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24

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 ...


20

Be consistent The most important thing is to keep your story consistent. A story which has the same rules throughout can be accepted even if it is not compatible with the real world. However, even a fantasy story will be rejected by the reader if the rules of what is possible in the fantasy world change without justification. Even within a given genre, the ...


15

Skip the peaceful period. If there's no conflict, there's nothing to write about. Go to "Part II" of your book. Open with the characters having a party to celebrate two decades of peace. In the middle of the celebratory dinner, the bad guy drops a piano on the king, and the war is back on.


14

If you're doing essentially the same thing as 90% of your genre (flying people achieve great heights immediately, people with superpowers never have issues with getting fuel for those powers, someone can be knocked unconscious for hours but be okay) because the "realistic" details are not the purpose of your story, then I think you're fine. If anything, your ...


10

My advice here would be: don't think in terms of "right" and "wrong"; think in terms of structural arcs. You need to figure out what options for arcs you have, and which of those you actually want to use. You've basically presented three possible arcs: The primary arc, where in some meaningful way, the primary plot is about the protagonist's ...


9

In a novel-length work, there is almost always room for some humour. I'd say the trick is to choose the right type, and in the right places. Be the right kind of funny If you've seen it, think of the TV show Breaking Bad. Its subject matter was bleak and often gruesome; its emotional content was utterly brutal; but the writers sprinkled in plenty of ...


8

You might want to check out Brandon Sanderson's Laws of Magic. His tips were a great thing to consider when I was writing my story. They are in summary: An author’s ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic. This means that if magic is used often, the mechanics of it need to be well ...


8

All you need to do is establish the idea of progress in magic. You need to introduce the reader to the magic system as it stands at the beginning, sure. But for this case, you also need to demonstrate that magic is something that can be investigated, innovated with, used in new ways for new uses. A simple example would be: early on,make some mention of a ...


8

Lots of writers start writing with no idea where it will go, much less how it will end. Dean Wesley Smith has a book about that, called Writing Into the Dark. On the other hand, I once heard Richard North Patterson claim that "Any mystery writer who starts without knowing the end is committing authorial malpractice." (The next time I read one of his books, ...


7

Essentially it means that they obey their own internal rules and logic. If it's established that dwarves live 200 years, there can't be one who is arbitrarily 500 years old. There has to be an explanation: he carried the One Ring, Aulë gave him extra years, etc. A mage can't just endlessly cast spell after spell without having a source of magical energy ...


7

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 ...


7

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 ...


7

I wanna write modern fantasy that just happened to have a lesbian character. So, do that. When the love interest enters the scene, your protagonist is interested. That's all. That's what you'd do with a straight character. Don't overthink it, don't have her come out with fireworks or tears, just write her sexuality as one facet of her personality. Try ...


7

I believe that the traditional sense of the term fairy tale is used for a fairly concise story that is written to appeal mainly to children. The general context of a fairy tale would be the standard "Once upon a time.... and they lived happily ever after, THE END" Generally these stories involved magic, fantasy characters and creatures, and were meant to ...


7

This is something that has been done successfully in the past by authors like Douglas Adams and Frank Herbert, but it has to be done just right or you'll run the risk of annoying readers, like you said. If you end a chapter in a cliffhanger, and then begin the next chapter with a five paragraph essay on the boll weevil and its habitat, you'll probably find ...


7

This is a classic "cabbagehead character," who allows you to gradually unveil your worldbuilding as he leaves his isolation and goes out into the larger community. Nothing wrong with this at all. First example I can think of is Garion from David and Leigh Eddings' pentology The Belgariad (and second pentology The Malloreon). He is exactly what you describe:...


6

I am afraid that if I write a scene like the one with Joe above, people might criticize it for being unrealistic, even if I was writing a fantasy. Hang a lampshade on it. Beefy McProtagonist had seen bards who clearly knew nothing of actual combat perform tales in which a blow to the back of the head would render an adversary unconscious for hours, ...


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 ...


5

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 ...


5

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 ...


5

The "goto part 2" idea doesn't take much. For example, let's use the legend of King Arthur, who as a boy pulled Excalibur from the stone, etc. and have him be maybe 10-11 years old. Hooray Arthur, "end of chapter 8" You could have Part II-Ten Years later, etc. but you could also simply say Chapter 9: Title... Ten years had passed, during which time ...


5

There are a LOT of things you see all the time in fiction that are totally unrealistic. Not only do characters in stories typically get knocked out and remain unconscious for hours, but they then regain consciousness, shake their heads, and they're fine. In real life a concussion is not something that just goes away by shaking your head. I develop software ...


5

I'm going to disagree with the other answers and say I don't think meaningful names are necessarily gimmicky. It's all about how you use them and they can add a lot to your story. For instance, a parent could give their child a name like "Genius" and the kid could be inspired by that name to learn a lot and become really smart. Hence, they become a genius,...


5

Indian culture is very complex. The names and characteristics of Indian royalty varies from state to state. To create a royal name you will need to answer several questions. What is the period your character is set in? This is important because names have evolved over the years. TL;DR. I will restrict my name choices to a particular part of North India. ...


5

Show a little preview. Pick one thing which is small and easy to do: call Fire. So your character can light a cooking fire. But Fire can be used for a lot of things: a lamp, a furnace, a hot air balloon. Once you have charcoal, you can use that to heat a boiler, which makes steam, and now you have a steam engine... and this all progresses in one district in ...


4

I personally find it a little odd when authors go out of their way not to call something what it is. If you have an undead entity that sleeps in a coffin, hates sunlight, and drinks blood, why not call it a vampire? If it's because the word "vampire" is cliche, why is the creature itself not cliche as well? That being said, there are a few ways around using ...


4

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 ...


4

My largest magic pet peeve is when a character uses a previously unintroduced magic for every sticky situation they find themselves in. So, if a character has to defy death 10 times, and then they have 10 unique ways to get out of the death trap and the reader has never seen that magic before that comes across as a lazy author using magic to keep a character ...


4

Good question. I'm tossing and turning over a one-and-a-half page info dump at the end of my first chapter (psychiatric drama). There's no way anybody gets it if it's not explained, right? There's only so much random dialogue you can propagate before you just have to go for it. You can do it in bits and pieces like The Will and The Word from Eddings' ...


4

As you may know, Tommy, there was a question quite similar to yours put by KeithS a little while ago: Avoiding the "as you know" trope in exposition. There were several answers including mine which boiled down to the desperate need to introduce more drama into the explanation or we're all gonna die! The drama could be in the form of character conflict ("Why ...



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