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

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1answer
32 views

Writing an apology letter [on hold]

Can anyone please help me with writing a letter of apology to my friend? Next week it's his birthday ceremony, He invited me to his party, but I can't attend it. Can anyone please direct me to how I ...
15
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
7
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5answers
469 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
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0answers
72 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 ...
4
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7answers
319 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 ...
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3answers
105 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
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6answers
106 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 ...
9
votes
6answers
3k 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
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5answers
106 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.
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4answers
157 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 ...
1
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5answers
237 views

How to show a crying/sad scene without using sentimentalism?

Previously, I had no difficulty in showing a scene like that, and as for me, to show a crying scene I'd write something like "then a teardrop rolled by her cheek". However, I had read an article from ...
12
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12answers
1k 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
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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 ...
6
votes
6answers
680 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
71 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
68 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
102 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
100 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
169 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
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5answers
128 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
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1answer
194 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
67 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
24 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 ...
11
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7answers
8k 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
346 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
30 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
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4answers
156 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
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9answers
2k 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
93 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
96 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
221 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
872 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
216 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
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2answers
197 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
144 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
159 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
349 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
338 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
49 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
349 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 ...
29
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
813 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 ...
3
votes
6answers
598 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
150 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
29 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
546 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
104 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
203 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
82 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 ...