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

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6
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3answers
571 views

Can someone explain set pieces?

I was using a book in a writing group that talked about set pieces, but I never really got a clear idea of what it is or how they're supposed to appear in writing. My impression was that you have a ...
6
votes
1answer
168 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
137 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
5
votes
3answers
718 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
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 ...
5
votes
5answers
208 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
181 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
486 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. ...
5
votes
1answer
131 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
501 views

When parodying a song, how important is it to replace words with homophones thereof?

I often decide to parody songs to adapt them to different contexts -- mainly for fun, for improving my English and causing an healthy amount of groans into people who read my creations. However, I ...
5
votes
3answers
172 views

Formal video-based creative writing courses

Are there any online video courses for creative writing? Preferably free. I'm referring to university-type courses, which are filmed and then published online. An outstanding example is Brandon ...
5
votes
1answer
523 views

Techniques for minimizing redundancy in a document, paragraph or sentence?

Can you provide me with some techniques for minimizing redundancy in English sentence structure on three levels? The Document Level The Paragraph Level The Sentence Level I'm trying to get better ...
5
votes
5answers
223 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. ...
5
votes
1answer
407 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
415 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
121 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
77 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
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?
4
votes
4answers
249 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
3answers
161 views

Referencing the process of writing the novel as a part of the novel's plot

I am writing a review of a novel, which I guess is postmodern in a nonstrict way. And I need help with terms. How do you call a technique when the main character is the author of the novel and ...
4
votes
4answers
203 views

Punctuating dialogue with oneself

I am wondering what the convention is for punctuating dialogue with oneself. In particular, if a character speaks to himself, do the words need to be put in open and closed quotes? Note that the ...
4
votes
3answers
164 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
4answers
274 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
124 views

Techniques for creating a bridge between protagonists from different generations

I'm working on a short novel that has two main stories. These stories belong to relatives from different generations, but of the same age. So, although the book spans through 20-30 years, I'm more ...
4
votes
2answers
422 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
72 views

Where and how to look for a picture for illustration?

Do you think a writing can always benefit from the use of a visual illustration? If so, how to find for free or buy an appropriate picture, photo, drawing etc.? What are practical recommendations?
4
votes
3answers
106 views

Books for children: complexity

I am wondering how complex the story can be so that small children can understand it (younger than eight). Are there any rules of thumb of how many characters can be introduced before the child looses ...
4
votes
1answer
119 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
342 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
223 views

How do you write a fiction or non-fiction query letter to an editor?

What do you put in the letter? What if you have no experience or very limited experience. Should you write about yourself in the third or first person when explaining your experience?
4
votes
1answer
63 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 ...
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
3answers
262 views

What techniques do you use to invent snappy turns of phrase?

We all know clichés are bad[1] and that fresh, inventive and "fitting" phrases will delight and entertain our readers. What techniques can be used to invent such phrases? Sometimes they just ...
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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
3answers
741 views

How to depict Australian characters

In my working novel, a character encounters an Aussie. Having nigh-zero knowledge of how to make dialogues in an Australian accent, I just opted to describe that he talks without any hints of an ...
3
votes
4answers
763 views

Who can help me to describe the text line from my story in slow motion?

This here is a line of my story: As we were in the middle of our conversation, I saw a blinding light heading straight for us, followed by an abrupt honk. Mom screamed as if she saw a ghost, and ...
3
votes
5answers
189 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
417 views

original story climaxes - rules / guidelines for this?

I always get stuck trying to work out what the high-point of the story should be, especially when writing sci-fi/fantasy. There seem to be just a few climaxes that get recycled through this genre - ...
3
votes
2answers
64 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
72 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
203 views

What does a character in a short story/novella/novel really do while “soliloquizing”?

What does a character in a short story/novella/novel really do while soliloquizing? Are they talking to themselves or thinking silently? An example of this occurs in Jane Eyre, where the titular ...
3
votes
1answer
351 views

How to structure an essay answer?

What is the best way to answer an essay question. The question below is similar to one in my situation but I have taken out all the technical aspects related to my subject. Using an existing ...
3
votes
0answers
175 views

Are there any techniques to arrange or list ideas from a short text? [closed]

For example I wrote this: !Paying! for exams, and also books to pass them is only a small price / to give poor people the opportunity / ...to contribute for the MANSIONS of the people in ...
2
votes
5answers
395 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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
3answers
124 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
49 views

State the method of how random data are produced in scientific paper?

For my research I produced random normally distributed data. The data is necessary for a statistical analysis which I describe in my paper. Is it recommended to state in the paper what tool I used to ...