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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49
votes
10answers
13k views

I wrote a novel, now what?

I'm new here, so, please, bear with me. I had a look at previous answers to similar questions, but my case is (possibly) a bit different. I am not a professional writer, so I wrote this (long) novel ...
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 ...
44
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8answers
3k views

I have written my first novel and I think it's ready. What next?

I've completed my first novel and done as much editing as I think I can as the author. What should I do next in order to get this out there?
36
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8answers
8k views

Is the first page of a novel really that important?

I am reading in a few blogs like this that the first page of the novel is really important if it has to get published. Is this true? Can a good story not compensate for an ordinary first page. I have ...
36
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5answers
799 views

How do I find an agent?

I finished my novel, and everyone I've talked to says I need an agent. How do I find one?
35
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7answers
5k views

Why does an author need an editor?

I'm firmly in the camp of "your novel needs an editor, and that editor better not be yourself." But recently I was asked why that was, and I couldn't articulate an answer that was passable. Young ...
34
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4answers
3k views

I'm afraid of quashing the hopes of a new writer

I recently agreed to read a new writer's novel and provide feedback. During casual discussion, I learned her mindset is currently in a state of "this novel is basically finished". I've never met ...
33
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9answers
11k 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 ...
33
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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].
32
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11answers
12k views

Are illustrations in novels frowned upon?

Lately I've been thinking that I don't know of a single novel that has illustrations in it. I've tried finding out the reason why, and came across an article published in The Guardian in 2011, but it ...
30
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7answers
5k views

Do most novels not get published?

If a person writes a novel, grammar alright, decent story, word count, etc. everything okay, Is it a crap shoot for that person to get published? Is it just like the lottery or maybe better chances?...
28
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14answers
14k views

Can a writer joke with the reader without breaking the fourth wall?

Can I, for example, write a whole new storyline inside my novel, and then say something, for example such as: "just kidding"? Or is that breaking the fourth wall?
28
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8answers
6k views

When do you stop "pushing" a book?

Let's suppose you have finished your novel, through all the appropriate stages of drafting and editing needed. You begin submitting the book to various agents and/or publishing companies, but none of ...
28
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9answers
4k views

So I finished my novel. Now what do I do?

A few days ago I finished the first draft of my current novel project after a few months of work, finishing at 83,212 words. Now what should I do with it? So obviously I need to edit it. Should I ...
26
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9answers
5k views

How do I find logical errors in my novel?

I have completed writing a novel and have revised it many times. I am very worried that I may have made some logical mistakes, like not revealing a secret, or using different hair colour for same ...
25
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9answers
6k views

Can I be a writer, with a mental illness?

I want to be a writer, but I have struggled with Schizoaffective Disorder for quite some time. Some of the symptoms of the disorder are amotivation and trouble with initiation (Getting things started)....
25
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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 ...
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 ...
24
votes
10answers
8k views

Can a successful book series let the bad guy win? [duplicate]

I have a five book series and I have plotted them all out. The main bad guy wins in the end. My problem with this is my girlfriend keeps telling me that bad guys winning will make readers upset that ...
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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9answers
5k views

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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16answers
7k 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 ...
22
votes
6answers
1k views

What books should have a sequel?

I wrote my very first novel several months ago and I sold it to a publisher two weeks ago. Now I am thinking of writing something new. The problem is I can't get the idea of writing a sequel out of ...
21
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4answers
3k views

What constitutes misleading the reader

I'm as novice a writer as one can get so please bear with me. I have read many times that a writer shouldn't mislead the reader otherwise the reader will lose trust in the author and lose his ...
21
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9answers
4k views

As a discovery writer, how do I complete an unfinished novel (which has highly diverged from the original plot ) after a time-gap?

I am a reader more than a writer, and fantasy is my favorite genre. I used to write short stories and poems. Some of them are published in magazines and get good reviews. In 2018 January, I read the ...
21
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7answers
4k views

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 ...
21
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6answers
9k views

Should I start writing my novel or first learn on short stories?

As a new writer, Is it okay to dive on my idea of a long story (a novel) or to first try short stories? I am very excited to start on my concept but am not sure if it is better to first try smaller ...
20
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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 ...
20
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13answers
3k views

For Fantasy Stories, Should You Include a Map At the Beginning of the Book?

If you're writing a fantasy novel, would it be best to include a map of the geography that the story takes place in at the beginning of the book? I've seen quite a lot of fantasy books (Redwall ...
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 ...
20
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6answers
5k views

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 ...
19
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8answers
7k views

Is it considered lazy writing to have a dry prelude at the start of a book?

I'm thinking of the crawl sequences at the beginning of Star Wars, that just give you the background information straight up, and then start the excitement. I've just been wondering if putting a ...
19
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11answers
7k views

How to avoid writing irritating fan fictions?

I have recently started writing a fanfiction and I am posting it online as I write it. However, I often see in comments sayings 'This fanfiction gave me cancer','The writer of this crap should just ...
19
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10answers
6k views

Is it time to start closing up my novel?

I realize this may be a duplicate question. I've seen, for reference [ How long can a first novel be? ] yet I think my situation is a little more specific. I find myself in a similar situation. My ...
19
votes
7answers
2k views

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 ...
18
votes
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 ...
18
votes
7answers
7k views

What are the signs of accidental self insertion?

I am currently writing a novel where the main character will be far more powerful than most of the people in the world and I am worried that I will end up losing sight of what I am writing and start ...
18
votes
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, ...
18
votes
6answers
3k views

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 ...
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?
17
votes
11answers
5k views

Describing a chess game in a novel

I have a scene in a upcoming novel where two people play a game of chess, and I realized how difficult it was to describe it. The problem is due to the fact that there are many pieces and you can't ...
17
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4answers
4k views

How do I introduce dark themes?

My story involves a superhuman organization that aims to overthrow the main government, through any means necessary. This involves murder and some rather gruesome deaths. Additionally, there might be ...
17
votes
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 ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

How can I make a story bigger?

I have written a first draft of what I want to be a novel -- aiming for 50-70K words. When the ending arrived I was at about 30K. So I essentially have to double the length. My list of notes scattered ...
17
votes
8answers
8k views

Writing Multiple Novels Simultaneously

I am, at present, 50% of the way through my first novel (17 chapters (and counting), ~55,000 words, ~100 A4 pages) and yet I also had many other (what I think are) wonderful ideas pop into my head for ...
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 ...
16
votes
14answers
7k views

Is it okay to use "It was all just a virtual world / dream" for a plot twist?

I am currently writing a novel where I use "It was all just a dream" (IWAJAD) plot twist, just because the main character needs it to change his personality and train his power to save the ...
16
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9answers
5k views

Is it bad to suddenly introduce another element to your fantasy world a good ways into the story?

I'm writing a novel with many POVs, and this is a very flexible story. It started out with a few POVs who had one plot, and now there is a lot more, having been integrated in between those previously ...
16
votes
8answers
5k views

Introduce a character and forget about them until the last chapter?

In my story, the main character gets help from / saved by two complete strangers. They don't tell the mc who they are or what they are doing, they just helped the mc out of kindness and disappear just ...
16
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4answers
2k views

Overcoming "Possibility Paralysis"?

I don't often experience writer's block these days. Instead I struggle with a different sort of impediment in my writing: I call it Possibility Paralysis. I have to quickly acknowledge that this is ...

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