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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 ...


11

Sometimes for me, when growing the setting first, I find it generates new characters, details and interactions that lead to a story organically growing out of the exercise. There are many ways to start putting a story together and very few are right or wrong. Still… Pros A cure for writer’s block; if you want to write but don’t know where to begin, ...


10

Everything in your story should serve your story. The setting, the geography, the era, the culture, the time of day, the weather, the characters, their gender, their names, their descriptions, their language(s), their histories. If you've chosen a familiar setting because your story works best there, fine. If you want to set your story about ninjas ...


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 ...


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 ...


8

If your antagonist is living in the present time (but is 1000 years old), then is there any reason to believe that his speech hasn't evolved? Think about what happens to people when they move to a new place with language patterns different from the ones they grew up with; don't they tend to adapt? That said, people adapt slowly, and a 1000-year-old ...


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

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 ...


7

Jokes have been extensivle researched by folklorists, linguists, ethnologists etc. If you need to write about humor in China, go read a book or journal article on humor in China. Really, writers need to learn to research like scientists and journalists. Don't think like a writer ("How can I make this up?") but like a researcher ("Where can I find this ...


7

First, a word of warning, the first thing most people will think after reading that paragraph describing your character is that she is a vampire. Aside from the vampiric similarities, I think your best bet to create an enjoyable character without human emotions is to look at how other similar characters have been portrayed previously and take what you like. ...


7

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 ...


7

You're writing in the first person, so I'd argue that correctness is less important than the way your character sees the world. Most people, I suspect, would use "it" in this case, but if your character is the sort to identify with or anthropomorphize animals, they might prefer to think of the bird as "he" or "she". If that is the case, you might want to ...


6

"His/her" implies a more personal connection to the object, and therefore we get the sense it is of importance to the character. It's subtle, and many readers may not even notice it specifically, but it contributes to the mood and atmosphere you're trying to build. If you want to give off the impression that the character is comfortable and relaxed in the ...


6

That's actually a very good question. I study Languages (Linguistics included) and, in general, people will adapt their speech faster than we tend to think. Of course, some people tend to keep their accents their whole lives (which can already be interesting for your character), but somethings will change and they will incorporate new vocabulary. I can ...


6

Nope, it's fine. The repetition and sentence structure give it a dreamy feel, which I think is exactly what you want for that moment. "The" is fairly invisible here. (P.S. You had "Eri kissed his dad," and I think it's one of your other characters who is transgender, not this one.)


6

Let me reach for that resource and hope I don't sink in the process... For The Evulz - he's a destructive force, a person who "likes to watch the world burn". No deeper reasons, no hate, no revenge. Simple love for destruction. One I can't find the trope for, "Burn down a national park to steal a bag of french fries": the disaster and resulting chaos was ...


6

Australia is no different to other countries in that accents can be predicated by the person's origins such as whether they grew up in a city or a rural area. In general, most Aussies tend to shorten/contract words, use informal and colloquial terms, and drop parts of sentences as though implied. Unfortunately (for some) many TV and movie characters depict ...


6

I don’t think there is an archetypal “Guardian’s Journey” in the same sense that there is a Campbellian “Hero’s Journey”. Your Guardian character can be a static force in the story, or could learn from his/her experience guiding the Hero to be an even better Guardian (Gandalf), or become disillusioned about the whole Guardian role (Saruman), or... whatever ...


6

As I understand it, most authors of bestsellers ruthlessly cut out boring scenes. I've seen comments (from such authors) that if they find a section of their own writing boring, they expect readers to find it still more so. (This does not keep some bestselling authors from padding their books with boring stuff.) One way to avoid the problem is to tell ...


6

The other answers have shown how diplomacy can be interesting. But lets assume your question means that it is important to your plot that your characters are diplomats, but that their work as diplomats is not important to your plot, for example because their role as diplomats allows them to easily cross a border or gain access to some place or information ...


6

There is no firm rule. Not only various subjects require various amount of detail, some readers will find the same text too dry while others will find that very piece too verbose. The best you can do is get feedback from multiple readers and adjust, confronting their opinions. Over time you'll learn to strike balance that satisfies most (you'll never ...


6

To start with, you have too many invented terms without definition all in a row. Hearthsoul, assassin pouches, luck fairy? You also have enough mistakes that I really can't tell if some of these things are typos or more jargon. His enemies tailed? The land drifted? What does that even mean? You "recite" something which is repeated or often said; it's not ...


6

There's no reason why it couldn't work, as long as you quickly make clear that it's internal dialogue. If it's a first-person narrative, the entire story is "internal dialogue," in a sense. The main benefit is to give the reader immediate access to the character's inner life, which may help us identify with him/her/it/them. The only real con I could see ...


5

When writers base fiction too closely on their own experiences, they can sometimes lose the ability to truly play with the story. I think this is because they are not consciously making as many decisions as a writer of "pure" fiction. They can be tempted to simply record what happened in real life (and to skip inventing material to fill in the gaps of their ...


5

I think your first paragraph works well. You create a tiny mystery right off the bat -- what was it that Naomi said that her words are still "hanging in the air"? -- that sucks the reader in. It's often said that if you can hook the reader in the first couple of sentences, you've got him. (I may plagiarize this idea myself someday. :-) A great piece of ...


5

Variation in paragraph length can be very useful, the same way variation in sentence length can be useful. As long as the short paragraph works (that is, the short punchy statement has a reason for being there, that the punchiness creates a dramatic or humorous moment or in some way serves the narrative), it's great for breaking up the monotony of prose. ...


5

Some possibilities: It was an accident. This would give him something to cope with. He works at the site, and his neglect or incompetence or other personal failing caused the problem or made it worse. He works at the site. He tried to get his superiors' attention about problems at the site. Though he did not cause the accident, he believes that he allowed ...



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