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0

You may want to take an example from wars in history that had no good and bad guys, or even read the story from the "evil" perspective to find what complex motivations could be held. I think the best approach, if you want both sides to be "good" is to start the war due to some misunderstanding. Imagine, for example, a Russian nuclear missile accidentally ...


0

I assume you are meaning that you feel the action in your story is too much, that it isn’t engaging or it is overwhelming the reader. Sort of like a modern 007 movie, where an intense amount of things happen with lots of tension and suspense, but not much story, or the plot gets misplaced. You can break up the action with flash backs and flash forwards in ...


6

Many books do scene changes primarily at the ends of chapters, and ones that change scenes more frequently typically handle it with a section break, which alerts the reader to expect a disconnect in time or place. If you do also need some bridging words, however, I don't see anything wrong with that. You might consider, however, that maybe you're jumping ...


1

One of the major uses of chapter-changes and section-changes is to signal a change of scene (or similar, e.g. passing of time). The show-don't-tell advice in other answers is sound--and with a section break, the reader knows a scene change may have happened, so you don't need to do much 'showing'. This is important, because too much 'showing' just to tell ...


4

Show, don't Tell This situation might be a type of show, don't tell. Saying "Back at the ranch…" is 1-line exposition. Readers often tune out, they drop words and phrases, even entire paragraphs as their mind wanders. If it's crucial to the story that a character has a specific realization at home and another one at work you might need more story cues and ...


2

It depends on your novel. The majority of published, bestselling works do not do this; but a portion of them do. The ones that do it, do it for ambiance. Spy thrillers or tech-opras where that short to the point information is a cue to readers and sets the tone. The default should be to not use it unless you have a very good reason. If every scene is ...


9

It's always a good idea to give your readers some indication that the setting (whether time or place) has changed. You could do something like ... and she flopped onto the sofa, clutching the picture to her chest. Tears rolled down Alice's cheeks as she thought of her wife. Shanti leaned back in the plush leather chair. Alice was probably ...


5

Don't be hamfisted. If you provide enough good hints of the location, that's sufficient. The location should be established, but telling it directly like that is a rather rarely used stylistic tool that makes your story resemble a report. Which is rarely advisable, unless it's your purpose, e.g. this being a crime or military novel written in the report-like ...


11

I wouldn't advise doing that. It breaks the immersion in my opinion. From what I have seen, writers usually do that when talking about different times. You can't easily explain twenty years ago. You could set up the scene by doing something like this: John responded to his boss's email and connected the laptop to the charger. It was almost lunchtime and his ...


1

Dune (Frank Herbert) does an excellent job of this. Each chapter (I think) starts with a quote from a particular quasi-religious work about Muad'Dib; the main character of Dune. Just giving the readers short extracts means that we imagine a much larger work. You could do a lot worse than to see what techniques Frank Herbert used.


2

Don't do it. It will annoy/irritate/confuse people who have never been around children or don't like children. People who have been around small children already know what they sound like. As long as you have firmly established that they are very young children (and given your dialogue attribution, this is questionable) then do as Stephen King says and ...


4

I'd say the central component of a religious text is an element within it that is magical and unexplainable, and somebody is a subject of that (whether they like it or not). The pagans believed everything had a soul and agency, not just all animals but rocks, the sky, trees and plants, rivers, mountains, the moon and sun ... everything. The river could be ...


12

The easiest way to accomplish this is to imitate the style of real-word mythology. There are various different sources, which all have different styles and different symbolism. In the Western world, probably the most well-known stories are those of Greek mythology, Nordic mythology, and of the Old Testament. Given that you have an oracle as part of your ...


1

Some of the ancient styles noticeable in several types of mythological or religious story include repetition and specific structure. One of these is almost palindromic: "Healthy is he who eats coconuts, and whosoever eateth of the coconut shall be healed of his ills." Another style groups things in threes, or fives, or sevens: specific numbers have meaning (...


2

You might want to present the in-story text as a parable which means the story has a teachable message, rather than words like "mythology" or "religion" which imply a spiritual calling. the role of the text in context, and the protagonist's reaction to it are the important points The protagonist needs to relate to the story. He identifies with that ...


4

One element of religious texts is the antiquated language. Since the text has been canonised, it has not changed while the language moved on. If you look at the Book of Esther as an example, it is very much "just a story". God's name isn't mentioned once in it. And the Book of Lamentations is five independent laments for the fall of Jerusalem, grouped ...


1

Torture Porn has a certain revelling tone to it, it enjoys the specifics for no other reason than, as Amadeus put it, its own sake. Instead of using torture as a device to show, say, that someone is going above and beyond to acquire some information, or vice versa, enduring above and beyond to keep some information contained, they instead just go 'cyoar, ...


1

There's a nice little story about this... from http://www.fantasyliterature.com/author-interviews/jim-butcher/ Q: How did you come up with the original idea for CODEX ALERA? We’ve heard rumours that it involved a bet on whether you could combine the Roman empire and Pokémon… is that true? A: The bet was actually centered around writing craft ...


4

Put conflict in every scene. A protagonist and antagonist in every scene. A goal in every scene, and something that stands in the way of the goal. To increase tension ('life') present the protagonist and antagonist as equally opposed with opposing forces. The protagonist wants to make it to the fae castle; the antagonist wants to keep the protagonist as a ...


2

You can find some good tips and techniques for tackling description here and here. These questions have several good answers. You may want to make sure you are adding plenty of conflict throughout your chapters. If your writing seems dull or boring, this might perk it up. Give your characters some resistance or challenges to overcome. It doesn't have to ...


6

One possibility is perhaps you weren't particularly engaged while writing this. Maybe it was a scene you just slogged through because you needed it. If you aren't personally interested, it's difficult --not impossible, but difficult --to make it interesting for the reader. Here's some good advice from author Rachel Aaron: Every day, while I was writing ...


6

These answers are all really good, so I'll just add a couple of things. Imagine your setting as a character. You've already personified it by making it "uncaring" and "hostile". Now, make it behave like an uncaring and hostile creature/character. Your setting can interact with your characters just like they I react with it. "As much as Mary was ...


1

A resumé is telling a potential employer what you can do. A CV is you showing a potential employer what you have done. To use an entertainment analogy, if someone were casting for a new part in a film a resumé is the equivalent of the actor showing up and talking about how their experience in this film and that play gives them the background to play the ...


1

I used to hate writing descriptions, because I approached them as flat catalogs of visual details. But descriptions come alive when you understand all the different things they can do. 1 - Put yourself in the mind and mood of the narrator: "The trees stood like silent sentinels..." versus "The trees were angry soldiers, with branches like spears..." versus ...


3

A hard, uncaring world is a matter of perspective. If you're seeing it through the eyes of someone who loves it, it won't look bleak, no matter what the "objective" portrait of it might be. So you want to start with a person who feels isolated, lonely, vulnerable, exposed and alienated, and then describe the landscape through his or her eyes.


9

This really depends on the type of world you have in mind. It isn't quite clear from your question whether you are talking about e.g. alien planets that are hostile to all life (toxic, radiated wastelands), or whether you are talking about a civilization that has become cold and uncaring (cyberpunk-style). Since you want to know about stylistic devices you ...


5

While the other answers are great and focus on tangible assets of the world, I'll try and find an answer that focuses instead on stylistic elements. I would say that a good way to get across apathy and an inorganic, unfeeling world would be to describe things in a cold, technical, repetitive and clinical manner. Eschew any flowery language when describing ...


12

+1 to Ash, and I'd like to add another feature: lack of healthy life. If you really want to show that an environment is hostile, show that nothing pleasant can thrive there. Here are some suggestions for describing a city. Plants: No flowers (not even in window boxes). Any trees they might have planted are either dead or dying. Animals: With the exception ...


4

Uncaring. Harsh. Unforgiving. And a Sci-Fi setting? Well. It depends on what the deal is, but I'll offer some things I'd throw in to really show this world doesn't care for humans. Alien world. The places looking for employees, so think bars, clothing stores, fast-food restaurants. "Humans need not apply." Put up signs outside showing humans aren't welcome ...


11

Some elements that can be clearly seen and described occur to me: Graffiti is common where people feel disenfranchised, it seems to form an outlet for people who feel they don't have a voice. Dirt, filth is omnipresent when people don't care for the environment and people around them. This can be noted in both people's appearance, dirt on their cloths or ...


1

I have both a resume and a CV; I am a research scientist with a PhD and two Master's degrees. Both a resume and a CV are telling a prospective employer what you can do for them, and how you can be a part of their team. But they are used to apply to different kinds of jobs. My resume is used to get technical contracts applying my skills to solve somebody's ...


2

Heroes Have Consequences. Heroes cause major changes, and every major change is likely to be negative for somebody, and often that person is an innocent. No matter what the setting, defeating evil is meaningless if the evil is not ruining lives (or about to ruin them). It may take a war to defeat the evil, but in the process soldiers die on both sides, and ...


1

Realistically, life sucks, but most of us manage to find hope somewhere. Sometimes little girls have to grow up too fast and sometimes we have to deal with messes other people make. It sounds like your young lady is going to have a lot of tears and fight some battles she's not ready for. Let her fight. Let her cry. But, make it worth it in the end. “...


2

They say you shouldn't show gore, if you want it to have an emotional impact. Instead, show a teddy bear, or some other child's toy, sitting abandoned, or placed by a grave. The same can hold true for the opposite. You want to show it isn't grimdark, then show hope, show life. Kids playing in the streets as their mothers call them in for supper. Show women ...


19

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 ...


1

I wrote this before the poster indicated that this was a speech. My advice still applies, it just needs to be on a shorter timeline. Write what you want, show it to people you trust, revise, then show (or read) it to a more diverse group of listeners, especially those similar to your expected audience. I'd say your question applies to every word you ...


1

"I am a roll of toilet paper on the inside third." I honestly have no idea what this means. If it was in context, I would hazard to make a guess. If it was still cryptic in context, I would probably assume it is a colloquialism, some sort of military jargon, or an inside joke. As a reader, I wouldn't lose sleep over it. I would probably expect this ...


1

Hi Gunny and it's nice to meet you. Standard exercises--I'd suggest a couple. Join a writing group that shares excerpts. Share your excerpts. You can ask for feedback specifically on your metaphors, if you like, asking what the group thought. Find a list (or other resource) of metaphors such as those linked to here. Read a metaphor, decide what you think ...


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