71

I would suggest looking at the women in your life (family, friends, co-workers, etc). I have a problem with the ideas of 'feminine qualities' and 'femininity'. They imply that without those a woman isn't a real woman. Much like a man won't be a real man unless he is and can do a set of things. You could perhaps think about the stereotypes for 'manly ...


68

As a dyslexic, I understand the general aversion to reading. As someone who loves storytelling, I nevertheless want to be exposed to stories. There are some life-hacks for the reading adverse that want to write. Get the audiobook Not only does an audiobook outsource the reading to someone else, but it is something you can listen to while travelling to ...


43

I also have Asperger Syndrome. Before I explain how I "write around it", let me talk a little about showing and telling. Writing isn't what it used to be, and I don't mean that in a bad way. In competing with film and TV for people's attention, novels have started to mimic the way such media tell a story through what can be seen and heard. True, good ...


37

There's a difference between filler and moments which aren't advancing the main plotline. What one might consider filler at first glance often holds important information about setting, character, and character relationships. I love using moments of 'downtime' from the plot to establish certain character traits, because it lets the reader focus on the ...


29

Not every chapter needs to blow the reader away No, not every chapter needs to blow the reader away, and you shouldn't be trying to. There are multiple reasons that this isn't something you should try to do. Also, this probably isn't really the issue with that chapter. Why you don't want to do this First of all, you can't. Trying to blow the reader away ...


26

You can publish under any name you choose. Whether it makes a difference to your sales is a very open question, but if it makes you feel better about publishing your work, then by all means use a pen name. Many great writers have done so -- Mark Twain was a pen name; so was Andre Norton. More recently, John Varley was a pen name -- and these are just the ...


21

I've seen this feedback to a bunch of folks lately. That's got me thinking. Here's a few things to consider. Don't describe setting bits that don't matter. Describe setting through character action. Using these two pieces, imagine the following options (neither is very good; just mock-ups): The office was roughly square in shape, with wallpaper that ...


20

I'm a professional scientist; my point of view might help. The only way I can think of is to approach it analytically. Body language is a language you don't know. There are books on it, some contradictory (giving you freedom to choose). The parts you are missing is that instead of understanding the language and becoming fluent (on paper), you are trying to ...


20

There is a trick for this in The Emotional Craft of Fiction. It's called 'me centered narration.' Essentially, you have the character express at length in narrative (protest too much) what she wants everyone to think about her, in this case the opposite attribute of what she is actually feeling. He came into my room and I quickly wiped my eyes, before ...


17

You have multiple options. You can, as @Amadeus says, rewrite, so your character can be in the battle. You can have somebody recount the battle to your character after the fact, with your character reflecting bitterly on not having been there, and having been unable to affect things. In this case, you don't have to narrate the three months of doing nothing -...


17

Personally, I have a strong dislike for multiple first person POV. With that said, I'd say your option of following through with one character's POV is best. It's not uncommon to have the same scene told first by one character and then by the other. You need to work hard, however, to not make this repetitive or confusing. The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn ...


16

Partly because your name is the same as a Slovenian politician famous enough to be listed in Wikipedia, you should consider an alternative. Do you like your mother's maiden name? Would you prefer a shortened version or an English translation of your surname (Like Ana Novik or Ana Newson, for example)? It should be short enough, memorable and have some charm ...


15

Your beta reader feels the chapter isn't pulling its weight. It's not about being blown away, it's about a chapter having a purpose and engaging the reader. Because your reader has put it in these terms, my guess is that the other chapters also didn't really engage as part of a larger story. They had elements that the reader enjoyed a lot but didn't ...


14

Out of the blue, I can count four ways to go about it. All assume that your world was created with one or more civilisations (meaning races, kingdoms, whatever). The first option is to focus on a community. It can be a neighbourhood in a large town or in a small town, it can be a village, a religious community (think something equivalent to a village for a ...


14

I don't understand the dilemma, just write it the way you want. Ultimately if you want a strong women that embraces her femininity, you are going to put her in a dress, have her pay attention to her grooming, skin, hair, makeup, etc, all the clichés of being a girly girl. So she needs to express her strength and heroism in other ways. That isn't difficult, ...


14

You dress the women however you like, and have them take whatever role they wish in their life. You pay them the same (or more) than their male counterparts for equal work, and most importantly, you have men and women alike look to women with respect. Ask their opinion. Listen to it and follow it. Consider their words. See the wisdom in them. If you open ...


13

But the number one advice to become a better author is to read a lot. This is because reading is the only way to be exposed to the variety of different styles and forms available to you. It'll be pretty hard to hone your craft when you can't see how other people are fixing issues in their work. If you hate reading a particular type of story, like fantasy, ...


13

Don't Write, Tell Stories. Stories began as an oral tradition. There are story telling competitions every year and some of those people never write down a thing. Look up stuff like oral tradition and you'll find your way down the rabbit hole. Now, technically, you can and sometimes still should write in this space, but lots of the greats never did and ...


13

"if it's not advancing the story and can be removed without affecting it, then it shouldn't be there". That has to be taken in a more general sense. Showing things about how a character thinks, feels and behaves is all "advancing the story", the story is about PEOPLE and showing them as people is advancing the story. In the same way, showing the setting is ...


11

settings feel irrelevant The characters, for example, are in an office, or a restaurant, or a different office at various times throughout the story ― but any of these places are interchangeable If the places are interchangeable, they are definitely irrelevant. Ask yourself why the characters are in that place. How does being there affect the story? ...


9

"Show don't tell" is a general rule which basically means: immerse your readers in your story. It's not meant literally (as others have pointed out) and it doesn't just apply to body language. For example, don't state someone's personality then go into ordinary action and dialogue. Instead, have the character express that personality. If someone is kind ...


9

Rewrite. I don't think it is a good idea to have a new POV character for one scene. You have control of history, don't injure your hero character, or don't injure her so badly, or go back in your story and figure out how to delay the battle until she can participate. It sounds like you are a discovery writer, inventing the plot as you go. So am I, but ...


9

The same reason people in real life go by different names in different contexts. A doctor might go by Dr. Grey with her patients and subbourdinates, Dr. G to very young patients, Merridith to friendly acquaintances, and Mer to close friends, and Merri with her parents. Which name people use for her sets the context for the situation. It would be weird to ...


9

Inanna's Journey and "girly" heroes There are traditional "girly" heroes – often they take the pattern of Inanna's Journey. Rather than "leveling up" like a plucky male hero, Inanna's Journey is about maintaining wits/dignity/femininity while losing or descending in status. Once she's lost everything, she wins by proving her worth isn't about superficial ...


8

There is a bunch of creative methods - some more than other - that can help you. Here are my ideas: Change the narration style One of the most clear ways to signal that something has changed is making changes to the narrator. It's a pretty solid and, well, obvious advice if you have a first person PoV on the characters who changes: having direct access ...


8

I will attempt to guide you through this topic. Let me start by saying this. I think you're being too hard on yourself because the clichés of how people react in stories is something that we all have to learn anyway, diagnosis or not. We don't usually write as reality is, we write as other people have written. Reality is just the inspiration for it. What ...


7

Amadeus and Logan's answers are already good. I'd like to expand a bit about the "no explanation needed" that Logan presented. Your assumption is that the majority-readers needs explanation. This is not true: as humans, we are good at drawing lines between dots and dealing with missing or partial information. If a read of a jewish character performing a ...


7

Ultimately, agents and publishers are interested in what will sell. At one time, it was considered that prior publication online would cannibalize print sales, so writers needed to choose one or the other. But today, many publishers and agents are willing to see prior online publishing success as a good thing. In essence, your work has already been road-...


7

Writing isn't really about showing what character's feel. It's about making the reader feel. You could even have a cold-hearted unfeeling robot (Terminator?), as long as that character makes your audience have the emotions you want them to have, you're doing it right. I'd suggest reading books, watching movies, TV-shows, and when you feel something, try to ...


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