Hot answers tagged

29

Use your best ideas. Write them as well as you can. Yes, your writing will improve with experience. And your ideas will also improve with experience. If you reserve your "best ideas" until you're a better writer, then your early stories will exhibit neither your best ideas nor your best writing. Why hamper yourself like that? Sometimes people love great ...


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

Use your good ideas. Just don't give away the rights to your creation. Make sure that you can re-use your story and elements. I've seen countless stories about people who made a wonderful classic early in their career. (I'm talking about creators, and not necessarily writers specifically. Could be writers, game makers, etc.) Then later in life, they ...


7

I think it depends on what the main problem is in the novel. If the main problem is technical in nature, the reader needs to have some sense of what it technically possible. If the main problem is psychological or moral, however, what matters is the decision to use or not use the power in question. There is a whole cottage industry online doing "if A has ...


6

Ask yourself: how motivated will you feel writing about a mediocre story? To improve, you need to write—a lot. You won’t enjoy writing if you’re not passionate about your story. Pick your best idea, the one that sets your creativity ablaze, and write it. Make sure you finish it. If the writing is not good enough for publication, then move on to the next ...


5

Well, "good" is subjective. You can have a loathsome, hissable, completely irredeemable villain who roasts puppies, shoots women with crossbows, and writes comics where Captain America is revealed to be a lifelong HYDRA agent at the end, and your reader will likely despise that character. However, even your wretched villain should be three-dimensional. ...


5

In any creative discipline you should absolutely work to the best of your ability at every stage of your career as your previous works are both your way to show the world what you are capable of and a platform for you to build on. Similarly 'ideas' are often a bit overrated, creativity is not so much about having brilliant flashes of inspiration so much ...


4

There's an easy answer: It depends on the genre. Generally speaking, genre readers (that is, detective fiction, science fiction, fantasy, romance) will expect a certain degree of predictability - you are in control of the degree, knowing that some pleasant twists and surprises are welcome, but something too experimental will probably be received less warmly. ...


3

This related answer may help you, but I'll expand more here: I think it was J. Michael Straczynski, writer of Bablyon 5, who wrote that one could sum up "conflict" in three questions: What does the character want? What will the character do to get it? What will someone do to stop the character? As noted in some of the other excellent answers here, the ...


3

FWIW, here's my personal story that can perhaps serve as a teaching point in relation to the question: I wrote my first fiction when I was 6 yrs old - a 2-paragraph Donald Duck mystery I began writing short stories when I was 13-14 I won a small local award for a short story I wrote when I was 18 I began writing novels at that time, fully expecting to be ...


3

If you are contemplating about mediaeval warfare with longsword type weapons, try reenactors. These people are actually researching what can, cannot be done with the means at the time. This includes fighting in full plate using realistic swords. There are lots of visuals to be found but best would be to seek out a group from a compatible age and go ...


3

"Humor" should be taken in context of the whole story. If your story is basically humorous, then "humor" is what one would expect, and would help, not hurt the story. If your story is basically serious, you may have one or two humorous scenes for "comic relief," but "too much humor would detract from the story. From the sound of the question, your story ...


2

If this doesn't help, sorry. I tried. Just don't dumb it down too much. The guy doesn't know what a vampire is, but he isn't a complete imbecile. The readers already know what a vampire is, no need to explain it to them. Also: how does his friend know he has a lust for blood, maybe he's just really violent? Don't imply it right at the start. Usually ...


2

When writing in first person, you would only write about what your POV character is seeing, thinking, feeling, experiencing. This means that unless she is looking in a mirror, or particularly self-conscious, she would not be thinking about her own appearance in great detail. This means that it would make sense that she would notice her friend's appearance ...


2

If the reader is firmly in the character's POV, and expects to remain firmly in the character's POV, this is jarring and can throw the reader right out of the story. If the reader is firmly in an omniscient, opinionated narrator's POV, and is prepared to dip in and out of characters' heads, this works just fine. For this to work, you have to prep the ...


2

I don't think so. The hunger games surely weren't the first novel with this theme (there was battle royale, for example) but it works and people love it. Don't be afraid of overused ideas, because common themes are everywhere anyway, instead, try to make your book stand out because of the details, of the characters, the conflicts, etc. For example (and ...


2

First thing of emergency treatment is vital signs and airway--blood pressure, heart rate, respirations, and pulse oxygenation of the blood. Burning gasoline will produce volatile vapors which will also cause inhalation injury to the laryngeal and pulmonary mucosa. A pulse ox less than 85% will result in intubation; otherwise supplemental oxygenation with a ...


2

Most trilogies or series follow chronological order, but there's no requirement. Do whatever serves your story. As long as it's clear to your reader what's happening when in relation to other events, you can present events in whatever order works for you.


2

The previous answers are pretty good, contributing my penny. If you are writing a trilogy, you are talking about a specific set of characters which are time bounded (can exist for a specific period of time it's upto you to make them live in all 3 books and/or show their ancestors-descendants) in other 2 books. If you are depicting same people throughout ...


2

Surprise is the cheapest of literary devices. People often reread their favorite books and re-watch their favorite movies. They would not do so if their enjoyment of them depended on surprise. With effective storytelling our hearts can still be in our mouths for a character at a critical juncture no matter how often we have read the story. If we can enjoy a ...


2

One of my writing professors is a fellow believer of the notion that everything is cliche. Almost everything has been done before, and redone many times over. The question is, can you write it in a way that your characters are still unique and interesting? Lots of things can be similar, but still different, and entertaining. In comics many characters are ...


2

One of the saddest stories I know, "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried," by Amy Hempel, is full of humor. (Interesting - it's available online.) The humor is used there like a magician uses misdirection. The narrator and the main character are both funny, and they joke around through the whole piece until the end when things go bad, then the story ...


1

As others have said, the main conflict is what the main character wants and can't get. But I think the point that needs making here is about what plot is. I think it is all to easy to get into the habit of thinking of plot as a kind of history. You can meticulously develop an imaginary history and write it down, including lots of conflicts, without ...


1

My two cents! Which cost me significantly more after this morning's referendum result, mind you... What's conflict? Conflict exists when one desire is opposed to another. The opposing desires can belong to two different characters: Batman wants to punch Joker in the face But Joker wants to not be punched in the face Or the opposing desires ...


1

There is nothing wrong here it just feels you don't like your conflict to be nerve gripping and mind boggling. I understand your concern and find it very genuine cause as long as you don't satisfy your own nerve you won't be happy about what outcome will be. I know you never asked about probable conflicts but I wrote them cause I feel you are not happy ...


1

Excellent question, to which you have partially provided your own answer, though you don't seem to realize it. You said: The goal is to catch whoever did the crime, or maybe prove he's guilty. There's nothing really standing in the way of that, unless you count the detectives' simple ignorance of all the facts. And that hardly seems like it could ...


1

It depends entirely on your story and what you are trying to achieve. Certainly, most trilogies and pulp series are chronological, but there are a number that flow between eras. The one thing they all need, though, is something to connect the separate eras/characters/stories together. One example is Traci Harding's Ancient Future trilogy, which tells a ...


1

As far as superpowers are concerned you are limited by your imagination. Extracting the substance dreams are made of, or reading minds, or changing form and appearance, being invisible, being at many places at the same time, time-travelling, controlling the elements fire, water, wind, space, earth could be some of the superpowers that come to my mind. Thank ...


1

I like to do in person research. In my experience I've had many people more than happy to let me use them as the basis for a character, or learn terms I need to know. Try hanging out at the emergency room entrance, or visiting a burn ward, and asking the patients about their treatment. A lot of my soldier jargon I get from my friends and family who are ...


1

I really like writing hospital scenes. Can't help with the treatment, but from my experience there are two types of doctors: The sugarcoat These tend to have dialogue like "You'll be just fine!" and "It's not even that bad!" The honest one These people will tell it as it is, no doubt about it. They cut right to the point, and will not lie about the ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible