New answers tagged

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Join an online writing community. There are a number of online communities where people write serial fiction and publish it online for other members of that community to read. Sometimes these are fanfiction communities, sometimes they're web novel communities, but either way, by participating in them, you'd have the opportunity to work on improving your ...


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Coincidentally, I just finished reading an otherwise good fanfic that had me ready to grab and shake the author going "for the love of god, please stick to a single POV!" so I'll take a stab at this question by explaining what annoyed me so much about it. The basic problem with head-hopping is that usually, in a third-person limited POV, the reader ...


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The quote is not about writers. It's about self-important people. This was my immediate thought, and then I watched the video where indeed Hitchens says it in the context of memoirs. There is a phrase that embodies such self-important people—"everyone is entitled to my opinion." Your humility is clear from your question. I don't think you're one of ...


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My usual response to this kind of question is that you shouldnt worry about it, and let your publishers lawyers handle it. But you state you are self publishing, so here we go: When a car manufacturer sells a car they can no longer control what the purchaser does with it. If they use it to commit a crime, that does not in any way reflect on the manufacturer. ...


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You said that you would want others to read that, but you didn't say how important that goal was to you. I think that it's important to recognize that just like the world is flooded with mediocre musicians, it's also flooded with mediocre writers. If you knew that others would not care about reading it, would you still want to write it? I suggest that you ...


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Disclaimer, I am a bit skeptical about the sudden proliferation of new genders after humankind has managed to do with two throughout recorded history. However this conviction of mine is not in stone and I might be interested to read about a non-binary person to open up my horizon. In order for such a book to be interesting for me it should be able to explain/...


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As one of the other answers says, anybody can sue anybody else for anything at anytime, in the USA as well as a lot of other jurisdictions. However getting a positive verdict is another thing. In the Netherlands 10 year ago a group of inhabitants actually pressed charges against a writer for slander because he wrote unfavourable about their city. However the ...


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Find a method or structure to help you get started. I used the Snowflake Method https://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/snowflake-method/ but there are others. I was in a similar position to you last year (except for the retirement bit). I had an idea that had been swimming around in my head for years, but I didn’t know if I even wanted to write it ...


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CAN he? Yes. Should he? Depends what your IP lawyer tells you about your chances of being sued if he does; and your tolerance for risk of losing your entire bank account. So May he? Should you? Depends on what your lawyer says after looking at the mss.


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It depends what the book is. Millions of low-quality books are written every year by wannabe 'authors'. Lots of them end up in desk drawers. But with publishing being so easy and cheap now, far too many of them end up on Amazon to clutter the landscape and hide the few good books. If your book is non-fiction, I would say investigate the topic and its likely ...


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"Assume that you have a million words inside you that are absolute rubbish and you need to get them out before you get to the good ones." That's a Neil Gaiman quote, but many other authors have voiced similar ideas. The only way to become a good writer is to write. In other words, the first book you write is going to be garbage*. But that doesn't ...


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Write it. Even if it's just for you. I think this is an incredibly important and valuable question, because I hear it all the time from many of my friends. They aren't writers or authors, and they have limited professional training or experience in writing, but they have a book in them that is screaming to get out, and they need to put it on paper and bring ...


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It can be any length, but it should not be done at all. It rarely works. The material, if it is necessary, should be integrated into the story which should start with chapter 1. Using a prologue is a cop out by a lazy writer. And many people don't read the prologue at all.


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This question is a fairly broad one, and I'm not sure what specific advice you might find useful, so I will just give my perspective of some things to keep in mind, speaking as a person who uses they/them pronouns. What is a nonbinary person? A nonbinary person is a person who does not identify as either male or female, and typically does not use male or ...


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The Rules of Attraction... Kudos for choosing a character outside the box. In my opinion, however, the "box" is largely imaginary, existing in the minds of those looking at people. We all know what it's like to be awkward teens, struggling with identity, unsure of how or even IF we want to be accepted, and a non-binary character is the same. Treat ...


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Arrogance is a flaw to some and not to others. A humble meek person is not likely to be president of the United States of America. Sometimes the person recognizes the flaw and tries to overcome it, while other times they glorify the flaw. A flawed character that serves no other purpose than as an architype for the "flaw" is easily hated. In Lord of ...


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Don't treat them as flaws but as qualities from a different point of view. One of my favorite "Flawed" characters is Boromir, his "flaw" was that he wanted the ring to be taken to Gondor. But it wasn't a flaw from his point of view, in his own eyes he wanted the strength to end the suffering of his people. Make his arrogance come from ...


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Adding in another fictional element and example, we see this technique used in The Last of Us (video game) where you start the game as the main protagonists daughter. The intro to that game creates a very strong purpose and drive for the main character. Here you are setting up the main story through There's a rather interesting Elders play video of older ...


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Love the concept!! Sounds to me though that this is about motives and goals - at the moment, the author/narrator has goals for a 'normal' narrative, and the character's goal is to disrupt the author's plan. Given the situation, the only way one will get the upper hand is by manipulating the perceptions/goals of the other. Sounds simple eh? We're working on ...


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In order to demonstrate that it is not necessary, we can see that some very successful pieces of screen-writing did not introduce all of their main characters straight away. For example, in the 1996 film Fargo, IMDB Trivia notes Although Frances McDormand's character is the film's central role, she does not appear on the screen until over 33 minutes (or 1/3)...


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Be aware of the consequences As with all things in writing, you can do it, but doing so will impact how your writing comes across to readers. There are both drawbacks and advantages to using this technique and you should be aware of both when deciding if you should use it. Drawbacks The main drawbacks are the potential of disconnection with your eventual ...


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You can structure your book in ways where you can make this work. Hospital Station is the first book in the Sector General series by James White. The book is divided into short stories that take place in a hospital out in space, centered around junior surgeon Dr. Conway, that reports to the head of the psychology department, one Major O'Mara. However, the ...


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The problem is more existential than motivational. I mean, the main character already is motivated to do what he is doing (save the girl, make money, get famous, ...). That won't change by his realization - so why should he stop trying to do what he is trying to do? Maybe to the narrator, the girl is just letters on a page, but to the hero, she is still his ...


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It depends on the amount of point-of-view characters you are using. Is your book using the point of view of a single main character? If your story follows only a single character, you might want to avoid it, though it's still possible and fairly common, though occasionally poorly executed. A prologue can be completely separate from the main story, as long as ...


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What genre are you writing in? What's appropriate in one will probably not be appropriate for another. E.g. Fantasy novels often start with a hefty prologue that tells the reader something about the world the story takes place in, but does not feature the protagonist, because their introduction needs to be drawn out. Game of Thrones is a great example, it ...


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All honorifics or personal titles are capitalized in English as part of the name, whether they are "foreign" or not: How are you, Mr. Johnson? Look, here comes Colonel Mustard! Her marriage is so tragic, she reminds me of Madame Bovary. He bears a striking resemblance to Czar Nikolas. In Spanish "señor" is not capitalized, but the style ...


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Hmm, I might point out that Fox News is a major juggernaut with a competent legal arm. When I trained as an EMT, one point that the instructor drummed into our heads was, "50% of all lawyers graduate in the bottom half of their class." He said (whether this is exaggeration I don't know) that someone can sue you for having the wrong color shoelaces. ...


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Rather than asking people if you "have" to do something, I would suggest asking yourself "why" you want to do something. As an author you can do nearly anything you want. Some things will work, some things won't, but there aren't really any hard and fast rules. Chris in his answer gave some good examples of books that broke normal ...


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Personally, if I were you, I would ask a lawyer versed in defamation and civic law more so than a fiction writer (or do some legal research on court cases about that problem, which can be quite dense and dry). However, legality aside, I would maybe recommend making the tie between your fictional news outlet/institutions and Fox News more vague or nuanced. As ...


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For me to be interested in this, I'd want the world to have the feel of some reality to it, even if it's metafiction with no fourth wall. The key is that this is "real life" to the character, even if he knows, intellectually, that it's fiction. His death is a real death to him. His relationships are real relationships, relative to his reality. With ...


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Although there are many excellent answers here, none takes it from the point of view of what, functionally, does this "driving want" do for you in terms of connecting to the reader: Without a driving want for the main character, the book will feel aimless and self-indulgent. Sometimes a very good writer can get away with this, and sometimes the ...


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I've seen this done frequently, in well-known books, so it clearly CAN be done. With that said, I've rarely personally found it to be a good idea. The risk is that the reader gets invested in the secondary characters, and resists the move to the main ones. There's two books, by very good authors I like a lot (Enchantress of Florence, Rushdie, and Stars in My ...


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That depends how you define 'main character'. Usually a main character in a story is the one the narrator would be most familiar with and interested in / know the most about - therefore that should be the focus from the start of the story. If that involves describing the main characters' surroundings, background, upbringing etc before actually introducing ...


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Every word, and how you use it are tools in your toolbox. You can follow proper grammar, or twist it to barely understandable, and these are still just tools. What happens when you start your sentences with verbs? What is that tool used for? The verb is the meat of the sentence. It's the most important word in the sentence. In fact if you don't have one, ...


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I have pondered on this question for some time. My conclusion is this: providing the sentence makes sense to the writer and the reader, using the verb or the subject to open a sentence is fine. I don't agree with those who say that the subject should always come first. Writers are creative people. Rules are there for a reason, of course. It's redundant ...


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Start writing something close to your goal story: I would start out composing an idea CLOSE to your dream novel, maybe even set in the same world. Perhaps a prequel. Maybe a short story about someone in the novel. This means you are working in your dream world, and the details are the same, but perhaps you focus on some minor characters or an adjacent ...


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I would definitely start to write your Hail Mary. As long as you are prepared to go through multiple stages of editing and re-writing, which you probably will have to do if you want you're novel to get better. If you are really committed to this idea, (Which you don't have to be, ideas come a dime a dozen for a lot of writers) then you can go through a stage ...


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Write your Hail Mary. You're assuming that this one idea will be the best idea you'll ever have. This isn't (necessarily) true. Writing is an incredibly creative process. The more you write, the more you'll exercise your creativity, and the more creative you'll become. (Yes, I know that you've already written a lot, but I've found that writing a novel takes ...


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If this is just a single paper holding your incantation, I would call it a scroll. A collection of scrolls could be then joined into a spell book or, if written as a single work, a Grimoire as noted by Chenmunka.


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Fantasy Junkie: Okay, this isn't a writing answer as much as a fantasy/D&D geek answer. This is only a sampling, and looking up synonyms should get you more. Fantasy literature is rich with this stuff, as are games like D&D. just start digging and there's no end to the material. A lot of religious terminology can be applied to magical writing, so ...


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"Runes" such as the Elder Futhark are alphabets which we tend to think of as used for magic, although that wasn't their only purpose. "Rune" has been used more generically of late. But that is an alphabet or set of symbols - but it sounds like you are looking for a term for the act of writing? Like "inscribing"? I second @...


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To answer your main question. A book containing spells and rituals is a Grimoire. The term is widely used in modern Wicca and other areas.


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