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I think everyone can become better at something. With a lot of practice, I can learn how to play the piano better that I can now, but either due to motivation or to some innate way my brain is wired, I consider it outrageously unlikely that I will become as good as some classically trained soloist. Writing is the same. Everyone can become better Not ...


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It depends on what your intent is when you write. People write for pleasure, for money, for fame, for influence, for immortality, and etc. Many of the best writers - the ones whose names you remember a hundred or five hundred years later achieved all those things, but for every Shakespeare there are hundreds of writers who had success if you measure ...


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We don't. It's a blurred line and a fortune in legal costs on arguing where it lies. Of course there is a classification, but the lines are always blurred. On the "white side" there's alluding - when you make your own characters, but draw specific parallels, exploring what-if's of the other work, mocking its shortcomings, or referencing its most brilliant ...


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Interacting with people who think differently is a good way to start. Using the word 'moron' is a bad place to start. I have very strong spatial thinking skills - I can imagine things in 3D and can intuitively understand how mechanical things work, but I'm very bad with numbers and math. My wife is nearly the opposite. She thinks in words and logic, ...


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It depends. If it's being described from the POV of a human, then it should be ok, the person is merely describing the look in terms they are familiar with, which in turn, the reader redefines to terms they are familiar with. If it's not a necessary detail in the story, though, do you need to include it? Is there a plot reason for a pony tail, or could you ...


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First point, as Lauren Ipsum indicated, be very, very careful about taking a living person as your model. Taking a dead person as your model could also give you problems if that person was a writer (a category which could include people primarily famous for other reasons), and his or her writings are still in copyright. Whether this (putting in-copyright ...


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You appear to be writing your "the story so far" from the point of view of an omniscient narrator, hence your concern abut lying. Instead, describe events through a character lens. You can do this by writing these parts from the point of view of a particular character -- treat it as a speech, diary, or other thing that the character wrote. Another way to ...


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1) What I like to do is go to a book store and look at the titles in the genre I am writing in. If you do that, you will notice that books from the same genre often have titles that are similarly structured. For example, thrillers have short one or two word titles that relate to things hard, cold and dangerous. YA SF also has one word titles, but these ...


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TL;DR: There is a spectrum of copying from regular story-telling that re-uses ideas and themes, to plagiarism, to copyright infringement. These are not all the same and only the last is illegal. The concept of plagiarism is not clearly defined. There is a spectrum of idea-borrowing and word-for-word copying that exists and some of it is acceptable, but if ...


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Probably Indicates Belief of How Good It Is Your own mind may be trying to tell you something -- though it may be a lie. Your own mind may be trying to tell you that it doesn't believe that the story is "good enough". Malarkey and Bunk, You Say You might believe that viewpoint is not correct. Here's a little test to determine if that is true for yourself. ...


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I cannot recommend The War of Art by Steven Pressfield highly enough for this very struggle. The whole book is about finding the motivation to finish the creative projects you start. It's marketed to all creative types but written by a novelist, so many of the examples and insights are specifically catered to writers. You can very likely get it at your local ...


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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, ...


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But I can't have the narrator simply lie to the reader Sure you can. That's called an unreliable narrator. Instead of having a generic narrator-to-reader chapter, your "The Story So Far" material can be delivered via some other medium, or two characters who aren't in your story otherwise. It can be a newspaper article, a series of emails, a radio ...


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Oh man, it really bugs me when all the characters know a secret but I don't. It feels deceptive and manipulative. What works is to have a character who's also ignorant of the secret. Tell the story from their perspective. Then the reveal is not pointed at the reader, but at the character. In The Sixth Sense Bruce Willis is that ignorant character. The ...


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I recently watch 7 editors choose stories for anthologies. They had read all of the stories a month or two earlier, and were now considering them in front of a live audience. Every now and then, an editor would pick up a manuscript from the pile, read the title out loud to the audience, and say, "I have no memory of this. Give me a minute..." Then they'd ...


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What makes a passage strong is almost always its context. We walk by the wonders of nature unseeing everyday. Only at certain times and in certain moods or circumstances do we pause to notice them or be moved by them. Squirrels accidentally plant forests by hiding nuts and forgetting where they put them. By itself, that is a mildly interesting fact. In the ...



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