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19

Storytelling is a skill Storytelling is not only a skill, it's a multi-faceted skill, a whole family of skills. To describe a scene, to set a mood, to foreshadow things to come later on, to develop interesting and engaging characters, to draw the readers in and get them emotionally committed, to plot within scenes and across scenes in an order and manner ...


11

Not all advice is equally helpful to all writers. Some pieces of advice aren't even equally helpful to the same writer during different stages of the writing process. Like using a satnav, always exercise judgment before blindly yanking the wheel and driving into the nearest lake because a disembodied voice told you to. That said, I think both bullet points ...


9

In short: Everything you just listed is completely fine. There's nothing wrong with taking a specific plot point in a book and then having your own unique spin on it. Nobody can plagiarize you for having a similar plot in the story. If this were the case, most fantasy-based or sci-fi genre boarding schools could be copyrighted by J.K Rowling, places on ...


7

The answer to "Has this story idea already been done?" is always yes, regardless of what the idea actually is. Everything's already been done. In your particular case, the one example I can think of immediately is the TV show Once Upon a Time, where anyone who enters the town of Storybrook becomes unable to leave due to mysterious forces (there are probably ...


6

Ask yourself, what is a successful or even great novel? To begin with, you as the writer have no input on the judgement of your work. That judgement lies entirely with your readers. When you write a novel (or any other creative work), you engage in a conversation between you as the writer and the readers of your work. That necessitates that there is common ...


6

Don't toss them out; collect them! What you've got there is a story fragment. You can start a collection of story fragments. Chances are, your fragments are a constellation of related ideas. As you write and collect them, you might start seeing connections between them. Then you can write those in-between connecting parts and assemble them into a larger ...


6

If someone else did it well, I shouldn't write it This statement is very easily disproven - by looking at pretty much any mainstream genre. For example, the fantasy genre contains many different good books - LOTR, Mistborn, etc. Some people might begin writing a fantasy novel and then say "Tolkien and Sanderson did it well - what's the point?" I ...


5

A couple of thoughts. If I see a book or a movie that is advertised as being about an unpleasant subject, sexual abuse or racism or Nazi concentration camps or whatever, I generally avoid it. It's certainly not that I condone such things. Of course they're bad. But that's the point. I know they're bad. I don't want to wallow in the misery of it. I don't ...


5

And now for something completely different... It sounds more like work fatigue causing writer's block. COVID is sorta soul-crushing, and it was easier to choose to write when I knew I had alternatives. My suggestion would be to keep writing, but do something completely different. Unfortunately, this doesn't take away the very real pressure to churn out ...


4

Do not worry, give it some time. If you have what seems to be a good idea, your mind won't let it go. Eventually you will either build a story around it, or, while working on some other story, you'll discover that the new story and old idea would actually go pretty well together. Don't settle for a bad story around a good idea. Let it work through.


4

What I do is write the idea itself. By the time I have done that a solution or the next idea usually suggests itself. If it doesn't, I go for a walk and try putting random ideas or words together to find a solution. In the rare case that these don't work, I revise something else I have written and then come back to the piece. At this point I sit there until ...


3

And somewhere between the time you arrive And the time you go May lie a reason you were alive That you'll never know - Jackson Browne - "For A Dancer" Your character must have a very important task to perform near the end of his life. Something subtle, yet critical to the master plan. Perhaps, in his decrepitude, he will be sitting on a park bench ...


2

I haven't read anything quite like it in genre fiction, but there are some literary authors who write existential stuff like that. Mostly Chinese and Japanese... Murakami writes like that... Strange, half-dream surreal stuff... Steppenwolf is probably the closest I can think of to what you're describing. It's probably the most famous one that I've read at ...


2

The typical approach is to personalize the issues. Stalin is reputed to have said, "The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic." Although he was clearly a monster, his point is still valid that that we as human beings are much more able to deal with the concrete particulars of a single human being than we are the abstraction of ...


2

Use a structural template to fit it in If you're into some structure in your writing, I'd suggest using a structural template like a Story Circle, and then using that to find a natural spot for your bit of conflict in some broader narrative. The Story Circle is a simplification of the Hero's Journey as specified by Joseph Campbell, further developed by Dan ...


2

One recipe to come up with unique creatures for your world is to start with their thematic role or roles in your story -- the more interesting creatures might be the manifestation of a couple of themes for your story. As an example, zombies might represent rot, decay, disease, or damnation. They would be kind one dimensional creatures, and therefore ...


2

Warning: This answer is very long — much longer than I was expecting it to be at any rate, so may take some time. Hopefully the content justifies the length. Short story ideas are inherently different from novel ideas, so it may not be possible to adapt one into a full-length book unless you have a sure-fire direction to take it. Such an exercise would also ...


2

If you break it down enough, every story is built up of other stories. Chances are, most parts from your story can be found on TV Tropes under a different name. Before you go beating yoruself up about how you have four books in one, compare Harry Potter with Star Wars. They're pretty much the same in different settings. Both have magic powers, the chosen ...


2

Ideas are cheap. There are two important things to be aware of: (1) you can't copyright an idea and (2) no one's going to steal your idea anyway. New writers seem to think that they've come up with some great new original idea for a plot or character or setting and everyone who comes in contact with it will want to steal it. The cold hard truth is they haven'...


1

Write whatever is on your mind. A random idea, a picture, a phrase, a piece of dialogue, and object, whatever. I personally am writing a fantasy series, and when I get stuck, I write whatever I think about. For example, I’m my first book, the queens curse, my main character and two of her friends are captured by fairies. They all feel very stupid, because, ...


1

Between two worlds: This question seems to fall between worldbuilding and writing, so I'll do my best to answer with a response that falls between the two. Mutations are typically defects, and for a series of mutations to result in a functional "mutant," explain why this thing works and didn't just die. Real mutants from an apocalypse would be weak,...


1

Setting protagonist on the path to adventure is a very, very common theme in fiction. Unless the protagonist is already in a middle of an adventure, some force must send them there. Disaster. Some kind of tragedy strikes hero's home and there is no choice but leaving it (ex. "Star Wars" ("A New Hope")) Impending disaster. There is no ...


1

YES. At least, in the sense that the writer should try to read as much as possible. If you want to become a better writer (why else would you be here?) then you have to study the craft. As long as you keep reading and keep trying to read more, then you will get better. This is just a fundamental truth to writing. you have to take in writing so that you know ...


1

A good writer does not have to be a good reader, but they often go hand in hand. There are some rare cases. There are those great genius writers who did not do well in school, like Scott Fitzgerald. He did so poorly in school and was not a great writer in the beginning, but was an amazing storyteller. I definitely think writing well is hard without proper ...


1

Reading or listening to a written story told to you is the only way to witness examples of how to tell a story with just words. It's how you learn to craft pictures of the mind in the heads of your readers. Compare these three: The streetlight flickering, unsteady shadows, a single man waiting. Bob stood at the corner of mainstreat and first avenue. It ...


1

There's a difference between a good reader and a vociferous one, so I'll assume your question isn't a duplicate of this one, about whether a novelist has to read many novels. But they are connected. My answer to that question highlighted the value to novelists of reading non-fiction discussions of writing that condense well-worn insights; if nothing else, ...


1

A writer can always be a good reader. A writer feels, thinks & displays content on the paper. A writer always has direct connection with paper & pen. A a writer has habit of reading & writing his mistakes of reading can be quantitatively less and of course that totally depends on the person who are interacting with and what kind of a writer a ...


1

I think beginning to write is a great way to inspire reading. Reading is a process that can differ depending on the cause. If I feel inspired to write an essay on an unfamiliar topic, then I will likely dive right in and write a few lines before acknowledging my naivete. Eventually, my excitement will decay into the shame of having written garbage, but I ...


1

When I come to a problem like this I usually write a list of all the characters, ideas, scenes and other things I want to include in my story. Like this: Include a battle scene between _____ and _____. Add a character called ______. Use a twist were _________. And so on... Anyway, after I've done that I try and piece them together like a puzzle as Rolfedh ...


1

I for one, like most people I believe, almost never read personal blogs. If you want your experience to be read, instead of just writing for catharsis, a novel is one of the few options. There are two main axes you can explore: the victim's or the revenge fantasies's. Victim That's the most straightforward, relate your story. The difficulty is to make us ...


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