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Another technique used by CJ Cherryh to indicate that her viewpoint character only understands the odd word is to indicate the incomprehensible parts by the hash character. For example, "# # ship," the translator rendered the transmission from the newcomer. "# # ship # # you." Cherryh uses this format specifically to mean the output of an automatic ...


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Suggested strategies: 1) As indicated by other responders, make the argument really about something else more personal. You can get great drama from repressed and/or unadmitted emotions leaking out into ostensibly polite debate. 2) Foreshadow that this argument may be mild now but is going to have dramatic consequences. E.g. one of the characters makes an ...


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Even between two people of similar ideologies, they can vary in the degree of "hardness" or "softness." Take two Reagan Republicans that I know. One is right wing, and "tea party" down the line. The other has a way of occasionally "running left," e.g. by going on a radio show in 1988 as a "Republican for Dukakis." One will accuse the other of "leaving the ...


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I once tried to write a (ten scene) screenplay with only a backstory and an ending. I started with Scene 1 (basically a "continuation" of the back story). Then I jumped to Scene 10, the ending, followed by Scene 9. I continued writing the story "backwards," jumping back to scenes 5 and 6 in the middle, finally adding scenes 7 and 8 to connect them to scenes ...


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No. Filter words in dialogue don't matter. You can do what you want in dialogue. Would it be cliche to write in a narration that it was raining cats and dogs outside? Yes it would because this is creative writing. Surely you can come up with a better way to describe it raining hard. But if your character runs inside, dripping wet, and exclaims,"Damn. It's ...


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I recently had this problem, and I accidentally found a way around it. Have one character use the layman's version of the word, or perhaps an incorrect word, and then have another character correct them. My example: "In a town that small -" “Municipality.” interrupted Andrew. “Municipality that small, it would be impossible to..." For 'alpha test' you ...


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Depending on whether the character actually stutters or just rewords mid-thought, you might write: "Lo— I mean, Warden," he amended. "Lor— er, Warden," he amended. "Lo— Warden," he amended. In each case, the M-dash indicates an audible but very short pause, maybe accompanied by a quick head shake or wince or some other tiny ...


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I think that the articles you cite look like very bad advice. I see what they're saying, but I wonder if following these rules will really cause a reader to decide that a story touches them more or makes them realize deeper insights. Okay, seriously -- and I admit up front, I am about to get highly opinionated here: Yes, there's a point in there about ...


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Most beginning writers forget that their narrator is a person with a character who speaks in a voice and narrates in a style that befits his personality. Whichever words (and grammar and imagery and so on) you use or don't use is determined by the character of your narrator. In literature, no words or expressions are forbidden or unusable in and of ...


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The dialogue should above all be natural and matching the characters. That means there is no list of "wrong words" in general. Only "per character" - meaning you won't have a junkie punk speaking in elaborate formal language, nor, conversely, a scientist using street slang. The language used should be such, as given character would use normally in given ...


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Side note: This problem isn't limited to computer jargon. There are many stories where the characters discuss things that all the characters would know or understand but a reader would not necessarily, like science, historical events, or things about their friends. For example, yes, if a character says, "We should use an Ajax call to the cloud server here ...


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I am a qualified Computer Scientist with a specialism in Artificial Intelligence, and I know precisely what you mean when attempting to discuss technology for the (potentially) non-technological, whilst still making it coherent for the reader. Having read many books myself, there is one (fiction novel) which stands out in particular that discusses ...


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If the technical terms are important for the rest of the plot, you might be able to explain them in the narration as the acts unfold. (A said to B, "I'm hacking the mainframe." A entered a command into her laptop, and the specialized software disabled the security system and allowed her to access the protected database. etc.) If the book is fantasy rather ...


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In his book From Where You Dream, Robert Olen Butler describes a method for generating a story that he calls "Dreamstorming." It works. In a nutshell, you enter a dream/trance state and imagine scenes or scene fragments that touch you somehow. Write a brief description (just a few words, not even a sentence) of each scene you've imagined. You can write ...


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Speech is simply communication. Your characters communicate and all you need to do as a writer is make clear what is being communicated. I once read a fantastic children's story to some children. Teddy never actually says anything but communicates on every page. "We should get biscuits to make us brave" said Joe. Teddy indicated that he agreed. ...


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As any deaf person will tell you, sign language is speech. How else are you going to tell your story if you don't report the communication that does take place? Bearkiller signed: "Walk quiet. There is a mammut ahead." Darkwalker nodded. "I'll circle to the left," he gestured. And don't argue about this again, his face said. Bearkiller frowned, ...


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For me it's easy. Pick your characters and start living their lives. Have little nudges of fate guide them towards key points of your story, but don't force it; if the character just doesn't realistically fit in there, change the plot point and keep developing the story. At times it will be entirely different from what you planned, but better. Essentially: ...



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