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62 votes
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How to show a character being bored for multiple chapters without boring the reader

Use film and other literature to inspire you--in particular this song Do you Want to Build a Snow Man. The character is bored. There's empty hallways, but time passes and that's communicated in a ...
Erin Thursby's user avatar
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43 votes
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How long can a fantasy novel stay in metaphorical Kansas?

The purpose of the Kansas section is to establish the Real World before embarking on the Quest (to use the terms from the Hero's Journey). The Real World is the place which the Hero (gender/age/...
Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum's user avatar
31 votes

...and then she held the gun

Have you considered doing something like skipping, then describing? Something like (but do consider this first draft quality): The man kept the gun pointed at her. Jane had trained for years, and ...
user's user avatar
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30 votes
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How much character growth crosses the line into breaking the character

Breaking character is not a function of the beginning or destination of the character's journey / progression. Breaking character is not even some out-of-the-way stopover in the middle. Breaking ...
Jedediah's user avatar
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30 votes

How do I introduce dark themes?

Foreshadowing is your friend. Your example of Harry Potter isn't quite right. Chapter One is titled The Boy Who Lived. Now that's a bit ominous. Magic is hinted at on page 1* and is outright on ...
Cyn's user avatar
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27 votes

How to show a character being bored for multiple chapters without boring the reader

Plot doesn't have to move at an even speed. Just as you can slow-motion over an important battle, you can speed up over long periods of time. A couple of paragraphs evoking boredom: staring at the ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
26 votes

Is my story pacing too fast?

Several comments, in no particular order: 1) Sometimes the problem with pacing is in the transitions from scene to scene and not in the actual pace of the action. A few extra words at each ...
Cyn's user avatar
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23 votes

Is it bad to suddenly introduce another element to your fantasy world a good ways into the story?

I think you can look to Harry Potter for inspiration to answer your question. Every book introduced new species. Some at the beginning of the book, and others in the middle. But they were always ...
EDL's user avatar
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22 votes
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Is it bad to suddenly introduce another element to your fantasy world a good ways into the story?

Some of the best worldbuilding is done gradually. If you introduce all the elements of your fantasy world very near the beginning, you risk boring your readers with a massive infodump. It's often ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
19 votes

Is my story pacing too fast?

My impression is that you've got so much going on in so few words, that you never really allow the reader to settle down and experience a scene, understand what's going on, go through your character's ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
18 votes

My readers are losing interest halfway through. What is a list of possible remedies?

+1 Henry, those are possible problems. It is hard to diagnose, but you've told us the problem: The reader has stopped caring how the story turns out. Even if the ending is great. Which likely means ...
Amadeus's user avatar
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18 votes
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Spicing up a moment of peace

You seem to suggest that a paragraph that has no other function whatsoever within the narrative, beyond providing an evocative pause, is somehow special, or maybe even "pure". Of course, such a ...
sesquipedalias's user avatar
17 votes

How long can a fantasy novel stay in metaphorical Kansas?

I've read books written the way yours is currently set up, and I agree with your beta readers --some foreshadowing would help. However, I think you could afford to be fairly subtle about it. The ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
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16 votes

When do I successfully kill off an important secondary main character... in a series of five books?

1) Might one ask why the character destined to die is named... Cancer? I'm just calling him "Charlie" for the rest of this discussion. 2) Does Charlie have any agency, life, personality, or ...
Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum's user avatar
16 votes

How long can a fantasy novel stay in metaphorical Kansas?

4000 words isn't an awful lot. I understand the need to get the plot rolling, but it's good to establish the mundane that the MC will miss before ripping it from them and taking them on the adventure, ...
Matthew Dave's user avatar
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16 votes

How much character growth crosses the line into breaking the character

Dynamic characters are a good thing. Provided the seeds of growth exist and the path is visible, there is no limit but that which we impose. Sidney Carton went from drunken loser to noble hero - ...
Rasdashan's user avatar
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16 votes

How do I introduce dark themes?

Four chapters in, your readers should have an idea what they're in for. Not everything that's going to happen, but certainly a hint. Once you've hinted that there is darkness, you can skirt it, turn ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
15 votes
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My readers are losing interest halfway through. What is a list of possible remedies?

Giving specific editing advice is difficult without first reading the work in question, but here are some additional thoughts for you to consider... When the middle of a story stalls, it is often the ...
Henry Taylor's user avatar
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15 votes

...and then she held the gun

As @Wetcircuit suggest, try shifting the focus to the gunman Now, I have no idea how you write your story, but here's an attempt at setting up the scene: Staring straight into the barrel, her ...
storbror's user avatar
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15 votes

Spicing up a moment of peace

Take a look at The Lord of the Rings as an example. Between the tense episode in Moria, that culminated with Gandalf's fall while the other characters escape, and the mounting tension of the Anduin ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
14 votes

How much character growth crosses the line into breaking the character

In my opinion, a character needs some kind of impetus or crisis or catalyst or heartfelt realization to change their character. To me, that reflects reality. For a positive change of character, ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 103k
14 votes

How much character growth crosses the line into breaking the character

I don't think the issue is how much the character changes, but whether those changes reasonably follow from the causes. That is, are the changes plausible? People can and do have dramatic personality ...
Jay's user avatar
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14 votes

...and then she held the gun

I like your last example. Just keep the speedy action and remove the final sentence that seems out of place for your setting. If your character knows what she's doing, the action she performs will be ...
icanfathom's user avatar
14 votes

How can I write a panicked scene without it feeling like it was written in haste?

I've noticed something about many books and movies. Just as two characters are getting into a deep conversation, either sharing something important or showing emotion or leaning forward slowly to kiss,...
icanfathom's user avatar
13 votes
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How to slow down the pace of the story?

The answer to this question really depends on which scale you are talking about: do you want to slow down a paragraph? A scene? A chapter? The whole story? You talked about the story in general in ...
B Altmann's user avatar
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13 votes

How long can a fantasy novel stay in metaphorical Kansas?

I don't think 4000 words is too long; not at all. I am presuming this is a 100,000 word novel, I think you have 10% (10,000 words) for something "magical" to happen. I base that on the standard Three ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 103k
12 votes

How long can a fantasy novel stay in metaphorical Kansas?

Not a writer, but I did a little research on your examples and it's too long for a comment, so I thought I'd write it up here. On reading your question, you offered three classic examples: Wizard of ...
Gregor Thomas's user avatar
12 votes
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...and then she held the gun

I'm going to try and take the answer from "a CVn": Have you considered doing something like skipping, then describing? ... and take it a bit further. Jane was calm, arms up, as John held her at ...
RPBCL's user avatar
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