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A key thing is to understand that a novel is not a long short story, it’s more stories. The ending likely remains very similar, but there are more stories preceding that ending. One way to get more stories is to have more characters. Most short stories follow just one character, but novels typically follow a few characters. It might help for you to imagine ...


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The ability to write a short story is notably different from that of a novelist. In sporting terms, one is a sprint, the other, a marathon. They are as different as lyrics and poetry, and very rarely will you find the best of one is the best of the other (e.g. Leonard Cohen). A poet may be tempted to write music, because there's a lot more money in music, ...


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If it's a book for younger children, the pictures are an important part of the package. You'll have a better chance submitting pictures and story than story alone. For an adult book, having a cover is not a big selling point, and I wouldn't suggest including the cover in your submission to a publisher unless it's something so perfect for your book it will ...


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If you have possible cover designs lined up and you have sample illustrations, it seems to me that you are in a much stronger position than someone who has neither. Send both to an agent. If he/she thinks your story is great but either of the other aren't this will be pointed out. However, if the cover or the illustrations look good, and the story is good, a ...


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One thing I've seen working quite well is to open with a short "action sequence" that naturally leads to (some) back-story exposition. One example would be the start of Charles Stross's "The Atrocity Archives", which starts with a new-ish occult field agent's first assignment and then in a fairly natural way segues into a (small amount) of back-story, ...


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I don't think in medias res should necessarily be understood as jumping into the middle of the story. I think we should look at it more as a story is embedded in a history. You may need to understand the history in order to understand the story, but the story itself -- the character's moral arc -- does not begin at the beginning of the history. So you start ...


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The Big Flashback can work, but it's a tired cliché. The general strategy is to open with Louise fighting for her life the grip of the Acturan Octopus Tyrant, then jump back in time to her childhood in Idaho, and the strange sequence of events which will lead to her becoming Earth's one hope against the alien invaders. If I read something like this and, ...


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Kurt Vonnegut advised that writers “start as close to the ending as possible.” I recommend you decide what is the best ending you have right now, and then write that book. After that book is done, you can start a new book and write the best ending you can come up with for that book. One thing that movies are suffering from right now is they try to make 2 ...


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A short story is the same as a novel, except you leave out the first 450 pages. You just write the end. It’s not a short novel, it’s the shortest possible story. There is no better way to learn how to write short stories than just to read a ton of short stories.


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I don't think it's altogether a bad idea, it depends on how you implement it. One of the ways it can be achieved is to have the present day story and the past story running in parallel. This would mean that events would need to develop for the character in prison, whilst he remembers back to what happened previously. Answering your question about the ...


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If it's part of the manuscript, you should include chapter titles and espcially epigraphs. It's not likely to be much, but anything that isn't front matter should be counted.


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There's nothing---NOTHING!---in the detailed list given by you that's forbidden, if used, just as you described, in a "passing reference." NOR is there any problem with mentioning real businesses or hotels, UNLESS you do so in a derogatory way; such as: "I stayed three nights in the SOUTH NARK hotel, right off Broadway, in New York. And it took me three ...


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I wouldn't count them, but word count is not any exact science. Publishers/agents want to know whether your book is 70.000 words vs 90.000 words; they don't care if it's 71982 instead of 72001


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As long as you're just making references that don't portray them in a negative light, you're fine for brands and celebrities. Things like Jaguar or Rice Krispies don't really date a work, either. Fictional characters, however, are copyrighted for a long time. So no using Luke skywalker as a character. Your characters can talk about Luke, swing swords around ...


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1) Sherlock Holmes is public domain. No one's going to sue you for it. We all own it. 2) While classics like Sherlock Holmes are safe, referencing pop culture can date your work. Just FYI...


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I'd force myself to spend 20 or so minutes on only describing one scene or only going through a single character's internal monologue. Stop yourself from going ahead and only work on describing/monologue. Good luck!


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Brandon Mull has a very well-paced narration in his series Fablehaven. In the book Kendra and Seth have to get used to this new side-of-reality. While Kendra and Seth are in this preserve(land in the book), they have to learn about creatures and such. Reading his books should give you an idea on how to disperse the information. Beyonders is also another one ...


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I wanted to give another answer that goes in a different direction than my first. Write down every detail about what you're dumping about. Then look at each detail. Is it REALLY vital that the character know everything that there is to know about the entire history and every nuance of the magic? Probably not. You may feel it's vital, but it's probably not. ...


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You have an ability to write screenplays that even you are forced to describe as "pretty spectacular." Given this, and your dislike of descriptive writing, I can't for the life of me understand why you want to make the transition to books. Focus on your screenwriting. A screenplay will typically make you much more money a novel. Current WGA rates start at ...


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Obvious answer is to read more novels. At the same time, don't worry about your previous skill set; novels are as much about dialogue as they are prose. Try and have a strong grasp of figurative language while still remaining clear in your description of events. Otherwise I recommend learning to slow the pacing of the story quite a lot. You have time to be ...


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This is a complex question. The business of balancing information and story is always tricky. One good approach is to give minimal information, then bury further descriptions in the course of the story. Tolkien often works like this. He offers a brief description of a character's appearance, and other details appear in the course of the story. He does the ...


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In the example, it seems as if the narrator is lying awake at midnight thinking about the day gone by. If so, this is not quite a flashback—you're describing your character's thoughts in the present. The choice between "It is midnight" and "It was midnight" is about whether you want to write the body of your story in present tense or past tense. Either is ...


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This is an interesting question. However, there's one thing confusing me. As far as I can tell, if I were to read a flashback, I would prefer reading one in the past tense because when talking about flashbacks you're actually talking about a sudden incident where you're in a current situation and something triggered a past memory, hence triggering a ...


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I feel both are confusing in terms of tense and of content. 1) Is it midnight in real time? 2) Is it morning in the dream, in past tense reality, or both? 3) Did you just awaken from the dream, or are you obsessing about the past? 4) Speaking of which, did the laughing students happen in the real world? I turned my head. This time the clock read 12:05; ...


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You're asking whether to write flashbacks in past tense or present tense. Seems to me using past tense makes the most sense. In fact, your whole story can be past tense, as long as you're clear about what is flashback and what is current time. But really, it's not the tense you're writing in that makes an impact on the reader. Writing a great story with ...


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This is tricky, because you can't explain the way magic without, you know... explaining the way magic works. The trick is to make it interesting. I think one of the best examples I've seen comes from The Final Empire, the first Mistborn book by Brandon Sanderson. It opens on a plantation on a very foggy night, with the arrival of a traveler, Kelsier. The ...



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