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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18
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12answers
8k views

How to overcome the fact that I can't write long stories?

I have written some short stories (in fact, they are flash fiction). When I'm writing short stories, the ideas and the structure come to my mind by themselves. Something different happens when I try ...
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6answers
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How to give cartography information in a fantasy setting without being too precise?

I'm writing a fantasy story set in an imaginary world. For the first time, I'm giving geographical information and... I don't really know how to give it, actually. My alpha reader told me it was hard ...
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9answers
3k views

Referencing modern pop culture in science fiction

A geek today is quite likely to reference the pop culture of 30 years ago: "Do or do not, there is no try", "Beam me up, Scotty" and "Ground control to Major Tom" are easily and commonly recognisable. ...
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8answers
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How to open a novel?

Looking at the function of the beginning of a novel, it is clear that it should hook the reader and draw him or her into the story. Different techniques for achieving the hook have been described, ...
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6answers
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In a series of books, what happens after the coming of age?

I'm writing a novel focusing on a single character POV. For many aspects, it can be considered a coming of age story; along with the usual tropes of the hero's journey, my protagonist gradually learn ...
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6answers
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How to express martial arts action in fiction?

In the context of an actual as opposed to training fight scene in a fictional narrative, how would one express martial arts action? Generally, martial arts has a distinctive disciplined but powerful ...
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4answers
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Writing about real people - not giving offence

The Spy is a Netflix series about Israeli spy and hero Eli Cohen. In a recent interview, Eli's widow Nadia expresses great dissatisfaction with the series: a lot of changes were made, ostensibly to "...
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6answers
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How do you make a story succeed in spite of an unsympathetic main character?

I'm looking for techniques specific to a story with an unsympathetic main character. Confederacy of Dunces, for example. Why does that work, and why wouldn't that work with a likable hero?
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5answers
631 views

What can one do to get the most from limited writing time?

I do make an effort to write every day, and usually succeed, but I just have too much going on in my life right now to give my writing the time it would like to have. When I do have time, blog posts, ...
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4answers
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What is a beat?

I keep hearing the word "beat" in Writers.SE, as in "... break your scene into beats" from this question. What is a beat? How is it different from a scene?
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7answers
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Characters with no names

I've got a few short stories going, and I've foregone naming any of my characters. It started because I just didn't have any good names in my head and I was going to take care of it later, but now I'm ...
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6answers
4k views

Title already taken

I'm writing a novel, and I think I've come up with a very good title (The Power of the Powerless). It convey's the moral question of the story well, and gives a good sense of the style of the story. ...
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6answers
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Avoiding Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy

Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy is when the audience is put off by the incredibly dark nature of a fictional work and won't care what happens next, lose interest or want all the characters to die off....
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6answers
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What is “head popping” and why is it bad?

Most of my writing experience has been with first person, nonfiction stories. Now I want to try some fiction. I'm working in third person, but I'm a little bit confused about how to pull something off....
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2answers
3k views

What techniques are used to plot long (multi-novel) story arcs?

As a very visual person, I have always considered plotting a story to be somewhat like knitting or macrame. How do series authors handle multi novel story arcs? Do they just keep throwing out lines ...
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9answers
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How do I get my readers through the early, “hardship” part of my fiction?

A reader of one of my works told me, "It was very interesting, the last two thirds of it anyway." Her fear was that I might lose my readers in the first one-third of the work. The above work was a ...
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7answers
2k views

Diversity conflicting with authenticity

This is not quite the same question as Writing Diversity because it's not my intention to focus too much on diversity for my story, nor am I struggling with new ways to represent more cultures/...
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7answers
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Problem: Scenes that are unavoidable, but boring

More specifically: Two of my book series' main characters are (temporarily) diplomats. It's unavoidable to the progress of the plot. But diplomacy is inherently slow and boring. So, the general ...
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8answers
3k views

I wrote a scene that the majority of my readers loved. How do I get back to that place while writing my new book?

I wrote a scene that I put my heart and soul into. It was received well by most of my readers, but I'm struggling with crafting a new scene for a book I'm currently writing. Here's some comments from ...
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7answers
5k views

Is it a bad idea to have a character that has an “imaginary friend”?

In a story I'm working on, I'm adding a side character to travel with the two main characters because I realized I didn't have very much planned for actually showing who the main characters are and ...
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8answers
3k views

How can I make an in-universe random event feel like it was really random instead of just RNJesus' will?

Some stories feature random events that bring about drastic change either to the characters or to the setting. A lottery draw, some gotcha that grants a special skill. Most of the times I find one ...
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4answers
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Would it be wise to make the turning point of a story coincidental?

I've written a fictional story and the way my characters are coming together and forming a bond seems way too coincidental to me. A lady lives on the first floor while her tenant, a guy, lives on ...
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5answers
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Can I shop an unfinished novel?

I've been writing a novel that addresses some very current themes. My belief is that if I can get it out there quickly, it will succeed well. I'm working on it frantically, but will agents consider ...
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5answers
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What is flash fiction?

Is it simply defined by its short word count? Or are there other accepted conventions in flash fiction? If it's just the word count, how short is too short? How long is too long?
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5answers
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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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7answers
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What is considered “childish” in fictional writing?

There are some people who have read some of my book so far and they think it is childish and then some say it's somewhat morbid. What are your views on what each of those terms means?
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14answers
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Is it bad storytelling to have things happen by complete chance?

Background I recently noticed in my latest masterpiece novel there is quite a lot of things happening by chance. For example: The main character just happens to pass by an old, frail warrior who can ...
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12answers
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How do you keep a villainous character from being offensive to a particular group?

If the villain of your story is a member of a certain group, how do you keep the story from being offensive to members of that group? For example, one of the villain in my book is a WWII veteran. I ...
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13answers
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Am I bringing my character back to life too much?

This story is about a person in a sort of technologically advanced secret government organization that is basically SCP. The organization is very advanced and, in most cases, can revive dead people. I ...
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10answers
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How to refer to clothes without modern words ? (e.g: t-shirt)

This is a constant struggling point of mine. Most of my settings take place in fictional worlds often inspired by various parts of human history. For instance, one of my stories is located in an ...
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7answers
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How to survive editing

I am currently trying to edit a one my most recent novel. Trying is the keyword. I asked a few people to read my book as beta readers, but all of them have been busy, so no progress on that front. I ...
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7answers
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Writing a Satisfying Ending

It strikes me that the last chapter (or so) of any story needs to make the reader feel that reading the book has been a worthwhile experience. An exceptional ending might leave a reader with such a ...
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6answers
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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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5answers
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How does one avoid bland, generic fantasy while they write?

I have been mulling over the plot and characters for an elaborate fantasy work for a number of years now. The longer I mull things over, the more possessed I am that this story is worth telling. The ...
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6answers
2k views

Can I make a character make a philosophic observation or say their opinion, even if it's unnecessary for the plot/story?

I have a character in my story who has the habit of making philosophic observations about life and the functioning of things, or his opinion/vision about something. Although most of his observations ...
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7answers
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Why shouldn't I use a pen name?

I don't like my name. I feel like seeing my name on the cover of my novel will be an embarassment more than a moment of pride - I just can't take things I've written under my own name seriously, for ...
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6answers
830 views

How to get feedback about the quality of one's fictional writing from friends unbiased by the friendship?

It is a little strange to ask, but are there ways to get feedback from friends about the quality of fictional writing (whether they liked it, not more objective aspects like spelling/grammar/etc.) ...
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7answers
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How often do writers develop characters before plot, and why?

As someone who writes a little as a hobby, this is something that I haven't really thought about until just recently, but... Is it common for a writer to develop characters before actually coming up ...
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5answers
621 views

How can I hide a second narrative within my story? (using time travel)

I've been planning a story that follows two characters. At the end, one character (let's call him Joe) goes back in time and appears at the start of the book. I intend to explore themes of ...
16
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4answers
902 views

Can religions like Islam or Hinduism be represented respectfully in a fictionalized/fantastical Earth?

I asked this question in World-Building but it seems better fit for Writing. I ask for a few reasons. Despite the specific arguments against speculative fiction within Quranic tradition and protests ...
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2answers
2k views

Can I, as a reader, submit a “Bug Report” for a novel?

I just finished a new release. I encountered a passage in the book that doesn't quite make sense. Just a single sentence that is out of place. Grammatically it is fine, but in context it doesn't seem ...
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9answers
10k views

Is it offensive to kill my gay character at the end of my book?

In my novel, while the main characters are building the plot and driving it forward, there is a subplot with a gay couple. One of the gay partners is best friends with the female protagonist. At the ...
15
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8answers
5k views

Quote at the beginning of a chapter, is it advisable for fiction novels?

I have read a few non-fiction works (mostly scientific) where there is a quote at the beginning of each new chapter. Sometimes the quote related to the chapter along with the title, sometimes it was ...
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5answers
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I'm afraid that my setups will be overlooked

I have a main character that cannot die. I'm trying to convey this information to the reader, but since my character isn't aware of this, I've decided to leave hints throughout the adventure. This is ...
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6answers
7k views

How do you normalize a taboo custom in a setting that most readers would not agree with?

This setting' world is populated by witch covens that function as both royal houses and political entities. They are matriarchial, with witches had the head of families who directly control their ...
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6answers
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Do I have to mention my main character's age?

I finished my novel and realised that I never mentioned my main character's age. In chapter two I said that she in in her twenties, but that's the only mention of her age. I know that she is twenty-...
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8answers
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What's the benefit of using invented languages in-story?

I'm working on a fictional story set in a fantastical (although coherent) universe. I'm used to seeing invented languages in works like this: Tolkien's languages for The Lord of the Rings, or Paolini'...
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8answers
4k views

What makes an ending “happy”?

In this answer, Amadeus makes the case for happy endings based on their far greater popularity compared to unhappy endings. This leads me to wonder, what exactly makes an ending "happy"? Before I go ...
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6answers
3k views

Why aren't detective stories written in the protagonist's POV?

I've noticed that successful detective stories are, nearly always, not written in the point of view of the detective himself. The protagonist (i.e. the ingenious detective at the heart of the story) ...
15
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7answers
17k views

How to start a book off?

I have been working on my book (on and off...) for about 6 months. I have a good bit planned out with the plot, story line, and characters. I even have a small idea on how to start the story but ...

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