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13

Although the narrator can't see his own face, he'd still feel his face moving, so I don't think that's the reason it feels strange. It sounds strange to me because the actions sound intentional. Facial expressions are generally involuntary. I don't raise my eyebrows in surprise -- they rather do it of their own accord. Your writing could reflect this: ...


10

Most books I loved did not have any overt message. It was mostly by accident, and not the author's design, that I happened to find something that resonated with me. If you have a story that feels relevant enough to yourself that you want to invest the time and effort to write it, do so. If you write it well, others will enjoy it, too.


10

I had a poetry teacher who talked about "tired language," referring to clichés like this. Take your original metaphor apart and break it down to the real, concrete, non-representative ideas. Are Eri and Mom so far apart that not one single thought is shared between them? Are they speaking as though they are watching two different TV shows, or experienced ...


10

As @kitzfox says, there are times when you would know what your face must look like, and it would be reasonable for a narrator to say so. I stared wide-eyed. Sometimes you would reasonably guess. "Bob is the smartest man here", my girlfriend announced to the room. I could feel myself reddening with embarrassment. But other times it would be ...


9

To be honest, until a story passes a certain threshold of completeness I don't think it can be determined if it is worthwhile or not. Pretty much every awesome plot can be summarized in a way that sounds dumb, and every lame plot can be made to sound interesting; so the storyline alone is not enough to decide. In fact, I think that none of the other elements ...


9

A story does not have to have a profound message that will change the life of everyone who reads it for it to be worth writing. There are many things that can make a story worthwhile. Sure, if you have some truly profound message that you want to relate, that's great. But really, the purpose of most stories is just to be interesting or entertaining. ...


9

See if you can add a twist. One time Harlan Ellison wrote: She looked like a million bucks. Realizing what a horrible cliche that was, he changed it: She looked like a million bucks, tax free. For a lame example (that twists the cliche by adding another one): It sometimes felt as if we spoke different languages. British English and American ...


7

The problem with sentimentalism is not that it's sentimental. But that it often results in cliche. This is a sample of non-cliched sentimentalism: "Once that first tear broke free, the rest followed in an unbroken stream. Naoko bent forward where she sat on the floor and pressing her palms to the mat, she began to cry with the force of a person ...


6

I think this all depends on how common the metaphor is. Some metaphors are so common that speakers don't recognize them as metaphors any longer, and replacing them is unnecessary. A very common metaphor is when you say that someone breaches a subject, meaning that this person gathers all their courage and addresses what everyone has been avoiding to talk ...


6

Try it! If you enjoy writing, write. If you don't, stick with what you're doing, because it seems to work for you.


6

If you are not in it for the money, just make sure you enjoy telling the story. If it is not fun, don't bother.


5

Here are my three steps: The test of time: Keep the story in your head for a couple of weeks. Does it come back to you when you're not thinking about it? Is it becoming more and more appealing over time instead of losing its charm? If the answer is yes, move on to the next step. The test of execution. Write the story down. Did it work? Did the idea create ...


5

I don't remember who; but someone once compared the urge to write with a tumour. I understand that you'd get along just fine without having to put pen to paper. A couple hours of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and you won't feel like delving deep into your soul to reach out for that story anymore. A few minutes of TV is always a better idea, right? Well, I ...


5

Like most stylistic choices, I don't think this is a problem unless you're doing it a lot. The repetition in your second example seems find because it's a deliberate echo, not an accidental one, but if you're using repetition over and over (see what I did there?), you may want to tone it down. (In the first example, I'd say the "continued" is redundant, if ...


4

I struggle with this as well and have two approaches the help get out of the rut of tired language: Take the advice the Lauren Ipsum discussed earlier. It works very well. Cut out tired language, describe what's happening without flair and without requirement for catchy phrasing, and let the strength of the story telling come from the directness of your ...


4

The probem with a cliché is not what happens but how you describe it. People cry. Even protagonists cry. And tears do roll down people's cheeks when they cry. This is not a cliché, it is a fact, and it is not rare either but a frequent occurence. Any advice that tells you not to write about what happens frequently in real ife is bad advice. Cliché happens ...


4

Just keep writing. Writing is something you have to (and can) learn. So allow yourself the time (and many failures) to do so. Think of writing as being similar to learning a language or learning a craft. Practise makes perfect. Write what you care about. If you are not emotionally involved in what you write about, it will not touch your readers either. ...


3

Write out a few and share them. You may be completely wrong about the market. A tale which "explores a character's path through life" but not much else happens is called a character study, and those are legitimately literature. (And movies sometimes too, c.f. A Room with a View.)


3

Repetition gives emphasis whatever is repeated. Repetition calls attention to whatever is repeated, especially if the repeated thing is unusual or interesting. Repetition can create rhythms. Repeated patterns can provoke expectations in the reader. For an extreme, haunting, brilliant example of repetition, see Rick Moody's story "Boys" (PDF).


3

I never read prologues. They bore the hell out of me. Start with your story. That's what I want to read. Weave in the information I need, and don't bother me with what's irrelevant. What I dislike the most: a prologue that makes me identify with and invest emotions in a character that does not appear in the main narrative the myths of a fictional world ...


3

Maybe you already have a voice. It is difficult for writers to judge their own voices. You live with your voice all day long, in your head, so it seems normal to you, and boring. Other people (most of whom exist outside your head to some extent) don't live with your voice all day long. What do other people say about your voice? That said, I think there are ...


2

Words or phrases should not be repeated within the space of a couple of lines (except for small common words like 'the') unless you are doing it for effect, for example: "No. No. No. A thousand times no." The difficulty is judging when it works and when it doesn't. One way to see is to read it out loud.


2

I recommend you reading "Six Walks in the Fictional Woods" by Umberto Eco. He explains in the book such narratives (and many other aspects of either ommiting parts of information or stating it in achronological order). The short answer to you question is: yes, you obviously can do that. Just remember (as Monica Cellio commented) to clearly state that the ...


2

A modular approach offers the most flexibility. The problem is that every book I write I do it differently, and no software is flexible enough to both offer all possible options and be free of clutter. I use a mix of taking notes in paper notebooks, outlining on loose paper and small file cards (with the help of scissors, glue, colored markers and a large ...


2

You could get away with drastically different tones if you had two different POV narrators. If one is Tina Fey and the other is Sylvia Plath, they will of course see the world differently. The contrast will probably make your book lean more towards humor/dark humor/satire, so as long as you're okay with that, give it a shot. This is not the same as a ...


2

It might help to keep a journal with your writing ideas in it. When you have an idea in your head, write down as much as you can about it. Then you would have the ability to go back to your journal and revisit your ideas. If you see something that you would like to write more about, go for it.


2

Why do you write? For fun? In that case every story is worthwhile as explored by most of the other answers. For readers? In that case read on. To improve yourself? In that case of course every story is worthwhile, but you need to act as if you are writing for readers. What do you wish to achieve? Now, personally I have always classified two different ...


2

First, good stories tend to keep pestering you until you put it down in words. Bad stories seem blessed with inertia. Second, I read a great book by Nanci Atwell about how to teach writing to students. She used the rule of "So What?" for students. Why is this story important or worth reading? New writers tend to write about things without having a clear ...


2

It depends on whether it's the protagonist or non-protagonist is crying. I wouldn't think it's effective to have the protagonist crying. I haven't done a lot of crying scene, but the ones I have done I have underplayed so much in order to emphasize the inner pain. Crying works best when the protagonist is observing someone else cry. In my opinion the sad ...


2

Something you need to be aware of when creating a theme before characters etc is that you can end up shoehorning characters into the theme they are telling. If you're not careful with character development they can end up being stiffled by their 'role' in the general theme. The benefit of ignoring theme until the story and characters are written is that ...



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