Hot answers tagged

23

Please, don't. I have often encountered this in Fantasy and Science Fiction, and it breaks my make-believe. I am immediately thrown out of my beautiful escapist reverie and back on my sofa. I hate when authors do that. I expect a fiction to be consistent, and the narrator has to be part of the fiction if this is to work. The only setup where a quote like ...


7

You are overthinking this. There is Fantasy. Magic, fairies, dragons and such do not exist, yet the suspension of disbelief works without a special effort on the author's part. There are alternate histories. Utopias. Children's books about impossible creatures and events. Crime stories about crimes that never happened. Fiction with characters that do not ...


7

Here are some specific ideas to help you get started. First of all and most importantly: You must understand the core challenge you are facing. You are facing the overwhelming challenge at the start of writing a story that many writers face and run from. You have all of this information compiled and in some ways you feel as if it is too much. It ...


7

Treat fantastic, made-up facts the same as you would treat facts about our own world. Do you describe the physiology of human beings when you write a book about people like you and me? No. Neither should you go into medical detail when you write about aliens – unless your protagonist is a scientist studying them. In that case, give us the same amount of ...


7

In my own writing, I skip everything that I'm not interested in. I don't care if it is usually part of other novels, because if I read those, I usually skip reading those parts as well or only scan them quickly to have an idea of what is going on. I totally rely on my readers to have seen so many movies and read so many books in my genre, that they are ...


7

For your "Houston" example, definitely not if Apollo 13 is not culturally relevant to the person saying it. You can use some sayings from this universe in your universe, for example Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Because this could come about without someone having seen The Godfather Part II. It's just advice. But any quote or ...


6

A different slant on things, but Ayn Rand's Anthem has a non-supernatural hive mind (collectivism gone mad, I guess) and she shows it by using collective pronouns even for individuals. So instead of "I" she uses "we", even when there's only one character involved. I hate the book, but the pronouns were interesting. You might also want to check out Ancillary ...


6

The very first story I ever wrote was written from the perspective of a collective mind. So, as they say on /b/, this question is very relevant to my interests. I would approach the concept of an intergalactic hive mind from the perspective of sociology, neuropsychology, and biology. A hive of bees can be considered as a single organism: only the queen can ...


5

If the quote is in reference to something that would not exist at all in the world you've created, it is completely inappropriate. Even if it happens to be a quote that would make contextual sense (no references to anything in our world), I would still avoid it. References to things that happen in our world, in a world that is not ours, only serve to ...


5

You should find a way to skip ahead. If you don't want to write it the reader won't want to read it either. And your references to 'some switches' and 'several lights' suggest you aren't really invested in this scene at all. If you want to jump ahead though, you need to jump too something so concoct a little bit of drama. Things to try: Focus on the main ...


5

I've actually seen this used deliberately, to help establish the character of the... err... character in question. In the first chapter of The Tales of Paul Twister, we're introduced to Paul, a thief-for-hire in a magical world who's got a bit of a sour, snarky attitude about the world around him in general and his line of work in particular. He's been ...


5

David Brin's Uplift series has the traeki/Jophur, which are physically connected hive minds of stacked rings. Each ring is nominally a separate entity; the distinction between traeki and Jophur is the presence of a so-called 'master ring', basically an overriding personality which controls the other parts of the hive mind. As the species is only one of the ...


5

Here's a thought: would the infected members of the population even be aware that there is a hive mind of which they are a part? Sure, they experience extreme empathy and are subconsciously driven to act in ways that benefit the whole, but perhaps there is an individual experience that is largely oblivious to the organizing structure in which it is ...


4

Whatever point you choose on that spectrum you will have some readers who won't like the place that you have chosen. You will never get the balance exactly right for everyone. I am sure some people would enjoy a purely anthropological study of another species, if it was well written and contained interesting insights - myself included. Equally, that would ...


4

This is certainly valid in some contexts, e.g., in a parody, or while leaning on the fourth wall, for example ... "And using this device you can communicate if there are any issues." explained Houston. "Oh, great, but what if I have to fix it first, «Houston, we've had a problem?»" However, I would advise you against using it if you are not ...


4

Answering more from a reader's perspective than a writer's, I'd prefer the version without the "cool for cool" powers --whenever I read something like that, it just seems like the writer being self-indulgent. You also run the risk of introducing plotholes. For instance, in the Harry Potter series, there are a number of over-powered magical devices (the ...


4

All fiction is about the suspension of disbelief. Decades ago I read a statement that sticks in my mind to this day. A writer discussing science fiction said that he had an easier time believing that it is possible to travel faster than light than he did believing that Perry Mason only gets big murder cases with innocent clients and always wins. A good ...


4

(This might get good answers on WorldBuilding SE also.) I think you have to decide, from a storytelling viewpoint, how these people communicate. Does each individual have his/her own thoughts but others pop in and out like everyone is always in the same room and thinking out loud? Do you only hear the thoughts of people within X geographical distance? Or is ...


3

Plot... Story... blah blah blah. You're talking about a journey. You're talking about a quest. You're talking about a goal, a conflict, and a resolution. What I don't like is the use of the term "filler content". You can't go into a story thinking like that. Everything you write has to be important, every sentence should define a character or the world, or ...


3

In the strongest writing, everything that's been included by the author has a reason to be there -- adds something relevant to the theme, moves the plot forward, develops a character, etc. If you're already suspecting that an item is superficial, then you should probably remove it. You wouldn't want an unnecessary element to accidentally remove the reader ...


3

It seems you have a lot of information that you've gathered, you have a strong idea of how your world works and the people it contains. Maybe it is time to start compiling some stories around the data that you've got. It doesn't need to be your primary novel, just some short stories to help you get the feel for who your characters are and how they react to ...


3

Yes. Here are some NaNoWriMo success stories: http://www.tor.com/2014/11/06/nanowrimo-success-stories-published-novels/ Edit, Additional: I personally know someone who's finished the NaNo sprint, and it's tough, but definitely possible. At the very least, NaNoWriMo may not be the novel you want, but it can serve as a first draft that you can later ...


3

Check out Dean Wesley Smith's blog posts on "Pulp Speed" writing, and the number of words possible for some people. A million words a year? Wow. Heck, Michael Moorcock can write a 60K word novel in three days. The use of Lester Dent's Master Plot is blown out from 1500 words per section to 15K words per section, IIRC, and planning is key. NaNoWriMo says to ...


3

I once heard an entertaining lecture by the British pulp-SF author Lionel Fanthorpe about how he managed to produce at his peak an average of a 158 page book every 12 days. If Badger Books wanted a rush job, he could do a novel over a long weekend. Taking time off to watch the cricket if there was a Test Match on, obviously.


2

Relevant thought on the subject "The reader wants to work. ...the reader wants to fill in the details. He wants to be invested in the novel and to make his own decisions and reach his own conclusions . You don’t need to write everything. You can leave pieces (of plot, description, dialogue) out. The reader will get in the game. His imagination matters ...


2

I have this exact same problem, I'm glad you asked the question! The other answers have been very helpful, and I'll take be using their suggestions in my own work. I've been looking at cutting down some portions of my story, and this will help immensely. In case you absolutely need the 'intermediate' scenes, I will offer suggestions to what I've been doing ...


2

Ensuring relevance/believability are key to stories/characters and magic/superpowers. When reading, I become fully immersed in the fictional world that if a power/ability appears 'just for show', the book's credibility weakens to me and I am cautious/fearful any new aspect that is introduced will also end up being a pointless trait. Though, I do enjoy when ...


2

Is there one POV character or multiple? I would always aim to put the calendar according to the POV character. If it's just one character, it's pretty easy. Post through their perspective only. They can always make a comment when talking to other alien characters. "It happened in 3987. Oh, I guess that'd be #$nei9 according to your calendar." If you ...


2

Think up an alternate history and develop it logically - or parodically. Take for example a more serious approach - Steampunk: Electricity never passed beyond "mad inventor" sphere, and world developed finding new miraculous fuels to power increasingly advanced steam engines; external combustion engines got more popular than internal combustion ones, ...


2

The problem with references is that they are funny only if people understand them, and they can go stale fast. This isn't necessarily a killer, but it's something to keep in mind. Ancient Greek comedy is loaded with references to people who have been dead for thousands of years, and whom we only know about because of the funny references (you can take that ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible