Hot answers tagged

27

As Mark says, not without a track record of one bestseller after another. But if you got that, you should be pretty rich, so why bother? Rowling and Stephen King probably don't worry about stuff like that, they'd rather NOT be on deadline, just in case a film deal comes along or they get a different idea. They'll just finish the book at their leisure and ...


19

By inviting the relevant people (or their families) to your creative team. Many books and movies are made "with the cooperation of" so and so. This can mean a single interview, or just permission to to use certain materials, or it can involve multiple interviews or bringing in the person to the set (if filmed). In other cases, the relevant person, or a ...


12

Bathos is not the mere fact of a serious moment being followed by a light one. It is an intrusion of a cheap vulgar laugh into a dramatic scene. It undermines the seriousness of the stakes, the drama of the scene, the meaningfulness of your story. It says "don't take any of this too seriously." Which is why it is criticised in the Marvel Universe films - it'...


10

Welcome to the SE. What is the story? The gayest drag queen in the world would probably watch a story about the Vietnam War as long as it was done well. I'm certain there's at least one or two LGBTQ folks out there who enjoyed Good Morning Vietnam. Everyone was straight in that movie. You make your cast what it needs to be to support the story. Find ...


9

You are right in thinking both that details are needed - they make the scene come alive, and that the details shouldn't be random. I use the scenery details first and foremost to set the mood of a scene. You use a meeting in a forest as an example. Is your character comfortable in the forest? Does she know it well, is it a safe environment for her? Then she ...


9

A method like time of day is very constricting, and becomes more like a disability than an advantage. Consider werewolves that convert, like it or not, on the full moon. It has been used as a story advantage when the werewolf feels compelled to lock themselves up for the full moon, or usually does and cannot get there in time, etc. But the scope of the story ...


8

Picture the following situation: a passenger aircraft nearly 300 people on board suffers a catastrophic failure, making the plane almost unflyable. The flight crew are struggling to maintain control, to somehow get the plane on the ground while also knowing that they have to keep it away from populated areas because if it does go down, if they lose their ...


5

I've always struggled with sensory details in my writing --I'm a dialog-and-plot kind of writer. But for me, writing details really came alive when I discovered your number three approach. When done right, the details offer you so much opportunity for layered, immersive storytelling. Perfunctory, by-the-book, generic "filler" details definitely aren't ...


3

Build yourself an excuse for knowing what you wish to reveal; the story you are currently telling was related to you by others. When Rodrick first told Geoffrey's tale, he tells us, on this journey Geoffrey had fallen in love with Antonia, though even Geoffrey, at the time, did not recognize this feeling. Oh, he'd been in lust many times, but never in ...


3

Truth is, the "mushroom" part of, well, the mushroom, is really only the fruiting body. This is like asking "how would the apple call it's apple tree". If you want to have mushroom people which looks like mushrooms, you kinda have to forget about the mycelium and chalk it up to creative freedom, because the fruit of the mushroom isn't that big in comparison....


3

I include detail because I think the job of the prose is to assist the imagination of the reader. If there is resonance on other levels, that's great, but it isn't a necessity in my book. The reader needs to imagine a visual scene, an audio scene, a sensory scene. Just dialogue doesn't cut it, the talking heads and wall of dialogue feels quickly unrealistic....


3

The line between something being an 'interesting/critical detail', and 'fluff/time wasting filler' is a fuzzy arbitrary decision best made on a case by case basis. As such we decide what to cut or what to expand based on what works for our story at hand. There are two key metrics to consider when trying to decide if a section of text really belongs as is, ...


2

Exact mechanics are less important than control No matter how the exact transformation works the key thing that matters is how it is controlled. A scientific device, a superpower, and a magic wand, all fundamentally work the way just in different settings. You really need to choose between the following three styles of ability: At will. The character is in ...


2

@Amadeus mentions constraints. Constraints are like the walls of a house - they are limits, but also supports of the structure. The constraints define the shape of the story you tell. If change is forced on the character by some outside circumstance, such as time, your story must perforce deal with the inconvenience of having to transform whether one wants ...


2

I think the textbook answer is: Does the detail contribute to the story? If you describe how a character's house is filled with guns and bombs, that tells us something very different about him than if his house is filled with flowers and framed poetry quotes. A detail may prove relevant later. This is classic in mystery stories: The writer casually mentions ...


2

To add a slight frame challenge to the mix: You appear to have headed off in an awkward direction by wondering if you can take an outline and some reasonably polished directly to an agent. And while technically you can try, that route is highly unlikely to yield you anything more than polite smiles and nods at best. [And being black listed as an annoying ...


2

Distance is carving off the incidental details It's not the size of the details, but their relevance to the story. In Cinderella, it matters that she scrubbed floors, and that her sisters were ugly. In Arthurian legend, it mattered that Uther had a thing for Igraine. It matters significantly less whether Cinderella liked raspberries, or whether Uther was ...


1

You either write a biography, as accurate as you can, as respectfully as you can, or you write a clearly fictional story that is as different from its inspiration as you can make it. Do not try to do this half way. That way lies pain and law suits. From your question, it seemed that you want to write fiction. Then do just that. The best way is to get ...


1

It's impossible to write anything about anyone at all without offending someone, potentially. Say you're writing something positive about a person, let's call him X. Now, X has a detractor named Y who seriously, seriously, dislikes X. She's likely to be offended by whatever you write about X that's not offensive to X himself. And maybe the reverse is also ...


1

why is the couch brown? Because it's made of leather. Yes, some details are just details. But if it doesn't matter why say it? why is the couch on the left side of the shop? Because there's only one tv hook up and they wanted it to face the TV or some other practical reason...if it doesn't matter to the story WHY, then it isn't relevant to the reader, ...


1

The most fundamental building block of a novel is the scene. A scene either reveals part of the plot or something about the characters; after reading the scene's last sentence, the story has 'advanced' by some measure. Scenes come in two varieties; 'action' and 'reaction'. As their names suggest, action scenes set up action, and in reaction scenes the ...


1

Nothing, and I do mean nothing, is boring writing material if you're fascinated about it. I always had my doubts about subjects worth writing about and those not, but what finally quelled my fears was listening to Hamilton. Who, in their right mind, would have thought that a rap/hip-hop musical about America's first treasury secretary will go on to have the ...


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