Questions tagged [novel]

Novels are long-form prose fiction, typically over 40,000 words. Questions that use this tag can relate to writing, editing, publishing, formatting or technique as applied specifically to novels. If the question applies to more than just novels, it should probably use the Fiction tag instead.

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31
votes
6answers
4k views

Writing a novel, can I do [this or that]?

I want to write a novel about [something or other] and now I wonder if it is possible to do [this or that].
18
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8answers
3k views

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, ...
24
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12answers
3k views

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 ...
6
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5answers
7k views

How do you make two characters fall in love?

I'm writing a high school romance story. My story centers around two characters falling in love, but I can't find a way to make their romance seem real and believable. Here is the backstory: The main ...
9
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3answers
924 views

Sizing of a chapter and how many should I use?

This is basically a follow-up question I asked here: Scene switching and how to do it? I always considered it normal for a chapter to have between 3000 and 5000 words. And people around here thought ...
12
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6answers
5k views

Can I use real presidents (past and present) and real companies in a fictional story?

I'm not sure if I want to use real people and companies or make up an entirely different world with different people, presidents, and companies than our real world. If I did the latter I would offer ...
18
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4answers
11k views

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?
10
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8answers
3k views

Dialogue writing practices?

First time novelist, long time writer here. I'm looking for creative writing exercises to help with my dialogue. Any ideas?
17
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5answers
3k views

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 ...
4
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6answers
274 views

How to create a title

I am at a dilemma, as I cannot title my novel. So I created these questions. What creates a good title for a novel? What should I include/not include in my title? At the moment, I have come up with '...
5
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3answers
7k views

How to write a telephone conversation in a novel?

If Closed Captioning on TV is any guide, then dialogue heard over a phone would be in italics, not in quotes. The same would apply to dialogue audible when the phone is on speaker and as over a walkie-...
13
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3answers
356 views

What disciplines/habits are used to stay focussed on one novel over a long period of time?

One of my biggest issues is staying focused on a single novel. My imagination is always creating new and wonderful ideas. I write a few chapters on this story, a few on that story, but never finish ...
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 ...
14
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6answers
3k views

How can I turn my short story into a novel?

I just wrote last week about Sleeping Beauty but a different version of it. (I changed the characters, and the conflict, and mostly everything except the fact that one of the main characters is cursed ...
19
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11answers
5k views

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 ...
4
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5answers
16k views

When writing a novel, is it wise to switch from first-person to third-person? What is the most effective way to do this?

In a novel I've been writing, I begin by introducing a character and describing her history and personality from a third-person perspective. Now, I want to start talking about a different character, ...
6
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2answers
413 views

Is it a bad idea to turn a short story into a full-length novel?

I've written a couple of short stories. I'm really satisfied with some of them, and I would like to turn them into full-length novels. They were meant to be short stories from the beginning, but I ...
5
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7answers
1k views

Creating and keeping track of characters

I admit to finding this an insurmountable task. My novel has dozens of characters. My first problem wasn't keeping track of them, but creating them. Modern Day: My 20th century characters were ...
3
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7answers
2k views

Screenplay vs Novel [duplicate]

Now I know, that this question could be tagged too broad or opinion based, and that it might even be closed down. But I have been struggling over this for quite some time now and I want to get an ...
1
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3answers
272 views

Will people always compare a magic school idea to Harry Potter?

My story includes a magic school wherein students aged 12 learn magic. The sorting Is based on abilities, Meaning that if a student has thirst for dark arts, there most concentrated subject becomes ...
13
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5answers
4k views

My autobiography is exciting, but I'm an unknown. Should I make it a novel instead?

I've kept diaries all my life and now have over 100...which I've recently started turning into an autobiography - where some of the original diary quotes are included along with the new text. I ...
12
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11answers
18k views

Is dialogue in a novel necessary, or just padding?

I can usually tell the story I want to in less than 10,000 words. I'd really like to accomplish writing a novel and I have a complex idea I want to use and explore, but I am worried I won't need 75,...
12
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8answers
16k views

No English degree, what are my chances on successfully publishing a novel?

I don't have an English or Writing-related degree in any way. As of right now, I have no degree, but what I mean is that I'm not even pursuing a degree in writing. How does this hurt my chances? Do ...
8
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1answer
213 views

How to write a discussion amongst 5 people while narrating a novel as first person singular?

I am writing an autobiographical novel and there is a scene where 5 people will be discussing a subject matter. Now, how can I write the discussion without making it sound like a newbie like I want to ...
33
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9answers
10k views

Should I write a novel if I haven't read many?

I have heard people telling that they have read so many books and have a mini library at their houses. I did not read many books (I am 17 and do not have much time as I balance school, special classes ...
12
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8answers
1k views

How to develop a story for a novel?

I am looking for some inspiration on where to start writing a novel. I have a general idea for a plot and characters, but I don't feel it's enough for sitting down and starting to write. It needs a ...
45
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9answers
9k views

Why write a book when there's a movie in my head?

Around a decade ago, I had a dream. An actual middle of the night dream. An entire movie played in my head, all I had to do was write it down. I did a fair bit of research on the topic then I spent ...
24
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15answers
8k views

Should I add racism in my book's world or have my world have no racism?

I've been writing a children's novel inspired by action cartoons, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, paganism/Wicca, mythology and Harry Potter. It's a very dark children's book I'll admit, but Harry ...
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 ...
14
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7answers
6k views

Promoting controversial opinions in a work of fiction

I'm writing a first person novel and main character has highly controversial views, many of which the majority of people would probably consider immoral. Would a character with controversial attitudes ...
13
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2answers
624 views

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 ...
12
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4answers
972 views

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 ...
24
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18answers
5k views

What should I do when I am stuck on names during freewriting?

If I get hung up choosing a name for a character, should I come back to it later? Or should I try to figure one out? I feel like sometimes I have some momentum going forward and taking too much time ...
22
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16answers
6k views

Can You Mix Readers of Fantasy and Sci-Fi?

In his book How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, Orson Scott Card mentions the differences between fantasy and sci-fi readers, and even says that an author should stick to only one genre, as the ...
17
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10answers
3k views

Is there a method to estimating the length of a work before writing it?

I am writing my first novel, which I think likely will end up being several volumes. Although I have a lot of experience in poetry and short stories, this is a very different challenge! My question ...
20
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8answers
3k views

First quarter friends

As I've mentioned before, I'm working on a military sci-fi novel. Here's the trouble with the military: you don't spend all of your service, start to finish, with the same people. Not all the people ...
11
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12answers
6k views

How can I make believable motivations for antagonists?

I am writing a book. However, I can't quite wrap my head around making my character do bad things, while still making their actions and/or motivations for their actions believable. Here is an ...
8
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6answers
10k views

Examples for books that don't use (traditional) chapters? [closed]

I'm a big fan of Terry Pratchett, and he doesn't use chapters (mostly). Are there any other authors who tend to not use traditional chapters or chapters at all in novels?
4
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3answers
947 views

Giving journeys a sense of scale

Journeying is a central part of my novel. However, it gets really boring really quickly to describe them walking through the same landscape for a few weeks. I want to skip to the parts that are ...
3
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4answers
3k views

What is the Purpose of an Inner Conflict?

I've long known what the purpose of inner conflict is. Indeed, it was one of the simplest concepts for me to grasp when I was learning about it. Now I'm not so sure. I seem to have developed a dual ...
1
vote
6answers
498 views

How do you make a realistic character?

Ok, so I feel like my character is too perfect. I try to make her have flaws but it's not working so well. I reread my story so far and I found that most of them are all kinda typical and the same as ...
13
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3answers
5k views

I gave my characters names that are exactly like another book. Is it a problem?

Ok, so, I am currently writing a book and 3 of my characters have the same name as in another novel. I didn't realize it until someone pointed it out to me. The names I picked are fairly common and ...
11
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9answers
3k views

Should I start work on a sequel before I have sold my book?

I finished the 1st draft of my book, and have put it in the freezer(as I asked about in this question). I was planning to start work on a sequel of the book in the meantime. But I was told by someone ...
5
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2answers
228 views

How applicable are screenwriting ideas to novels?

My current goal is to write a novel (I'm already close to the 35K word mark). However, most of the books I've read about story structure are actually about screenwriting. While stories are stories no ...
4
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2answers
242 views

How to fill novel if you have just some moments prepared?

I read some of my old novels and realized that I often filled them with unnecessary info and pseudojokes so I could quickly rejoin my favourite moments in the planned plot. I found those moments more ...
3
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4answers
1k views

Is it better the use the present or the past tense for a novel written in the first person

I just started a book, but i cant decide if its better to use the present or the past tense (written in the first person)
2
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2answers
829 views

How does External Conflict set up the Climax?

Note: As with any aspect of writing, I'm sure there are those who disagree with it. If you disagree with the conclusions I've come to below, I would like to hear your thoughts. However, I would ask ...
7
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7answers
538 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
413 views

Early investment in a character who “learns better”

I'm looking for ways to build early reader investment in an unlikable character who "learns better," but not until fairly late in the book. In particular, I'm writing a first-person middle-grade ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Same plot but different story, is it plagiarizing?

I'm writing a novel and is planning to publish it but then, I found out that someone else has already written a novel similar to mine. Both of our novel has similar plot but different story and ...