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25

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 ...


25

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 ...


21

Feedback is an enormously complex topic, for everyone, everywhere, in every role in life. Some people understand that it's complex. Others do not. Avoid feedback from people who think feedback is simple. Here are some (perhaps too many) of my thoughts. The Briefcase Method Charlie Seashore offers this technique: When someone gives feedback, put it in a ...


19

As I understand him, Palahniuk doesn't actually mean that you must avoid thought verbs, especially not at all cost. Palahniuk does use thought verbs in his own writing. That blog post is a suggestion for a writing exercise, not a rule for how you should write for publication. The important part in that post, to me, is what Palahniuk calls "unpacking". As I ...


15

I don't think your protagonist has to be ordinary to be relatable. While I haven't read the series, isn't the point of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid that the protagonist isn't the "healthy good guy hero" type? Writer Graham Moore just won an Oscar for his screenplay adapting The Imitation Game, a biography of codebreaker Alan Turing, and said that Turing was ...


14

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, ...


13

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 ...


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

All depends on what kind of book you write. The great novels of the past often meander like a continent-crossing river. The bestselling novels of today, on the other hand, quickly build tension and keep it taut and rising until the final explosive resolution. The price for this break neck speed is depth and meaning: many novels of today are meaningless ...


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 ...


11

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 ...


11

Heavy-handed means you force your plot, your characters, your prose, your dialog, and any other aspect of your writing, to fit a preconceived concept, regardless of how well or naturally it integrates with the writing. In other words, you write with no subtlety or realism. It's a subjective judgment, so it is hard to provide examples, but here's an ...


11

I would suggest a different approach than the other answers. If you are completely new to writing, just write. Think about other areas of learning. If you just had your first physics class, the next step won't be building a car. The first thing will probably be something like a battery, two wires, and a lightbulb. Writing is the same. Like anything it ...


10

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 ...


10

"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 ...


10

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 ...


10

em dashes are usually used to denote an interruption or sudden change — whether in dialogue, thought or narrative — ellipses are for pauses, again in all respects. 'I just don't see why— 'I don't care what you think,' Johan barked, turning from me before I could protest. 'She was just...' His face turned pale as his memory returned to that ...


10

Try plotting backwards. The writers of House, MD often worked this way. They figured out some esoteric disease or ailment (or perhaps something not so esoteric but easy to confuse with other problems) and then worked backwards to lay red herrings and misdirection. So you have the ending you want (heroine gets macguffin). Work backwards from there. Each ...


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 ...


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 ...


9

Sure, go for it. One of my favorite books has two entire chapters where the name of one of the major characters is misspelled in every single reference. This was fixed in later editions. If it was intentional, the author may appreciate a chance to explain it. If it was a mistake, the publishing house would probably like a chance to fix it. In either case, ...


9

We've addressed "the protagonist continues to talk after dying, even in first person" here: Ways for main character to influence world following their death 1st person story, but the main character will die in the end and some of the story needs to be told after his death. How to solve this problem? It sounds like your concern is that the death of the ...


9

The sports term for "heavy handed" is "piling on." In American football, if the runner has been "tackled," there is no need for other defensive players to jump on him. Chris' example, " She had vanquished the evil, greedy, squirrel-kicking lawyer," is a good one, because "She had vanquished the evil lawyer" is plenty, without the "piling on" of the other ...


9

Rules? No, not beyond any that your publisher or editor might have. But one factor to consider is that, assuming you're not publishing in a specialized or foreign market, your readers probably won't know how to pronounce the words in a different alphabet -- you can't sound things out if you don't know the pronunciation rules. This means that the words you ...


9

Ellipses are used differently in academic or non-fiction writing and narrative fiction. In academic non-fiction, ellipses indicate that the author has omitted part of the citation. In narrative fiction an ellipsis indicates a pause in spoken language. (I'll come back to that.) Other options for indicating pauses or breaks in spoken language in narrative ...


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 ...


8

Make sure you have introduced another character to take his place, and that at that point the reader has already developed some connection with it. From that point forward, work to intensify the connection between them.


8

I think you've gotten some bad advice. Lead characters do not need to be "ordinary", they need to be realistic. You could easily write a book from Luna Lovegood's point of view, provided you could make her actions relatable, which is to say, logical and reasonable. That's not the same as "ordinary", that just means we can understand why she's doing things. ...


8

I assume that we are talking about feedback that you are not obligated to follow, or that does not have consequences beyond "will this make the story better". I mean like, you show the story to your lawyer and he says, "If you publish these statements about Mr So-and-so, you could be sued for libel". Or you have a publisher lined up, and the publisher says ...


8

An author, whose name I forget, explained his procedure in the following way: Write your story down. Leave this version as it is, that is, do not attempt to close plot holes or correct continuity. Instead: Put that first version away, and Write the whole story again from scratch. Repeat until you are happy with your result. What this does is that plot ...



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