New answers tagged

2 votes
Accepted

Can you put your readers right in the middle of things without assuming they know anything?

Yes, absolutely. One example of a successful book that does this really strongly is Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee. Lee drops you straight into an battle scene that very heavily uses in-universe "...
  • 1,390
1 vote

Can you put your readers right in the middle of things without assuming they know anything?

Yes, this is done all the time. Often the trick to this is easier than you might guess: You take some task that is already familiar to readers. A meal, getting up and getting ready for work, eating or ...
  • 94.1k
3 votes

Is there a good way to subvert expectations?

Foreshadowing is generally what separates a good twist from a bad twist. A bad twist comes out of nowhere, makes no sense on cannon, and defies previously established lore or logic. It's all shock and ...
2 votes

Can you put your readers right in the middle of things without assuming they know anything?

Putting your reader right in the middle of the world, without preface or explanation, is a hallmark of mastery of world-building. This is because it forces the author to inhabit their character's life ...
  • 8,225
2 votes
Accepted

Is there a good way to subvert expectations?

If you're going to subvert expectations and have a positive audience response, you need to do two things: reveal that you're telling an even better story than your audience thought you were telling, ...
  • 7,946
1 vote

Is there a good way to subvert expectations?

This isn't an easy question to answer. Any attempt to answer it will have to address two aspects: the qualitative and the qualitative. With the first, you're looking at how well expectations are ...
2 votes

Can you put your readers right in the middle of things without assuming they know anything?

Most certainly, if you do it right. David Drake's With the Lightnings drops you right into the lives of two characters with no build up or warning. They are where they are, doing whatever it is that'...
  • 1,990
1 vote

When, and how should I bring in my character's backstory?

First you should consider if the backstory even needs to be included. If your story so far hasn't suffered by leaving out the character's background then it might not be necessary for the story you're ...
  • 676
1 vote

When, and how should I bring in my character's backstory?

There are several ways to bring in backstory. In the first Harry Potter book, the first chapter occurs ten years before the second chapter; Harry Potter is the boy who survived; somehow. A magical ...
  • 94.1k
2 votes
Accepted

Do dual narratives have to alternate every chapter?

Chapters are metatext There is no obligation to label any division of book a 'chapter'. The narrative can change direction without the label, and within the label. Put another way, you could write ...
  • 25.1k
3 votes
Accepted

What can be said among the lost on Mars that alters one's mood?

No words can be interesting in a grave situation like then, where people are lost on Mars and not even sure if they would ever be able to find their way back home again and even uncertain about their ...
1 vote

I'm so angry! How can I show that in an interesting way?

Describe the physical reaction: As your eyes grew wide with shock at what happened on the screen, perhaps you started trembling. Or maybe you smashed a keyboard (very popular with my kids). Your face ...
  • 13.1k
0 votes

How do I describe an accidental kiss between the two main characters that is romantic as well as regretful?

When I think of an accidental kiss, something happens like they're sitting next to each other and their eyes meet and suddenly kiss but then one of them pulls back like "we shouldn't be doing ...
2 votes

Dialog during sex scenes

I would not include a sex scene to "reward" readers. I generally exclude explicit sex scenes, my only exception would be if something happened during sex that changes somebody's mind. If two ...
  • 94.1k
3 votes
Accepted

Dialog during sex scenes

What kind of weirdos talk while they're having sex? Before, sure. After, maybe - if neither falls asleep and one (or both) still have the energy to think. During - nope, too busy. The problem with ...
  • 1,990
2 votes

Dialog during sex scenes

Which is steamier, having two characters simply silently going through the motions of this or actively communicating with each other? Because then they can tease each other to increase tension, flirt ...
0 votes

How would you describe the following futuristic skyline of Toronto and its destruction as it is happening?

The trick is you don't need much detail. Don't describe the fall of each and every building. You can describe one or two of the most notable ones, but then just quickly describe the overall way the ...
  • 717
2 votes

Which English writer community website to give the free feedback on a writing content?

Scribophile is a community of writers. You post work and other people comment on it. It is mostly fiction but not exclusively. Unless you pay, you have to critique other people's writing in order to ...
  • 7,713
0 votes

How do you write verbal abuse without it coming off as cheesy?

If you want a good example of verbal abuse done correctly and efficiently, look no further than Mother Gothel from Tangled. Specifically look at the lyrics to the song Mother Knows Best, both the ...
0 votes

How do you write verbal abuse without it coming off as cheesy?

You seem to have some kind of frame of reference since you see your own writing as "cheesy", so if you have any good examples for the kind of verbal abuse you're trying to write, I'd advise ...
  • 676
0 votes

How do you write verbal abuse without it coming off as cheesy?

Disclaimer: In no way do I endorse verbal or physical abuse; I am talking about writing fiction and getting into the head of a fictional character. I am not talking about any real person, in the boy ...
  • 94.1k
0 votes

How do you write verbal abuse without it coming off as cheesy?

My 2¢: a bully is trying to intimidate, a father is not 'intimidated' by his own child. Here's my attempt to not do a mouth-breathing bully-dad: Anti-Father Try imagining the same scene but with a ...
  • 25.1k
1 vote
Accepted

Is it ok to explain magic in a very abstract way in a fantasy setting?

An author's ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic. -Brandon Sanderson Your explanation will be a problem if magic is being used ...
  • 263
-1 votes

In novel writing, should I change the name a character is referred to by when he reveals his name to the protagonist?

Generally, when you refer to someone by their last name you would use "Mister (Mr)" for a man, "Miss (Ms.)" for an unmarried woman, and "Misses (Mrs.)" for a married ...
  • 11.4k
3 votes

In novel writing, should I change the name a character is referred to by when he reveals his name to the protagonist?

I agree with another answer that if your novel is written in limited 3rd-person as most are, and possibly other types of writing, that the point-of-view character (which is advisably the character who ...
0 votes

In novel writing, should I change the name a character is referred to by when he reveals his name to the protagonist?

I feel you are free to use whatever name you want, you can call the person by his family name all through the book, you can call the person by his first name all through the book, even though other ...
  • 246
1 vote
Accepted

In a collection of stories with multiple worlds, how do you cue your readers as to what world your story takes place?

Are all the worlds exactly equal? Do they have the same skies, the same suns, the same moons? If the answer is yes, you need to do some literal worldbuilding. Make your worlds different. Give each of ...
  • 960
5 votes

In novel writing, should I change the name a character is referred to by when he reveals his name to the protagonist?

You might want to use a name change as a tool. For instance, if Joe incorrectly thinks Baker is an adversary, and the reader is taken down that path along with Joe, changing name habits at the ...
0 votes

Is it ok to explain magic in a very abstract way in a fantasy setting?

In storytelling, concrete and specific details are good and vagueness is bad. Abstract is can be a lot like vague. In world building, believability follows from understandability. That is if the ...
  • 8,225
1 vote

Is it ok to explain magic in a very abstract way in a fantasy setting?

It depends. Does it suit the character who is saying it? Does it serve some purpose in the story?
  • 7,304
1 vote

Is it ok to explain magic in a very abstract way in a fantasy setting?

We don't do writing reviews here. It doesn't matter, in a fantasy book, if you "explain" magic; in many ways it is better if you don't explain it. In my opinion, your explanation doesn't ...
  • 94.1k
4 votes

In novel writing, should I change the name a character is referred to by when he reveals his name to the protagonist?

From a reader's perspective (based on my own experience) it is horribly confusing to deal with multiple names, especially when there are many characters to track. For example, consider the following ...
12 votes

In novel writing, should I change the name a character is referred to by when he reveals his name to the protagonist?

For narration in the 3rd person, the narrator should strive to always refer to a specific character by a single identity to minimize confusing the reader. Obviously, that is not always possible. A ...
  • 8,225
21 votes

In novel writing, should I change the name a character is referred to by when he reveals his name to the protagonist?

You should refer to the character as the point-of-view character would think of him. Some people would think of "the waitress" even as she introduces herself as Amy, and some people would ...
  • 7,304
7 votes

In novel writing, should I change the name a character is referred to by when he reveals his name to the protagonist?

I always change the name, once it is known. **The waiter approached the table. "Hi, I'm Bill, I will be serving you today. What are you drinking?" Mark said, "Diet Coke." Mary ...
  • 94.1k
2 votes
Accepted

Is there a website to generate short stories from prompts?

Random detail generation, or the green fairy: Having someone else's idea for a story is no good. Why would you want to have an AI write random stories for you? I'm sure you can find someone willing to ...
  • 13.1k
1 vote
Accepted

Should you make all information available so that your readers know everything that transpired at the end of the book?

(Full disclosure, I have not watched any Evangelion) What you're describing is a problem that frequently happens with Serialized Media. Usually when you're writing for something that needs a episode/...
  • 263
3 votes
Accepted

Can authors retell their own stories in different ways?

Sure. There are multiple recent examples of authors having done this: Stephanie Meyer wrote Midnight Sun, a retelling of the first Twilight novel from Edward Cullen's perspective EL James wrote Grey, ...
  • 9,746
2 votes

How should you refer to modern words and concepts like DNA and neutrons in a fantasy book?

You need to come up with a story on how it's discovered first, and also how much they know about it (its function, origin, substance, etc), and also how often it occur in their daily life. For example,...
4 votes
Accepted

How should you refer to modern words and concepts like DNA and neutrons in a fantasy book?

What do they know, and how do they know it? Bear in mind that there were no terms for either one in any language for most of history because they were not concepts. If your fantasy world has its ...
  • 7,304

Top 50 recent answers are included