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Questions tagged [narrative]

A narrative is an account of events. This tag should be used for anything related to story-telling, including elements and principles or structure.

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31
votes
10answers
8k views

Is there such a thing as too inconvenient?

I find myself often being irritated at elements in situations that help characters succeed, elements which are also highly unlikely or even illogical. But often, if not more, I find myself angered by ...
28
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13answers
7k views

How to tell readers that I know my story is factually incorrect?

Sometimes, it so happens that I do some research for a story and find that a major plot point could never work in real life. At this stage, I can either continue with my impossible (for a non-fantasy, ...
28
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6answers
12k views

Dead parents: something to avoid?

A lot of people die in my story, some of them are parents. One of the main characters for example lost his father (and one brother) in a car crash when he was young, which he was a part of. He became ...
28
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7answers
3k views

Where can I find resources for bedtime story plots?

For past ten months, my wife and I have been telling bedtime stories of our own making to our older daughter (who recently turned 4). We do it on alternate evenings. The stories have a nearly-constant ...
25
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7answers
5k views

How can I make “acts of patience” exciting?

This answer to the question Averting Real Women Don’t Wear Dresses introduces a distinction between acts of patience and acts of daring. [...] when it comes to telling a story [...] acts of ...
24
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12answers
5k views

Problems Blending Sci-fi & Traditional Fantasy?

I have been cautioned against blending: Traditional fantasy elements Such as magic systems and exotic, less plausible creatures (on a scientific level - magic tends to explain away these beasts) ...
21
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8answers
5k views

How to get readers to care about a dead character?

My story happens as a result of one of the main characters getting murdered. I'm wondering how to get readers to care about someone who's not even in the story (as far as the readers know anyway) or ...
19
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5answers
8k views

The seven story archetypes. Are they truly all of them?

The seven archetypes are as follows: Overcoming the Monster. Rags to Riches. The Quest. Voyage and Return. Comedy. Tragedy. Rebirth. But surely, there are more? For ...
17
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5answers
2k views

How can I convey an absolute truth from the author to the reader without a mentor character?

There are sometimes moments in works of fiction where the author needs to convey something to the reader without ambiguity. Let's say the situations around the characters get so weird that the author ...
16
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11answers
6k views

A poker game description that does not feel gimmicky

I'm writing a scene in which four characters play a high-stakes poker game. So far my narrator has been an omniscient third person, who just does not wish to enter into the characters' heads. I ...
16
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6answers
2k views

How important is it for multiple POVs to run chronologically?

The way I am currently designing a story with three distinct POVs. An issue I am running into, however, is that one of these has much more to do in the first third than the other two while having less ...
15
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6answers
3k views

Making him into a bully (how to show mild violence)

Joe is the worst. Nobody likes him, not even the so-called friends he teams up with at school, filling other students with terror. He's sarcastic, nasty, and a bit of a racist, and especially anti-...
15
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7answers
2k views

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 ...
15
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5answers
555 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 ...
14
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2answers
4k views

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 ...
14
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11answers
782 views

How can I have a war with no “good” or “evil” side?

I'm conceptualising a story involving two heroes who go on an epic journey and return bitter rivals etc. etc. and form their own forces in a sort of civil war. My issue is that I want them to both be ...
14
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5answers
3k views

How to create a memorable line?

I recently re-watched the Overwatch animated short "Honor and Glory". You can tell the writers were proud of the line "Live with Honor, Die with Glory", as the characters say it a fair few times for ...
14
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2answers
2k views

Striking the balance between dialogue and narrative

I am participating in National Novel Writing Month this year. I have never in my life written so much of a single story. Although I am supposed to tell my inner editor to shut up this month, she is ...
13
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3answers
3k views

What liberties can I take with the monarchies in my own world?

Could a writer make up his own rules, for a monarchy he created, in a world of his own making? My question is whether I can completely disregard the rules and regulations of real-life monarchies, ...
13
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4answers
2k views

Static Scenes that still Move the Story Forward

I've just read a tutorial about scenic techniques in novel-writing that recommends that a story should have a rhythm of static scenes and dramatic scenes. Here's an excerpt: Dramatic scenes are ...
13
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4answers
241 views

Getting an editor after the second draft

Losely related with my latest question: Should one invest in a professional editor before querying? I've finished - not without sweat - my second draft. While I'm satisfied with the overall result, I ...
12
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9answers
2k views

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 ...
12
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6answers
1k views

How to write a convincing religious myth?

In my story the protagonist hears, in a temple ceremony, the reading of a religious/mythological text. Now in the actual story, I don't need the text itself (the role of the text in context, and the ...
11
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7answers
2k views

Is it advisable to add a location heads-up when a scene changes in a novel?

In my novel, I have a scene at home which changes to scene at the office which is completely different. I have written it in a way that in a line or two the reader will understand the scene is changed ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Can the prologue's POV be different from the POV of main story?

Let me explain my question: I want to write the prologue of the story with the narrator in first person with the point of view of the protagonist. But the story is already written in a third person ...
11
votes
6answers
642 views

Third Person POV: What level of telling is acceptable for character motivation?

The novel I'm writing is third-person limited POV in style. This means that the narration's coverage is limited to what the POV character can observe, think, feel, while others' thoughts, feelings, ...
10
votes
4answers
602 views

What are the components of a legend (in the sense of a tale, not a figure legend)?

I'm compiling in-world legends for my built world, and would like them to feel like established legends from our own human experience. What should I keep in mind while writing these legends? What ...
9
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5answers
3k views

Is it okay for a chapter's POV to shift as it progresses?

I have this duo in my novel, they're always together in chapters. Usually the story alternates between them within their plot, though mostly leaning to one of the characters, as he's one of the MCs ...
9
votes
5answers
964 views

Does detail obscure or enhance action?

I have two versions of a pivotal scene in my novel (both already written). My SP is a rather impulsive young woman who is learning to be a bit less of a hothead. She saves the MC by literally taking ...
9
votes
5answers
845 views

Narrative arc in erotica?

Usually a story will have a narrative arc of increasing suspense: obstacles become more and more difficult to overcome, setbacks more painful, complications more confusing, the stakes are raised ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it true that men (in general) can't write female first-person?

I think I first saw that statement in an answer to this question. Men cannot, in general, write female first-person. I gave it a thought, and realized there was some truth in it; I've read first-...
8
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5answers
5k views

How to slow down the pace of the story?

How do I slow down the pace of my story? And please refrain from answering with "add more descriptions," because I'm already aware of that technique :). I'd like to see if there are even more ways to ...
8
votes
5answers
645 views

How to write a good MacGuffin?

I backed myself into a corner and have to create a [TV TROPES WARNING] MacGuffin for a story. How can I create a good MacGuffin? How to make it interesting for the reader ? I don't know where to ...
8
votes
6answers
377 views

How much indirection is too much?

I'm writing a chapter with a lot of indirection, and I'm wondering if I'm doing too much of it. To be specific, it is the main character remembering an event from his youth when a merchant who stayed ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What are some examples of an inciting incident that would force a character to go on a quest or adventure?

I've noticed that my novel is missing a really strong inciting incident and I can't think of anything strong enough to suffice. The only inciting incidents I'm familiar with seeing in nearly every ...
8
votes
4answers
550 views

Storyteller/creator vs writer

Since I've begun to attempt this thing called writing, proper writing not coming up with tales and bits to amuse little kids, I've had this doubt. What are the differences, if any real ones, between ...
8
votes
4answers
240 views

Tips and tricks to describe more

I'm careful with the phrasing of this question as it is dangerously close to be opinion based. Everyone has their preference regarding the amount of description they expect to find in a work of ...
8
votes
3answers
284 views

How to organically and believably introduce the tools and skills necessary to survive after an apocalypse?

So I'm writing an urban fantasy story about the modern day after a mysterious unknown entity suddenly imbues humans with the ability to use magic powers. While the story initially starts out as a more ...
7
votes
8answers
5k views

How do I include a powerful theme in my story without making it blatantly obvious? [duplicate]

I want to have an underlying message in my writing but I really don't want it to come across as annoying or too preachy. Thanks!
7
votes
7answers
527 views

Symbolism of 18 Journeyers

In my story, 12 year old Ruth has visions from another place and time which lead her to gather a group of kids for a quest. She is told there will be 18 kids, but she can only find 17 with the ...
7
votes
2answers
517 views

Is it a bad idea to vary the voice of the narrator in third person (limited omniscient)?

I did some thorough searching for duplicates of this question, but I don't think they really cover the same spirit of the issue I'm having. (here are some examples of similar but different questions) ...
7
votes
3answers
165 views

Avoiding episodic writing

I'm working on a novel that will have at least three distinct sections in three distinct locations (the two main characters start in the first location, travel through the second location, and one ...
6
votes
5answers
9k views

How to avoid using “he/she/it” repetitively in action

Please do not make this a duplicate, I know there's a couple of questions like this, but they are not quite like my question, and their answers don't answer my question to the fullest, hence me asking ...
6
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4answers
2k views

How to provide realism without making readers think grimdark

So, I have a couple moments in a fantasy story where I want the heroes' actions to actually have consequences (Well, that are really impactful to the story.) One is where the MCs kill a minor lord, ...
6
votes
3answers
414 views

When does something become “torture porn”?

I've heard this term thrown around sometimes in a derisive way (obviously), and usually not just to refer to Saw movies. I don't remember who it was, but I remember someone saying how the movie "Logan"...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Should I use contractions in my narrative?

Should I use contractions in my narrative, or only use them in dialogue? I have noticed that in some books, like The Passage by Justin Crownin, contractions are used in the prose. In others, like The ...
6
votes
10answers
431 views

How to end a story without reaching a new status quo?

A popular writing theory states that any story worth telling describes the movement from one status quo to another, and that major uncertainties in the inception and conclusion should be avoided. How ...
6
votes
5answers
646 views

Should the narrator use pseudonyms in writing?

I have characters who have to use false names. Should the narrator use their real name or false name? For example, if person A was being called Adam when their real name was Archie, person B would ...
6
votes
5answers
332 views

In a “Gatsby” type story, how does a narrator relate what he doesn't get to see?

"The Great Gatsby" was told from the point of view of Gatsby's neighbor, Nick Carraway by name, with Nick using the first person. Nick gets to see a lot, but not all of Gatsby's dealings. A case in ...
6
votes
5answers
324 views

Describing a Character Traveling: Too much narrative?

I am new to writing and I am trying to a write a novel. In the first chapter, my main character travels from her hometown to a different town far away. I want to use this time to give the reader a ...