75

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 ruin the story, everything after that is BS, I know it, the author knows it, and did it anyway. Change the plot point. Change the injury to something crippling ...


59

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 Has A Problem. Overcoming the Monster. The monster is the problem. Rags to Riches. Poverty, disrespect, deprivation is the problem. The Quest. Finding the ...


55

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 you should do, however, is figure out what the scene adds to the story and integrate the details into a cohesive whole. The content that makes it essential ...


47

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 upon. For example, Marion Dane Bauer in her book on writing, would say to her writing students "If you end your story by having your main character get hit by a ...


45

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 unseen POV. Do you have a compelling reason? As a reader, I've spent the story inside the head of a character I've either come to love or love to hate. A sudden ...


42

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 is for the reader to understand what the lack of this character has done to the world and to see other people who for good reason miss that character. An ...


40

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 usually a fools errand. The Dragonriders of Pern features a preindustrial society where flying, firebreathing, teleporting, and telepathic dragons defend the ...


35

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 reasons parents might be offstage --many books about adults simply never mention the parents. However, loss of parents is probably the most devastating, emotionally-...


35

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 really understand about physical bullying is that it's more about physical intimidation than actual fist-to-face contact. A lot of the physical bullying composed ...


32

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 of tropes related to the phenomenon. Of particular interest to you would be Artistic License - Medicine with all its subtropes, and Critical Research Failure. ...


32

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 will fit it into one of those archetypes, even if it squeaks a little. For my part, there are stories I struggle to fit into this framework. The Jungle Book, for ...


31

@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 perseverance. As an example, take The Wild Swans, or any work derived from that fairy tale. The main character must knit shirts of stinging nettle for her bewitched ...


28

(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 enters that situation, Jeeves suggests "We will call him C, sir" and Bertie says, "Caesar is a good name". Bertie can write this because he's relaying a story ...


22

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) what happens close to the end. You don't have to keep all those promises, but if you want happy readers, you had better know what promises you are making and ...


22

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 contain almost anything, including the acknowledgements section (usually separate). These are directed to the reader, often in a conversational tone. I imagine ...


20

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 little kid's parents die, show him sometimes forgetting to mourn and having fun instead. If petty nobles end up ruling their fiefs unsupervised, show some of them ...


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 ...


19

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 is located back where the protagonist came from, and nearby. This may vary from place to place, but I'd expect a grocery store to be nearby in an urban setting ...


18

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 information, like hissed, muttered, shouted). I'll even allow the occasional split infinitive if the circumlocution to avoid it sounds ridiculous. Bookisms and adverbs ...


18

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, people lose both parents and live completely normal, healthy lives. Explore your characters deeper. Go deeper. Make more sense of their world. "Dead parents" ...


18

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 sentiment. "Tears in the rain" has a twist: We see tears, but "in the rain" they vanish away; meaning a person is crying and expressing grief in ...


18

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 told in first person by Watson, it's Watson's opinions and emotions we share. But Watson is passive. It's Holmes who is active, it's Holmes who is interesting, it'...


17

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 bathroom just because nature came calling. It means that sometimes in the middle of a 3-hour meeting with no breaks, the anxiety that comes from needing to ...


17

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 pub because he sees the same four or five people going in every evening, some of them with bloody knuckles, maybe one has a gun hidden in their jacket which he ...


17

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 perfectly acceptable.


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