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13

Unless your hero's enemies are all intensely stupid, he and his companions will be totally unarmed, and will have been carefully searched for anything valuable. Really, unless your goblins are nobler than those in most stories, readers will expect goblins to take everything from their captives. Your hero can't pull a lockpick or a poisoned pin from the ...


7

To start with, you have too many invented terms without definition all in a row. Hearthsoul, assassin pouches, luck fairy? You also have enough mistakes that I really can't tell if some of these things are typos or more jargon. His enemies tailed? The land drifted? What does that even mean? You "recite" something which is repeated or often said; it's not ...


6

What strengths does he have? What weaknesses do they have? Especially, hidden, non-obvious, difficult to trigger. That's all up to you, foreshadowing given strengths and weaknesses, and letting them shine when the time comes. There are countless. What weaknesses can be exploited? Gambling? Ambition? Greed? Gluttony? Stupidity? Arrogance? What strengths can ...


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 ...


5

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 ...


5

Yeah, mileages do vary, and your friend might just be an oddball reader. Don't worry about it too much. Just write your story the way you want to write it, and see if it works. That said, it's quite possible that you could get even your friend interested in the story without having to "Watsinate" it. What your friend is expressing concern about is that, ...


5

Possible routes to escape (they can be combined): Luck - the captors make a mistake, or something completely unexpected happens that the hero can exploit. Preparation - the hero, knowing that capture was possible or imminent, prepared something (a tool, spell or ally) that would help him escape. Knowledge - the hero knows what the captors want, need or ...


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 ...


4

An author cannot demonstrate in action every trait of every character. It's all about separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Jaime Lannister is probably not an example of telling instead of showing, and here's why: The problem with "telling" is that it alienates readers from the characters. Another problem is that it creates characters that are ...


4

I would disagree on this. I believe that the showing and not telling rule is followed mostly on the facts that are directly relevant to the story. Indirect relevance of facts are given by the back story. Jamie's swordsmanship is important to A Song of Fire and Ice. But it's not directly relevant to A Game of Thrones. However, it is directly relevant to A ...


3

Hooking lines make the reader ask one or more of the following questions: What? Why? How? When? Where? A good example are the stories of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami (yes, I'm sick of the "Call me Ishmael", and the "they shot the white girl first" examples). "Man-Eating Cats" I bought a newspaper at the harbor and came across an ...


3

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 ...


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 ...


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

What you're forgetting, and no one seems to be mentioning, is that you are the AUTHOR. You CAN and SHOULD go back, rewrite a section so that he can pull a rabbit, pixie, lockpick, magic spell, etc. from his ass, so that he can save the day (or his ass) in this situation. Go back several chapters. Reveal that he has been studying the forbidden and damned ...


2

He'll have been carefully searched, sure, but that might not be enough to find everything. And a good idea when hiding something, is never do - always hide two things, because when one gets found, they usually stop looking. A character of mine (with a reputation for low cunning, but not exactly intelligence) was captured. Before leaving, his captor gloated ...


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

It depends on the kind of story you're trying to tell, and the experience you want the reader to have. I think that in your case, since you are creating characters which are meant to be read as archetypes rather than rounded people, you're fine with the Doylist (meta) approach. If you do include metacharacters, then the metacharacters are the ones who ...


2

There are hugely different types of books. There is fiction written with no regard of possible readers, merely to experiment with language and style and literary conventions, to express the inner truth of the author, to analyse society, to create art, etc. And there is fiction written to sell as many books as possible and to make a lot of money with this ...


2

I'm assuming you're referring only to the main protagonist or narrator. I think it depends on whether or not you are writing in first person. If you are, it's going to be a lot easier to do without having to say 'the boy in the ragged shirt' or 'the youth' every two sentences or so. If used correctly, it could add an element of mystery to the entire novel. ...


2

The best, most climactic climax is when it seems every single route of escape seems blocked and there is no hope, only to fire a well-hidden Chekov gun. First, give the protagonist a geis. A weakness, a lasting, recurring problem, a burden to struggle against, that gradually becomes such an ingrained part of the character we just forget about it. It can be ...


2

The classic method is to have the villain over-gloat. Written badly, it will fail, unless you are being purposely campy. But it can be done believably -- at least, believably enough to not destroy suspension-of-disbelief. Example: Lord of the Rings (books, not movie). [spoilers] At the Black Gate, Sauron can't help but gloat, via his emissary, the Mouth ...


2

In his book Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer (by Roy Peter Clark). He mentions a couple of ways that you can add suspense and tension: By delaying the main subject and verb His example: Before the prayer warriors massed outside her window, before gavels pounded in six courts, before the Vatican issues a statement, before ...


2

I won't try to describe it, but here's how I would go about it: Put myself deep inside Brave's viewpoint. Notice what details she is taking in through her senses (see, hear, smell, touch, taste). Especially focus on her opinions of those sensory details. Whatever she has an opinion about, write that. Stay with her senses and opinions.


1

M.Y.T.H. Inc. comes to mind, and possibly Dinotopia. H.P. Lovecraft's work, while more focused on horror, contains elements of both fantasy and science.


1

I don't always recommend these guys because sometimes they have tips I don't think are great, but Writer's Digest has a pretty good article on this. The main thing I think you need to do is connect us more to the main character (basically the first point in the Writer's Digest article). The main character seems really rushed. I tried to remember the main ...


1

Unless there's a fantastic reason for not being specific (i.e. doing so for some specific effect), keeping the reader up-to-date is usually the best idea. Readers like clarity, they don't like to be confused, and they get angry if they feel they've been misled (mystery novels are an exception -- readers expect to be misled). Always be honest with the reader, ...


1

Quick glance into European novels and movies: One of my favourite Czech writer is Jiří Kulhánek (link goes to English wiki page), who always writes in first person, his stories are (almost) always set in Prague, present time, there is (almost) always reference to actual things happening at the time when book is written ... but also, once he claims he is ...


1

Another possibility that has not yet been mentioned is magic that works differently on humans and goblins. For example, the hero could have worn an amulet that offers some magic protection for humans, but has a very bad effect on any goblin wearing it. Of course the goblins would have stolen that amulet, but not knowing about its special properties, some ...



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