21

Bob gestured, and the meaning was clear...: Simple vocalizations will also fall into this category. The trouble with gestures is that they can have different meanings. They say you communicate with body language more than words, and that CAN be true. But that will be difficult to relay with the "What were you thinking!" gesture to the head. Its not ...


20

It's important for you to understand how your scifi universe works. It is NOT important for your reader to understand. With 2 exceptions: If it directly affects the plot. For example, if traveling faster than the speed of light is possible, and it will be critical to resolving some thread of the plot, you need to let the reader know beforehand. Likewise,...


13

I'll preface this answer by noting that there's no way to make sure all your readers will pick up on something, no matter how obvious you try and make it. So don't worry about making it too obvious, because readers who already did pick up on it may feel as though you're insulting their intelligence. Having said that, I think you can rely on simple pattern ...


11

With a Twist: There's a whole vein of books and movies that are like this, in the thriller category. The MC is usually portrayed as a kind of mastermind, but sometimes the concealment is enough. While books can do this, I think of Lucky Number Slevin, Red Sparrow, and What Lies Beneath as movies where the end is a twist plot that flips the whole story on its ...


10

Show Don't Tell: I agree that it isn't always important for your reader to know the rules of your world - at first. Some things, like how the FTL system works, can be taken for granted - readers know what FTL is, but no one knows how it really works. explain the parts relevant to the story, and the rest gets cartooned in. But they do eventually need to know ...


10

Explicitly inform the audience of the numerology. I'm sort of reminded of the web serial Unsong, which revolves around Jewish mysticism being real to the point where it can be industrialized, and which repeatedly states throughout the text that nothing is ever a coincidence as a result. So, in such a setting, if you want to add in some numerology, you could ...


7

Gestures aren’t just things a character does with their hands. It could be spitting, blinking, shivering; that is any body centered motion that conveys a character’s inner state. Gestures are effective action-beats when they amplify character’s state subtly, as in not drawing attention to themselves. Therefore, your intuition that hard to express gestures ...


6

Are we getting his point of view? Unless the character is seriously disturbed, and we can tell he is seriously disturbed, withholding important knowledge is almost certain to come across as cheating. If he is working toward a certain end, he's bound to think of it. If he is viewed entirely from the outside, it can be feasible.


6

A story cannot "fail Chekov's gun". It is a guideline to help you understand why you are including certain details in a scene. Your character gets up and gets dressed. Why did you start before that? Is the dressing scene relevant? It gives you a chance to let us know what kinds of clothes this person wears, to get to know the person. So that's cool....


5

I think it depends on the POV of the story. For instance, if your story is told through an omniscient POV where no interiority of the characters is revealed directly -- meaning that everything we know about the characters comes from their actions, inactions, reactions, absence of reactions, gestures, and dialog -- then the entirety of all of the characters' ...


5

Newtonian Physics: When you're talking about a magic system, you are by definition breaking the world in a small way. But careful attention to detail should cover you. As long as you diligently follow the rules, everything is internally consistent and works. The problem comes when you realize you're 300 pages into an epic novel and some small detail you didn'...


5

Based on your description, while the technician is not pivotal the story, the main characters' interaction with the technician is important. This new information about the technology and the world informs your readers. I would only have concern if there is an in-depth back story of the technician that does not tell the readers anything about class, culture, ...


5

'I'm watching you' he gestured as he was leaving. It's essentially a piece of dialogue, treat it as such.


4

Sealing Wax and all that Fancy Stuff: I don't know if there are any hard rules on this in fiction. I have done this in a couple of instances in a novel where the society has regressed and doesn't trust electronic communication. The formatting is a little wonky in these answers, so I'll just explain. First, make it clear in your writing that someone is ...


4

All you have to do is write it as though it was really happening. However, you should be aware that many readers strongly dislike it when you fool them in this way --there has to be a strong reason for doing it, otherwise it feels like a cheap parlor trick, and can damage suspension of disbelief.


4

"What makes a novel boring" is definitely the wrong question. The spackle on the ceiling above me is not very interesting. Why? There isn't a reason. There's an infinity of subtly different possible arrangements of spackle specks or streaks or textures. But none of them mean anything, and no obviously random, empty arrangement could be very ...


4

Novels like Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep or Alastair Reynolds' Terminal World play in universes where the laws of nature are different, which plays a large role in the plots. In a way, most Science Fiction or Fantasy modifies the laws of nature to facilitate faster than light travel, unknown energy stores or to allow magic. Even the Expanse, praised ...


4

In The Craft of Writing Science Fiction That Sells, author Ben Bova emphasises the importance of four elements: Character Background Conflict Plot This is no different from any other work of fiction. The difference with Science Fiction is the need to create convincing and consistent settings (world building). And he makes an important point: ‘Almost every ...


4

A general rule for writing (at least modern fiction that sells) is to try to never do anything that will wake your reader up from the trance of living your story. Anything that is complicated and/or requires interpretation will break this rule. It will wake the reader up and force them to think that they are reading a novel and that they are now required to ...


4

There isn't really a good set of top-down rules for this. But it may be helpful to walk through a series of examples. Since you appear to be familiar with Skyrim, I will use their hold names. While reading this, it may prove useful to consult this map: Winterhold is just "winter" + "hold" - a very logical name given that it's a hold ...


4

You will probably not find a piece of software that will do everything you want. Instead, you'll likely have to rely on several different programs. This is good news and bad news. I understand you're a messy person. Adding more programs to keep track of might seem like a bad idea, but I've found it's usually a question of spanner vs hammer. You need more ...


4

The reason you see this technique in a movie is because they have no other way of telling you that Joanne and Mona continued to discuss the time the cops came in but our attention is going elsewhere. In a novel, you have narration and a POV character. "The cops came in" Joanne said. "Oh, seriously!?" replied Mona. Joanne continued to ...


3

Spiral is a great picture here. (though fractals would be more accurate) I've always been taught to know your theme and stick to it. Draw a pinwheel spiral, just around and around and around. Now this is the whole universe of the story. Each loop is another layer of theme. Symbolism is a way for the character to Interact with the theme. Whether they know it ...


3

Depends on what you mean. If there is something in the story that seemingly doesn't make sense based on the information presented to the audience, and this is deliberate to highlight some inconsistency or plot element to the audience that the characters don't see, then what you have looks like a plot hole but isn't. The truth is that "under the hood&...


3

You may want to look at some fix-up novels. These are works built up of smaller pieces of fiction that were often published separately first. Two such works are A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. and Operation Chaos by Poul Anderson. These give you an idea how such smaller stories can fit into a larger one.


3

As you have added the tag "copyright" to your question, let me first clarify that inspirations are irrelevant to copyright, there is no legal obligation in any form in this case. The usual way is to have an acknowledgment section at the end of your book where you can thank everyone involved in the project and where you could include a list of ...


3

David Drake often includes an "Author's Notes" section in his novels. These are placed before the text of the novel. You can skip them, and I suspect many people do. If you read them, though, you will find some insights into how current events and ancient history combined to produce the story. There are often times anecdotes about how characters, ...


3

Sometimes you have numbers that mean nothing, and sometimes you have numbers that mean something. How can you distinguish between them without shoehorning it in or shoving it in the readers face, spelling it out, making it corny? Have a character or the narrator notice that number more than once, or briefly fixate on it.


3

It Depends: Is the content of the letter really that horrible? I feel the key to a horror story is to take away the character's sense of control (done by a supernatural influence, in this case), then constantly increase the tension and suspense without letting off the pressure (or if you release the pressure, it is only to emphasize the pressure when it is ...


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