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22

Please, don't. I have often encountered this in Fantasy and Science Fiction, and it breaks my make-believe. I am immediately thrown out of my beautiful escapist reverie and back on my sofa. I hate when authors do that. I expect a fiction to be consistent, and the narrator has to be part of the fiction if this is to work. The only setup where a quote like ...


7

It is like writing English. Obviously people in a fantasy world or the far future won't speak English, yet you present their dialogue in English (or whatever language you write in). Does that put readers off? Certainly not. Writing in a fantasy language is what would put readers off! Terms are the same. If you use the current (in your language) general term ...


6

Contrary what others will tell you - I know, because the same question has been asked before - I think that ideas for short stories and ideas for novels are fundamentally different and one cannot be turned into the other. A short story is a story that can be told in a handful of pages, while a novel takes a few hundred pages to be told. Think of me ...


6

For your "Houston" example, definitely not if Apollo 13 is not culturally relevant to the person saying it. You can use some sayings from this universe in your universe, for example Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Because this could come about without someone having seen The Godfather Part II. It's just advice. But any quote or ...


6

Tell the reader only those parts of the history that affect this story. The parts that the characters think about or talk about during the course of the story. The parts that the characters have opinions and attitudes about during the course of the story. The parts that affect and constrain and compel the characters' decisions and actions. Leave the other ...


5

There are two issues here: legal and literary. Legally, if the quote has fallen into public domain, there's no problem. If not, you're into the whole nebulous area of "fair use". Someone could conceivably sue you for copyright violation for stealing his quote. As we're presumably talking about quotes that are a sentence or two and not dozens of pages, I ...


5

While it's possible to expand a short story into a novel (c.f. Ender's Game), what seems more common in my experience (citation needed) is for the short story to become one part of a larger novel. Your short story is already a self-contained unit; what else is going on around those characters, in that setting, etc? Is there a bigger story that you can ...


5

Imagine you are travelling to a foreign country with different laws, customs, traditions and so on. You (the reader) travel in the company of someone who is familiar with that country (the narrator). That companion will warn you of the most deadly pitfalls (such as the death sentence for drug trafficking or that you get your hand hacked off for shop ...


5

That's not a comma splice; that's a statement followed by an elaboration.1 The second does not stand alone, so a semicolon there would be incorrect. This would be a comma splice: It had been a thousand years since the Razzies had known the horrors of the king's might, it was a thousand years since he had sailed across the ocean with his vast armies and ...


5

What you describe is mostly what the genre of High Fantasy is about. I have never found Le Guin or Tolkien to be archaic, or “dated”, it reads natural to me. I have more issues with Zelasny’s Princes of Amber series, or Moorcock's series, though. Also some fantasy authors try to inject artificial “old style” and that is glaring and distracting to the ...


4

An excellent question, and a permanent source of controversy and disagreement in fantasy and science fiction. Let's try to break this down: Basics of worldbuilding. You cannot construct an entire world out of whole cloth. It's simply not possible, primarily because the world is much larger than most of us tend to notice on a day-to-day basis. If your ...


4

I recommend reading this blog post by Larry Correia: http://monsterhunternation.com/2013/04/29/ask-correia-13-ripping-off-ideas/ As to your copyright question, if you're not blatantly taking characters from copyrighted works and using them in your own (as in fan fiction, or by copying them exactly except changing their names) don't worry about it. You've ...


4

I'm not sure what multiple points of view would have to do with how you introduce the laws of magic in your world. In general, I think a narrative flows better if you can introduce the rules spread out through early sections of the book. Otherwise, you have a long dry intro. If you can summarize your rules fairly quickly, like a page or so, you could simply ...


4

If the quote is in reference to something that would not exist at all in the world you've created, it is completely inappropriate. Even if it happens to be a quote that would make contextual sense (no references to anything in our world), I would still avoid it. References to things that happen in our world, in a world that is not ours, only serve to ...


4

I've actually seen this used deliberately, to help establish the character of the... err... character in question. In the first chapter of The Tales of Paul Twister, we're introduced to Paul, a thief-for-hire in a magical world who's got a bit of a sour, snarky attitude about the world around him in general and his line of work in particular. He's been ...


3

I'm sure that unusually-spelt variations on words like "vampire" and "fairy" would be comprehensible to most readers, but, unfortunately that is partly because "vampyre" and "faerie" are a bit of a cliché themselves. "Faerie" has more than 15 million hits on Google. Evolving yourself some names from Latin source words seems a more promising strategy. ...


3

One thing to remember is that our concept of time and specifically splitting much of our experience into units of time ("he held his breath for a second" and "I'll see you in 15 minutes" and "It will take 3 hours to walk to the next village") is very modern and evolved in the context of timepieces of increasing accuracy. Prior to accurate time pieces, ...


3

You first described it as "set in the late 1920s", and then later said you were "writing pseudo-historically in an alternate universe". I'm not bringing this up to nit-pick your question but, rather, to point out that these are two different things. There is historical fiction, where authors try to remain accurate, and there is alternate history, where ...


3

This is certainly valid in some contexts, e.g., in a parody, or while leaning on the fourth wall, for example ... "And using this device you can communicate if there are any issues." explained Houston. "Oh, great, but what if I have to fix it first, «Houston, we've had a problem?»" However, I would advise you against using it if you are not ...


3

Just skip to the next plot point and write that. Chances are that later on you'll think of a way to bridge the two, and then you can come back and fill in the details when that happens. I would guess that very few writers proceed sequentially through an entire work. It's good to jump around when you're finding yourself stuck; there's no point in stagnating ...


2

You only have to watch Downton Abbey to realize that the 1920s were a period of rapid social upheaval in the UK. Some people clung to the old ways with a death-grip; others cast aside all conventional behavior (and mostly got ostracized for it). Most people sought a middle ground, which was tricky because the ground kept shifting. So, the first thing you ...


2

As to establishing an alternative universe or setting an alt-historical theme I'm a big believer in the Nineteen Eighty Four slap-in-the-face method: It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen Monica's suggestion of making reference to some clear and obvious anachronism dropped into the narrative flow in an almost ...


2

I have seen books where the author prefaces the book by saying it's a translation of some other-worldly book, and then goes on to use real-world languages as a stand-in for the in-world languages. Tolkien did this to a minor degree when he used some more archaic English words for the Rohirrim, whose language was meant to be like an older form of the ...


2

First of all, I think you have to give your readers enough credit to understand what you are talking about when you use the term "fayree" instead of "fairy". As long as your spelling of the word doesn't get so obscure as to be unrecognizable, then you shouldn't have anything to worry about. Secondly, the burden of responsibility falls on you to write a ...


2

I would say that if you enjoy that, and you want to include it into your work then you should do so. I think the 'harmful extent' comes when it is over used, or it interferes with the flow of the story. But that is something that can be fixed in future edits. If you are having conversations in some alternate language then provide some means of allowing ...


2

Do you have some other parts of the story worked out? I would just jump ahead for now and write the next scene that you "know". Then, before you know it, you can fill the gap.


1

Just because your character has similar powers doesn't make him or her the same as another fictional character. In fact, you should try to make your character unique. If you do that you don't have to worry about copyright. As far as I understand, and I am not a lawyer, if you use a different name and alter the powers, you should just get on with writing and ...


1

I think it be best if you show the rules and the consequences of breaking them in easily digestible chunks. Don't overload the reader with too much at once. A easy mistake to make would be forgetting that you know the rules like the back of your hand, while your reader will be encountering them for the first time. Heck I be tempted to not explain the rules ...


1

I believe you must set up all the rules of magic, and the story world as a whole in the first act. Even if you're not doing 'acts' as such, you should set up the rules before your protagonist begins his/her problem solving. You can hide them like a whodunnit hides clues, but they must be there from the start otherwise the readers will feel you're making ...


1

There are several good approaches to this problem: Cite the actual author. This works if the story is set in a world that is descended from the world of the actual author, and if it is plausible that the provenance of the quote would have been passed down until the time of the story. Cite the actual author, but only give the author's initials. This can ...



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