31

What sort of time period are we looking at? Hours? Days? Weeks? Months? Over a period of hours, it's going to be things like the angle of shadows (how high in the sky the sun is), the temperature, et cetera. At days, it comes down to water breaks: a dead slave is worth no money, so they need to be given something to drink occasionally. Are the ...


10

Changes of light, of temperature, of weather, of season. Unremembered wear in clothing, the healing of wounds, loss of physical condition. Hair longer than ever before. Sudden brutal grooming from the captors and subsequent regrowth. Being let out to push a wagon out of mud. Sickness in the camp. Raiders, fended off. Capture by the raiders, and subsequent ...


8

If you hate the tropes so much, then why are you including them in your story? No one is forcing you to write a story filled with stereotypical barbarians, Lovecraftian horrors, abnormally aggressive animals, and what have you. If you don't like the tropes, just don't include them in the story. In fact, the example you gave had no examples of any of the ...


8

It is done already. Consider: He strode onto the pitch in freshly pressed whites. (Cricket) 'He was clothed in brown rags' doesn't mean he was actually wearing rags. It is quite common to say something like: He was clad in white and silver. Consider: She was resplendent in crimson and yellow.


7

I think George R. R. Martin does this quite well in his various novels. A good few characters in A Song of Ice and Fire are locked up at some point, and GRRM always dedicated a good couple of pages at least to hammering home how long they've been in captivity. These chapters often deal with the mental toll of being confined to a place with no brain ...


5

Lots of different ways. Step one, cut out extraneous detail: leave the exact details of the damage done for a later passage, or the readers' imagination. Don't over-describe - it breaks the flow. Good for slowing things down, drawing out a horrified realisation at the end of the battle, but bad in the middle of it. Try to imply as much as you can with as ...


4

I think it's all down to having an open mind and strengthening your grasp of what it means to be a storyteller. In a sense, Jaws is essentially Beowulf. Would you go into a lit class and ask them why they like Beowulf? Do you hate Beowulf as intensely as you hate Jaws? You shouldn't have to ask people what they like about stories in order to understand ...


4

A noble savage can't work in a setting where civilization and agriculture did more good for the overall morality of humans as they don't have to fight over resources anymore. Yes because "civilization and agriculture" totally stopped humanity fighting over resources. Oh wait, they didn't. If these are what is preventing you having conflict between groups of ...


4

The best villains, for my money, are fully-fleshed out individuals who have a clear logic behind their actions. Nastiness for the sake of nastiness wears thin quite quickly. Say I have a villain who has killed dozens or hundreds of innocent people. That is bad. But let the villain have a turn on the stage where he justifies those deaths by claiming that ...


4

There's no law against it, so of course it's permitted. (In fact, poetry tends to include "illogical" metaphors.) However, you'll have to consider what you want to achieve. An unclear metaphor might lead to the readers having a different image in mind than what you intended. In the worst case, it could leave your readers confused and take them out of the ...


4

welcome! I would say that the sort of symbolic meaning you're talking about should actually be subtle, and in many cases will not be noticed by readers - especially the first time round. In many of the best graphic novels and movies which are packed with visual symbolism, such things are easy to miss if you're not looking for them. But if you go through ...


4

In addition to @Chronocidal's answer, you can also use nature to show the passage of time. Even within the confines of a wagon with no outside view, you could have mice that are breeding. They can have up to 10 litters a year, so plenty of generations to be born, grow up and leave. And if you can cast a glance outside through a slit in the wagon or ...


3

It would be crazy to expect people to understand weird metaphors (or similes) The question is, would it be crazy like a limp, soggy rug - or crazy like the steel manacles I'm using to keep my old writing teacher chained to the wall in the basement? The advantage of using unusual metaphorical language is that it can shake up your reader in an unexpected way,...


3

I'm not sure making this un-creepy is either possible or desirable. Your premise is deliberately creepy, why fight against that? What you need to do is build empathy with your main character. If he's fighting really hard to be a good person, and not always succeeding, most people will be able to identify with that. For him, the stakes are just a bit higher, ...


3

How does she know that she is falling? Does she feel herself go weightless? Wind blasting her from 'below'? What can she hear? Does she bump into or hit anything on the way down? If it is dark, then don't make that the whole scene. Embrace her other senses, or her inner thoughts - she has just died. Does she remember her death? How does she react to ...


3

Unfortunately, you have not supplied sufficient details to be be able to answer your questions. Rather than give you answers, I am going to pose some questions to highlight the missing details. These are largely issues of technique rather than content, but that is what this forum is all about. What is the genre of the story? If a woman has died and is ...


3

If it were a film, you might likely see a montage of the prisoner waking and each time either falling back into a stupor, being drugged, or beaten, or fed. They might get progressively more dirty and unkempt. You might see this overlaid with the wagon constantly riding through the countryside. In written medium you must convey this explicitly but you can. ...


3

You have to answer a few questions first: What power did she have before? Was she immortal? How does this affect the world? What kind of personality does she have? How does she react when she loses something? How important was being god-like to her? Once you answer these questions, and any others that may come to mind, you can see how she reacts. It will ...


3

There are a huge amount of possible reactions your demoted goddess could have, such as despair at losing so much of her power to help, frustration at losing it at all, insecurity regarding her worth without her powers, anger at the people or situation that caused her to lose her godhood, determination to regain it, denial of her inability to regain it, joy ...


2

A situation is as real as the characters take it to be In Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail, there's a scene where Arthur battles "the black knight," who will not let him pass. After each brief bout of fighting, the black knight has had another limb chopped off. The situation of battling with swords is plausible in the setting. The bloody ...


2

You, the author, are creating both the "real" world, and the dream world. From that point of view, neither intrinsically has more reality than the other. Bizarre things may happen in the dream world, but then, bizarre things happen in reality all the time. When things that contradict reality happen habitually in a narrative, we call that "fantasy fiction" ...


2

It seems to me that there are two issues you're dealing with here. First, there's your personal 'Hayes' code, which keeps you from discussing certain behaviors. That isn't much of a problem, really; proper use of indirection, allusion, euphemism and other forms of ellipsis can let you skirt topics you don't want to deal with, at the cost of making your ...


2

A huge question for which I do not have anything close to a complete answer. What i do have are some observations. First, there is a hint in your question that there is some pool of absolute truth and that if we were to bathe in that pool, all of our sins would be washed away. Even if such a pool were to exist, the world is filled with differences of ...


2

There is a vast area of study on the topic of reading comprehension. From Wikipedia: Ability to comprehend text is influenced by readers' skills and their ability to process information. If word recognition is difficult, students use too much of their processing capacity to read individual words, which interferes with their ability to comprehend what is ...


2

Are you using first-person perspective or do just want to show instead of telling? Do you want the character to be aware of the time passing or just the reader? Do they need to notice time passing as it passes or would it be an option to have the character realize sometime after the arrival that the time has passed? If it is first-person and you want to ...


2

To begin, with Lewis Carroll: If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there. To continue, the question is, what your intent is in writing the story? What changes do you want to effect in the reader as they read the story? A man has a dark side, characterized by demons. Perhaps the demons represent the notion that everyone has original ...


2

Metaphors are two directional. We often talk about how the writing describes the object, let's say clouds in your case. But there is another direction, metaphors describe the writing itself. They create a mood, and tell us things about the narrator of the work. They often tell us how to feel about the story as a whole. Let's take my favorite metaphor. (this ...


2

If your character is a man (in the sense "not a boy anymore"), you could use his beard growing as an indication of time passing.


1

Your short description makes me think of ways real world governments, that tried (and still try) to force people to assimilate into different cultures. You should look into some sources detailing those events. This might be a good start: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Indian_boarding_schools


1

Does there have to be one? And, if there is, does it have to be linked to the murderer, rather than the victim? You initially suggest "lack of evidence", but dismiss this as "too weak". Instead, try building it up to be a stronger 'source of conflict': The protagonist is convinced that the murder is linked to his wife's disappearance, his friends and ...


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