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 ...


28

There are no age restrictions on publishing - you may need to get someone else to sign contracts for you, but that's a minor detail. That said, it's pretty hard to get a book published, even for adults who've been working at writing for a long time. It's probably best if you focus on writing because it's fun, and give yourself a chance to explore without ...


16

I'm not going to tell you how to solve your problem. Quite frankly, I don't know how to solve your problem, despite having faced it countless times myself in the past. Instead, I'm going to show you why you have this problem in the first place. I'm going to show you how to treat the cause instead of the symptoms. Not knowing what to include in your novel ...


16

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 ...


15

If you think the title is the best fit for your novel, you should keep it. There are many novels with the same name in the market, which makes it a little hard to find a novel with smaller market presence written by unknown author. Thus why, it is only a problem if the novel you're writing has the same name with another novel written by an author with more ...


11

I would say that it depends on how you want to progress with your story. Every (good) book, or series of books, that I've ever read sets the tone for the rest of the book in the first few pages. Whether that's with a mysterious murder, the establishment of a prophecy/chosen one or world-building and exposition, the rest of the book will continue with the ...


10

Not only will the potential pitfalls largely vary from person to person (not to mention what different people think they are), but they are innumerable, and in a variety of fields. When you are an experienced writer, you will look back at what you write now, and cringe regardless of what you do. Why? Experience. The more you write, the better you get. ...


9

Don't discount yourself because you're young. That's great that you're starting off so early. Keep at it! Though I don't believe anyone will have a problem with it, there are different scenarios depending on how you want to be published (self-pub vs traditional pub). For traditional, no one is going to ask your age when you're submitting queries, so if ...


8

You might want to check out Brandon Sanderson's Laws of Magic. His tips were a great thing to consider when I was writing my story. They are in summary: An author’s ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic. This means that if magic is used often, the mechanics of it need to be well ...


8

The "first draft" and extensive re-writing you alluded to is often what "pantsers" - people who write by the seat of their pants, without outlines, produce. Those aren't what I would really call a first draft, since they can be unstructured messes or streams of consciousness (though they can sometiems be good). They then take that material and structure it, ...


8

Overbearing pride. He's done a lot. He's seen a lot. He has a lot of experience. He's very accomplished, and he thinks anyone would benefit from learning from him. The "nostalgia" and "being overlooked" you mentioned are the keys. He loved being helpful, loved being the strong protector, loved being the one everyone came to, loved the attention. It was for ...


8

Show don’t tell is not about the way you structure a description of some action. It is about allowing the reader to reach their own conclusions. For example, if you want your reader to understand that a particular character is an evil person, you can tell them: He was an evil, evil man. … or you can show them: He plunged the knife into her neck. ...


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 ...


8

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 ...


8

Is it possible to make a living as a novelist? Yes, a few people do. Is it sensible to plan on making a living as a novelist, the way you might plan on making a living as a dentist or an accountant? Absolutely not. Very few of those who try ever make even pocket money from writing fiction. A realistic approach is to plan on making you living doing ...


7

You can use semi-colons when you want to use commas as well. For example: He had three ties: a red one, which he hated; a striped one, which he loved; and a green one that had been given to him by his aunt. Sometimes you can enclose extra information in parentheses. For example: I like several different dishes: lasagne (only if it is made with ...


7

You need to run your book past readers who are capable of assessing it objectively. That may or may not include your mother, but it should certainly include more people than just your mother. Look among your friends and friends-of-friends for people who read a lot of books in the same genre/style as yours. Ask them to give a critique. You are not obliged to ...


7

In the Hero's Journey, this is called The Ordinary World, and it's important to establish. The Ordinary World is what the Hero must leave to go on the Journey. This World may be good or bad, whole or broken, the desired status quo or something which needs to be fixed, but it's where the Hero starts. The point of the Journey may be to get back to this World ...


7

I believe that the traditional sense of the term fairy tale is used for a fairly concise story that is written to appeal mainly to children. The general context of a fairy tale would be the standard "Once upon a time.... and they lived happily ever after, THE END" Generally these stories involved magic, fantasy characters and creatures, and were meant to ...


7

The range is enormous, but the average income for published authors is spectacularly low—around $500 a year. No missing zero. Five hundred. The tiny minority who hit the bestseller lists will do quite well. Many novels sell movie rights. Most are never made into movies, but if you are lucky enough to see your book turned into a major movie, of course you ...


7

Everybody has redeeming qualities and everybody has flaws. Any character that doesn’t have both is unrealistic. I don’t think it is a good idea to separate antagonist and protagonist when doing character work. Those are plot roles. Character-wise, everybody sees themselves as a protagonist. Everybody thinks they are the good guy. Hitler thought he was the ...


7

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 ...


7

I think we need to make a distinction between a stereotype and an archetype here. The two are often confused, as illustrated by Wikipedia's unhelpful definition of a stock character: A stock character is a stereotypical person whom audiences readily recognize from frequent recurrences in a particular literary tradition. Stock characters are archetypal ...


6

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 ...


6

In many (maybe most) cases over-research is a distraction our minds create to make us believe we are working on a project that we really don't want to write for some reason. It could be that we are afraid to write it because we have this beautiful idea of what we want and we are unsure if we could ever write it that well. The Best Advice The best thing ...


6

I think what makes anything matter to readers is: it matters to a character that readers care about it matters to the character for reasons readers can identify with


6

If you don't want to use an apostrophe, then consider a diaeresis. It used to be common in English to mark vowels that come after vowels, but need to be pronounced separately, with a diaeresis for example: noöne coördinate Zoë Also, this format is used in Lord of The Rings, e.g. in Fëanor, to make sure the e is pronounced separately. (You can read this ...


6

A few ideas: You could have a character who doesn't speak that language ask how the name is pronounced, or mispronounce it and receive a correction. Obviously it would look contrived for this to keep happening, but doing it once or twice would be enough to introduce the general rule. Use Matt Ellen's idea of a diaeresis / umlaut for the first two names ...


6

Your age isn't a barrier, but it's very difficult for any author of any age to be published by a conventional publisher. Typically there are two methods: Either you send query letters to publishers, and those who are interested request to read your manuscript, or you find an agent, and the agent finds the publisher. Before you do either, your book would ...


6

In general, I think @lostinfrance's answer is excellent, this is just a supplement to that: You can't necessarily ever know if your book is ready or not in terms of content, but you do need to make sure it is ready from a technical point of view. If it has any spelling, grammar or formatting issues, it will never be given a fair read by most people (...



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