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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 ...


14

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 ...


12

Unless your hero's enemies are all intensely stupid, he and his companions will be totally unarmed, and will have been carefully searched for anything valuable. Really, unless your goblins are nobler than those in most stories, readers will expect goblins to take everything from their captives. Your hero can't pull a lockpick or a poisoned pin from the ...


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

First, a word of warning, the first thing most people will think after reading that paragraph describing your character is that she is a vampire. Aside from the vampiric similarities, I think your best bet to create an enjoyable character without human emotions is to look at how other similar characters have been portrayed previously and take what you like. ...


7

Get out of your own head. Write. Just write. Stop worrying about whether it's perfect. Stop worrying about which book to follow. You've got a list taller than the coffee table and they can contradict each other. Just write. Get something on paper. If you're really flailing around, pick your first book about plotting, follow some of the advice there, and ...


7

I suggest you search Google Scholar for scientific publications on the matter. For example, Porter, Birt, Yuille and Hervé (2001) list several publications that report real cases of perpetrators forgetting that they committed homicide or other extreme violence. This is the abstact for that paper: Mental health professionals and legal decision-makers ...


6

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 ...


6

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 ...


6

The technical terms in literature and art theory used in relation to this are "mise-en-abyme", "metafiction", and "self-referentiality". All may denote slightly different aspects of the phenomenon, depending on the definitions used by the respective theorists.


6

What strengths does he have? What weaknesses do they have? Especially, hidden, non-obvious, difficult to trigger. That's all up to you, foreshadowing given strengths and weaknesses, and letting them shine when the time comes. There are countless. What weaknesses can be exploited? Gambling? Ambition? Greed? Gluttony? Stupidity? Arrogance? What strengths can ...


6

Off the top of my head, solmnambulation and memory-impairing drugs are probably the easiest and most probable. Human memory is somewhat frail. In real life this generally impacts the accuracy and availability of memories, but yes, under the right circumstances people can fail to remember having done something. Many things affect memory, and with a little ...


5

That depends on your audience. I wrote about a character with depression, suffering of terrible self-esteem, self-hate, very subdued emotions, complete disregard for own well-being resulting in suicidal bravery, a situation that would make others freak out taken in a firm stride, the most of his emotion shown when being murdered by the villain, after ...


5

It is not necessarily the plot that's important. I wouldn't even say it's those parts that you view as "boring" (boring could mean it's still important, but it needs to be rewritten). James N. Frey's How to Write a Damn Good Novel (Chapter 3), recommends that you use a story's premise to be selective in determining what goes in and out of your story. The ...


5

It is true to a point. As you suggest, they are generalized form encapsulations of conflict. In other words, they are archetypes. Similarly, you will hear folks say there are only 32 plots at times, too. The number varies. Often one will be more popular than others for a while. Understanding them can be helpful at times if you're studying story and story ...


5

This answer is highly, highly subjective. But I personally dislike almost every YA dystopian future novel I've ever read (they're all the same thing to me and they're all predictable), so I think if you're asking about reader expectations, I might be a good person to answer the question... mostly because I see similarities in all of the YA novels I've ...


5

I'm going to spin this around for you. In Jeffrey Schechter's My Story Can Beat Up Your Story, Schechter suggests that a lot of theme is about the protagonist asking a thematic question, e.g., "Should I settle for less romantically?" "Can I balance 'ordinary' responsibilities with my secret identity?" "How do I decide who to trust?" And in ...


5

There's a couple of vocabularies (aka ontologies) out there (which I've been helping develop). Have a look at Ontomedia and Stories Ontologies: http://contextus.net/ I've been investigating this kind of thing for a while (see, for instance, http://www.r4isstatic.com/54), and would be happy to chat more about it. Of course, you can always use a collection ...


5

Possible routes to escape (they can be combined): Luck - the captors make a mistake, or something completely unexpected happens that the hero can exploit. Preparation - the hero, knowing that capture was possible or imminent, prepared something (a tool, spell or ally) that would help him escape. Knowledge - the hero knows what the captors want, need or ...


4

Write a synopsis. Then get feedback on that. Your synopsis should be as brief as possible, conveying only the elements that are absolutely crucial to the story - the elements without which the story would be absolutely different. If you were summarizing the first Harry Potter book, you don't need to say "and then he went to a Potions class, and then he went ...


4

Find a good beta reader or a good editor. I ran into this problem myself: I had a plot which was solid and detailed but left room for expansion, I had characters I absolutely loved, I spent months in world-building, wrote 125+ pages, and then showed it to a few trusted, intelligent people to get some early feedback. What I learned: One of my main ...


4

There is no problem in a character who is emotionless. Readers can accept it... Condition: You will have to make sure that you provide the explanation regarding why the person is emotionless. If that person has suffered so much in past, that now he/she won't be ready to feel that pain again. And if you succeed in writing such a story, then readers may ...


4

For now, write to amuse yourself. It might also amuse other people, but that's not something to worry about now.


4

The difference between kishoutenketsu and Western twists... I hadn't thought about that before. I can think of a few differences, though. Have you ever seen a yonkoma manga? They're four panel comics that normally follow kishoutenketsu structure. The idea is that the first panel is ki, the second is shou, the third is ten, and the fourth is ketsu. So the ...


4

Which end do readers expect? Either of the ones you given. Some will expect one, others the other That's why you should choose neither. You have two obvious options, plus a dull 'no choice made'. That's one point where the difference between a common book and an excellent one is made. This is where the protagonist should not just decide or fail to make a ...


4

I think I know enough about RDF to comment on this. One thing I have observed, reading entirely too many books about writing when I ought to be writing, is that different authors of how-to-write books have different ideas about how to define basic technical terms... like “plot”. It’s like becoming a biology major and discovering that the professors in two ...


3

I am confused. Does without a soul mean without emotions? Or is the reverse true: no emotions means no soul? Emotional repression is more common than I care to admit, and at least according to genesis animals don't have souls and I know from experience that they have emotions. Therefore souls and emotions may or may not be synonymous depending on your ...


3

One method I have seen was where a character was constantly making smart remarks (many of which were very funny), In scenes where the author wanted a more serious tone, the jokes told were not as funny, as if the character was trying to break the tension, and not doing a very good job. Another method is to have a running joke that is more sad or touching at ...


3

When you want to use a gift as a symbol, then it should be an object that has meaning to the protagonists. It only has meaning to the protagonists when it has meaning to your story. You should have introduced it during your story, the protagonists used/handled/interacted with it somehow. If it has meaning to the story, the reader understands the symbol ...


3

I know I’m “bucking the hypo” here (as the law students say), but I have a lot of trouble with the premise that only 20 corpses stand between a mildly dystopian society and something radically better than even the most liberal real-world government can offer its citizens. If those 20 people have been profiting off of the misery and inequality of the society ...



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