Questions tagged [creative-writing]

"Creative writing" is a vague term, but generally means fiction, or writing that's not non-fiction, technical, or business writing. This tag should be used when asking questions that apply to multiple categories of creative writing, such as when asking questions that could apply to fiction or poetry alike.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
22
votes
11answers
9k views

Is it bad to have no gender variety?

The majority of stories, movies, shows, comics, and other media I've read or seen have a pretty even split between men and women, and that's fine, I don't have a problem with it. But if I want to ...
19
votes
11answers
5k views

Do readers not like a book if it's too dark and the characters almost never win?

I started a book and although I wanted it to be dark, will the readers find it too dark if the characters almost never win? Or are a lot of readers into that? In my book the two main characters' whole ...
19
votes
8answers
2k views

How to introduce alien flora/fauna without turning the fiction into a biology book?

Got advised on Worldbuilding’s Sandbox to post here, so here I am. I don’t even know if the word “alien” applies here because to the eyes of the characters, those animals and plants won’t be alien at ...
8
votes
4answers
971 views

Non-cheap ways to make villains evil?

Do you have any tried and true techniques to make villains of your stories truly hated by the audience? I mean, frequently it's "eh, sure, that's bad, he's got to be stopped" but the audience would ...
32
votes
16answers
16k views

Is no religion a bad thing?

(I believe I've asked about a half dozen questions pertaining to this post-apocalyptic novel, including my "is this story too diverse" question. This sort of pertains to that.) Last night, I thought ...
24
votes
14answers
2k views

How does a code monkey become a novelist?

I have always loved creative writing, but honestly do not see software engineers that write fiction all that often. Heck, I do not see software engineers that read fiction all that often either. To ...
22
votes
6answers
5k views

How do discovery writers hibernate?

I am 20% outliner and 80% discovery writer, (I know many will object that this is not possible) meaning, I have a very brief outline of what is going to happen in the end and then I go on filling the ...
19
votes
6answers
3k views

How do you earn the reader's trust?

Recently, I have stumbled upon a problem. After releasing an issue, I think that I failed to earn the trust of my readers. My analysis is that they did not have enough faith in me to make the "right ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

How much description is necessary?

I have trouble imagining things. With me everything is blurred, as if I were almost blind. That's why I find it hard to describe things. For example, the protagonists enter a castle. I have a very ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

How to start writing a book?

I'm new to writing and I'm still young (preteen young). I want some advice on writing and help. How am I gonna start my book? What is the best way to begin writing a book?
12
votes
9answers
2k views

Where do I start?

Let’s say I’ve created an outline, have explored my characters properly, and have properly broken down each scene to an appropriate level of detail. I know the story, I know the pacing, and I know ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a software for story writing with detailed character files and an interactive timeline? (other then aeon timeline and scrivener)

I'm looking for a writing software that's user friendly and doesn't require endless tutorials to figure out. Plotist seems to be a good start, but their timeline is too simple and doesn't even have ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

How to describe a diverse set of characters without falling into purple prose or exoticism?

In my setting, a city was founded by people from all over the world, and developed in almost complete isolation (long version here). The story in itself starts several generations after the foundation....
27
votes
16answers
4k views

How do you write boy & girl protagonists without turning them into a love story?

I've played with the idea of a multi-book fantasy story for years, where a female and male protagonists' lives intertwine with one another, the series running from 12-22 years old for them. There ...
26
votes
14answers
14k views

Can a writer joke with the reader without breaking the fourth wall?

Can I, for example, write a whole new storyline inside my novel, and then say something, for example such as: "just kidding"? Or is that breaking the fourth wall?
17
votes
7answers
4k views

Character is an expert on something I'm not

My OC Edward, who I thought of quite a while ago but haven't done anything with, is a professional cyber spy and hacker. He's employed by an organization (in the future, of course) that is basically ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

Why are outlines so essential?

In my writing class, huge emphasis was placed on outlining the entire plot. Yet as I write it, things change dramatically, and I end up not following the outline. Is it bad to just go with the flow?
11
votes
4answers
418 views

How much can I trust my players to remember previous states of the story and not get confused?

In my game, the player may run into deadends in the story, which causes the game to end prematurely. This can range from the player simply getting killed, another important character in the story ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

What are some ways of extending a description of a scenery?

I find it very hard sometimes to describe a scenery, especially when the features are very bland, like you describe a city where all of the buildings are tall and look about the same or a plain with ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

How to make a debate/discussion between characters less dry?

I've asked questions in the past about dialogue and I've read some questions about balancing dialogue with plot, however I have discovered yet another corner case in my writing. In my story Cured, the ...
19
votes
8answers
2k views

How realistic should dialogue and character voices be?

I've heard a lot of conflicting suggestions in the past regarding dialogue, so I'm hoping I can get a solid answer here. Some people have told me that the best way to go about dialogue is to make it ...
16
votes
11answers
6k views

How do I have to refer to a person of a specific racial group?

My novel is developed in an East Asian environment (specifically Japan) and my main character is not Asian, she is from Central América and is Mixed Race. Now, my main character is going to refer to a ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it okay to say what the character infers about other characters thoughts as fact in third person limited?

The story is third person limited to Bob's point of view. He is with Alice, and I have the following line. Alice sat up proudly, then shrunk back down, realizing where she was. Compare this to ...
15
votes
11answers
3k views

Do I need to start off my book by describing the character's “normal world”?

I know a lot of books do it (Harry Potter, LOTR, Wheel of Time). It's even part of the "Hero's Journey". However, my book starts with the "inciting incidient" i.e. my main charatcer begins her first ...
15
votes
5answers
533 views

Writers Communities?

I don't mean writer's circles, or "auditioning sites", although some of these have forums tacked on as a by the by. Usually places to talk about the beardy philosophy of writing are moribund places as ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

How to Write a Good Metaphor

I struggle with metaphors. My attempts are either so wild that no-one understands them, so lame that they break down really easily or so normal that they are indistinguishable from cliché. I read the ...
10
votes
6answers
3k views

“Thought” Verbs: A sign of weak writing or a stylistic choice?

According to Chuck Palahniuk you should avoid "Thought" verbs as much as you can. These include: knew, thought, realized, believed, etc. However, I've seen many of them in books that I read. And I ...
8
votes
5answers
657 views

Am I breaking the “show don't tell” rule in the following passage?

Then, as if sensing my presence, the girl turned around. She looked young. Probably sixteen or seventeen. She had long black hair, crimson red lips, and a skin so pale it made me wonder whether ...
8
votes
7answers
7k views

In what order should I describe a setting?

For instance I'm describing the park of an art museum in a foggy day. I'm not sure if I should start with the fog, wind, grass, threes, walking paths, buildings, stairs or something else. Is there a ...
8
votes
4answers
815 views

Will what worked 'back then' work today? (Novels)

Tokein. Jane Austen. Steinbeck. The greats of the past. I often come across people on this site and elsewhere who use the works of these great authors and others as examples and reservoirs of advice. ...
7
votes
4answers
304 views

What language to write in for a beginner wanting to write fiction?

So far, all of the fiction I've written in my life has been short stories given as writing tasks in school. However, I've always enjoyed reading/watching/experiencing fiction and for the last few ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Sex: How much is too much?

Regardless of genre, at what point does sex stop becoming art and become the erotic blubbering of a perverse mind? Ever since middleschool my writing has had a sensual twist, and it has become more ...
5
votes
5answers
435 views

Writing the dialogues of characters who are much smarter than you

A.I. should have perfect English, but because they are mainly servants, they should be easily understood. Cyborgs, on the other hand, not necessarily, because they're augmented humans, but some ...
5
votes
5answers
557 views

Pitfalls to avoid when using the “GM technique” for fantasy writing

I've got an idea: If I were to use GURPS (Generic Universal Roleplaying System) for creating a story, then in-universe inconsistencies would practically be impossible. You wouldn't be able to turn ...
4
votes
2answers
152 views

How many elements can you focus on during worldbuilding?

Possibly related: How can I get readers to accept more than 1 "buy" in worldbuilding? Worldbuilding is a tireless art; that's what our brother site Worldbuilding-SE is for, and why as a ...
3
votes
8answers
677 views

How to invoke my creative side without investing too much time?

I suck at writing. There, I admitted it. More often than not, I find my self staring at a blank moleskine page, or the blinking cursor. You see, the problem lies not in writing itself, but ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

How to make horror events more interesting in daytime

In a book I'm writing at the moment I have created a world with a day and night cycle. I have created a veil of mystery over this madman and this machine he's made, however, every event to do with the ...
22
votes
8answers
3k views

Referring to different instances of the same character in time travel

I am writing a story that involves time travel, and I have a chapter where a character from the future interacts with his present-day self. This chapter is written from the present-day self's POV. ...
21
votes
13answers
5k views

How to make side-characters look competent next to the chosen one?

I'm writing a storyline for a game where the forces of evil have humanity cornered. Truly everything seems lost, that is, until our main character decides to step in. Let's call him Bob. The Chosen. ...
14
votes
8answers
4k views

Do Short Stories Need Definitive Endings?

I'm looking to create a few short stories that are in a shared universe of sorts and I'm curious whether or not I need to have a definitive ending to a story. I'm thinking that the "end" would be more ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

Invoking Deliberate Values Dissonance

Deliberate Values Dissonance is when the morals of a character or culture in-story (whether historical or fictional) that modern people don't agree with are presented in-universe. Not because the ...
9
votes
6answers
663 views

Why are clichés discouraged in fiction writing?

Every writer knows the rule: Avoid clichés like the plague! Wait I can't say that, it is a cliché. Let me try again, I hate to beat a dead horse but... No that won't work either. If you have ever ...
8
votes
2answers
729 views

How to write about an emotion you never experienced?

Is it possible for a writer to describe realistically a never felt emotion? For example I have never experienced faith, or being truly in love. I've never physically hurt anyone and have no idea of ...
8
votes
4answers
700 views

Peeking through character's mask

Normally, I specialize in strong, determined, uncompromising, extroverted protagonists, "If the laws of physics are against us, too bad, they need to be changed." I'm pretty good in getting them right....
8
votes
7answers
384 views

What aspects of written dialogue are important when giving characters a unique voice?

I have a project that I am working on in which I need to write quite a few fictional informal email correspondences between pairs of characters. I am not using these characters in any other context. ...
7
votes
4answers
6k views

Fiction writing: is using Git overkill? [duplicate]

Hope this question isn't off-topic because it involves programming software (for some reason I think many people in this site has used Git, though). Git is a revision control software to keeps track ...
6
votes
3answers
427 views

Do I need to have a degree to become a writer? [duplicate]

I've always loved to write. Granted I haven't been writing very much these days because of university but I want to publish a book one day. I want to keep writing as a hobby because I want to do more ...
6
votes
4answers
697 views

What makes a good action scene?

Action, in any storytelling medium, is the relationship between build up and pay off. While cinema may emphasize the payoff (pyrotechnics play well to theater-going crowds) it seems that the written ...
5
votes
6answers
3k views

How to hide something in plain sight (and keep it hidden)?

I’d like to include in a story “mysteries” and deceptions that (ideally) should be obvious in hindsight (By obvious, I mean "elephant in the room" kind of obvious). How to give to the reader every ...
4
votes
4answers
311 views

should I use predictable plot elements?

I see many similarities in films to the point where I can often guess what will happen next,even if the part was intended to be suspenseful. is that bad writing? should "plot twists" always be ...