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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3answers
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What is the most important characteristic of New Weird as a genre?

Recently I've stumbled across China Miéville's novels. Apparently, they fit in a genre called Weird Fiction, or to be even more specific New Weird, where the "new" is used to distinguish new ...
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What is a good methodology for researching a historical novel?

I'm having difficulty with the research aspect of my historical novel. This question was originally going to be "how much research should one do to write a historical novel?" to which, answering my ...
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What should be in a cover letter for short story submission to a magazine?

It's been about five years since I last submitted any of my work for publication, and my memory of what I was taught then to put in my cover letter is getting rusty. What kind of information should ...
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How to prevent seeming like a Marty Stu-ish villain is cheating?

In a story I'm writing, there's a villain who is a genius strategist that can get anything he wants, whatever it is, by developing perfect strategies that can have only two possible outcomes: 1, ...
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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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How can I Switch Protagonists Between Books?

Disclaimer: I am not intending on doing this. It is just a question I thought was fascinating and might be useful to other writers. Here's the scenario. You're writing a series of novels. After the ...
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7answers
934 views

Breaking up a talky piece of writing

Dialogue is my favorite thing to write. I tend to use a lot of dialogue in my writing, which sometimes results in long, talky passages -- a bit similar to this question about breaking up exposition. ...
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7answers
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of setting a story in a made up country, compared to a real one?

I have story ideas that involve civil wars or revolutions happening while a character is travelling. I was wondering what would be the advantages and disadvantages of setting such a story in a made up ...
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Is it bad writing or bad story telling if first person narrative contains more information than the narrator knows?

Here are a few examples of the narrator knowing more than he should. (A) In a humourous short story about Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, Bertie is talking about a situation involving two strangers and ...
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7answers
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Will using real-world cultural vocabulary in a fantasy setting disengage readers?

If I have certain minor rituals/garments/culture tidbits in a fantasy setting that mirror those of Earth, and I describe them using the real-world vocabulary, will that disengage readers from the ...
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Should you read your own genre?

In terms of novel writing, I tend to avoid my own genre, at least for the most part. Some of the reasons why: Genre Blindness / Genre Trap: Too much reading of your own genre blinds you to the ...
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Has anyone ever written a novel or short story composed of only dialogue? [closed]

The participants describe everything needed for the story to continue, within the conversation. The environment, the emotions, everything. The reader gets to "see" it all through their words. Has it ...
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How to avoid repetitive sentence structure?

I've realized that I always start sentences with (name of character), he, she, it, they, her, his, the, after (a moment/that), and then. I wonder if there's any useful exercise or tip to reduce this? ...
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Arousing Emotion in Readers

Last Christmas my sister bought me a tome called The Book of Human Emotions (by Tiffany Watt Smith). I just started reading it and it got me thinking about how a writer might arouse emotion in a ...
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Should I use the real name or attempt to describe?

I'm writing a story in a fantasy setting, where there are characters who dress with ancient Egyptian type clothing - such as haram pant and usekh collars. Since the story is a fantasy and not set in ...
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How do I balance immature levity and flaws and character growth?

I am working on a series where one of the intended primary draws is character drama and growth. I have an ensemble cast of five characters who more or less share the role of main character equally, ...
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3answers
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How to create space

Recently, a few snippets of my fiction have received critiques along the lines of 'Does not give a sense of space'. Or 'needs more description, sights and sounds'. I think where I am going wrong is ...
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4answers
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What are character flaws and what makes a good one?

I mean, what exactly defines a flaw for a character? I know that the character's flaws should have at least some impact in the story, instead of being just a mere detail, but what makes flaw X better ...
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How to start writing a book?

I'm new to writing and I'm still young (preteen young). I want some advice on writing and help. How am I gonna start my book? What is the best way to begin writing a book?
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2answers
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Is it posssible to find a literary agent if I'm Egyptian but write in English?

Here is my situation: I am Egyptian, my native language is Arabic but I don't want to write in Arabic I want to write in English. Would a literary agent from an English speaking country agree to work ...
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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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9answers
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Do writers write philosophical essays?

I'm son to two philosophers, and maybe this shaped too much my way of understanding the world. I think a lot, or maybe thinking means a lot to me. And, mainly, I think about art questions and art ...
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Series: How can I get my reader to not expect any one genre?

Background: I'm planning on writing an extensive series of fantasy books. I plan on writing quite a few of these books, and while they'll all be set on the same planet, I intend them to center on ...
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How to expand my vocabulary? [duplicate]

I wanted to write something for a long time. But what I think is, in writing the choice of words plays a very significant role. From where I can learn this thing? I think I don't have enough words in ...
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Are tables of contents mandatory in novels?

I've had several people ask me why my fiction story does not have a table of contents. I never really thought about it, seeing as plenty of fiction stories do not have one either. Is a table of ...
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When can You Pause the Story and Speak Directly to the Reader?

Note: This question was previously about breaking the fourth wall. I discovered that my interpretation of that phrase was wrong. I have therefore rewritten the question. (The above is in place to ...
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What does being “heavy handed” mean? And how does one avoid it?

I've come across the term "heavy handed" before, and it seems to be one of the more egregious mistakes that one can make while writing - at least that's the impression I get from critics. What does ...
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How to describe an everyday routine?

I have a character who is living through a very regular everyday routine for a longer time, let's say a couple of months. How do I describe this routine and give the impression of time passing by in ...
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6answers
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How do I find flaws in a character I'm building?

I have a particular character in my story who I feel is great. He's a retired monster hunter who settled down with his wife for his later years. He's all-around friendly, respectful, empathetic, wise, ...
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8answers
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What to call a main character who changes names?

I'd like to write a story, in the third-person perspective, centering on a character who changes her name several times in the course of the story. She uses her birth name for the first couple of ...
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7answers
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I am overplotting my story - how can I figure out what is necessary and cut out what isn't?

I have recently discovered that the plot and cast of characters of my novel is so unbelievably complex that I am the only one who can actually understand it. I have too many characters, with too many ...
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Is it true that stories get rejected simply because the stories are not appealing enough and not because of the quality of the writing?

In other words, if the writing is poor or not good enough but the editor likes the story, then a revision is requested. I'd like to add that part of the reason for asking this question is because ...
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How to write two seemingly different characters that are actually the same person?

I'm currently working on a book with two protagonists and switching the perspective between them. They have quite different plotlines, but actually they're the same person. English is not my first ...
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What to do if I end up confused by my own plot because of 'trying to be original' or 'trying to make the story more deep'?

Sometimes, I find myself in the dilemma that I come out with a plot that tells exactly what I want to say. But then, I try to modify it in order to make it more original (at least, less similar than ...
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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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Invoking Deliberate Values Dissonance

Deliberate Values Dissonance is when the morals of a character or culture in-story (whether historical or fictional) that modern people don't agree with are presented in-universe. Not because the ...
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How to write from the middle?

My biggest problem as a writer is that I always get inspired and then start writing from the middle, in particular scenes or moments which I think will be crucial. Climaxes. These scenes turn out ...
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4answers
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Is it a flaw if a book is readable, flows well, and gets the point across, BUT you can tell that the author is a non-native?

Even though English is not my first language, I have completed writing a fiction book in English. I have been in the US for over 40 years and I believe that I have a good command of the language. (...
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What makes first person plural a tricky narrative voice?

I absolutely loved Joshua Ferris's debut novel Then We Came to the End. Critics highly praised his use for the first person plural as a narrator. The work is set in an office and the "we" used ...
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4answers
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Does it make sense to (partially) create a conlang that you don't intend to actually use in the story?

The story that I'm currently working on is in a very far future. Clearly, people will speak a different language then. Now, I wondered if it can make sense to (partially) create a conlang for the ...
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Should I remove scenes that I myself find “boring”?

Sometimes, I find myself writing a scene that does everything I think it should do: reveal details about the protagonist, drive the plot forward, show other elements related to the story, etc. There's ...
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4answers
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How can I transition from academic writing to fiction writing?

I always receive the same critique when I write fiction. The critique is good for my characters and plot, but I am told that my writing style is stiff, awkward and amateurish. When I wrote academic ...
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2answers
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What exactly do I do to get published?

I'm interested to know what the publishing process exactly entails for future reference. I'm in my last year of school and I recently finished my first substantial piece of creative writing (a subject ...
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3answers
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Where can subject matter experts volunteer to work on proofing the technical details in fiction?

I am not a writer (yet!), but I have been working in the computer field for over 10 years and would love to put in some time volunteering my services as a subject matter expert (SME) for programming ...
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2answers
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Shared worlds: are there any good collaborative sites out there?

Writing is something that I have wanted to do for some time, and I know that I don't currently have the skill set to do more than putter. Are there any shared world story sites that exist? A ...
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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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How do you show, through your narration, a hard and uncaring world?

As I've already mentioned, I'm working on a sci-fi novel. One of the main feelings that I wanted to represent when I started is the sense of a vast, empty, artificial world, mostly cold and uncaring ...
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How ordinary must my protagonist be if the book is written from his/her point of view?

What I've found in most books I've read is that the protagonist is "normal" and/or "average" (at least in the beginning). I believe this is because most readers should be able to relate to the ...
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5answers
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How do I balance work with my love of writing?

I'm a programmer and an aspiring writer. I love writing. Over the past year, I had been working on my first novel. Making the plot, dimensioning the characters, integrating conflicts etc. And when I ...
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Writing Unequal Societies (Without Supporting Inequality)

Historically, most occidental cultures (and many other ones) were strongly biased against women. Women were effectively barred from the vast majority of occupations - sometimes actively, and sometimes ...

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