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29

Use your best ideas. Write them as well as you can. Yes, your writing will improve with experience. And your ideas will also improve with experience. If you reserve your "best ideas" until you're a better writer, then your early stories will exhibit neither your best ideas nor your best writing. Why hamper yourself like that? Sometimes people love great ...


9

In a novel-length work, there is almost always room for some humour. I'd say the trick is to choose the right type, and in the right places. Be the right kind of funny If you've seen it, think of the TV show Breaking Bad. Its subject matter was bleak and often gruesome; its emotional content was utterly brutal; but the writers sprinkled in plenty of ...


8

Use your good ideas. Just don't give away the rights to your creation. Make sure that you can re-use your story and elements. I've seen countless stories about people who made a wonderful classic early in their career. (I'm talking about creators, and not necessarily writers specifically. Could be writers, game makers, etc.) Then later in life, they ...


8

Lots of writers start writing with no idea where it will go, much less how it will end. Dean Wesley Smith has a book about that, called Writing Into the Dark. On the other hand, I once heard Richard North Patterson claim that "Any mystery writer who starts without knowing the end is committing authorial malpractice." (The next time I read one of his books, ...


6

Ask yourself: how motivated will you feel writing about a mediocre story? To improve, you need to write—a lot. You won’t enjoy writing if you’re not passionate about your story. Pick your best idea, the one that sets your creativity ablaze, and write it. Make sure you finish it. If the writing is not good enough for publication, then move on to the next ...


5

In any creative discipline you should absolutely work to the best of your ability at every stage of your career as your previous works are both your way to show the world what you are capable of and a platform for you to build on. Similarly 'ideas' are often a bit overrated, creativity is not so much about having brilliant flashes of inspiration so much ...


5

Well, "good" is subjective. You can have a loathsome, hissable, completely irredeemable villain who roasts puppies, shoots women with crossbows, and writes comics where Captain America is revealed to be a lifelong HYDRA agent at the end, and your reader will likely despise that character. However, even your wretched villain should be three-dimensional. ...


4

There are a number of solutions that I have for this, as I suffered from the same problem: Only describe what you need to Imagine trying to describe James Bond to someone. You could say that he is handsome, looks good in a suit, and has an athletic build. This could be enough to get a good image in the reader's head, and could describe any of the actors ...


4

I see others missing the problem the clue is an elephant in the room. They hint on hiding various subtle clues. The problem is this is not a subtle clue. Missing this clue would totally break suspension of disbelief. It's far too obvious. It must be hidden in the plain sight. What you need here is misdirection. Unintentional, accidental event that changes ...


4

I think this depends a lot on what you want to achieve. If, in your given example, you want to convey the feelings your MC experiences, you must be graphic or even gory. Parenthetically, as a vegetarian myself, I can totally empathize with such descriptions - but, trying to see the other side, you should try to visualize how they would make meat-eating ...


4

In looking at your excerpts, and granting for translation, I think the problem is that you start well and then add too much. You don't have to give all the details at once. If this is a person we never see again, secondary details don't matter; if your protagonist is interacting with the character, then there's time later in the scene to add more detail. ...


4

There's an easy answer: It depends on the genre. Generally speaking, genre readers (that is, detective fiction, science fiction, fantasy, romance) will expect a certain degree of predictability - you are in control of the degree, knowing that some pleasant twists and surprises are welcome, but something too experimental will probably be received less warmly. ...


3

In addition to Mike C. Ford's excellent suggestions, there is a secret technique, misunderstood but effective, known to all professional writers but divulged to few outsiders… Don't show, tell. "The city was founded by people from all over the world. Generations had gone by, but not so many that its people all looked the same." Job done!


3

It doesn't matter how your book is received. What matters is that you write the book of your heart before you die. If this is that book, don't worry about what anyone else thinks and go for it. No matter what anyone else will think, you will know that you wrote your soul onto paper. Or something like that. Good luck!


3

This is a very broad question and a lot of thoughts come to my mind when trying to answer it. Two things, however, are specially important to me : Read a lot. Write different things. Read a lot because other writers' styles will bring you new ideas and narration techniques. Much like drawing style is influenced by visual artists we love (see all these ...


3

FWIW, here's my personal story that can perhaps serve as a teaching point in relation to the question: I wrote my first fiction when I was 6 yrs old - a 2-paragraph Donald Duck mystery I began writing short stories when I was 13-14 I won a small local award for a short story I wrote when I was 18 I began writing novels at that time, fully expecting to be ...


3

Nature Or Nurture? (Maybe Both) Of course it is always difficult to separate nature from nurture (was an artist born that way or did the events of her life transform her into the artist she now is). My knock-down, number one favorite book of all time (Make Your Words Work by Gary Provost - amazon link) on teaching writing starts out with the following: ...


3

For me, it doesn't matter whether I know where a story is going or not, because I can only type so fast. I love to flesh out characters and plot out outlines while I'm preparing to write, but once I start writing, all bets are off. The finished product rarely looks like I thought it would as I started typing the opening scene. That used to bother me, but ...


3

Some people talk about Plotters vs. Pantsters. A Plotter works out the whole book, chapter by chapter, point by point, then writes to the outline. It takes a long time up front, but then writing can progress quite quickly. A Pantster, on the other hand, writes by the seat of his or her pants, sitting down, clearing his mind, and then writing what comes. ...


3

"Humor" should be taken in context of the whole story. If your story is basically humorous, then "humor" is what one would expect, and would help, not hurt the story. If your story is basically serious, you may have one or two humorous scenes for "comic relief," but "too much humor would detract from the story. From the sound of the question, your story ...


2

By not backing off from bad ideas and stupid questions. We all have these. We have them countless times every day. The only difference between a moron and a smartass is the speed and ease in recognizing shortcomings of these ideas. So start off writing the character like a normal smart character. Then whenever you have a wrong idea about what the character ...


2

By being one. Putting yourself in someone else's shoes and thinking like them is an integral part of writing fiction. It is essential that the character comes to life. If you can’t identify with a simpleton, err sorry, learning disabled, differently-abled person; don’t bother to write one, or a novel for that matter. I shouldn’t have to tell you this, ...


2

Mystery Requires Vicarious Experience Fiction is best read when you experience it as the main character. That is why modern fiction which is written in close 3rd person is quite popular. Of course, first person fiction is also quite popular but it is often sloppy and only used because the author thinks in first person so s/he writes stories that way. If ...


2

I don't think so. The hunger games surely weren't the first novel with this theme (there was battle royale, for example) but it works and people love it. Don't be afraid of overused ideas, because common themes are everywhere anyway, instead, try to make your book stand out because of the details, of the characters, the conflicts, etc. For example (and ...


2

Not all writers know exactly where they're going when they start writing. Sometimes, they don't even know what the first turning point will be until they pick up the pen, or get on the computer, and start typing/writing. If you're not quite sure about the story-line yet, then maybe starting the first chapter is exactly what you need to do to get the creative ...


2

The most important thing (the only important thing?) is the end result--and that someone reads it. Of course, the process to get there is important, because, duh, it's how we get there! But any way you do it, if it turns out good, it's a good process. It's your process! Imitation is important - feel free to pick and choose from other people's processes - ...


2

Surprise is the cheapest of literary devices. People often reread their favorite books and re-watch their favorite movies. They would not do so if their enjoyment of them depended on surprise. With effective storytelling our hearts can still be in our mouths for a character at a critical juncture no matter how often we have read the story. If we can enjoy a ...


2

One of my writing professors is a fellow believer of the notion that everything is cliche. Almost everything has been done before, and redone many times over. The question is, can you write it in a way that your characters are still unique and interesting? Lots of things can be similar, but still different, and entertaining. In comics many characters are ...


2

One of the saddest stories I know, "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried," by Amy Hempel, is full of humor. (Interesting - it's available online.) The humor is used there like a magician uses misdirection. The narrator and the main character are both funny, and they joke around through the whole piece until the end when things go bad, then the story ...


1

Supporting Digital Dracula's excellent answer, don't be afraid to leave out details which have a long shelf life. Revulsion, for example, is not likely to leave your character in the moment he leaves the killing room. If your scene demands detailed and emotion-inducing descriptions, leave your character's emotions unspoken until a quieter, less word-bound ...



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