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1

Welcome to SE. Others have said this, but it bears repeating: The purpose of non-dialog portions of a story are to provide context, setting, interiority (thoughts, emotions), and so forth. Too much dialog means you probably have too little of something else. Of course the approach can work... See the first chapter (Chapter A) of New York 2140. All dialog,...


2

Do you think it is possible for a reader to follow your story of 80,000 + words simply by writing the whole story in the form a of dialogue between or among characters? I believe it would drive most readers to distraction. Try this: put your story in a drawer for a few weeks. Then take it out and read it. If you hear everything you wanted to say then you ...


6

First Drafts, Writing and Rewriting This is your first draft, right? Your process could be that you produce a lot of dialog. You can fix that when you edit the text. To quote Hemingway (or Arnold Samuelson?): "The first draft of anything is shit." Go back (now or once the first draft is done) and look at your scenes. Do you see things (character action, ...


7

The question isn't whether you have "too much" dialogue, but whether you have "enough everything else." There are successful novels that are composed of almost all dialogue, and very little else, but those are definitely rare exceptions. A book without rich descriptive passages is like a cake without flour. It's possible to create, but you'll working ...


11

The problem with too much dialogue, is that dialogue alone doesn’t create a picture. A story should immerse the reader in a scene, and that immersion should be so complete that the reader forgets they are reading. To do that requires a balance of all the elements that make up a scene (setting, dialogue, interior monologue, non-verbal cues, physical action, ...


19

It is hard to overdo good dialogue; but not all dialogue is written well. Too often a great deal of dialogue is a one-sided speech about how the author feels; it sounds preachy and unrealistic, because other than actual speeches by politicians and other leaders (e.g. preachers in church), we encounter few "casual" speeches where one person is allowed to ...


10

The idea of "first drafts" and "second drafts" is a concept from our school years, from when we sometimes had to turn these things in labeled as such. It also comes from the way most writers used to work...handwriting everything then typing out a draft (or paying someone to type a draft). Or it could refer to the freshly typed version a writer made, after ...


0

As the OP mentions LaTeX, this answer uses "part" in the sense of that typesetting system, i.e. as the next bigger hierarchie above "section/chapter" and below "physical book". While I have not enjoyed a formal writer's education (i.e., university or whatever kind of school writers could go to), I have also never heard of formal "rules" for splitting books ...


0

Your first step is to decide on the levels of division. What is a first level division, a second level division, etc.? Once you've done that, you need to decide what to call them. You have many options here, as other answers have shown. The “read in one sitting” sections should probably be called chapters. Chapter subdivisions probably don’t need to be named ...


2

There are major works of SF that follow a structure like that. David Brin’s The Uplift War is the first example to come to mind. It’s divided into seven parts (each of which jumps forward in time to a new phase of the war) with 111 chapters, each of which is named after its viewpoint character and about six pages long on average. (It’s part of a series ...


1

I understand you have short and long chapters. How about splitting the longer ones into several smaller chapters? The only rules I can come up with for chapters are: The reader uses them as a "reading unit" so they should probably be about equal in size and not too long (but I've seen books with basically one chapter per page...) The reader might put the ...


7

Short answer: break where it makes sense. Some points at which breaks are traditionally made or ways to define breaks include: change of site, the place the action is taking place changes. change in POV character, someone different starts telling the narrative. change in auxiliary characters, the people the narrator is interacting with changes. The actual ...


19

It sounds like the divisions emerged organically and intrinsically from the story – that's how it should be. Don't worry that some are long and some are short. That's not a flaw. Forcing the story to fit a rigid, arbitrary amount of pages – like a screenplay that must introduce pre-requisite conflicts at "percentages" of running time to fit cinema turnover ...


1

There seems to be a consensus here. If you release it now when you know it is not ready, anyone who reads it will think this is the best you can offer. Should you publish another, the readers of the first will eschew your second knowing the quality of your writing. They might even post reviews - if it is anything like the first, save your money and time. ...


3

I've read several stories that do this and I've always appreciated it, personally. Many stories will simply end and leave the reader to fill in the details, but for me this has always just been lazy. If someone wanted to fill in the details, why write the story at all? They can just fill in all of the details. That's all just opinion, though. You ask ...


2

You can, but it's self-indulgent and kind of sloppy --a bunch of disconnected scenes outside the body of your story. Typically an epilogue helps put a cap on a story, and bring it closure. But this effect is diluted by multiple epilogues. Of course, you want your reader to desire to hold on to your characters and your world after the story ends. Even in ...


1

Never give up a book based SOLELY on the response to your queries. The reason is that the response rate you get to queries tells you relatively little about your book's quality. Query writing is its own form of writing, and one that it is highly rewarding, but surprisingly difficult to master. It's quite possible that a good book could have bad queries. ...


3

Don't try to chase trends. Everyone wants to be the next best thing. The perfectly timed topical hit. If that works out for you, great. But don't try to make it happen. Even if you finished your book next week, it's too late. The topic may have been around for months, but it will be gone by the time you get published. If not gone, then it will be ...


3

From experience, just hitting a pop-culture trend head-on isn't necessarily going to make people read your book. Keep in mind, when a trend is hitting, there's plenty of competition. The people who strike it big in those situations are the ones who were solidly ahead of the trend in the first place. So you may be overestimating this opportunity, even in ...


3

I agree with Arcanist Lupus on this. If you release an unedited novel, even if the trending subject does drive extra readers in your direction, a few one-star reviews on poor grammar, spelling, and sentence structure will soon drive the rest away. And those one-star reviews don't go away (unless you re-publish and start again). If the subject is still ...


0

It is maybe off topic answer but I got a friend of mine in a similar situation some years ago. This answer is based on what he did and it is a personal experience that maybe can't apply in your case. He refused to let down, he created a small company, and invest his own money to a professional printer to get 500 copy of his book, then he manages to get some ...


9

Finish your book, make it the best you can, move on to the next 95% of the time, first novels are garbage. First drafts of first novels, even more so. Now, it's possible that you're an exception, and you have managed to produce something that is good enough to ride the crest of the trend to reasonable sales. As an anonymous internet person, I have no way ...


1

You stop pushing a particular work when you cannot think of new opportunities to do so. You resume pushing it when you have the opportunity to do so. While rejections or being ignored hurt they rarely come with actual cost attached. So neither is a reason to give up. As long as you think there is a chance of a positive result go for it. What level of chance ...


5

Converting comments to an answer as suggested by @wetcircuit WHY BOOKS SUCCEED I was in the same place with my first novel. Many writers assume that the doors aren't open to them or there's some magical query that will open them. Remember: books are picked up based on how marketable they are, not how good they are. So, ask yourself, is it as good as the ...


10

Answer: You stop when you are ready to stop. You begin again when you wish to begin. New agents come on the scene every month or two. New publishers too. Part of the answer, which complements the excellent existing answers, is to assess what you are gaining from the experience. You might be learning through the process, and this may be valuable in and of ...


9

My answer is a little broad and maybe even opinion-based… so here goes. I think you can divide your decision process into 3 "problem areas" – it's a little difficult to say these things in a neutral nonjudgemental way, so hopefully you will have the patience to translate my words into ideas. I say the word "problem" but the reality is there may not be a ...


26

The most likely explanation is that your queries are poorly written, or the agents you are querying are poorly suited to your work (or feel they are after reading your query). If you are getting rubber-stamp rejections, look online for lessons in writing queries; one example is at Query Letter, but there are many such sites. I would also look for agents ...


3

I have heard that the number of queries you should expect to write is somewhere between 100 and 250. However, if you're not getting the kind of response you're expecting there are a few things you can double check on. Basically, this is a list of things to consider that might indicate whether you should keep going or stop. You can find someone who has had ...


3

A person's growth as a person does not end when they come of age. I am a very different person now (at 53) than I was at 21, to the point that I am abjectly ashamed of my younger self. It is true that when a person comes of age, they no longer have to deal with the struggles of a person who is coming of age. Once you've gotten the girl or guy of your dreams ...


9

In a series, I expect to find one of three approaches: a) One single plot that covers the entire series and which is divided into smaller parts in order to give each book some level of closure b) One plot that covers the entire series, and smaller plots that start and end in each book. c) small plots that start and end in each book, with the unifying line ...


2

People live their lives. Once they come of age people take up the responsibilities of their adult role in society. This need not represent a major shift in tone/style, "people grow or they die, or rather they grow until they die" sorry you'll have to look up who said it first but the principle is that people, real people, are always growing and changing. A ...


7

Coming of Age is about becoming an adult. This is often for young adults the transition to a sexualized person; being interested in sex and romance, knowing what it is about, perhaps experiencing sexual attraction for the first time. Anthropologically speaking, we see the same story in apes and other animals: The young reach an age where they rebel against ...


6

A very good short story --or better yet, many of them --can definitely lead to a publishing contract for a novel. (In fact, that's been the classic path for generations of science fiction writers.) But not unless it's published. An unpublished story does less than nothing for you (submitting it as a sample of an unwritten novel is more likely to hurt than ...


16

It's rare, but not unheard of for a series to shift genres as it progresses --with Harry Potter perhaps being the most notable example. As the protagonists grow up, the style and content of the books shift to follow them. Far from being a detriment, this was arguably a key reason for the series' success. And, of course, we're used to seeing this in more ...


3

I agree with Standback that submitting an unagented short story to a publisher is not likely to entice them to ask for a novel. I believe the answer to your question is no. But I would modify this to say that publishing short stories and other forms of fiction, and winning contests, are good ways to improve your query letter when you seek representation for ...


12

Alas, no. As an unpublished writer, you absolutely should not submit anything less than a complete novel. A few quotes to this effect: You have to have a finished novel. There are no exceptions to this. The first step for writing a query letter is to finish the novel. -- Query Shark When you send your query, do not send an unfinished ...


1

My tip to you is to come up with an template. You can get creative with it, but it's the only way that you can stay organized. List the title, a section for the characters, and then, depending on your structure (3-arch etc.), a layout for your story scenes. Even if it's just a loose template, it will work.


7

There are many ways of outlining. Here's a suggestion for those who have 'outline allergies'. Write the first chapter (or the first two). This will get you inside the skin of the characters and will get you excited. Now, pause and make a list of the main things you want to happen. Don't be detailed, but feel free to add a few details if they come to you. ...


1

Speaking as someone who has to restrain himself from ramming symbols down the readers' throats, maybe you've already done enough. The number will jump out at people who already know its significance, and unless your purpose is to be didactic (probably not a good idea), that's all you need for it to do.


1

Victim and suspect are both unknown and unrelated to my protagonist. It's because of this that the answer is maybe. Sometimes a prologue (not Chapter 1) with unrelated characters helps set the tone of the book. The reader knows in the back of her/his head "this is a crime novel" (or mystery, or detective, whatever it is). Then, when the protagonist's ...


1

You don't have to put the homicide into Chapter 1, but you might want to. While this approach is a well-worn cliche of police procedurals, especially series (in which the protagonist is known in advance), it is nevertheless an excellent way to lead into introducing the protagonist: An injustice has been done. The world cries out for a hero. Then you go on ...


5

Either can work really well! The thing to pay attention to is that each option builds a different sequence and experience for the reader -- so you want to consider which of the two choices works better for your story. A good general guideline is that at the beginning of the book, the reader is looking for "what is this book about." They'll latch on to, ...


3

I would not put the homicide in Chapter 1. I believe you are making the mistake of many beginning writers, thinking that you have to get to the action and the main conflict quickly to hook the reader. That is not true. The vast majority of successful stories use the opening scenes, even 10-15% of the entire story, to introduce the main character, ...


1

Starting with a story or event(s) that directly affect the protagonist would make the reader sympathize for the protagonist and every action they take. If you mean to put in an element later on in the story that would be more bizarre, I would suggest you introduce the homicide in the later stages and not in the beginning. Again, if it were a movie, starting ...


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