New answers tagged

3

Your scenario is kind of unrealistic.. How do you head butt someone in the crotch? Are they executing Tyrion Lannister? if it is an elite super soldier that is being executed, the members of the firing squad would know they are dealing with an elite soldier. And presumably they would take some precaution. How would you account for the number of ...


4

From the software world we have the phrase "Test early, and test often". In the writing world this mindset works well with writing-circles and writing focused-social environments where you can begin digging into the good and bad of a piece as soon as possible. It is not remotely wrong to begin a process of constructive criticism and feedback before you ...


2

Ask the Hungarian TL;DR Unsurprisingly, this question has a mathematical solution based on the Hungarian algorithm. I have not done the calculations, but I imagine that1 the typical answer is: Always ask for feedback from the very beginning. Start with more feedback from the more willing/less skilled beta-readers early on. Save the feedback of less ...


1

There is no set time --this needs to be a personal determination. Getting criticism too early, or in the wrong frame of mind, or from the wrong person can potentially shut down your muse, or shunt your creativity away from the things that resonate the most with you. But if you never get criticism, you're likely to end up writing only for yourself, and if ...


1

I'd say that you would do well to compile a list for yourself of the type of criticism that you are looking for. Because what you'll get, if you throw your work out to readers without a specific task for the reader, is everything ranging from people deciding not to read it alt all, people saying 'Looks great!' (and you suspect they didn't read it either), ...


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, ...


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'...


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

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.


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.


0

You can certainly use them; but you have to set them apart from the text in a very deliberate way. You can italicize them, encapsulate it in em dashes, both... As long as you do not overuse them, or--if you do use more--make sure they are clustered. One cluster or word per three or four pages at a maximum, I'd think. Therefore, only use them when they ...


1

Are writers changing to accommodate short attention spans? Yes, in some ways. The flash and micro flash formats seem a product of the digital age and are written to convey a complete story in 100-1000 words. But, General Audience novels and short stories aren't shorter. The reading level of the language might be a little lower, but that is because of an ...


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 ...


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 ...


1

There's a MasterClass from Judy Blume on creating stories for kids which might be useful to you as well as R. L. Stine's class.


2

The concept is good as far as magic goes. Normally, I'd caution against introducing fantastical elements (so, new laws of nature) and breaking the rules, but elemental magic is a staple of fantasy; because it needs no introduction, you can get away with using a cast of characters which are a twist on the trope. The dual-power wielder needs a plot hook, the ...


2

This started as a comment, but got awfully long. Your premise bears a lot of resemblance to the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender. "Each human has the ability to wield an Element corresponding to their eye colour - blue is Water, brown is Fire, green/hazel is Earth and grey is Air." While some people can't control any elements at all, those who can "bend"...


1

The kind of plot structure that you are talking about was more common during and before the 1960s. The Broadway shows of the 1950s and 1960s came from a more halcyon, post World War II time, when life was sweeter than it is today. That is to say that stories of the time tended to have a happy ending, and even when they didn't, offered a consolation prize at ...


0

If you look at actual transcripts you will realise quickly that fictional speech is not the same as actual speech - and that this is a good thing. It's totally ok to include mannerisms and limited slang to establish a character, but taken to extremes characters may date quickly or be totally unintelligible outside of the time or place in which they lived ...


2

Your narration can also be more casual -- it depends on the overall tone of the work, but the Narrator POV is sort of a character, too. Sometimes, if it's generally more formal, by using the casual tone (if intended), it becomes clear that we're now closer to a protagonists' thoughts. This happens a lot in Harry Potter -- sometimes the 3rd person POV ...


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 ...


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. ...


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 ...


3

Yes, your characters should speak naturally, not as if they were reading a formal piece of writing out loud. But that doesn't mean you won't edit it. Take the example of radio interviews. They routinely edit out pauses, um's, and you knows. This creates speech that is easier to listen to. After all, someone whose speech has a lot of filler can be hard ...


2

In dialog, you most certainly should have your characters speak like real people actually speak, and not in formal written English. Like in real life, if I hear someone coming in the door and I call out, "Who's there?", they're very likely to say, "It's me". Very few people would say, "It is I." Or the person might say simply, "Bob". They would be very ...


2

We normally tell stories in past tense. In general, we don't care if a statement might still be true today. We still give it in past tense because we are relating something that happened in the past. Most of the time, discussing whether the event is still true or is true again would be irrelevant to the story and distracting. Like suppose I am telling the ...


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 ...


0

Use ungendered titles In English-speaking countries we have Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss, and even the old-fashioned Master. It took me 30 or 40 pages to realize that in the SF book "Dragonsdawn" that both male and female ship officers were referred to as "Mr." In your new society, you will of course want titles to differentiate people, probably by strata of ...


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 (...


1

I would say it's acceptable, but only devote proper time and effort to creating aspects of the conlang that may be relevant to the story (how grammar has changed, any neologisms/single-word summaries of what would be multi-word concepts in current languages, et cetera.) If a piece of the iceberg stands a chance of peeking through, then bother to create it. ...


2

Short answer: You cannot. Human fundamentals never change. If you desire to narrate a story where against all odds certain Things about humanity have changed - dramatically - you ought to recognize that your story is actually about Those Things, and keep them in focus. Even if you try to play it down and make it seem like it's not a big deal, at some ...


1

Does creating a conlang but not using it actually have the positive effects suggested…? No. The obligatory Star Wars reference The character Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back has a distinctive manner of speaking. He swaps the parts of his sentences around so the subject and verb come at the end. There were probably specific rules to his manner-of-speech, ...


1

Assign gender randomly Write without referring to characters gender, then go back and flip a coin for each character. You should also do the same with names, since in a world where names indicate gender, there is going to be stereotyping. A production note for the film Alien said that all characters were meant to be gender-neutral and could be cast as ...


1

If this is a personal account of something that happened with people who still exist and still have the same roles in the company, it would actually be more natural to use present tense for the description of their roles. Example: "It was crazy what happened at the meeting last week", Paul said with a shocked look on his face. "I arrived shortly after ...


2

Still happening... in the past Past tense indicates something that was present, in the past. This also implies that it is not happening any longer, or that the situation has changed, or that we simply don't know what the present status is John Doe was on the bus. John was a keen photographer. This sentence indicates that at that time John was ...


0

This is the near future, that means that there will be some old people still stuck in the old ways. Have some old grumpy character talking about how in their youth, kids knew who should wear what clothes. For balance, you might want to have some other old character correcting them.


3

I will provide quotes from The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed., and from The Editors Blog. The links to Chicago are behind a paywall and, unfortunately, can only be viewed if you have a subscription. While these generally hold true across most style guides (in both English in general and literature specifically), other style guides may give different ...


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" ...


0

People have many different reasons for choosing to wear certain clothes over other clothes. There are practical reasons for choosing certain clothing such as the clothing keeping us warm or the clothes not being warm when it's summer. I might wear clothes with many pockets from Scottevest because I want to be able to carry a lot in my pockets. There are ...


3

While the answers thus far are good, and match my advice (just do it), they seem light on the mechanics. For the writing process it is important that you show and highlight unusual features of your society early in the story, specifically in the first 15% of the story. At the beginning of a story, readers will accept basically anything: Magic, immortality, ...


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 ...


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 ...


0

Present a world like that of the Culture series, where radical transhumanism is the norm, and everyone can swap their gender or sexuality to be whatever they want it to be trivially easily. As a result, discrimination based on gender or sexuality no longer exists, since whenever there were inequalities between the genders, people just tended to switch to ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


2

I'm not a RPG player, but it sounds to me like you are engaged in standard fiction writing with a 3rd person neutral narrator; perhaps unlimited (knows what all characters think and feel). The player are the "characters". The only thing I see out of place in that regard is the opinion phrase: After all, anyone with any sense would have avoided this ...


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 ...


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 ...


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." "...


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