Hot answers tagged

36

Does the reader need to know the rules to understand the story? For example, is there any point where a character "bluffs" and the reader must understand the rules to recognize that he is making the "wrong" play? My advice is to consider how the game "fits" into the story, and treat it as a meta narrative device presented in the way it is meant to be ...


34

Use your best ideas. Write them as well as you can. Yes, your writing will improve with experience. And your ideas will also improve with experience. If you reserve your "best ideas" until you're a better writer, then your early stories will exhibit neither your best ideas nor your best writing. Why hamper yourself like that? Sometimes people love great ...


29

This is an odd question, but not for the reason you likely think I say that. Let me explain. It doesn't matter how good your opening line is, if it isn't completely in line (or in tune) with the rest of your novel. If I were to write an epic tale about three friends who need to save the world, and I open with: The tortoise, how marvellous creature it ...


26

If the goal of the scene is to show why a person decides what he or she decides, then you only give the detail necessary to demonstrate that. If part of what changes Adam's mind afterwards is the way she looks, you need to focus on her appearance and not the act. ("He watched her face change as he slid into her" or "his eyes roamed hungrily over her breasts"...


26

From your either-or phrasing, I understand that you're asking whether you should write something that appears "hot", but that you personally find utterly boring. How then do you propose to write such a thing? Do you see yourself sitting there, putting drivel on a page, fighting off boredom and disgust? What joy is there in such writing? What artistry? Do you ...


23

Why to abandon an idea In considering the question of whether or not you should write an idea you don’t like, my instinct would be no. If you don’t like it, it will show in the writing. If you are bored writing it, you can guarantee that your reader will be bored reading it. How excited you are by a project always comes across on the page. Why to press on ...


22

The question largely depends on whether the game and its particular rules are important to the story or not. Take, for example, Quidditch, from the Harry Potter series. The game constitutes a major story element in the first six books, and the key to a plot coupon in the seventh. So much story-time is devoted to it, that the readers need to understand what'...


14

First of all: it's your choice how far you want to go into detail. When two characters having sex is a plot point in a story which is not supposed to be erotic or not even romantic, a detailed description of the deed can seem out of place, especially when you aren't really comfortable writing it. This can go so far as to just imply that sex has taken ...


14

Here's the most simple answer to your solution. Plus, I believe it will make your story better over all. More interesting and add facets that you will be able to explore that will surely make your story much better. The simple answer is: Give your antagonist a weakness. Design the Perfect Weakness For Antagonist Think about Superman. A difficult ...


13

While there is no one single way, here's a practical approach. You need to be capable of answering a few crucial questions about your work: What is the work's overall feel and style? What, about the very first couple of pages, do you hope is going to grab the reader's attention, and earn their interest in the story? What are the most urgent goals for you ...


13

Write what you enjoy. Even professional authors have written first books they couldn't sell, and even when famous wouldn't sell without rewriting them from page 1. It is difficult to sell a first novel (but not impossible, it has happened more than once). If you are not writing something you love writing, chances are you won't sell it. Like it or not, your ...


12

Use your good ideas. Just don't give away the rights to your creation. Make sure that you can re-use your story and elements. I've seen countless stories about people who made a wonderful classic early in their career. (I'm talking about creators, and not necessarily writers specifically. Could be writers, game makers, etc.) Then later in life, they ...


12

Every writer has their own way. In a very general sense you either write as a discovery or write with a plan. It seems like you have a good idea. Write it. Since you haven't discovered your next step as you wrote the idea, you're now stuck. If you still want to try and discover your story but you're stuck at the end of Chapter 1 with no idea where to go ...


12

No one can really answer that. Because what works for you may not work for me, and that may or may not work for the next one in line. It's personal, and different people need to go about it accordingly. Why? Because it depends on theme, on target audience, on author voice, on character voice, and on setting. Having said that, let's look at a few tools ...


12

I have a leather-bound notebook with the words, ‘Quickly become feral’ embossed on it to remind me that that’s what works in progress do, because I’m an advocate of Annie Dillard’s advice: “A work in progress quickly becomes feral. It reverts to a wild state overnight. It is barely domesticated, a mustang on which you one day fastened a halter, but ...


11

You have an inciting incident and a protagonist. I think something is off about one of them. Your protagonist is under-developed, or your inciting incident is under-developed. In a typical story, this inciting incident forces upon the protagonist their central dilemma / opportunity, and addressing this dilemma / opportunity is what the story is about. The ...


11

Use a wiki Many people are using a wiki when they are creating their worlds, as can be seen by this answer to the question What software is available for keeping and organising notes about your world? on WorldBuilding.SE. The biggest one is MediaWiki (the power behind Wikipedia). MediaWiki can be private, and it's not too hard. See this tutorial for ...


11

It's often a good idea to note your ideas down the moment you have them and then look at them at a later point. This makes sure that you have an interest in it that lasts long enough to actually get something done and you can change some of the biggest things. Most stories are re-written / edited quite a few times before they are released. If you just can'...


10

Avoid beginning your draft with the first sentence. I know that sounds unintuitive to the point of madness, but I speak from experience. Even when I begin the drafting process with a clear idea of where things are headed, there are always at least one or two surprises waiting for me (usually in the 2nd act, but that's a personal thing). And the stress of ...


10

Wiki and Flash are all well and good, but here's an answer for lazy people, like me. I use OneNote. It's already on your Windows, and it requires 0 level of tech-savvy. I am a Wikipedia editor, so it's not like that's beyond my technical skills, but when I come to planning my story, I want to do just that - plan my story. No overhead. OneNote gives me just ...


9

What do you do if you enjoy writing, but have no ideas? A few ideas: technical writing any form of nonfiction edit other people's stories I don't really do unrestrained creativity, I need a concrete problem, which "make up something interesting" isn't. If you try to do it all at once, "make up something interesting" can certainly be a tall order. Try ...


9

First of all, let's be clear: "aggressive and angry" is not "emotionless." He's either one or the other. Second, "a bad man redeemed by the love of a good woman" can fall very easily into cliché. Try to stay away from the broad strokes of that. If you want someone who's aggressive and angry to calm down and be concerned about others, you must get to the ...


9

Here is an idea. First, I warn you I am a 'discovery' writer, and it sounds to me like you should be too, but your write yourself into corners. A discovery writer (like Stephen King) begins with characters and some initial situation (for him often a catastrophic supernatural situation; in The Dome, a whole town and some surrounding area is covered by an ...


9

TL;DR Anything from Microsoft Paint, to general FlowChart designing programs will work (you should probably start with a flowchart regardless, but that's just me). Everything else in this answer is commentary, with emphasis on how I did it in Flash. Welcome to the world of plotting. Things here are a little different than what you might be accustomed. ...


8

A story is about one or more characters. These need not be human, and they need not necessarily even be living beings (a story about an AI's struggle for equality could make an interesting sci-fi story as well as an allegory to our world past and present...), but they should be something that the reader can identify with. Characters inhabit a world. The ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible