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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25
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8answers
3k views

How much character growth crosses the line into breaking the character

(not a duplicate of Character Development - How much is too much? because that one is more about "overreaction" to smaller events.) TL;DR: How much can a character change without becoming ...
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11answers
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How to prevent “they're falling in love” trope

I have two characters, the male being sort of a jerk, but lightening up later in the story, and the female is...very hateful. But a person who read the first chapter asked me if they were going to get ...
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14answers
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How do I present a future free of gender stereotypes without being jarring or overpowering the narrative?

My story takes place in a relatively near future setting where gender stereotypes have become a thing of the past. Unlike a recent question on another site, physiological sex-specific traits are still ...
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7answers
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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 ...
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12answers
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What does Show don't Tell actually mean

I am asking this question because I think we need a precise definition of what Show Don't Tell means if we are to decide if it is good advice or bad, or if it is a valid suggestion for certain ...
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10answers
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Should I defend my character's appearance?

I'm in talks with a publisher about my comic book. In it, the main character is a hunter who hunts monsters, but in a way inspired by how real hunters hunt. My editor suggests that the character wears ...
24
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5answers
13k views

How to describe the point-of-view character without using mirrors

In fiction, the main character is often the first person we meet in the story. Given that the story is written from his/her point of view, how would you describe what they look like? The classical ...
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5answers
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How to avoid hearing “that's me!” from your friends when they read your characters?

I recently asked about getting inside of someone else's head for writing good characters who are noticeably different from myself and received some great answers. One answer suggested that you should ...
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11answers
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Don't look at what I did there

This question is about hiding from the reader the fact that I am skipping some steps. Worse, perhaps, I don't want to show them, and I may have no clue or intention of figuring out how these steps ...
23
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14answers
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Creating a story in which the hero(es) lose [closed]

So I am still in the primitive stages of creating my own world and story, if I even do it that is. I am still trying to get a feel for where I want to go with it. The biggest issue would be that, my ...
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12answers
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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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7answers
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Showing mass murder in a kid's book

Galastel did a spin off question based on one of mine. Mortal danger in mid-grade literature. And hers has spurred a new one for me. This is an issue I've been grappling with for a while and I still ...
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7answers
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What is the difference between writing in the first and the third person?

What kind of story is better suited for each point of view? Are there advantages or disadvantages inherent to them? For example, writing in the first person you are always following a character, ...
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9answers
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How to handle a massive info dump post-ending?

I know this question has been asked a few times, and I’ve read all the helpful answers, but can’t implement them in my situation. So, would love some further assistance. I’ve written a psych thriller ...
22
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9answers
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What breaks suspension of disbelief?

So much of Sci-Fi and Fantasy requires the viewer (or reader) to suspend their disbelief: The speed of light can be circumvented, magic works, vampires are real (and may or may not sparkle), etc. ...
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7answers
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How to tell readers your story is a re-imagination of a popular story?

If for example, I were to rewrite a story heavily inspired by Romeo and Juliet, but placed it in a complete different setting. Do you have to say it? Also, do you mention it in the title that's it's a ...
22
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8answers
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How to be mindful of the reader when handling disturbing/distressing subjects?

I’m attempting to write some ‘difficult to read’ scenes such as violence, rape, trauma, etc. And I’m not talking about ‘good’ violence such as in Game of Thrones or a Quentin Tarantino film. The novel ...
22
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10answers
952 views

What is Literary Fiction?

I keep hearing about literary fiction, and how it is so much better than genre fiction. What exactly is literary fiction?
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7answers
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When should one *not* present events in chronological order?

Some stories tell well from beginning to end, all in a neat little line...and some don't. When can a story be improved by using a different order in the telling? Off the top of my head, I'd say ...
22
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3answers
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How do you make a character quintessential, but not cliched or cartoony?

I think it's hard to make a character standout and embody their traits without becoming cliched or cartoony. How do you do this? What are some tips to enlivening a character and making them memorable?
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6answers
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Is head-hopping always bad?

The general consensus nowadays seems to be that being in the head of more than one character is bad. We should be "on the shoulders" or "in the head" of one character, and one character only, if not ...
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7answers
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Can you have too many story arcs running at the same time?

I've written about 15k words of my story now and the plot is developing nicely. Perhaps a bit too nicely. I have about a dozen of named characters which all have something interesting to do in the ...
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8answers
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Is it frustrating not to know the narrator's gender?

I have written a 1st person piece and reading it I realize it's very difficult to tell if the narrator is male or female. There are one or two clues, and they come pretty late in the piece. Would ...
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5answers
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How to add depth to writing - turn a story into a book [duplicate]

I've had a few 'great ideas' for books. I'm a big sci-fi fan, especially Michael Crichton. I'm not sure if that's relevant but there it is. I want to write a full length book, not a short story, a ...
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4answers
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Feedback: What to use and what to ignore?

I posted my novel online for critique. And stumbled with the obvious question: when should I consider a feedback and when should I ignore it? This is what I'm doing so far: If more than two people ...
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7answers
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of writing in first person?

A lot of people are either on the side of first person or the side of third person. But what are the advantages and disadvantages of writing in first person for fiction?
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How do I write “fantasy counterpart cultures” without being accused of cultural appropriation?

In my book series, the various planets of the galaxy are inhabited by different cultures, most of which are based on or inspired by, at least to some extent, by real-world cultures. For example: ...
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6answers
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Should we add a character in a story for realistic effect?

In my novel, the protagonist is divorced and moves from London to another city in Britain. The setting is 2013. The protagonist is depressed and stressed out; in real life, such a person would see a ...
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13answers
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How to present an alien culture with different morals, without it coming across as savage?

For a fiction story of mine (probably fantasy, if I had to categorize it), I've set it in a world that is in some ways similar to Earth, and in other ways very dissimilar from Earth. In place of ...
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6answers
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Is it okay to majorly distort historical facts while writing a fiction story?

Suppose A is a famous historical character with a known history of emotional attachment with a particular set of people. If I would want to write a fictional story about character A that might involve ...
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9answers
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How to prevent turning off the reader at first with a protagonist with unlikeable traits but that becomes better later on?

I have a story where the protagonist, who is a warrior meant to be the story's hero, has several unlikable traits. He is proud, kind of cold, has a hatred for the people of the enemy State (without ...
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9answers
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I have 97 pages in my book draft. Is it too late to swap to third person from first?

I've been writing a One Piece fan fiction to improve my writing. I foolishly decided to write it in first person and now I kinda want to change it to third person - but I'm already 97 pages into the ...
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5answers
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Brands to use, brands not to use

Inspired by GGx's question Will traditional publishers force you to remove brands? I would probably not want to mention a brand name of a small brand in my work: a small brand might not want to be ...
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6answers
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Keeping track of multiple plot lines

How do you track several plot lines woven together? I usually run 2 or 3 plot-lines in parallel, so I detail those plots each in a separate document. But as the book goes on, it is sometimes ...
20
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7answers
706 views

How to deal with common Earth references in a non-Earth setting?

Until now, I have mostly written in settings similar enough to Earth, mostly with human beings. For the first time, I am writing a short story set on a different planet, where the protagonists are not ...
20
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4answers
649 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,...
19
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11answers
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How to derive a first sentence from a story?

There is much advice out there on "how to write a killer opening line". Usually these blog posts or how-to-write book chapters list examples of first sentences from recognized masterworks or group ...
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5answers
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Protagonist constantly has to have long words explained to her. Will this get tedious?

A while back, I redrafted my NaNoWriMo 2017 story, but it still needs another draft. This question is about one of the concerns I have. The story takes place in a medieval fantasy setting, and the ...
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9answers
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Can non-English-speaking characters use wordplay specific to English?

Would it be jarring if in an original (non-translated) story, the characters, who don't speak English in-universe, use "untranslatable" wordplay/puns that are specific to English? By "untranslatable" ...
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12answers
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Is the genre 'fantasy' still fantasy without magic?

Is writing a fantasy novel with no mages, witches, wizards or anything remotely magical a waste of time? Can it still be classified as fantasy?
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8answers
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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 ...
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8answers
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Is it so bad to end up with a “done before” plot?

I'm not delusional about the nature of the science fiction novel I'm (very) slowly working on. A brief run down might be as follows: Set 10's of millennia in Human's future but in a neighbouring ...
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6answers
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Alternatives to “he said” in dialogue

I'm working on my first fiction story. And one mechanical thing I struggle with is how to identify the speakers in dialog without constantly saying "Bob said", "Mary said", etc. ...
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4answers
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Will traditional publishers force you to remove brands?

I’ve read the other questions on this topic but the answers seem contradictory and somewhat opinion-based. Some posters have said you ‘don't want to risk the wrath of corporate lawyers’ (or trademark ...
19
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6answers
8k views

How to deal with a story that 95% of it takes place in a different language country and the protagonist speaks in it?

The protagonist is from a certain country, and in some point of the story he moves to another one that speaks another language. The protagonist learns their language and talks with them in it. ...
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7answers
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Detail vs. filler

How can I minimise the "filler" text that I end up writing when fleshing out a scene with detail? An appropriate level of detail seems to me to be a fundamental requirement for good prose. Whatever I ...
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9answers
4k views

Avoiding Slang whilst Writing

I sometime express my personality too much in my more creative fiction. When I get going, I include slang words and phrases that sound fascinating and are comprehensible to me, but may not be ...
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9answers
8k views

Writing a character who is an expert in something that I can't know

I'm writing a story where the main character comes back from the dead. The character is fully lucid, knowledgeable and articulate about what has happened. I want to depict the character as an expert, ...
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9answers
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Death as person - A funny part of the story? Or serious stuff?

Death as a person is commonly known to any reader of the "Discworld" series from Terry Pratchett. Also death appears in the series "Supernatural" as one of the apocalyptic riders. Another approach in ...
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8answers
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How to make clear what a part-humanoid character looks like when they're quite common in their world?

How can I describe an unconventionally part-humanoid character, so the reader knows clearly what they look like, while in a world where these people are normal and it's not unusual at all for ...

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