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1

It's not bad writing, but it is a common technique and has only light impact. So, writing with a current weakness. Consider your above examples: "The forest seemed endless." This has roughly the same effect as the previous line with the repetition but is more effective. You only need one of those lines, really. In the second example, take out the 'up and ...


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 ...


2

Every line needs to service the plot, set an image in the reader's mind, or reveal something about the characters. If it doesn't, you don't need it, whatever beta readers think. But actions and descriptions can add weight to a conversation because they can help us visualize what's going on. And they can help set the pace; faster dialogue means less ...


1

The bit doesn't have to be believable. It does have to be relatable. If your character suddenly finds herself having to deal with people's incorrect assumptions about her, the fact that this sort of thing wouldn't happen is besides the point. Everyone's had to deal with misconceptions and they can relate to this. Also, just the fact that it's in a work ...


2

Like was said above: You are the one who must know when to join more action/dialogue; Not every comment of beta readers must be implemented in your book. But, the comment was quite interesting. And your change quite better: You are showing, not telling how mom is; You add more voice to the character. But here it is another but: You can't use this in ...


0

Nothing can prepare you to write. It is a freefall. Allow yourself ONLY ONE outline, then start. Or just start. Consider this question as you start: "What does my protagonist want?" In the monomyth, the hero is called. The only reason this is relevant/interesting is because the hero wants to answer. The protagonist's desire, at every point in the story, ...


1

The most simple test of a comedic technique is, "Do they laugh?" Robert McKee mentions this in his book Story. If readers are voicing concerns about believability, but they found it funny, it may not be so bad. If your comedy is funny, a big part of the war is already won. Thus believability would only be a concern if the moment earned laughs, yet damaged ...


1

Back in writing school, an author advised his students to write in the first-person present. The objective is to place as few intermediaries as possible between the reader and the action of the story. Even writing in the simple past tense adds a degree of separation between reader and action because it amplifies the presence of an intermediary, namely ...


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 ...


0

You may have an interesting story there, but the graph shows one that is "disconnected." It's not bad to have "substories" relating to the friend, boyfriend, and father, but most, if not all of them should also have a second "circle" (link) to the main plot. That way, interesting substories will have a function, rather than just be random events in your ...


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 ...


0

There could be a simple answer to "rebalancing" the roles of the backstory and main story. That is, pull part of your backstory into your main story, and leaving only a "remainder" as "backstory." If some facts of your backstory are so compelling, maybe they don't begin there.


1

Starting with past progressive feels very conversational, and I expect the sentence to end with a phrase that gives some kind of context about why you are doing that or what happened when you did that. Dale mentions a 'when' statement above, which illustrates the 'what happened'. Here's an example of the 'why': We were driving down the highway in Tom's ...


1

I too am having problems with this. My way of solving the problem is to start with the setting. Is your plot set in a real place? If so, you can look for names from that region. If you like, you can do some research about the origins and meanings of those names, so you can be sure they fit your character. I usually use http://www.behindthename.com/ 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

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 ...


0

The trick is to identify what is driving your story forward. Is it event driven (the volcano is about to erupt and everyone is reacting to that) or is people driven (a group of people decide to rob the local museum while everyone else is distracted by a volcano). For some reason, it's easier to write when events drive the narrative. Everyone just reacts to ...


0

I have to disagree with most the other answers here and say that this is not fantasy at all. If the time frame was set in the past it would be considered historical fiction, but given that you say it's contemporary this isn't the case, so it is simply Fiction. You know, the genre that comprises about 50% of the novels at any given book store? Generic maybe ...


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 ...


0

I'm also an aspiring writer, and am working on a TV series. I want to kill my main character too, the protagonist. I want to do this because I want my style to be more realistic and believable, not all planned out and outlined like most fiction. In real life does the protagonist live forever, let alone win? No. In reality heroes die. All the time. Every day, ...


0

I had same problem. My main character is affected of sort of DID (dissociative identity disorder). I made my way in a different path than other answerers. 1) Will be all of them dominate or you will have one main personality and other will be something like voices in your head? 2) Will your other personalities take control of a "body" and its actions? ...


2

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


0

Colin Ennen, don’t be stingy with your words. They may not be holy writ; Yet! :) No "real" market for that size, expend it to novel length or discard it as a writing learning experience. In your writing career, you’ll probably have to “throw away” many writing pieces.


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 ...


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 ...


1

Novellas don't seem to attract as large of an audience as novels, but they definitely have a place in the market. But if novellas are what you're interested in, definitely go for it! There are several well-known novellas out there, including (but not limited to) The Little Prince, Animal Farm, Three Blind Mice, etc.


1

One common way to do this is to have one character that is as new to the environment and knows as little about it as the reader. (I think this is what meer2kat was talking about above.) Then as the character learns when s/he needs to know, the readers learn it, too. For example, if you've read DUNE, consider the part where Paul and mother run away to live ...


0

Just draw a map of the area and then write a description of each of the locations on the map. Write some little backstories of how each of the worlds factions came to be. Write descriptions of each of the cultures in your world and their history. The benefit to doing this up front is that when you write the novel you can have characters casually drop ...


0

I do the same thing when I write. Your second passage does sound better. It puts the reader deeper inside the character's mind -- because rather than reading what the character tells us he's thinking, we're reading exactly what he's thinking. Don't worry about these during the first draft, but in the next draft you can go through and simply remove all the ...


0

Why lay the blame on the narrator? Why not lay the blame on the library? "Why does the library have a reputation for being the place to coinduct proper researn? Instead of stayiong home, I decided to waste my time and visit the library, and what good did it do?" btw, i found your second sentence more troubling: "Once I reached there, though, I realized ...


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 ...


0

From my PoV, depends on the style of writing, example (sorry if it doesn't sound as great as in my mind, not english native): The street lights were flickering. From my seat in Builders Street bus stop i was able to see a shadow move between two piles of boxes. I raised an eyebrow and shouted "Hey, is someone there?", but i got no response. The ...


0

Firstly, I would say that if your prologue is 18k long, it is not a prologue it is your story in chief. Or it is a prequel to your story in chief. I think the problem with a lot of prologues is that they are a device of laziness. it is heaping a whole lot of information into the storyline without putting the effort into making it a part of the storyline. ...


0

Obviously, there is no definitive rule on how long a prologue can be. If I were you, I would approach a prologue with caution. Why? Usually the first chapter sets the tone, style and themes of the text. If the reader doesn't like the first paragraph/page/chapter etc. they will put down the book.(permanently) A prologue (by definition) is not written in the ...


0

To answer your last question (and sort of the rest of it): Sidetracked: When introducing a story, would a prologue be best for those with historical and adventure genres? Prologues are very common in the fantasy genre. It's a good way to introduce different elements of your world to the reader. As I read mostly thrillers, here's what I've noticed in ...


0

Prologues are good for the author's purposes (fleshing out your backstory), but consider whether the reader needs to know it. Many agents and publishers immediately throw a manuscript aside when they see the word "prologue" at the opening. This is because quite often, what we write in a prologue is actually backstory that is more for the author's sake than ...


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 ...


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 ...


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: ...


0

I am currently reading a book where the majority of characters speak one language (Japanese), but two characters additionally speak a different language (Latin). If a character is speaking in Japanese, it is written in normal English: You are beautiful but when one of the characters wants to talk in Latin (so that no-one else can understand), the ...


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 ...


0

Flesh scraping across wood, shoes scuffing the floorboards in a last, feeble protest.


1

How about, "the sound of something heavy -- perhaps a person -- being dragged across the floor"?


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 ...


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 ...


2

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


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 ...


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 ...


0

Your theme is the general statement you're making, but you can only make the statement via the plot. The plot should be developed via the organic actions of the characters. Therefore, decide on your theme, figure out a rough plot which will express this theme, and staff the plot with characters who will accomplish it.


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 ...



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