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
68
votes
22answers
21k 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....
64
votes
12answers
10k views

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 ...
63
votes
17answers
14k views

Avoiding racist tropes in fantasy

I'm interested in starting a pleasure project: a fantasy story, along the lines of a witch delivering a prophecy to a king about a dangerous and deceitful foe who will overthrow him, and the king ...
61
votes
14answers
25k 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 ...
61
votes
9answers
16k 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 ...
55
votes
12answers
14k 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 ...
53
votes
10answers
14k 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 ...
53
votes
13answers
10k views

How do I write “Show, Don't Tell” as a person with Asperger Syndrome?

I have been told by my friends that my writing seems a bit blunt in the sense of I rarely practice "Show, Don't Tell" (SDT) in my stories. However, I personally find SDT hard because...I just don't ...
49
votes
17answers
8k views

How to creep the reader out with what seems like a normal person?

The person in question, though this is yet unknown, is not actually a person. Instead, they are some form of eldritch being of which we cannot comprehend. Though, they seem for all appearances and ...
49
votes
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, ...
48
votes
12answers
10k 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
votes
16answers
38k 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
votes
12answers
17k 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 ...
45
votes
14answers
11k 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 ...
42
votes
14answers
9k views

What can a novel do that film and TV cannot?

I have enjoyed writing prose for years and have a few short stories penned. I would like to build up to a novel but believe I have identified a potential weakness in my storytelling. My style is ...
42
votes
13answers
12k views

Averting Real Women Don’t Wear Dresses

Real Women Don’t Wear Dresses is when writers portray female characters possessing traditional feminine qualities as being less desirable, competent and reliable instead of their tomboy foils. They ...
40
votes
13answers
16k views

Avoiding the “not like other girls” trope?

The "not like other girls" trope is pretty common in young adult fiction, arguably misogynistic, and usually applied to a female protagonist or love interest. Attempts to make a female character ...
40
votes
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
votes
12answers
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 ...
38
votes
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 ...
37
votes
10answers
4k views

How to write strategy and schemes beyond my real-life capabilities?

I am interested in how to write compelling schemes, large-scale strategies and tactics etc. There are lots of fictional stories where the characters are amazing strategists, or incredibly intelligent....
36
votes
16answers
16k 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
votes
13answers
10k 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 ...
36
votes
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 ...
35
votes
13answers
14k views

Should I use the words “pyromancy” and “necromancy” even if they don't mean what people think they do?

If you look up the exact definition for "pyromancy" or "necromancy" they refer to divination using fire and the dead, respectively. However, if you were to ask a layperson what those words mean, they ...
34
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 ...
34
votes
10answers
9k 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
votes
12answers
7k 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
votes
13answers
7k 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. ...
33
votes
11answers
6k views

How can I answer high-school writing prompts without sounding weird and fake?

Being given a prompt makes me freeze up immediately. Let me clarify. I'm talking about high school writing prompts. You know. Those. The ones that ask you to write an essay about what you would ...
33
votes
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
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 ...
30
votes
9answers
5k views

How do you cope with rejection?

I know that Bradbury was rejected about 800 times. I know the famous JK Rowling story. Yet the question is lurking in my mind, becoming stronger and clearer with each rejection: what if? What if I am ...
29
votes
11answers
6k 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
votes
6answers
5k views

How to “Start as close to the end as possible”, and why to do so?

Kurt Vonnegut has 8 tips on how to write a good story Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted. Give the reader at least one character he or she ...
29
votes
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
votes
13answers
17k 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, ...
28
votes
11answers
9k views

An LGBT main character, but the book isn't about LGBT issues

So I'm in the very early stages of plot development on a new story. It focuses on a (nonbinary, hence the they/them pronouns) witch named Kem who recently discovered their powers and met some ...
28
votes
13answers
6k views

To what extent should we fear giving offense? [closed]

Recently we have seen multiple questions on various aspects of political correctness. They have sparked some measure of disagreement, which is what I wanted to examine here. To what extent should we ...
28
votes
13answers
8k views

Should I avoid “big words” when writing to a younger audience?

I was writing the other day and I used the word "ubiquitous". While I don't think "ubiquitous" is the most egregious example of "Using Big Words To Sound Intelligent", and would be perfectly ...
28
votes
14answers
7k 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 ...
28
votes
16answers
5k views

How do I portray irrational anger in first person?

Characters (and people) get angry at all sorts of things that might not make sense to the outside observer: Marty McFly and the word "chicken," words that are terrible slurs to one population but ...
28
votes
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 ...
28
votes
15answers
19k 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
votes
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. ...
28
votes
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
votes
9answers
3k 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
votes
12answers
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
votes
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?
27
votes
11answers
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 ...