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I agree with what: Actual writing and making your own mistakes is essential when attempting to become a novelist. However, if you are interested in textbooks: Here's the first textbooks I've read when I was about 15 years old. Frey's "How to write a damn good novel" ... and part 2 of the same Frey's Introduction to the concept of the Hero's Journey ...


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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 ...


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For advice on the more creative aspect of writing, see Tommy's answer. As for how to start from a structural standpoint: The plot diagram of most stories is well defined, and a version of it can be viewed here: Plot Diagram. As you can see, it begins with the Exposition. During the exposition, three things are introduced: Setting, Characters, and ...


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The best way to begin a book will differ from person to person. Some people, once they have a vague idea of what happens, jump right in and start writing. Some have to spend months developing character, stakes, and plot. Some (like me) are somewhere in between. Because of this, the only way to answer your question is through practice. Practice writing ...


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I'm writing a limited third person novel with a few flashbacks (stories being told aloud). The novel follows character K. She asks character S about something in his past. I reveal that story through flashback instead of conversation or storytelling, and keep it third person for a couple of reasons. As you mentioned, first person feels like a quotation ...


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It is called an epigraph or motto.


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This is actually an interesting construct, where the protagonist wants to punish the antagonist for doing the "right" thing, the reverse of the usual. Realize that the protagonist (patient) feels that the doctor did absolutely the WRONG thing. Then have him run down the the doctor like a revengeful "lawman," while the doctor almost gets away. The best ...


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There are only a few places nowadays where whips are used. One is with horses. So if there is a place with horse-drawn carriages (like there used to be in NYC), some of the drivers might show you how a whip is used. Another, more obvious place is the S&M (sadio-masochism) scene. There are S&M shops in NYC that sell whips and movies of people using ...


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Don't forget good old misinformation. Perhaps the antagonist believes the protagonist is a nasty piece of work and needs to be brought to justice. Similarly feel free to use stress, misconceptions and being emotionally unstable to make the antagonist consider the protagonist to be the 'bad guy'. Treating the first person you meet with a connection to one ...


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Technically, a "young adult" is someone aged 18 (just having reached majority), to about 25. But for books, a "young adult" audience starts at a somewhat younger age range, 12-14. That's because an audience for a genre is larger than a genre itself. Or put another way, young adult readers include not only actual young adults, but people who will soon be ...


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First off, I applaud your goal. I read so many stories where the villain is evil for no apparent reason. Most evil people in the real world don't cackle insanely and shout "I will destroy all that is good and true!!" Rather, they have very plausible-sounding reasons for their evil. Some examples of plausible motivations that come to mind: Carrying what ...


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I will tell you the single most helpful thing that helped me in constructing characters for a story. That is the Alignment System. It is often used in role-playing games to construct broad characters, but I've found it is a great jumping off point for creating a more detailed, well balanced character. Constructing a 2d grid and plotting good-evil and ...


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The antagonist can have any motivation as long as they feel justified. It sounds simple but it really is true. In your House example, the antagonist feels fully justified in his actions because his wife killed herself. In a more amusing example, wrestler Mick Foley (Mankind / Cactus Jack) once turned on a tag team partner because he'd left Doritos on the ...


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This may seem a bit unorthodox, but if you'd like to see a very good example of an antagonist with believable motivations, the character Jack/Handsome Jack from the Borderlands video game series is an excellent place to start. This example may be a bit more outlandish/extreme than what you're going for (at least from what I can extrapolate from your House ...


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There are three man ways to deal with antagonist motivation. They can sometimes be combined. No explanation of motive. The book is about the protagonist, the antagonist is just another problem. related variants are mystery and insanity. Pure evil. "Why?" "Because I can, because I want to, because it feels good". Everyone is a hero it their own eyes. True ...


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I actually have the same problem you do. I'm writing a story with more than one antagonist. For the first antagonist I created a motivation for him to act as a "bad guy". The context is about two company owners competing to get a client's account. Protagonist makes an offer to the antagonist as if the protagonist is going to win the contract, even though ...


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It doesn't really matter. You will be rewriting to close plot holes, provide foreshadowing, clean up continuity, either way. What matters is that you don't set up artificial obstacles to your writing and write whichever way gives you the most flow. Personally, I'm an exploring writer and any kind of planning stops me dead in my track. I write my novels as ...


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Live "Presidents" should be "minor characters" (in your fiction), performing a "public" act. For instance, in one screenplay, I featured a film clip of President George H.W. Bush (father) declaring war on Iraq in order to set a "backdrop" for early 1991. On the other hand, you should not feature a real President e.g. seducing the heroine (and thus playing a ...


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On the question of companies (ex-leaders of countries are open season) it comes down to if you are suggesting that the company itself is bad. Max Barry has John Nike (who works for Nike) commit a number of acts of terrorism for the benefit of Nike in his book "Jennifer Government". Despite all the bad things (and morally dubious actions) of the employees of ...


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The start and the end are mere bookends to the body of the story. The body of the story is where characters develop and plot and events unfold. That said a good start can hook a read and a good end can leave them satisfied and wanting more. So assuming that you find the opening and the close where your creativity is strongest go with that. Plan the journey ...


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With the middle of a book, the best considered method is small rises of tension followed by a slight drop (to allow your reader to recover). To use a driving analogy, the beginning of your book is getting in the car and starting the engine, the end is arriving at your destination but it's the middle part that's actually the journey. It could be a simple ...


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It is time for the dreaded lists. Lists are a valuable tool in building a complicated project. Specifically I would make lists of unresolved plot points already in the narrative, plot points to be put in the narrative, order of events, and minor characters. The minor characters does not directly help your situation, but I find it very helpful (assuming you ...


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The Elements of Fiction Writing series, published by Writers Digest Books, has some great books to help with this. Those that would apply here are: Plot Beginnings, Middles, & Ends Scene & Structure



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