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Questions tagged [technique]

Common, repeatable methods of achieving particular storytelling effects or of avoiding narrative pitfalls.

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What is the metre of this poem by Emily Bronte? [migrated]

I really like the following poem by E. Bronte: High waving heather 'neath stormy blasts bending, Midnight and moonlight and bright shining stars, Darkness and glory rejoicingly blending, ...
6
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4answers
90 views

Writing about oneself objectively

I was recently updating some of my Stack Exchange profiles and I remembered how much I hate writing about myself. It isn't just Stack Exchange profiles either. It's resume cover letters. It's college ...
2
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1answer
72 views

The concept of description and the structure of Mckee's view of story design

Consider the following text: Tania is in her living room, in the summer. She looks to the window and the street in front of her house, then she realized how dry and parched they are, this makes ...
9
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5answers
140 views

Making science for toddlers easy to remember

I have been intending to create a book for toddlers with basic scientific notions in it. Most books for this target readership that I have seen present whatever content in the form of a story, quite ...
3
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3answers
128 views

Fleshing out the character motivation from the plot

I decided to give a try to the snowflake method. The idea is that you gradually expand the story from a blurb into a full draft. This question stems from the character-characterization step, but it ...
8
votes
4answers
79 views

How can I incorporate poetry techniques to improve my prose?

My first question on the site was How do I stop using 'the' to start sentences so much? , One of the answers said: I would suggest reading more English poetry to pick up some techniques. I ...
4
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2answers
125 views

Can a third-person narrator ask questions instead of the characters?

In novels, when the PoV follows a particular character, is pretty common that we get to hear his/her thoughts. Sometimes, those thoughts take the form of questions that the character ask himself: ...
3
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6answers
169 views

Changing the meaning of well-established symbols

Can we change the meaning of a well established symbol and use the newly defined symbol in our writing? If so how do we go about doing so? It am not talking about using a symbol in the context of its ...
0
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1answer
41 views

Chapters of a Book and Story Structure of McKee

Considering the "story structure" proposed by Robert McKee; like: A story is a large structure composed by acts which are composed by sequences which are composed by scenes, which are composed by (...
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5answers
4k views

Why do professional authors make “consistency” mistakes? And how to avoid them?

I'm currently reading a sci-fi book that has over a dozen characters. The author had written dialog for two different characters using the same odd idiom in two separate chapters so far. I cannot see ...
27
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12answers
5k views

Tiptoe or tiphoof? Adjusting words to better fit fantasy races

English is a language invented by humans, for humans. Which means some words don't fit well when you're writing about characters who aren't human. For example: Suppose I write "The demon tiptoed ...
9
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2answers
296 views

Delivering sarcasm

Most of us who have spent more than a few days reading things and interacting with people on the internet know how difficult it is to convey sarcasm. There is no tone there is only the words on our ...
5
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3answers
80 views

When is using a simile better than giving a literal description?

Definition of simile : a figure of speech comparing two unlike things that is often introduced by like or as (as in cheeks like roses) Similes are nice tools that every narrator has (even if I'...
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2answers
54 views

How to make writing humorous? [closed]

I think my writing tends to be too serious/intense or whatever, so I'm wondering how writers create humorous writing. I'm interested in writing some humorous short stories in particular. What ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

How to use deus ex machina safely?

One of my main character's traits is that she has some superstitious beliefs. That trait is not essential to the MC, but everyone in the era of my story is. I'm contemplating a plot point near the end ...
21
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5answers
3k views

How to write cleanly even if my character uses expletive language?

I'm writing a story that I'd like younger readers to pick up. I and they know and understand that some situations are far better expressed with one f-word than a thousand milder ones. I'm keeping my ...
39
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13answers
11k views

How do I hide Chekhov's Gun?

If there is a gun on the mantelpiece in the Act 1, then in Act 2, that gun must be fired. Background I'm a big believer in Chekhov's Gun. I try not to do anything or introduce any new plot point ...
3
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1answer
65 views

Question about the basic elements of Mckee's view of writting

Well, in the first pages of chapter 2 from [MCKEE.R. Story. itbooks. New York, 1997.] Mckee present to us some basic elements of which a story should be costituted of. Of course that this is him view ...
4
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3answers
80 views

How to show two perspectives without solely relying on different POVs?

Unknown by the characters involved and hidden from the readers, there's this ability of one specific character that allows him to hear/perceive the truth from anyone's speech. If they're telling the ...
29
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7answers
4k views

Help! My Character is too much for her story!

A while ago, I started writing a short story for a competition. It was supposed to be about four girls in a shared student apartment. The plan was to have everyone conflict with everyone until they ...
2
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1answer
54 views

Writing effectively under very brief constraints

I recently noticed a trend to a few of my questions. I am attracted to writing in places with extreme brevity. This makes sense to me on a personal level. I've always been attracted to one-liners and ...
4
votes
1answer
61 views

How to write a Stack Exchange Question?

There are a couple questions out there on How to ask a smart question and the FAQ has its own tips, but lets assume you know how to ask what you want. From a purely writing perspective, most of the ...
2
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0answers
18 views

Is there any room in technical-writing for levity [duplicate]

When doing technical writing it is generally advised to be straight to the point. And I understand that. After all if I am reading instructions on how to put together the desk I just bought, or how to ...
9
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1answer
213 views

Monsters of psychological horror

According to Wikipedia, psychological horror is Psychological horror is a subgenre of horror and psychological fiction that relies on mental, emotional and psychological states to frighten, disturb,...
10
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1answer
130 views

How to write a Stack Exchange comment?

We all do it. We do it quite often. Some of us too often, to the chagrin of the mods who have to clean up after us. Many people out there have autocomments but I try not to. I find them impersonal and ...
2
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2answers
85 views

What are some ways to make absurdity of certain ideas in fiction more palatable?

I am writing a science-fiction short story where there are a lot of pseudoscientific ideas being dealt constantly. I was wondering how to reduce the absurdity of some of those ideas using literary ...
3
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3answers
115 views

How may a book and movie be one?

How could a movie be paired to coincide with a book and come out at the same time? I would like to know if a book and a movie can be written to complement each other? Many times I hear how a book or ...
1
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2answers
113 views

What are some ways to implement multiple endings in a novel?

I am thinking of implementing multiple ending to one of my novels and it would be done the following way: There's a scene where the main character is about to do something, but I leave it to the ...
4
votes
4answers
109 views

How to expand on scenes?

I guess you can call this a writing style, but whenever I do creative writing I write very concise. Which can be good as I don’t want scenes to drag on, but most of the time I feel I wrap up my scenes ...
1
vote
5answers
126 views

I am afraid some scenes in my novel are too graphic for some people (Trigger warning: Sexual Assault)

Just to keep it short. One of my characters is sexually assaulted by her father. While not being descriptive of the act itself, the situation itself is quite an sad scene. This is relevant as the ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

Changing 3rd person limited to 3rd person omniscient POV for a few scenes

Is it considered bad form to have a novel where the majority of it is 3rd person limited, then change to omniscient for a few scenes? I think I can build up more tension if the protagonist is not in ...
5
votes
5answers
144 views

Are too many exclamations wrong?

Exclamations, I feel, are a good way to describe tone without actually writing the tone. But most of the time I end up (as per reviewers) with too many of exclamations. Many also say that too many ...
11
votes
7answers
430 views

How do I write a MODERN combat/violence scene without being dry?

Warning: I have ADHD and this might be a little ramble-y, sorry. I'm completely stumped. I'm trying to get into writing fiction but I feel that I've hit a roadblock. My story is told from the first ...
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4answers
806 views

How do you prevent whiplash when transitioning between comedy and tragedy?

I constantly see reviews of people criticizing how it feels like "whiplash" when going from something like a death scene to someone cracking a joke, and I agree, but I don't know why I agree. I just ...
24
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3answers
6k views

Chekhov's gun, but it's just “useless” background info

We all know how Chekhov's gun works: in short, it's the "rule" that whatever is explicitly shown to the audience should be important later, otherwise you should get rid of it. Don't show us a gun if ...
3
votes
1answer
138 views

What do you call a hidden story inside a story?

People think that in the novel The Wizard of Oz there's a hidden story that alludes to what happened in the U.S. political scene in the 1890s. How do you refer to a hidden story? Do you call it an '...
0
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1answer
101 views

How is a semordnilap typically used?

I am asking whether I should use it as a hint to make it clear that my story is about the story of Adam and Eve. In my short story, there's a place called "Nede", with two characters called "Mada" ...
9
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4answers
195 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 ...
2
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2answers
90 views

Advice on how to beat word repetition in dialogue [duplicate]

Long story short: I default to simple words like "Said" in dialogue much too often. I'm hesitant to abuse the thesaurus due to advice I've been given, as well. Slightly longer version: When I'm ...
2
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2answers
96 views

Is there such a thing as a “cinematographic metaphor” in novels?

What I mean by "cinematographic metaphor" is that, instead of expressing metaphors using words, you use images that are imprinted in your mind through descriptions in a novel. Here's what I mean: We ...
5
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3answers
80 views

How to show the same emotion multiple times?

I think everyone has heard the "show don't tell" rule. My question is how can I show same emotion multiple times without the description being the same. For example if my character is scared I can ...
5
votes
4answers
163 views

Can my characters interact with my narrator? (and vice versa)

I know that this idea is not totally 'revolutionary' as this type of narration has been used in Breakfast of champions, for example. But, Unlike Vonnegut, I want the 'Narrator talks to the characters ...
21
votes
13answers
6k views

How to present an alien culture with different morals, without it coming across as savage?

For a fiction story of mine (probably fantasy, if I had to categorize it), I've set it in a world that is in some ways similar to Earth, and in other ways very dissimilar from Earth. In place of ...
6
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10answers
280 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
134 views

Third person story, containing a first person backstory

In several third person (usually limited) stories that I've read, there comes a time when one character shares some of their backstory to one or more other characters. This backstory is always (or ...
2
votes
5answers
215 views

How do I make my book longer?

I have a writing tendency where I get straight to the point, especially when I already have an amazing storyline. The ending goes especially quick. I need to figure out how to move the story along, in ...
9
votes
4answers
815 views

What is a good way to handle lengthy monologues/lectures in a novel?

In my novel, the MC is a woman from London who gets divorced and moves to Wales. Here she meets a Buddhist master with whom she has philosophical conversations about Life, Love, Relationships, etc. ...
19
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6answers
2k views

Not projecting myself onto my characters

I have struggled with mental illness for my entire life. Writing has been an extremely helpful and important mode of self-expression for me, since I was little. But recently, I feel like my writing ...
16
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5answers
3k views

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 ...
0
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2answers
127 views

What are good techniques to describe eyes? [closed]

I would like to describe the beautiful brown eyes of a character, much like a real-life friend of mine. Are there good techniques for describing eyes? How does one go about describing eyes in writing?