene?

Action, in any storytelling medium, is the relationship between build up and pay off. While cinema may emphasize the payoff (pyrotechnics play well to theater-going crowds) it seems that the written ...
6
votes
1answer
167 views

What are tips / techniques to manage the consistency of a plot encompassing several subplots ?

When I lay out a plot consisting of interwoven threads, one of the most annoying things is to manage effectively the factual, logical consistency of the whole. In order to be more effective and ...
2
votes
3answers
358 views

How credible is wikipedia?

I understand that this question relates more to wikipedia than it does writing but... If I was going to use wikipedia for a source for a research project (for example) would the information be ...
7
votes
3answers
573 views

How to practice location descriptions

When trying to strengthen my writing on how to correctly describe a location I try to write a small text on each location I am. (These are then saved in Evernote so that I can search for them) I found ...
13
votes
5answers
749 views

How do you make a story succeed in spite of an unsympathetic main character?

I'm looking for techniques specific to a story with an unsympathetic main character. Confederacy of Dunces, for example. Why does that work, and why wouldn't that work with a likable hero?
8
votes
5answers
442 views

Avoiding cultural differences

I'm not a native English speaker, but I write in English. I'm now visiting the US, and I have made some very interesting observation regarding the way ordinary life goes on here. It made me think of ...