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17

That's why the tropes Unspoken Plan Guarantee and Impossible Mission Collapse exist. When you first describe a plan in detail and then describe its flawless execution in detail, the latter is just a retelling of the first, which is boring and redundant. It is often more interesting to have the elaborate plan fail early in some way, which challenges the ...


7

Philipp provides a good answer, but I think there is more to say. First, "show don't tell" has kind of become the touchstone of all advice about storytelling but it is good to remember that it originated as a piece of advice for novelists moving to writing screenplays. What is told in a novel must be shown in a movie. In fact, novels do have to do a fair ...


4

Your character can be boring, but your story shouldn't be. Here's the golden ideal: every line of prose and every line of dialogue should serve a purpose. If somebody is saying a lot of boring stuff, most of that stuff doesn't serve any purpose - and should be avoided in your final draft. But, there's a difference between being bored by a character, vs. ...


3

If you have a (first or third person) limited perspective, you could show the POV character's emotional state through the descriptive details she considers noteworthy. Perhaps one of the most brilliantly executed examples I can recall for this would be the (French) poem "Déjeuner du matin" by Jacques Prévert. It begins: He poured the coffee Into the cup ...


3

The pertinent question here is: what is it you're trying to show? In other words, you need to first understand what the focus and purpose of the planning scene is. Only then do you know what to show, and therefore how to do it. A few simple examples: If the purpose of the scene is to set up a brilliant plan which later fails dramatically, then you ...


3

The reason people say not to start your story with dialogue is because doing so throws you into the story without giving you any context. The exposition you give has no background to build off of, and the action that tends to follow feels meaningless to a new reader. Here, that lack of exposition is very prevalent. The problem I have--and that a lot of your ...


3

Of course you can start your story with dialogue. It happens in many books. However, it is true that the reader will feel disoriented from the get go, so you should do your best to clarify everything (through dialogue or otherwise) as early as possible. Nobody drops a book completely in the first chapter, the absolute worst thing that could happen is people ...


3

As you say, there are many stories that work that start with dialogue. Far too much advice about writing is much too mechanical in nature. Dialogue is just a mechanism for telling a story. Rules about which mechanism to use are silly, and usually easy to prove false with counter-examples. What a story must do is to establish conflict. Can you do that with ...


2

Get everything out in the first draft. Let him ramble on all you like. Put the first draft aide for a month or so. Go back and re-read, and be absolutely ruthless in your culling when re-reading his rambling. If you still can't tell if he's talking too much, hand the ms off to a good beta reader with the explicit instruction that you need to know if/when ...


2

Proper names get capitalized. Generic names don't. Federal Bureau of Sparkly Vampires Department of Redundancy Department Imperial Dogwalkers Consortium The Sacred Order of Turnip Twaddlers The Church of Saint Spock the Pointy-Eared The United Provinces of Cumberbatch the Hiddlestoners Rebellion Judean People's Front (not to be confused with the People's ...


1

Let's start with 2. It's up to you - nobody decides anything about your manuscript except you. Do you want them to be background characters? Then let them be background characters. Do you want them to play a major part? Then don't let them be background characters. As for 1, It would be controversial if you wished it to be so, by assigning certain ...



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