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23

It's definitely possible to do this without losing the reader. The New Testament is a story where the "protagonist" dies towards the end. I'm sure plenty of readers are quite satisfied with that. Much like the Gospels, killing the protagonist is advisable only if it really means something. Emphasis on the really. Even if you make your character a martyr ...


17

If you want examples of successful diplomacy, try CJ Cherryh's Foreigner series, which I think is up to 15 books so far. The main character, Bren, is a diplomat between humans and the non-human species who are native to the planet where the humans crash-landed. Positively fascinating. Hard going at times, but I was never bored. And diplomacy is not ...


14

If the scene is boring, it’s not necessary. Think about what you actually need to convey to the reader to move the plot forward, write something interesting that delivers that necessary information, and skip everything else. This may be a good time to break the “show, don’t tell” rule. “Eight hours and two liters of vodka later, Ambassador Königsberg ...


13

I think you're confusing "foreshadowing" with "prophesizing." Foreshadow is derived literally from "before" + "shadow" — the shadow of an event falls before the event itself. The "shadow" means the reader can see something coming before it happens. (Imagine a very tall tree falling. The shadow of the tree reaches the ground before the tree does. You can see ...


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 ...


13

I'm not an accomplished writer (heck, I'm not even an unaccomplished writer), but here are some techniques used by actual real-life authors: Charlotte's Web: The eponymous character (the spider) dies near the end, but the author deals with this by having two main characters; the spider and the pig. When the spider dies, the attention is drawn to the pig, ...


12

I can think of four ways to lessen the repetitive use of sentences starting with a nominative pronoun like "She" (other than using the person's name). Changing the subject to a part or aspect of the character In some cases, one can present the action as performed by some part or aspect of the person. While this will typically use the genitive form of the ...


12

The biggest risk you have by describing the physical appearance of your character later on in your story is that your readers' mental image is shattered when you describe your character in detail. This can be quite jarring. The only way you're going to know for sure is when you ask someone to review your novel. Perhaps once you're ready you could ask them ...


12

It is always a good idea for readers to provide feedback to the authors. When authors read their work they don't get the same experience as the reader. Most books' authors will have a way for you to contact them about their books. You said it has a forum; you should see if that is an appropriate place for suggestions on the book. If the author has a personal ...


11

It's actually totally easy. Just let your characters interact with their environment in a natrual way. Here's a real world example, showing different systems of paying the fare for a public bus: Out of breath from running to the bus stop, John was still struggling with the ticket machine when the bus approached around the corner. (Konstanz, Germany) ...


11

Novels frequently (usually, even) contain plot twists. The thing is, a twist in a novel is very different from a twist in a short story. You can make a twist the core of a short story, the one element that gives the whole work its theme and meaning. A good example is short horror fiction, where many (many many) stories rely on a surprise ending to "push ...


10

I would only use the gendered pronoun if you know the gender of the animal in question. Lions have manes; lionesses don't. A calico or tortiseshell housecat is 99% guaranteed to be female, while an all-orange tabby housecat is 99% guaranteed to be male. Male robins have the bright red breast while female robins are brown. And so on. In your piece, the ...


10

Smart, clever, insightful, thoughtful, reserved, and mysterious are all abstract qualities. They are summaries. And the summaries lack all of the juicy details that lead people to attribute those qualities. Instead of describing such abstract characteristics, demonstrate them. Show the character doing clever things, or mysterious things. Let the reader ...


10

Every line you write should have some goal or purpose in your story: drawing the reader into plot, character, or setting. (In fact, having each line, or as many lines as you can, do two or more of these can work very well). For example, the Fly episode presumably increases your empathy with characters, sets up important moments later on, etc. If your break ...


9

Actually, I think "it" is correct here because IT could have been a hallucination. Given that this is first person, it (for me at least) defines a 'distance' between the narrator and the object (bird). If the narrator had an intuitive or "can't explain it yet" strong understanding and sense of the bird, then indicating gender (like using he) would hint this ...


9

Although you are writing prose, not poetry, your text must still have rhythm for it to be pleasant to read. Adding words or rearranging the syntactic structure are good and common ways to create that rhythm. I think, your text reads better with the bold additions. Rhythm aside, I also think that the additions add meaningful content. Knowing that Erin was ...


9

If how the character is dressed is important to the story, then you should certainly describe it. If not, then don't bring it up. Give as much detail as is relevant. If, for example, you picture Mr Jones as always being immaculately dressed in a formal business suit and carrying a walking stick, I'd mention that, at least once up front. Or at the other ...


9

"The point of a Horcrux is, as Professor Slughorn explained, to keep part of the self hidden and safe, not to fling it into somebody else's path and run the risk that they might destroy it — as indeed happened: That particular fragment of soul is no more; you saw to that." "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", J. K. Rowling "Lord Voldemort liked ...


9

Linguists have found that semicolons, colons, and even commas, are on the wane in everyday usage, and that many speakers no longer understand the use of a semicolon. Non-writers – and you will see this in emails, forum posts, and other written messages – often do not use punctuation at all, but rather let all "sentences" flow into each other, only putting ...


8

In addition to the always wise advice to omit the boring parts... Summarize the boring parts in a short paragraph. Maybe simply refer to them in passing. Complicate the terms of the negotiation until the negotiation becomes interesting. Add conflicts or problems until the scene becomes interesting. These conflicts need not be related to the subject of the ...


8

Let the character drive. As Dean Wesley Smith says: All setting is opinion. So make sure you describe everything that the character has an opinion about (or a reaction to) in the moment. If you want to describe something else, give your character a good reason to have an opinion about it. But be careful here. It's easy to slip into describing things for ...


8

There are many synonyms to but. For the meaning you are pointing out in your question, some of them would be still, nevertheless, nonetheless, though, although, and yet. You can find these and the ones for the other meanings in any site with synonyms lookup function, such as Thesaurus ("but" synonyms). However, it should be noted that it can be ...


8

To John's point, Fantasy and Sci-fi usually take place on made up worlds. Other novels take place anywhere from big cities like Hong Kong, New York, London, Toronto or small cities, sometimes in well known places and sometimes in "exotic" locations (what is exotic depends on your audience). I think when you base a story in a lesser known environment ...


8

Your title, first sentence, paragraph, page, and chapter are your hooks to catch the reader. Make sure they are baited well. So, if you start with internal monologue, it had better be interesting, not just bland, random thoughts about how it's high up on the wherever. I realize that was just an example, but compare: Bad: "It's so high up here," thought ...


8

As LaurenIpsum says, "foreshadowing" is not the same thing as "prophesying" or "predicting the future". Foreshadowing simply means giving the reader clues as to what is going to happen next. The alternative to foreshadowing is a story in which things happen for no apparent reason, or in which problems or solutions come out of nowhere. Suppose you read a ...


8

One possible solution would be to structure the narrative in such a way that the reader might come to believe it is a (rather long and drawn out) suicide note, explaining your character's reasons for her act. Obviously, this would only work if the potential suicide is right at the end of your story, rather than in the middle...


8

Even multi-tools generally place significantly more emphasis on one or two of the tools; Swiss Army Knives concentrate on providing a decent pocket knife. Even so, people use them not because any of the tools are as good as a tool dedicated to a specific purpose but because they are convenient and good enough for limited uses. There is a reason for the ...


8

Preliminary Note I'm currently reading the novel Indigo by Austrian author Clemens J. Setz. The novel tells the story of Clemens Setz, who, after studying mathematics and German, does an internship as mathematics tutor at the Helianau boarding school in the Austrian Bundesland Styria, a school for "Indigo children", whose presence makes those around them ...


8

The bits you put in parentheses don't (necessarily) take me out of the narrative. They are the character's opinions of people and events. That takes me deeper into the character, which is a big part of where the story is. One test for such parentheticals is: Do these opinions characterize the character in a way that serves the story? As Lauren points out, ...


8

I think that you should define your main characters, and especially the love interest, only as much as absolutely necessary. If it is important that the protagonist is male, write that he is male. If not, keep this ambiguous. If it is important that the love interest is thin, write that she is. If not, keep this ambiguous. Why? Because you want as many ...



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