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26

Men do wear skirts: kilts, sarongs, hakamas, fustanellas... If your world is culturally diverse, any and all of those might have become common enough. In sci-fi stories in particular, new fashions is something we take in our stride. But skirts are not really the focus of your question, they're just an aspect, an example. For the broader question, to write a ...


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 ...


17

Unlike with comics, you wouldn't want to use sound effects as dialogue or dialogue adjuncts (in comics the letterer makes them separate from actual speech), though you can get away with it in something humorous. You can, however, evoke sound effects. The door slammed shut. vs. She shut the door hard. Or She nocked another arrow, let it fly, and ...


15

Treat it as if it were normal Where I live slavery is not considered normal. The notion that my neighbour had a slave in their house would probably end up on national news and cause public stir. On the other hand, the same people that would be appalled by such event have no issues with watching TV shows where slavery is clearly a pillar of the fictional ...


14

Lots of novels go into detail about music, movies, TV shows, and other art and culture relevant during the setting of the book. Also technology. In some cases the cultural details are important to the setting. High Fidelity is all about the music; failing to mention it would have ruined the book. In other cases, giving those details evokes a particular ...


12

My suggestion is to casually alude to it. I'm taking up the 'men is dress' example you mentioned. If you have characters going shopping for clothes, you can have both men and women casually commenting on a particularly nice skirt. "That red skirt would look great on you, Jason," Anne said excitedly. "It would be perfect for Kate's birthday party." "...


12

Yes, that is acceptable. In dialogue, the only thing I'd say is unacceptable is trying to duplicate "sound effects" in the speech itself.Like if somebody is speaking with a mouth full of sandwich; just say so. Bob mumbled around a mouthful of cereal, "I don't want any." Don't try "I doh wah enna", it breaks the immersion of the reader by making them try ...


9

I think you have got into a "Don't mention the war!" mindset over this (ref: the John Cleese / Fawlty Towers comedies). If "rules about appropriate clothing, activities, professions, hairstyles, mannerisms, etc. simply no longer exist" in your fictional world, then they don't exist. and I guess you don't want to have a David Attenborough-like "outsider" ...


9

I'd say it depends on what those numbers are. Writing "five in the morning" instead of "5am" isn't going to make too much of a difference to readability. In fact, depending on the general tone of your story, that slight bit of extra eloquence can really enhance it. However, once you get into longer numbers, using the actual numerals really helps with ...


9

I think instead of creating the language, you can save a lot of time by just doing as you did in the question: Decide on features of the language that will make a psychological difference in the character's communications, how they think or feel. You can read some tutorials on creating a conlang, but instead of creating one, borrow the features you want (...


9

You can ask people for advice/ constructive criticism at any stage of writing, but I would refrain from giving beta readers huge chunks of text at a time (like 40k words) unless they're professionals. Usually, I divide my work into manageable units that kind of make sense on their own - chapters, short stories, etc, and ask people to give me feedback. Ash'...


8

It tells us nothing The phrase Gary Jules 'Mad Mad World' has no emotional resonance with me whatsoever. It is not shorthand for "a specific emotional state". Popular music is not a universal experience. It can signal to your "tribe": people who are the same age, gender, financial tier, and probably race – the same demographic targeted by that particular ...


8

It is fine to extend a sentence after a tag, and the first form is correct: "he said" should also be followed by a comma. "I don't like this at all," he said, as the door closed behind them.


7

That's tough, it sounds like a hundred page wall of dialogue to me. To eliminate most of it, I'd resort to flashback. Flashbacks are not that popular anymore; but they would be better than an endless wall of dialogue or thoughts. For flashback, write the recollection as a story, with a neutral narrator, third person omniscient limited, focused on the ...


6

While you don't need to follow a style guide here (except your publisher's of course), it's helpful to look at them. The AP Style Guide (Associated Press) is a good one because it's for American newspapers. Newspapers work hard to bring in a large range of readers, so they aim most of their articles at a high school (or even Jr. High school) reading level (...


6

I had the same reaction to your musical allusion that Wetcircuit did: I have never heard the song "Mad World", or if I have, I don't remember it. It does not bring any emotional state to my mind because I have no idea what it is about or what it sounds like. I've had this conversation with many authors: They'll say, "I included this cultural reference to ...


6

(Decided not to spam the comments section, so) Using spoken english ( sometimes called 'being colloquial') is good - it makes your story more realistic. In real life, people 'hmmm' and 'uhh' and pause for confirmation from their audience and have bad grammar. "I goed to the park," said Suzy That's okay* if you've established Suzy as someone who isn't ...


6

Show something else that is more interesting If you don't want to have reader's attention fixated on one aspect of your story, make sure that other aspects of it are more intriguing. You need to make sure that your worldbuilding and storybuilding are done right. Any confusion that the reader might have about the "unimportant" aspect of the story should be ...


5

I don't want to answer the question you've asked because I think at the core you're asking "What do I write?" If the point is not to be didactic or write an allegory, I think what you're actually asking is: How do I present a world with radical social norm differences than my own and still tell a good story? And the answer is that you just present it as ...


5

There's nothing wrong with mentioning specific songs or tech in this way. And while it's not lazy writing to use songs as a tool for conveying a character's mood it is to rely on them solely. Expecting the reader to take them listening to a particular song as meaning they are sad just isn't going to work (unless you've already somehow established that as ...


5

Animorphs did this often. (Mostly in the Megamorphs line of books, which were co-narrated by all the characters, though a few of the main series books would make the switch when the narrator couldn't tell the full story. Main series books would announce the perspective flip early on to make it less jarring.) Normally the chapter would open with the new ...


5

To me, the answer is more about you and your writing process than about constructed languages. I am not constructing a language but I've done lots of worldbuilding that will never be visible to my readers. I feel more grounded having done it. And when I write new chapters, I never know which characters might pop up or where they are wandering. Knowing ...


5

If you're writing from the patient's POV, it's probably easier. You can show the patient's unfiltered reactions and thoughts to the doctor's questions before writing the patient's answer. "So, when was the first time that happened?" "A month ago," he said automatically. The doctor made a note and he frowned, the confidence of a moment waning. ...


4

I'm not certain how I would handle it and I've never read a multi-first person novel, so I am not sure how such a novel would normally read. I'm currently re-reading a 1st/3rd alternating viewpoint book. It always is a little jarring to switch characters, because of the 1st/3rd switch. But it works, and as an aside, the first person chapters/character are ...


4

Perhaps open with a character with a gender-ambiguous name, and never refer to this character as he or her. Or maybe two such characters. I think if done well, the gender-neutral interactions between a Syd and a Pat could be mind-trippy and set up your story frame nicely. EDIT: A short example of what I have in mind: "Hey, you ready?" Pat finished ...


4

A crucial question: does the psychiatrist contribute anything to the story, or is he mainly the setting, the excuse as it where, for your protagonist to tell the story? If the psychiatrist makes no meaningful contribution, you can have considerable chunks of your story in first-person narration, no interruptions by the psychiatrist. Let the readers all but ...


4

Fair warning: as a reader I have a pet peeve about onomatopoeia; I dislike it intensely as it tends to break my flow when reading. This is usually when non-word syllable strings are used rather than proper words but my aggravation carries over to all forms. You can use onomatopoeia in any genre - at least you certainly can if you're using a first person ...


4

Commas tell you when to breathe. They can be for actual pauses (as when you read it out loud and take a brief pause) or they can be to tell your brain how to break down the sentence. Either way, add a comma in both places. After dialogue that is followed by a tag. Before an "as" clause.


4

When you think the work is ready, probably sounds a bit daft but there is no hard and fast rule about when a piece is ready for review; you have to make a judgement call about putting it out to a beta-reader, or readers, to get feedback. It may also be useful to put a draft out to a beta-reader when you don't feel that it's ready but you do feel stuck, fresh ...


4

at what point to ask for constructive critisism. It depends on how you write. Some people plot out their novels in great detail, every foreshadowing, plot turn and twist. They know their characters backward and forward, and everything that will change about them during the story. So when they are done with Chapter One, and have finished X drafts of it, ...


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