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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.

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How do you communicate to people that writing is a job and prevent interruptions?

I’ve been a writer for fifteen years, five as a full-time writer, and still haven’t figured out how to get the people in my life to view it as a job. Right now, I’m editing a novel to a very tight ...
61
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22answers
20k views

How do I know if a concept is sexist or not?

In my story's world, witchcraft is a respected institution, with the most powerful practitioners being at the top echelons of society. Due to this, society traces its lineage through matrilineal lines....
60
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9answers
15k views

How to write a story without conflict, like “My Neighbour Totoro”?

We are used to stories being about conflict. There can be an antagonist, or a hostile environment, or even an internal problem (like depression), but conflict is there. The story arc involves dealing ...
58
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14answers
24k views

Is the “hero guy saves girl” trope misogynistic?

(Question about my hacker (hacking??) novel.) Just an FYI, I am a woman. Edward is a cyber spy and works with an organization named Vox Populi to curate and release all data online, especially the ...
54
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10answers
13k views

Traits of Bad Writers - Analysing Popular Authors

I realise that this question can fall in the scope of personal opinion but I am looking for something concrete. Very often, not only on this site but other writing related sites, I find people ...
50
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12answers
13k views

Sometimes a banana is just a banana

Often reading analyses of books and films, I find that the analytics derive conclusions from the specific food or beverage that a character consumes. The food appears to always be symbolic of ...
48
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12answers
9k views

Convincing argument about something I don't agree with

In my dystopian novel, Day, the son of a fascist dictator, is trying to convince Analise, a young genetic mutant oppressed under said fascist dictator, that the dictatorship's laws allowing censorship ...
48
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16answers
33k views

Is there any good time-line software out there?

I write mostly speculative fiction, and use Scrivener for writing and note-taking. But I'm looking to start crafting timelines to keep track of the exact year and months events in the distant and ...
47
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10answers
16k views

'The Chosen One' paradox

In many books novels or other forms of fictional writing, the reader is introduced to a so called 'chosen one'. This character or being is of higher power or in general, of different nature than other ...
47
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10answers
9k views

My kid's first story

So, my 11-year son has just written his first literature work yesterday: A short fantasy story about werewolves in a forest chased by a group of courageous men. Half-full of mistakes of all kinds, ...
45
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14answers
10k views

Avoiding spectacle creep

It's common in stories for spectacle to build over time. Each story arc, the stakes get higher, the drama gets more intense, the villains get more dangerous, and so on. For a story with a fixed ...
40
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7answers
5k views

How often should I remind my readers of the setting?

My story takes place in a city during a hard winter: streets are covered with snow, the wind is blowing, the river is frozen. I describe all the setting in the very first scene. My character leaves ...
39
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13answers
9k views

How can I explain my world if the character is technologically not yet capable of understanding it?

One feature of my world is a plant that lives in a magmaous (rather than "volcanic") cave. It photosynthesizes by absorbing infrared radiation from the magma. However, the world is roughly at a ...
37
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16answers
8k views

How do I convey that a relationship is platonic?

I've been toying around with the idea of writing a novel. The story revolves around two characters, one male and one female, and the perspective will shift between them. One of the central ideas of ...
36
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16answers
14k views

How do I write LGBT characters without looking like I'm trying to be politically correct?

So I have a few characters now (two possibly three) who identify as LGBT. My problem is I'm worried that I might come across as "trying to be politically correct". How do I write about characters who ...
36
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13answers
9k views

What are the Pros and Cons of long names?

Background: I'm developing names for places/characters/races/etc. in my world. One example are a particular political sect. The sect are a group within a different species that are named (the species ...
34
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9answers
8k views

My story is written in English, but is set in my home country. What language should I use for the dialogue?

I'm an amateur writer from the Philippines. I am writing a novelette for an international writing contest. My story is written in English, but is set here, in my country, with my POV character being ...
34
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13answers
6k views

How can you write when you're upset?

I mean exactly this. Writing needs focus, to some extent. Even if you may fall into a state were words flow naturally on the keyboard almost without effort, you still have to reach that condition. ...
34
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8answers
7k views

How do I stop using 'the' to start sentences so much?

Something that always bothers me in my writing is how often I start sentences with the word "the". A terrible nonsensical example: The dog ran through the rain-swept streets, chasing a ball he ...
33
votes
12answers
6k views

Want to write, have ideas, no story telling techniques or experience, feeling lost?

I have developed a sci-fi/fantasy mixed universe with many characters, good amount of background lore and I have a plot for at least two different stories each for a single/multi novel length. So far ...
33
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5answers
5k views

How much can a reader remember?

I've been writing some fantasy. Now, inevitably because its a big piece of fantasy, its all very involved with the world, culture, story and general bits. Personally, I'm really enjoying writing it. ...
32
votes
12answers
8k views

Is it true that good novels will automatically sell themselves on Amazon (and so on) and there is no need for one to waste time promoting?

This is what Dean Wesley Smith teaches in his articles and workshop videos. He says that all you have to do is just write and publish your books on kdp (Kindle Direct Publishing, the self-publishing ...
29
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15answers
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 ...
29
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11answers
5k views

Why are writers so hung up on “show versus tell”?

I write primarily science, which I readily admit can be very bland. On occasion I read fiction, but have found over the years that my tastes have changed considerably. Overly descriptive scenes leave ...
29
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8answers
9k views

I feel like my book is too small and I’m kind of just throwing all my ideas out too quick. Does this mean filler might be necessary?

My book seems like it’s going to be way too short. My goal was 300 pages but it seems like it’s barely gonna make 100. What should I do?
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14answers
6k views

Are reactive protagonists inherently a bad thing?

I'm just getting into writing and while reading about it I've found a lot of topics which claim that reactive protagonists are generally frowned upon. Reactive: Acting in response to a situation ...
29
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15answers
6k views

Creating an incompetent antagonist

I'm in the early stages of developing a fantasy story. At a high level, it involves the tried-and-true, if cliched, plot line of "Scrappy group of rebels fights for liberation against the oppressive ...
29
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9answers
3k views

Is it smart to reserve one's best ideas or to utilise them early in their writing career?

At the very commencement of my writing "career" (I have virtually zero experience), I have an idea I would like to flesh out and turn into a full story. Being extremely proud of the concepts I have ...
28
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15answers
16k views

Is it okay to publish a book at a young age?

I am writing a novel that is called 'Murder' It's about a girl who almost gets murdered but then has to live with the murderers with almost no knowledge that they are the ones that killed her. (...
28
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6answers
7k views

How do you avoid smiling, head-bobbing characters?

Posting on a question about word frequency data, I read an excellent answer from @DPT about avoiding words that become so frequent, they're problematic. In a snippet of that answer, they wrote: But,...
28
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9answers
2k views

Are there jobs that involve creative writing in the software industry?

I've been a developer for some years now, but I've realized that I need a job where I can be more creative (and hopefully work more with people (except dba's)). Since I love writing, but at the same ...
27
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11answers
16k views

Is my story “too diverse”?

(Edit: I feel like I should clarify, these are the only LGBT characters in the story, and the only characters whose sexualities are even touched on, and they are part of a larger group of people, ...
27
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11answers
6k views

Should we avoid writing fiction about historical events without extensive research?

I was thinking about writing about the Holocaust, but I am not sure if it's a good idea since I am not sure if people would feel offended if I exaggerate certain events or facts even if it makes the ...
27
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13answers
7k views

Painting ritualistic murder in a “good-guy” light?

My good guys murder people. They slowly carve runes onto them to help defeat the bad guys. Sure they try to use "society's worst" people for the rituals, but realistically that doesn't always happen. ...
27
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5answers
6k views

Writing garbage to see if the characters do something interesting?

I need a change ~ 80% of the way through my story. At the moment, I'm just throwing my characters into different combinations and seeing if they come up with anything interesting. Two of my ...
26
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16answers
3k 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 ...
25
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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?
25
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6answers
5k views

Is it Ok to make up places if I want the reader to think it’s set in the real world?

What I’m doing is making a story in the medieval times and I wanted to make up a village and have my characters be there and travel around there but do I have to make everything around there in the ...
25
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10answers
3k views

What's Essential In A Combat Scene?

I've just been reading a bunch of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files books. Although they were the most enjoyable read I'd had in ages I always found myself skimming long segments that described involved ...
24
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11answers
9k views

How to write a PG13 Succubus character?

I am currently writing a character that represents Lust and is a demonic entity... but to tone it down for a YA audience. I thought of trying to make them "Love-based" instead, but I always envision ...
24
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12answers
4k views

Problems Blending Sci-fi & Traditional Fantasy?

I have been cautioned against blending: Traditional fantasy elements Such as magic systems and exotic, less plausible creatures (on a scientific level - magic tends to explain away these beasts) ...
24
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7answers
3k views

How do I know what I'm writing is interesting to the reader?

I'm starting to wrap up the gestation period of my first book - right now I have a notebook filled with a lot of observations of life and topics I want to deal with in my book. I'm now starting to ...
24
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15answers
6k views

Is a lawful good “antagonist” effective?

In my post-apocalyptic novel, my protagonist is not necessarily "good", and although the antagonist is an honest and kind person, my protagonist perceives her as "evil". My antagonist is the leader ...
24
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7answers
5k views

How do we objectively assess if a dialogue sounds unnatural or cringy?

By unnatural, I don't mean ungrammatical, but something people wouldn't really say. For example, in many fictions, you find yourself in very weird situations and it's hard to know how a person would ...
24
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6answers
5k views

What keeps most authors writing after receiving multiple rejections?

Last year, I completed a heavily researched 95,000-word novel about an emerging pandemic that targets primarily children. I am a former scientist and current nurse and wanted to do teaching about what ...
24
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7answers
5k views

What is a subtle way of mentioning a man became physically aroused?

In my novel, I'm currently writing from a male's perspective and I need a bit of help. It's not an erotic book, but I'm writing a flashback from his teenage years which involves a bosom hug and I ...
24
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4answers
4k views

How to Write an Eldritch Abomination?

My trilogy features an otherworldly monstrosity called Fenrisúlfr as it's primary antagonist, whose characterisation takes cues from Nyarlathotep, Sauron, Showa!King Ghidorah, Sutekh, Makuta Teridax ...
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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 ...
23
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12answers
6k views

When writing science fiction, how important is it to provide scientific details for the (fictitious) things you are presenting in the story?

I know there is a difference between 'hard' and 'soft' science fiction. But even then, it can be hard to know what sort of categorization in which to place and treat your story, and it is not really ...
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8answers
10k views

How can I Avoid Being Frightened by the Horror Story I am Writing?

Yes, I have to admit it. I don't like horror movies because (shocker) I find them scary. Unlike other people in my house, I do not like being scared. Especially right before I go to bed. I dislike ...