75 votes

How to tell readers that I know my story is factually incorrect?

I simply let my character survive a wound that he shouldn't have survived, and then left a note at the bottom about what would have really happened. As a reader, this would break my immersion and ...
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  • 91k
59 votes

The seven story archetypes. Are they truly all of them?

No, they are not all of them. This is a common game, there are many books claiming there are 3 plots, 7 plots, 12 plots, 21 plots, 23 plots, whatever. You could say there is only one plot: Character ...
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  • 91k
55 votes

What can I do with a part that I feel is necessary to a story but it's an absolute drudgery?

Add Spices and Mix: I think the problem is you are thinking of your writing as infodump. Not all infodump is always bad, but admittedly no one really likes it. But it doesn't need to be infodump. What ...
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  • 12.6k
47 votes
Accepted

Is there such a thing as too inconvenient?

The twin tropes you are referring to are Deus ex Machina and Diabolus es Machina. In both cases an event comes out of nowhere, not foreshadowed, to effect a drastic change. Both tropes are frowned ...
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45 votes

Can I have a non-living thing with its own perspective?

Permitted by whom? The Big Book of Writing Laws was abolished in 1849. You can use any POV you feel comfortable with for any reason or none at all. Ask yourself why you want to switch to a hitherto ...
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42 votes

How to get readers to care about a dead character?

You don't necessarily want or need flashbacks and you don't necessarily need the reader to like the character who died in an intimate way where they actually know who that character was. What you want ...
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  • 7,530
40 votes

Problems Blending Sci-fi & Traditional Fantasy?

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - Arthur C Clarke There's a reason that science fiction and fantasy are frequently shelved together - separating the two is ...
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35 votes

Dead parents: something to avoid?

Young protagonists are often presented as orphans, because it gives a plausible reason they might be fending largely for themselves. For adults, on the other hand, there are many possible other ...
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35 votes
Accepted

Making him into a bully (how to show mild violence)

When I was a kid, I was bullied a lot, and I don't usually see accurate depictions of bullying in the media. The bullying I suffered was mostly verbal, but some was physical. What adults don't ...
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  • 8,733
32 votes

How to tell readers that I know my story is factually incorrect?

Sometimes writers make mistakes. Sometimes they didn't know something. Sometimes they chose to ignore a fact because it got in the way of their story. This is so common, TV tropes has a whole family ...
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32 votes

The seven story archetypes. Are they truly all of them?

The archetypes are a descriptive framework created by scholars in order to describe stories. Someone had a theory, says every story fits into one of those archetypes. Any story you give them, they ...
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31 votes

How can I make "acts of patience" exciting?

@Amadeus describes an "act of patience" as "not doing". I would argue that an "act of patience" can also be about keeping on doing, day after day, something that is very hard to do - it is about ...
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28 votes
Accepted

Is it bad writing or bad story telling if first person narrative contains more information than the narrator knows?

(A) In a humourous short story about Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, Bertie is talking about a situation involving two strangers and Jeeves suggests referring to them as A & B. When another stranger ...
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22 votes

Writing a Satisfying Ending

Throughout your book, you, the author, are continually making promises to the reader about the ending of your book, most notably (a) in your choice of genre, (b) at the beginning of your book, and (c) ...
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22 votes

How to tell readers that I know my story is factually incorrect?

Many authors do include that kind of information outside of the story itself. Typically it goes in a foreword or afterword, which are essays the author finds useful to include with the story that can ...
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  • 3,097
20 votes
Accepted

Should I use contractions in my narrative?

I don't understand this fear of using certain kinds of words. Yes, you can use contractions. Yes, you can use adverbs. Yes, you can use "bookisms" (alternatives for said which give additional ...
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20 votes
Accepted

How to provide realism without making readers think grimdark

Realism means variety, because real life isn't all one thing To some degree, you've answered your own question: I want there still to be hope in the story after these two events happen If a ...
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  • 7,883
20 votes

What can I do with a part that I feel is necessary to a story but it's an absolute drudgery?

Compare your paragraph to He went and bought a bread and yoghurt for the homeless guy. This is omitting a little bit of information compared to your paragraph: I don't specify that the grocery store ...
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  • 545
19 votes
Accepted

Should a writer be a good reader?

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 ...
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  • 7,883
18 votes

How can I write a street-smart character?

Make sure your character remembers things. A street-smart person is someone who has noticed a pattern in life and uses that to their advantage. He noticed that a gang always hangs out in a certain ...
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18 votes

Dead parents: something to avoid?

I personally think "dead parents" as an explanation for why a character might act outside of the "norm" is just lazy writing. People do insane things in life with both parents in tact and likewise, ...
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  • 181
18 votes

How to create a memorable line?

What makes such lines so memorable? How can I create my own? An original twist with resonance, often combined with poetry, concision. The "twist" is a surprise, but resonates with the ...
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  • 91k
18 votes

Is it okay for a chapter's POV to shift as it progresses?

There are two questions hiding in your question, 1. Can the POV character not be the character who's most active? Consider Sherlock Holmes as an example. Watson is the POV character, the story is ...
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17 votes
Accepted

Should I describe my characters going to the toilet?

Your readers only want to read a scene if it moves the plot forward, adds to a character's experience or inner life, or is just plain entertaining. Realism doesn't mean a character gets up to use the ...
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  • 1,171
17 votes

Can the prologue's POV be different from the POV of the main story?

This is not only done, but is a staple of George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire - all books' prologues and epilogues have a one-time POV character that dies by the end of it. So yeah, it's ...
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  • 9,114

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