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

20 votes
Accepted

How do I know what I'm writing is interesting to the reader?

The Room is about a man whose love life runs off the rails and ends in a brutal break-up. This is a topic that a lot of people are interested in. La La Land is about the same theme. Shrek seems like t …
  • 2,129
1 vote

How to creep the reader out with what seems like a normal person?

The specific details you choose don't matter as much as how you wield them. You want to start out with details that are incredibly subtle. These are less to clue your readers in and more to reward clo …
  • 2,129
14 votes

I feel like my stories are too short considering the amount of action described. How can I e...

I think there are two pieces of advice I can give you that would both make your writing stronger and lead to longer stories. Both of them are pretty basic pieces of advice, but they don't mean you're …
  • 2,129
3 votes

How to think of a good beginning?

The other answers to this thread say not to sweat it and just write a beginning to get off the ground. I'm a heavy plotter myself, so I wouldn't be comfortable taking that advice. Instead, once I have …
  • 2,129
1 vote

Colours of ultraviolet

One of the strongest advantages of the medium of the written word (as opposed to, say, movies) is that you can describe something that is impossible to experience, and readers will still accept it. Te …
  • 2,129
6 votes

The Good, the Bad, and the Semicolon

A semicolon is a complex beast: You don't use it when you want an idea to stand on its own. You use a full stop for that. You don't use it to tie two ideas closely together because if you did, you'd …
  • 2,129
5 votes

How can I make my 'first draft' good enough to be published?

Just to be clear - I'm not trying to change the amount of work, or the reduce time it takes, I'm merely asking for ways to avoid excessive editing (something I don't enjoy) by doing other things su …
  • 2,129