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22

There are myriad questions on this site that already address this issue, and the consensus is always the same. Just write. Write for yourself. Don't even read what you've written. Don't even look back as you're writing. Write until you're finished. Once you're finished, look back over your work. Only then can you begin to be critical of style, ...


20

Games Industry Possibly the most creative industry that you can write for. This is displayed through the excellent storyline in the Assassin's Creed series. It consists of a dual storyline that spans throughout the history of mankind (Due to their excellent implementation of the sci-fi mechanism combined with historical emphasis on events.) If you read ...


15

Write. Let the emotion flow. If the emotion clutters the writing, or takes it in a direction you don't want, you can fix it later, when you can look at it with a cooler view. But even if you choose not to keep the stuff written in the heat of emotion, save it somewhere. There's energy in there for you. It may be useful on another project.


15

Other than Scrivener :) I find Excel (or another spreadsheet program) works surprisingly well. First column: Year Second column: Month Third column: Day (Insert more columns as needed.) Last column: event If you have multiple items on the same Day, repeat the Day data and use a 24-hour clock, so you would have: 1898|July|Holmes and Watson move into ...


15

Your two examples are from very different people. The first guy is confident, mocking, and ironic. The second guy is insecure, nervous, and looking for validation. So as iajrz points out, it depends on your characters. Would that particular character always have le mot juste on the tip of his tongue, or does he suffer from l'esprit de l'escalier like most ...


15

Even though you notice the problem in the first words (in the subjects of the sentences), I think the problem is elsewhere: Each of the first five sentences has a verb that reminds that we're in Adele's head. But we already know we're in Adele's head, so these reminders are unnecessary, and they weaken the sentences. Consider this edit, which removes all ...


14

I don't use it. I would caution against others using it, or any other thesaurus. I think that a large, varied vocabulary is a great thing, but the problem with gaining your vocabulary from a reference source rather than from reading prose is that you don't really get the more subtle meanings and shadings. Somebody once said that there's no such thing as ...


14

What has worked for me in the past is to simply concentrate on telling the story. I'm assuming you are on your first draft and have yet to complete even that. In that case, you need to spend less time analyzing and more time telling your story. If you spend too much time reviewing as you write, you'll end up with a case of paralysis by analysis. Sometimes ...


14

In my opinion, the passage of a moment is better expressed by filling it with some action. To illustrate, let's rewrite your last example: "After a moment, he decided to walk west." How about this? "He looked to the east. In that direction lay nothing but the ruins of his former life. Turning away, he decided to walk west." Or: "Thinking about what she had ...


13

I've been a computer industry journalist for most of the past 20 years, and I can assure you that it's plenty creative. This isn't "tech writing" in the sense of describing how to use a product, but rather offering useful advice (such as "which of these tools is worth your money" or "here's some tips on how to use it well") that offer LOTS of opportunities ...


13

An invented language can be a tool for exposing the traits of a culture. Different languages not only sound different, but they feel different. They shape ideas differently. They are also shaped by their environments. The way a language works can help illustrate the thought processes of the people who speak it. As an example, I recently saw the Star ...


13

I find this question strange. If the dialogue is the perfect thing for the character - in other words, if that character was a living, breathing person, and this is 100% exactly what they would say - then you've achieved something most writers would kill for. I don't quite see how that could ever detract from your novel. If the dialogue is perfect because ...


13

A scriptwriting exercise that always helps make a nice shape out of dialogue. Follow the instructions without reading them all the way through the first time. Just do each step one at a time: 1) Take a sheet of paper and write in the margin down 20 lines the letters A and B. They don't have to just swap e.g. ABABABABABAB but you can have no more than two ...


13

Stephen King, by my understanding, was a discovery writer. I will paraphrase what he wrote in his book On Writing. You create some real, believable characters, put them in a challenging situation, and then let them decide where the book would go. If you have done enough work on character development, then your characters should be able to decide how they ...


13

How much of this language are you going to use? Single words? Phrases? Sentences? Paragraphs? If it's just a few words or phrases, make up a few, be consistent in their usage, and call it a day. If you're carrying on entire dialogues in this tongue, I would first recommend "Don't overdo it." For the purposes of your question (and I Am Not A Linguist, so ...


13

Orson Scott Card answers your question precisely and eloquently in his excellent Character and Viewpoint, under the heading One Name Per Character. Go, read. For posterity, I'll summarize: Names should be treated as "invisible words" - they're so common, the reader hardly notices them. You can repeat them as often as you like, without worrying about ...


12

I guess there's different schools of thought on it, but for me, I'd say you should worry about attracting readers after you've written the novel the way you think it should be written. What are the demands of the plot? What do you characters need to do, or understand? Tell the story in the best way you can, using the words that work best for you, and THEN ...


11

First, a disclaimer: I'm not a novelist, not by a long shot. I've written some (local award winner) short stories as a teenager and I'm working on my first novel, but that's it. On the other hand, I've been practically born an engineer :) Having said that, I guess there are many different approaches to writing, as many as there are people. As a programmer ...


11

Choose your friends wisely! I started with a group of ten friends when I first started writing who had volunteered as beta readers. Five responded very quickly that they really loved my first book, even though I felt it still needed a lot of work. Three more came back a week or more later with glowing remarks. The last two took at least a couple more weeks, ...


11

Lauren gave the single most universal method - let me expand on that. Note there doesn't have to be a literal character for the cabbagehead - a virtual one will do. Get some quotes from 'MYTO for dummies'. Get a cautionary work safety series series "Accidents resulting from and involving mishandling MYTO". Outright break the fourth wall having the omniscent ...


11

There's nothing wrong with phrases like "after a moment". Just be careful not to overuse them. If you find yourself writing: Al entered the room. After a moment, Sally entered also. A moment later, Al said, "Oh, Sally, it's you." Sally paused for a moment ... Using the same word or phrase (other than an article, pronoun, or short preposition) ...


11

Grammar "violations" are perfectly fine in fiction, as long as they create the effect you desire in the reader. Incomplete sentences can (sometimes) pick up the pace, or make the reading choppy and staccato. When you want those effects, use incomplete sentences. Starting a sentence with a conjunction can (sometimes) make sentences flow together in an ...


10

Why do you want to be a writer? No offense, seriously. But for me, I want to write because stories come to me and need to be written. It's not "I want to be writer" so then I have to struggle with how to be a writer and then struggle with what I want to say (since writers have to say something) and then struggle with story ideas, all so I can be a 'writer'. ...


10

Combat scenes need to be written in a way to engage the reader. They should be more fast paced and emotional. You're not going to want to be describing every little bit of detail like you would in a slower-paced scene. The character isn't focused on the scenery or what's going on around him, he's focused on the fight. Sentences will be shorter and more ...


10

Get a video recorder and a few friends. Explain to your friends what the scene is about, and what you want to have happen. (Eliot and Alec walk into a bar and order a drink. They start talking about inconsequential stuff. Their friend Nate walks in and asks Eliot for the $50 Eliot owes him. Eliot says he already paid Nate. Discussion/dispute/argument ...


10

If everything you write is sounding like overused tropes and clichés, it may be that you're simply showing your influences. And when you see your writing, all you're seeing are those influences. Hence, it feels less substantial to you. What, exactly is "bland, generic fantasy" to you? I suggest you define what it is you're trying to avoid. Make a list if ...


10

As I've said elsewhere, don't pad your stories with, er, effluvia. If your idea is a short story, leave it short. Not every writer has to write long pieces. I'm reasonably sure Shakespeare didn't write novels. If short stories are your strength, your passion, and your interest, stick with them. Now, if you want to write something longer as an exercise, ...


10

I've been there myself, stuck trying to work out how to make things flow in a larger context, but just feeling like I can't pull it off. It's frustrating all around, but I can at least tell you what I did to get over it. It be of some help. Keep trying to write the longer stories. It might be frustrating now, but if you don't work at it it won't ever come ...


10

For writing fiction, realism is really much less important than believability. Things happen in the real world that are much more improbable than many readers would be willing to accept. Truth is stranger than fiction. To me, there are four primary elements of believability: Does the story contradict anything that we know about the universe? This could be ...


10

If it is clear who is speaking, you do not need a dialog tag. He looked to the side and blushed. "I probably love you." "He" is looking to the side and blushing, so "he" is the one who speaks. Skip the dialog tag. Add them if you do not have an action tag and it could be unclear to the reader who is speaking. But this has nothing to do with: He ...



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