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

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6
votes
3answers
204 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
178 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 ...
27
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
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
623 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 ...
2
votes
6answers
382 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
128 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
24 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
277 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
473 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
68 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
74 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
58 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 ...
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
65 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
96 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
91 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
216 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
67 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
444 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
13
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
239 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
3answers
128 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
355 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 ...
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) ...
5
votes
3answers
489 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. ...
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
50 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
196 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 ...
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. ...
1
vote
2answers
72 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 ...
6
votes
7answers
960 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
121 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 ...
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 ...
13
votes
5answers
763 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?
2
votes
5answers
416 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 ...
1
vote
5answers
218 views

Writing an article avoiding Libel

I will be creating a blog article that talks about Illuminati in our local country. I will be talking about the "organization's" role in making specific artists popular (for a duration) and in return ...
5
votes
4answers
125 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
298 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
126 views

Does this dream sequence work in my introduction?

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
127 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)?
5
votes
1answer
465 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
181 views

Writing for an Audio book. What are specifics?

What are specific requirements, a writer should follow, when writing something that is going to be (or just can possibly be) not only read but listened as well?
4
votes
3answers
163 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
267 views

How to narrate a fictional dream in third person?

Long story short. A few years ago I suffered from depersonalization and I still struggle with identity and motivation issues. This has deprived me almost entirely of the ability to feel emotion in ...
1
vote
3answers
122 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
177 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 ...