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13

Although the narrator can't see his own face, he'd still feel his face moving, so I don't think that's the reason it feels strange. It sounds strange to me because the actions sound intentional. Facial expressions are generally involuntary. I don't raise my eyebrows in surprise -- they rather do it of their own accord. Your writing could reflect this: ...


12

We have four variants of foreign language dialog in fiction and the corresponding solutions how we can handle this: foreign language foreign language is limited to makes up a major short phrases or part of all dialog occurs only rarely ...


10

As @kitzfox says, there are times when you would know what your face must look like, and it would be reasonable for a narrator to say so. I stared wide-eyed. Sometimes you would reasonably guess. "Bob is the smartest man here", my girlfriend announced to the room. I could feel myself reddening with embarrassment. But other times it would be ...


10

I had a poetry teacher who talked about "tired language," referring to clichés like this. Take your original metaphor apart and break it down to the real, concrete, non-representative ideas. Are Eri and Mom so far apart that not one single thought is shared between them? Are they speaking as though they are watching two different TV shows, or experienced ...


9

See if you can add a twist. One time Harlan Ellison wrote: She looked like a million bucks. Realizing what a horrible cliche that was, he changed it: She looked like a million bucks, tax free. For a lame example (that twists the cliche by adding another one): It sometimes felt as if we spoke different languages. British English and American ...


6

I think this all depends on how common the metaphor is. Some metaphors are so common that speakers don't recognize them as metaphors any longer, and replacing them is unnecessary. A very common metaphor is when you say that someone breaches a subject, meaning that this person gathers all their courage and addresses what everyone has been avoiding to talk ...


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

Like most stylistic choices, I don't think this is a problem unless you're doing it a lot. The repetition in your second example seems find because it's a deliberate echo, not an accidental one, but if you're using repetition over and over (see what I did there?), you may want to tone it down. (In the first example, I'd say the "continued" is redundant, if ...


4

The answer would seem to be to remember the point of view of the narrator. If you are writing from the protagonists point of view, then write it from the language that the protagonist speaks. if (s)he goes into a shop and doesn't understand anything that is said, then say that they had to point at what they wanted etc If later on the protagonist learns the ...


4

I struggle with this as well and have two approaches the help get out of the rut of tired language: Take the advice the Lauren Ipsum discussed earlier. It works very well. Cut out tired language, describe what's happening without flair and without requirement for catchy phrasing, and let the strength of the story telling come from the directness of your ...


4

If the characters are only reacting, give each character something to want. A desire strong enough that the character will struggle to achieve it. Then make the character struggle. For dialogue, give each character an agenda. Things they want from the conversation. Things they do not want to happen. Things they do not want to reveal. And make sure their ...


3

I never read prologues. They bore the hell out of me. Start with your story. That's what I want to read. Weave in the information I need, and don't bother me with what's irrelevant. What I dislike the most: a prologue that makes me identify with and invest emotions in a character that does not appear in the main narrative the myths of a fictional world ...


3

Most books set in a foreign country nevertheless give all dialog in the language of the intended audience. That is, if you are writing for, say, an English-speaking audience, you give all dialog in English, even if the story is set in France or on the planet Vulcan. For the obvious reason: if the reader doesn't understand the dialog, the book won't make any ...


3

Repetition gives emphasis whatever is repeated. Repetition calls attention to whatever is repeated, especially if the repeated thing is unusual or interesting. Repetition can create rhythms. Repeated patterns can provoke expectations in the reader. For an extreme, haunting, brilliant example of repetition, see Rick Moody's story "Boys" (PDF).


2

I recommend you reading "Six Walks in the Fictional Woods" by Umberto Eco. He explains in the book such narratives (and many other aspects of either ommiting parts of information or stating it in achronological order). The short answer to you question is: yes, you obviously can do that. Just remember (as Monica Cellio commented) to clearly state that the ...


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

You could get away with drastically different tones if you had two different POV narrators. If one is Tina Fey and the other is Sylvia Plath, they will of course see the world differently. The contrast will probably make your book lean more towards humor/dark humor/satire, so as long as you're okay with that, give it a shot. This is not the same as a ...


2

Words or phrases should not be repeated within the space of a couple of lines (except for small common words like 'the') unless you are doing it for effect, for example: "No. No. No. A thousand times no." The difficulty is judging when it works and when it doesn't. One way to see is to read it out loud.


2

Provide dialog in the language of your narration and use distorted spelling to indicate the accent of your character (and other poor speakers). You could also use distorted spelling to indicate the way your character mishears the foreign language. — Huts a dime. — Come again? — I asked, trying to make sense of the fluent speech. — What’s the ...


2

Use angle quotes: "Speaking in English" «Speaking in Portuguese» This also has the advantage of being actual (former) usage according to Wikipedia.


2

Something you need to be aware of when creating a theme before characters etc is that you can end up shoehorning characters into the theme they are telling. If you're not careful with character development they can end up being stiffled by their 'role' in the general theme. The benefit of ignoring theme until the story and characters are written is that ...


2

When I think about myself, I only think something like I raise my eyebrow when I do it consciously, that is, when I "play" some emotion and "make a face". In all other situations, when I face reflects my emotions, I am usually not aware of this, and in fact I have often been surprised when people told me that I look this or that way, because I was quite ...


2

It largely depends on the context and style of the story you're telling. With the filtering the character would feel less confident, and potentially more inclined to be realistic when the character makes mistakes. The edited version has more confidence and is a stronger sentence. It could be a reflection of your lack of confidence. A solution might be to ...


2

I think the problem with dialogue is often that people try to make it sound like real conversation when that isn't the purpose at all. The purpose of dialogue in a novel is to convey a point, but using a character to do so, instead of just telling the fact. Don't worry too much about what the character is saying, initially just get their point across, even ...


2

Check out Duotrope.com or Ralan.com for novella or novelette markets. There are about four to eight market buyers per genre.


2

This is a self-indulgent passage that needs ruthless editing. As I made my way uphill, I understood why An-Mei chose this place for healing. Conifers were pillars connecting earth and sky. Their leaves were as green as their trunks were grey, and the air was pure. Each breath was a cleansing. I heard sparrows trilling, and a chorus of cicadas. My ...


2

Past progressive is great for relating the context in which some event occurred: We were driving down the highway in Tom's Toyota 4Runner when the earthquake hit. There are probably other uses, too. But readers (like your reviewer) likely expect ongoing conditions expressed in past progressive to relate to something in simple past tense. (Similar for ...


2

Boy, I hate the making of rules for fiction writing. The previous poster has given a good explanation of why you might use the past progressive; I just want to add that I don't agree with your sense that "We drove down the highway" would suggest that they were just starting to drive down the highway. Both choices give the sense that you're already on the ...


2

I don't think anyone can tell you what the right amount is -- though they will surely turn around and tell you when you have too much. I think the second sentence about Mom's mascara is extraneous -- it doesn't add anything that furthers our understanding of the situation. Do you mean the scene to be funny? As the commenter points out, it is funny with ...


2

I'm sorry but "wanted to see more facial features/expressions and body language" seems more like an exercise in pedantry than actually constructive criticism intended to help you. Having run the gauntlet of MFA workshops, I can't help reading the comment as "I know about body language and you ... don't." I grew up with modernist minimalism: you know, you've ...



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