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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 ...


15

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 ...


9

I'm just rewriting. :) A bit of trimming, a bit of adding: "You understand — it's nothing personal." It wasn't quite a question. When Robert Jansen didn't quite provide an answer, the man turned and left. Jansen lowered his gaze to the Beretta on the desk. After a long moment, he sighed, picked it up, and left the study, locking the door behind him. ...


9

While I'm going to need some more time in order to look at this fully, I think that the answer to your question of "is this too condensed" is "yes". The main thing I notice from the very start is that you do a lot of "telling" and not a lot of "showing". For instance, the very first two sentences: Moses was a writer. A good writer. Here you are ...


8

One way to show passage of time is by referring to time-based events. Over the course of a year you can use seasons for this; if we see your characters walking through the snow, and next see them walking through the fall leaves, we know that at least half a year has passed. For multi-year spans, look for milestone events: a graduating student who we last ...


8

Paragraph length isn't the problem here, although the paragraphs could stand to be broken up a bit. The biggest problem here is a problem of focus and organization. A paragraph should have a fairly concise point; it's not simply a container for sentences. The main problems here are those of organization (on the large and small levels) and editing. Focus ...


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 ...


7

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 ...


7

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 ...


7

1 page = 1 minute That's the reason that all screenplays are written in 12pt courier font and the margins and spacing are strictly adhered to, you can tell how long a film will (probably) be at a glance.


5

I don't see the length of each segment done in a particular character's point of view as the issue. I've seen excellent stories split into many short glimpses of the world through multiple characters' eyes, and I've seen stories equally excellent split into just two halves consisting of Character A's view of the story followed by a contrasting second half ...


4

I'm just posting a second answer rather than try to force this into 500 characters: I kept your first sentence, although I punctuated it to sound like actual speech. I can certainly hear the intonation you intend, but that requires a pause. So I added an M-dash. I know what you were getting at with the idea that he's both asking a question and making a ...


4

Your sentence implies that action took place which the reader is not seeing (the "other means"). Wherever that sentence is, that's where/when you're placing this off-screen action. However, because the action of finding the letter physically happens in the next paragraph (that is, it's not off-screen), it has to be the idea or the decision to search her ...


3

The key word in your little conundrum is "context". Remember the basic elements of plot; setup, conflict, resolution. The setup is just that; you set everything up. Now understand that each new "timeline" is essentially a different context with a new setup. What Monica above suggested with the seasons is essentially a way of signaling the reader that things ...


3

There's no one right answer. You have to write your story and let other people read it, and ask your readers if it feels too jarring. Maybe one POV per chapter is correct, or maybe your story requires a frequent POV shift. But there's no generic template or requirement.


3

I'm partial to a bored diplomat: "... would such a ratio be acceptable?" The question hung between the diplomats like a point of contention. As Julie began to form her answer she wondered what ratios had to do with the color of her nail polish and the remembered they were talking about commodities, Peruvian coffee or was it pork bellies? Oh shit!


3

I hope this explains what's been said as opposed to reiterating it. -ing phrases slow the pace. Subsidiary clauses slow the pace. You're writing action. Don't slow the pace. Modern middle school English teachers ask students for sentence variation. -ing phrases are a common result. These phrases may sound scholarly, but they do not work in fiction. If you ...


3

All around, it's actually not too bad. Some tips: The natural tendency when you're writing action scenes is to over-describe -- so start cutting bits. Look for things that are redundant, and especially look for things that are over-specific with limbs (hands, legs, etc.), and with measurements. The readers don't need to know where all the limbs go unless it'...


3

The standard for a script is to estimate that one page equals one minute.


2

I will say that the "half asked, half asserted" construction is a bit cumbersome. I then expected him to half-turn and half-exit while leaving half-empty silence in the air. I also found the "make and model" of the gun and car to be a bit jarring. Lauren mitigates this in an effective way, but specifying these things might be part of your style. Within ...


2

I like the flow just the way it is. I don't see any inconsistencies in these few paragraphs. And I think there is plenty here to intrigue readers. Several stylistic choices tripped me up as I read. My first stumble was over modifiers. Consider replacing "swiftly walked" with a stronger verb. "Tragically" is unnecessary. We know that a daughter's ...


2

Michael A. Stackpoles trilogy "Age of Discovery" has a lot of fighting, but many of the characters engage in diplomacy. Diplomacy is a major part of the plot and actually driving the plot (conflicts between bureaucracy and the government, conflicts between nations, conflicts inside the nation). I thought a lot of this made the world seem more real, and ...


2

Sentence length is pacing, and a component of rhythm, and sets up subtle expectations, whether for more of the same or something different. After three long sentences, a short and simply declarative one produces a certain affect, and feels good, rhythmically. But breaking the pattern and changing the rhythm also changes the emphasis, and (as I hear it) gives ...


2

Splitting up the sentences didn't alter the rhythm substantially. However, it did alter the meaning, in the sense that it sounds as if you are trying to emphasize that there were no trees and only bushes. Using very short sentence fragments can alter rhythm, but it does this by adding emphasis to elements. Within your. Writing. I don't think that was your ...


2

Think about what your scene is meant to show. Each one should contribute something to the story. Then, of course, the scene should end when it's accomplished that. A paragraph, a page, whatever, then move on. It sounds like you think yours aren't doing enough. In that case, dig into the details, end the scene later or start it earlier. Play around with it. ...


1

I agree with what Ken said, and would also add this: Look at other books in your genre. They won't all be the same, and some may be completely opposite, but sometimes, you'll find a commonality in them. I write thrillers, and they tend to have shorter chapters, so that's how I write. Also consider your Point of View. If you are writing in third person ...


1

You could go with the old direct method: "Years later, Kate drove the same road..."


1

Whether you use this section as a prologue (I think prelude is more commonly used to refer to music) or a flashback is ultimately a stylistic and structural decision that depends on the overall flow of your book. I find myself rearranging/moving chunks of text around quite a bit while editing. That said, as a reader I prefer books to be told in chronological ...



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