Questions tagged [fiction]

Fiction is a form of prose writing that deals with at least partly artificial or imagined events and characters. This tag should be used for any questions relating to fiction, including fiction formatting, techniques and publishing.

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2answers
155 views

How can I create an unreliable first-person narrator who is interesting and effective?

I have a series idea that I am toying with that has one character who becomes a bit less reliable mentally than her usual for a section of the story (this downward spiral is brought upon her largely ...
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4answers
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How do I successfully structure a long fiction piece?

I’ve ‘completed’ three novels – a thriller, a coming-of-age story, and a mystery. I’ve had expert readers for all three including Sue Grafton who read two of them. All the expert readers have the same ...
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1answer
63 views

When should one of my four main characters die?

I'm writing a book series (I may or may not publish it, not sure) that I'd like to have as 5 books long. I have four main characters, and I want part of the story to be three of them dealing with the ...
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4answers
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Legality over using a REAL museum and REAL artifacts in a fictional - HEIST novel

I have a question regarding the legality of using a real museum and real artifacts in my Heist book which is almost ready for publication. Initially, it will be self-published via the amazon kindle ...
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2answers
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Can I write a protagonist that speaks broken english without annoying the reader?

I’m wanting to write a protagonist that is from a fictional land with fictional languages and isn’t incredibly fluid in English. I’m thinking that when she narrates in her own head, she sounds pretty ...
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3answers
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I want to write about a suicide, how should I do it?

I want to have a book (or multiple) have a suicide in it, and I want to write the suicide. I don't know how exactly to go about that. I know that very descriptive details or very graphic images/video/...
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2answers
55 views

When a character is mentally recalling prior dialog verbatim, how should it be quoted?

When a character is mentally recalling prior dialog verbatim, should the dialog be surrounded by double-quotes or single-quotes, be italicized, or get no special treatment at all? For example: O'...
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12answers
4k views

Fictional diary for a novel

When it is appropriate to use the diary form for a novel? Which are the most effective published examples? (I mean fictional diaries, so not Anne Frank's diary).
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1answer
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Do modern readers like to read rhetorically saturated prose? [closed]

I’m on the path to beginning a short story, of which I will form the plot, the setting, the characters, the conflict, and every element of story according to a plan. But even though I've moved past ...
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6answers
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Is starting a story with dialogue bad?

(Apologies if this question has already been asked. I've looked around but can't find this specific question, only related ones.) The general advice seems to be "don't start your story with dialogue."...
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16answers
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Is there any point where an overpowered main character could be an interesting one?

I just read a novel where the main character is overpowered: he has unbeatable superpowers, many girls that are interested in him, enemies that get scared just by facing him, etc. I find it annoying ...
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5answers
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Is my opening chapter too short?

I've just started writing my first proper novel, I've written short stories and started to write before, but never really had the motivation, but now I have a new, interesting storyline to write about,...
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2answers
246 views

Humanoid vs Bipedaloid Word Diction

I'm doing an extensive write-up project, and I'm stumped for how an alien species similar to the human analogue morphology (Two Arms, Two Legs, and Plantigrade-Bipedal standing/maneuvering) should be ...
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7answers
597 views

Do I need a pen name? And how do I pick a good one?

Try having the name 'James Thompson'. It doesn't really sound like a name a professional writer would have, does it? Because I don't think so. So here is my question: Should I have a pen name instead ...
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3answers
559 views

How to skip over a long period of time

I'm writing a ficional story about a historical figure. My MC takes twelve years to achieve a major success. But the bulk of the work takes place in three stages: at ages 17, 23, and 29. I have ...
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7answers
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How does one include sign language in a dialogue?

If one character is using sign language and lip reading while the other is speaking normally, how do you represent the lines of the former? Quotations with "he signed" attribution or italics?...
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2answers
54 views

Formatting new line options with actions and dialogue in fiction

I am getting confused about whether rules determine new paragraph positions or if it's sometimes arbitrary. Some choices seem clear cut, but in the sentence: 'I regarded...' it reads fine to me in ...
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2answers
451 views

Which form of spelling is preferred when publishing for an English speaking audience?

Sample text: Dude had long been sceptical of abrupt changes in weather. (Quoted from an Australian author.) As an American, I was startled to see the alternative spelling of skeptical. Perhaps I am ...
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1answer
132 views

Am I able to freely borrow or reference real people, places or things in a story that takes place on a different world or a made up landmass?

I'm currently writing my first novel and I can't figure out whether I am able to reference an abundance of different people, places, and/or things. I've had this idea of wanting to sneak in a sizable ...
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6answers
8k views

Are modern authors still using colons and semicolons in dialogue?

Not sure if it's just my idea but I rarely see colons and semicolons in dialogue (especially in modern novels). Is it because they don't simulate normal speech? Because their use is more a semantic ...
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2answers
136 views

I'm writing blindly and I need help dealing with it

Writing isn't like drawing, and I can't take a step back and look at it and search for flaws in the story, because it's in my head already, and I know it, and I can't forget it. So when I write I ...
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4answers
840 views

Protagonist who is morally compromised and antagonist who is “good”?

My protagonist is Eris and my antagonist is Ezrith. In a post-apocalyptic world, my unreliable narrator Eris has the ability to control and manipulate life and subsequently kill any living thing at ...
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2answers
400 views

How to make a cat's perspective exciting?

I'm writing an article about a cat saving a three-year-old girl's life. So what tools/techniques can I use to keep the reader interested?
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1answer
96 views

How do you set a prologue in the present and then chapter 1 is like 5 months before?

Do you just put it like Prologue Present Day And then Chapter 1 Chapter Title 5 Months Earlier Or am I missing something?
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3answers
196 views

How to do a non-binary character?

I'm currently writing a novel in my spare time, though I like how it's going. The main character is a non-binary young adult, I try hard to make sure it doesn't sound off when people are using they/...
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5answers
173 views

When is there too much of a plot misdirection?

I'm sure that somebody is going to point me to this question, but my case is different. So I and my best friend are currently writing a science fiction novel that has many plot twists and "...
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4answers
247 views

How to convert indirect thought to film voiceover without it sounding contrived?

I am trying to convert a fiction book into a film script. The book uses third-person past tense narration that switches between several characters from chapter to chapter and thus is always from a ...
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1answer
83 views

The “dead all along” trope

I'd like advice. I'm aware that many find the "dead all along" trope to be cliche. In searching for advice, most revolves around a protagonists interactions as, or with, a ghost, which doesn'...
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3answers
111 views

How would a character with a certain personality react in a certain situation? [closed]

I'm at a point in my story where the main character(M17) was in a huge car crash. He'd been in an overturned vehicle for about 10 minutes and had sustained heavy damage. A few of his friends had come ...
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4answers
567 views

How should you describe turning pages quickly? [closed]

I want to describe this action. How should I describe this action?
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8answers
5k views

How to write a death scene without making it overdramatic?

Okay. In the story there's a flashback where one of the main protagonists loses his best friend in a battle where he was the only survivor. His best friend is a important character and, because of ...
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13answers
7k views

Is there a more modern version of “Acme”, as a common, generic company name?

Yes, Acme is an actual company name used by many real companies - bricks, bikes, food, real estate, etc. But more relevant to this point, it has also been used for ages for fictional purposes - not ...
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16answers
30k 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. (...
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2answers
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Is it possible to self-publish while also signed up to a publisher?

Is it possible to be signed up to a publisher but to also self publish? I am currently working with a publisher but in the future I would quite like to write a book series and the publishers do not ...
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2answers
143 views

How do I have my protagonist learn their lesson without pausing the plot?

I am writing a fantasy series where the protagonist's main flaw is that she feels she doesn't deserve happiness. In the mid point, the protagonist and the antagonist come face-to-face and the ...
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3answers
110 views

Linear beginning or flash-forwards? [duplicate]

I'm writing this fantasy story that focuses on two main characters. The story was supposed to start with the male protagonist. So, in the first four chapters or so, we get to know his current ...
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4answers
13k views

What's the difference between a 1-, 2- or 3-dimensional character?

The terms are bandied around quite often to describe fictional characters, generally in order to help describe how developed a character is in terms of personality and backstory. However, are there ...
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11answers
4k views

Does the hero have to defeat the villain themselves?

I'm writing a story where the villain is a powerful crime-boss. The hero is a young woman who is forcibly recruited into his mafia and is looking for an escape. In the end, I want to have the villain ...
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2answers
1k views

Can I write a story revolving around a video game (Without it taking place in game and making many changes)?

Okay, so this is odd, but hear me out. We've all heard the story, Person A finds a cursed video game cartridge, plays it, every character dies, Person B gets involved and dies, Person A gets rid of ...
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2answers
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What's an alternative, more generic word for “sky”?

I am looking for a word to describe what we see when we look up. For us, it's the sky. But, if you are, say, under the sea, that would be the surface of the sea. I need a word that can be used in both ...
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10answers
5k views

How to make a story entertaining with an almost invincible character?

I'm writing this fantasy story with the MC slowly transforming into a non-human being. Which makes him invulnerable... Or at least quite resistant. The problem is that I'm still not fully sure which ...
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6answers
5k views

How should my protagonist refer to my male character who is 18?

I am writing a part where the sixteen-year-old protagonist meets a male character who is eighteen-years-old. I am not sure how to refer to him - boy or man. The male character is legally an adult, he ...
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0answers
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Is my book too much like Harry Potter? I feel like it's close to it and everyone will think I'm copying it [duplicate]

(I'm summarizing) My book is about 2 girls who find a secret passageway and find a room that they have to figure out which "substance" will get them through the water wall (like when ...
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7answers
3k views

Distorting historical facts for a historical fiction story

So, I'm writing fiction but in it, historical events, such as wars between the French and British, are taking place. But, after doing research, it's looking to be difficult to squeeze my little ...
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1answer
48 views

Character's point of view when using empathic powers

I am writing my first novel in the third person semi-omniscient. I am aware that I ought to still structure passages from a primary character’s point of view, as in, if two or more characters are ...
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7answers
433 views

How exactly can a writer write a horror story without making it so scary to the point where it's actually hard to read or watch?

I've recently started getting into horror lately and trying to learn how all of the genre works so that maybe I myself can write good horror. But there's been one thing on my mind that's been ...
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6answers
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Is it a bad writing practice to start sentences with a verb?

I realized I start sentences with the, he, she, it, after and then all the time. So I'm starting to use verbs instead. Here is an example of something I wrote: Erin left out a sigh. "Why am I ...
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4answers
669 views

How to research sex for writing?

I'm not writing erotica - I'm writing fantasy and sci-fi. But sometimes my characters make love, sometimes in ways I cannot be familiar with. In one story, it's two guys (I'm a girl). In another story,...
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4answers
5k views

Is calling a character a “lunatic” or “crazy” ableist when it is in reference to their erratic behavior?

I am considering writing a line of dialogue in which character A calls character B (not to their face) "a lunatic". In the context of my story, it is clear that character A has a simplistic ...
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2answers
155 views

Help! I have a strong concept, but a million decisions to make! How do I finish my first draft?

During the lockdown, I wrote 60,000 words of my children's fiction book. It wasn't a consistent process and as such, it has many inconsistencies and obsolete scenes. At the moment, the draft looks ...

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