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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 ...


6

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, ...


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

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 ...


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

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 ...


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

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

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 ...


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

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 ...


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

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

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. ...


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.


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

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

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 ...


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

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 ...


1

I would agree with Mr. Shiny that the simplest way might be to say that they are speaking in their 'strange language,' and then just tell the reader what they said in English. For example: "I should think not," said the witch, still speaking in her strange tongue. If you do NOT want the reader to understand the witch, a made-up language would be ...


1

If you use obscure terms most readers never heard of, you're bound to alienate the readers. For me quipao doesn't elicit any connotations; I don't know this word, so it will be entirely alien to me. If the world has no connection to Earth whatsoever, you'd better have a very good excuse for them developing a copy of Chinese culture. A dimensional gate? A ...


1

I'm interested in this question also, but for sci-fi that is unrelated to Earth or Earth culture. As to your specific example: I am probably better educated about other societies than the average American (which isn't saying much), but I've never heard the term qipao. How about kimono? Not the same thing, but a more familiar word. As to your general ...


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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