Tag Info

New answers tagged

2

The second option is OK, if you can smooth out the phrasing. What would be more ideal is if you could rephrase to avoid the problem, to avoid lumping the two items together in the first place - for example: She had green eyes, and curly hair that looked like a cluster of ferns in a mountain forest. Another option is completing the list, and then ...


1

You could even use it to keep people in suspense, I suppose. Maybe tell a story about it, whatever it is.. You just hint at it from various angles, before finally revealing what this 'it' is that you were keeping people in suspense over...


2

I think you'd do better moving the mention of hair to the second sentence: She had green eyes. Her hair curled like ferns clustered in a mountain forest. Or one sentence: She had green eyes and her hair curled like ferns clustered in a mountain forest. Having said that, I'm not really able to picture ferns as hair, but that might just be me.


5

Yes. Unless your following metaphor is easily related to one or the other. "She has green eyes and red hair. It looked like a wild forrest fire...." Then people can easily relate it to the hair, and not the eyes.


1

I'm a hobby writer and a learning coder, and I stumbled on this place. Very cool to find writers here, and what an excellent question. The answers above are excellent too. As for subplots, the above fly episode, which I have not seen sounds interesting. Sometimes a writer needs to add exposition, and it would seem this person has done it in an interesting ...


2

Ok, I'm just going to be bold here and put my two cents in: The main plot of your story is what keeps the reader coming back for more. If that suddenly grinds to a halt, you run the risk of losing the reader. Just how entertaining and important are these chapters? Could someone skip them and still enjoy the story? Is the reader likely to become ...


2

If you make comments that are critical of someone's religion or politics or social beliefs or whatever, some number of people will find it annoying or offensive and be uninterested in reading your stories. Take the flip side. You say you're an atheist. Suppose you read a book that had many sections that attacked atheism in one way or another. I'd guess ...


3

All depends on pacing. Imagine the main plot needs a lot of slow build-up. You'd bore the reader. So introduce a sub-plot, an alternate layer that tells some backstories - captivating, thrilling backstories. Pepper your main story with episodes of the new thread to carry the reader through slow times. Alternatively, you can give the reader a breather in ...


4

(a) Try to differentiate yourself from your narrator and protagonist. That person is not you. Define that person in relation to the plot: what is his goal, how does he see the world, how does he behave, and how does the world react to him. If you have difficulty with this, write relevant passages in third person and then "translate" them to first. (b) A ...


2

Consider adding them as appendices. This gives readers the choice when, if at all, to break from the main plot, or delve deeper into the character backgrounds after finishing the main plot.


7

All depends on what kind of book you write. The great novels of the past often meander like a continent-crossing river. The bestselling novels of today, on the other hand, quickly build tension and keep it taut and rising until the final explosive resolution. The price for this break neck speed is depth and meaning: many novels of today are meaningless ...


4

Oh my, yes. Just a personal opinion, but these lose me faster than anything else. I have a love/hate with Stephen King for the same reason. He gets so much into "atmosphere" (read - useless backstory) that I can hardly finish a large part of his books (and literally skip paragraphs and paragraphs when reading to get to the salient points).


2

I didn't see a problem with it, at least in that short excerpt. Fictional characters can have their own prejudices and opinions, and if that's a source of conflict in the story it's showing not telling. In a story, I'd like to see that difference between the characters have some active consequences rather than being represented by stuck-in speeches or ...


9

Every line you write should have some goal or purpose in your story: drawing the reader into plot, character, or setting. (In fact, having each line, or as many lines as you can, do two or more of these can work very well). For example, the Fly episode presumably increases your empathy with characters, sets up important moments later on, etc. If your break ...


2

Writers should make their Characters relate to their audience. You are an Atheist writing about the lives of Christian characters, While sneaking in sacrilegious text. So its a recipe for disaster. When a Christian reader reads about the life of another christian they say 'This character is christian and I am christian therefore i like this character(and by ...


2

That's some overt preaching there! I'd say that, as done, it is detrimental. For one thing, you'll automatically turn off many Western readers, who might decide never to read anything of yours ever again. Human nature. More importantly, though, the character's (your) line of reasoning is weak. The argument assumes things that not all Christians agree ...


6

You need to ask yourself why you add these references in the first place. Are they relevant to the development of your characters or the plot of your story? When not, you should sacrifice them to the law of conservation of detail. There is little point in wasting your readers time with indulging in your personal pet-issue when it doesn't lead anywhere. On ...


1

As required. Above all, you build an impression. Your character is a rich cloud of emotions, feelings, attractions, fears, repulsions, desires, cold logic and secrets. This is what really acts upon the reader and interacts with their imagination, "makes the story tick". It all boils down to emotional level, and it's the only level that truly matters. ...


1

Like most things, it really depends on what kind of story you're writing and what effect you want to achieve. I can think of an example on both sides of the metaphorical clothing descriptor coin. There's a technique present in older fiction where the author will lengthily go through the description of a character's outfits, gardens, or houses in order to ...


8

If how the character is dressed is important to the story, then you should certainly describe it. If not, then don't bring it up. Give as much detail as is relevant. If, for example, you picture Mr Jones as always being immaculately dressed in a formal business suit and carrying a walking stick, I'd mention that, at least once up front. Or at the other ...


1

I don't have the exact term for the style, but the one autobiography that I still think about (even though I am not a writer) is Stephen King's 'On Writing'. He started with his childhood and the further you've read, more of each page became about the art of writing and less about what other bios I read contain - unabashed chivalry, heroic deeds, monumental ...


0

I would say that you should definitely include time/date, but as was mentioned above, you should show, not tell. If you have to tell, I would use the chapter header mentioned by Mac Cooper. But actually stating that information within the body of the text itself might not be a good idea. The most important thing is to have a very good sense of time, date, ...


2

Oh, you are doing well here. Very well. You are breaking a rule about cliche dialogues exactly where it should be broken. You are writing a meaningless, dull prattle that lulls the reader into slightly bored indifference and then you drop the bomb of “Animal Self-Destruction Observation Group” which makes me go "What?!" - and then you drop another - “That’s ...


5

1) Lengthen it. You're not going to have rat-a-tat-tat patter graveside. 2) Take each phrase you feel is clichéd, determine the meaning, and rewrite it in different words. "All we want is for our children to grow healthy and happy" becomes "That's my biggest responsibility and my biggest hope — that my children are healthy and happy, and we ...


1

As has been said by others, it sort of depends on the perspective. This might be troubling to write in first person for the exact reason mentioned - the character is probably not paying attention. In that case, you might be better off having him revisit the experience in a flashback later. However, if we're dealing with any other perspective, I think it's ...


6

Monica is on the right track, but I'd push it more. If he's howling the name of his murdered wife in his grief, he's not aware of anything outside that grief. I would actually not show the husband being aware of the changes while they're happening. Maybe, possibly, flashes of light (which cast different shadows on her face), or he feels his ears pop, or ...


4

I can't call specific examples to mind right now, but I've seen this sort of "wait, the world is not quite as it should be" situation handled by sharing the POV character's inner dialogue as he gradually notices peculiarities. Something like this: "Sharon, no!" he shouted to no one in particular as he cradled her in his arms. "Sharon!" He shuddered as ...


3

Please please please PLEASE use date/time of day references. Please. With chocolate on top. It's way too easy to get lost in the flow of narration and not have a damn clue when we are. Is it morning? Is it night? Shouldn't the moon be out? How can the narrator see the cows jumping off the cliff if it's the middle of the night? Why is daylight slanting ...


6

Saying "In the end of June" is a form of telling instead of showing. That is, you've told us time had passed, but it's not meaningful to us in terms of what it means for the character, setting, or plot. With just a little more information, it does flow well with the time information: I had finals to finish and an apartment to pack up, so despite the ...


3

In my opinion, only describe what you need to describe. And only when you need to. At least that's what I try and do in my writing. I recall in an Isaac Asimov novel, I forget which, he kept back the detail that a particular character had dwarfism until quite near the end but it was crucial to the plot. Until then, the reader assumed, (a dangerous ...


2

There is so far no rule or restriction for placing description of a character in earlier or later chapters of a novel. It is not necessary to portray the appearance of the protagonist in the very beginning of story. In some situation you have to give the same feel to the readers what you are trying to express in the novel. So at least you should provide ...


8

I think that you should define your main characters, and especially the love interest, only as much as absolutely necessary. If it is important that the protagonist is male, write that he is male. If not, keep this ambiguous. If it is important that the love interest is thin, write that she is. If not, keep this ambiguous. Why? Because you want as many ...


7

The best answer would be depends on the story. One of my favourite writers, Stephen King, does leave a very little info about the characters in their story. I remember, that in his book On Writing, he said, that Carrie was originally described only as shy girl, always having wearied off sweater on. If you keep vague description about the characters, you ...


12

The biggest risk you have by describing the physical appearance of your character later on in your story is that your readers' mental image is shattered when you describe your character in detail. This can be quite jarring. The only way you're going to know for sure is when you ask someone to review your novel. Perhaps once you're ready you could ask them ...


8

The bits you put in parentheses don't (necessarily) take me out of the narrative. They are the character's opinions of people and events. That takes me deeper into the character, which is a big part of where the story is. One test for such parentheticals is: Do these opinions characterize the character in a way that serves the story? As Lauren points out, ...


1

The transition seems fairly smooth to me, probably because the action doesn't feel like action: It feels like the continuation of the musings in the earlier paragraphs. Maybe this is because we're not seeing the setup, but I think the entire excerpt feels rushed. This is someone who's thinking through reasons why life just doesn't make sense, but I'm not ...


0

As others have said, show, don't tell. Because that advice is rather vague, however, allow me to explain. The way I understand 'show, don't tell' is 'let the reader form his own conclusions. Just make sure they are the ones he is supposed to form.' For example, you don't need to say that someone rolled their eyes in exasperation. The fact that they rolled ...


0

I understand the question so that the story continues after the (postponed) death. Usually the reader knows how far into the story he is, so if there's too much story left, the reader will know, or at least expect, in advance that the first-person narrator will not die (unless it's a ghost story, as Jasper guessed). But then, tension may still build up on ...


1

Are you writing a ghost story? A ghost story can be written in first-person, and have the narrator die at any point -- including before the story begins, partway through the story, or at the end. You can even have the story be entirely about when the narrator was alive, so the narrator dies after the end of the story.


0

The first few sentences left me puzzled: Of all the people who wanted to join the trip, Paola was the the last I expected would come. It surprised me. We barely knew each other at school, and I was pretty sure she wasn't interested in me. So the only reason why someone would join a trip with several people joining is that the person in question was ...


2

The voice in your first paragraph reminds me of Holden Caulfield. More a monologue than a narrative; a thought process noted in great detail, slowing the pace. To me this is promising. It could be YA or something else - The Catcher in the Rye is only YA on the surface. In the next paragraph the plain-speaking teenager seems a different person, I don't ...



Top 50 recent answers are included