31 votes

The role of the supernatural in hard science fiction

To directly answer your question: The role of the supernatural in hard science fiction is that it doesn't exist. Period. There are no shades of grey to the laws of physics. You can't say "this one ...
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  • 24.2k
27 votes

How to open a novel?

The way you open a novel largely depends on what kind of novel you're writing. If you're writing a humorous novel, there should be something humorous right on the first page. Look, for example, at ...
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22 votes

The role of the supernatural in hard science fiction

It depends on how "hard" you want your sci-fi to be. I think Larry Niven is a boundary case of sci-fi hardness. Niven writes about things that do not exist and most likely cannot and will never exist, ...
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19 votes
Accepted

Are paired adjectives bad style?

The double adjectives might be creating a sentence rhythm that feels strong while you write because it seems to "double bounce" in a smooth way – in this case it's not a fast bounce that picks up ...
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  • 24.2k
19 votes
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Does writing regular diary entries count as writing practice?

There is a distinction that needs to be drawn here: are you talking about practice that helps you improve your writing, or are you talking about the kind of practice you can put in a CV to help you ...
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16 votes
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Where's the middle ground between genre conventions and originality?

Being original is more than just avoiding what everyone else is doing. In a sense, doing exactly what everyone else is doing, and doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing are equally ...
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15 votes

Where's the middle ground between genre conventions and originality?

You know when you are going against the conventions too much when you are feeling forced to go against the conventions just for the sake of going against the conventions. The work then starts to ...
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  • 5,586
14 votes
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Where to put character responses in dialog?

The convention is to always start a new paragraph when you change the speaker, change the place, or change the time. In this case, you're changing the speaker, so your first example is correct. In the ...
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  • 9,126
14 votes

Is it okay to write a story where the protagonist is a Terrorist?

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. In other words, your main character probably doesn't see himself as a terrorist, so a first-person or close third-person story focusing on that ...
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13 votes

The role of the supernatural in hard science fiction

You can’t. What makes hard science fiction hard is the fact that it works within the bounds of what is known (or reasonably theorized) to be possible. Movies such as Star Wars are not hard sci fi; ...
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12 votes

Why is character lifetime proportional to character development so often?

Because maintaining suspense over who will live and who will die is only one of a story's many goals. And in most stories, it's not even a very important one. The fact that The Protagonist Survives ...
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11 votes

How could the disregard for both plot and dialogue tell the story?

A knowledgeable Writing.SE user once said you could write fifty thousand times the word 'meow' and call it a novel. Such a piece of writing would hardly be considered an account of anything, even less ...
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10 votes

The role of the supernatural in hard science fiction

It is not that you can't add supernatural stuff, it is how you approach it. Take Solaris by Stanislaw Lem, for example; Solaris is a (small spoilers of the beginning of the novel ahead) living water ...
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9 votes

How to keep a main character nameless?

All the way back to A Wizard of Earthsea, the Names-Have-Power trope usually handles this by giving people nicknames for "public" use. Their real names are closely-guarded secrets. You can definitely ...
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  • 28k
9 votes

Where's the middle ground between genre conventions and originality?

What I want in a story is a character I care about facing an issue I face and struggling with that issue. You say you have humans on another planet using magic. And it's fantasy. It sounds like ...
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9 votes

How Can You Use "In Medias Res" To Beautify Your Amazing Masterpiece?

In Medias Res: in the middle of things. What you're referring to isn't commonly done (that is to say, starting your story at the climax or at the end of the story). That doesn't mean it isn't done, ...
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  • 5,431
9 votes

Can I use "I" in an essay?

It's often seen as too casual Consider the following phrase: As I stated earlier, Romeo & Juliet is a tragedy. The use of "I" in this statement implies that the author has a connection ...
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9 votes

Would it confuse my readers to give two siblings nicknames that can be abbreviations of the same name?

I don't think this will be a problem for several reasons. First, when I see Nick and Cole, I don't immediately think Nicholas. I didn't realize they could both be abbreviations for Nicholas until ...
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9 votes

The role of the supernatural in hard science fiction

It depends on how you handle it in universe. Let me give you two reasonings why it can work, if done well. First, let's look at Clarke's third law: any technology, sufficiently advanced, is ...
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  • 5,431
9 votes

Are paired adjectives bad style?

As a reader, I think that adjectives are helpful in making a better image of what the writer is trying to say. But repeating adjectives that have almost the same or similar meaning (e.g. slow and ...
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9 votes
Accepted

What are some standards in naming a software/hardware version?

I developed software for many decades for several organizations. The standards for versioning were varied, but there are some general guidelines that most of them followed. I will call the leftmost ...
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9 votes

How could the disregard for both plot and dialogue tell the story?

I think you are not writing a story, you are writing a vignette that captures a moment; this is more akin to poetry or a painting or a song or photography, those all (aim to) capture a feeling, ...
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  • 91k
8 votes

How to keep a main character nameless?

If everyone in the town is named by the leader, and a couple adopts her, then most people are going to refer to her as "the Kents' girl." To her face they might cal her "Miss Kent" or "Kent Girl," ...
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8 votes

Where's the middle ground between genre conventions and originality?

if I intentionally go against the genre conventions - for any genre, not just fantasy - where do I draw the line? I believe there are two types of conventions for any genre. Some are essential - ...
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8 votes

The role of the supernatural in hard science fiction

My first instinct was to say "you can't" - the very essence of the science fiction genre is that things are not supernatural - they make sense within the in-universe rules, if not right from the start,...
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8 votes

The role of the supernatural in hard science fiction

I think the key to this question is to break down this phrase: ... writing fantasy instead of sci-fi Genres are not universally agreed things with solid boundaries, and fantasy and science fiction ...
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