Hot answers tagged

46

I see two separate issues here --your work, and who you are getting feedback from: There's nothing intrinsically wrong in being inspired by current events. People do that all the time, and some great work has been created that way. People's reactions to that work may be tied to their own personal experience and/or opinions about the current event, but that'...


46

Some people will believe they know how things work, even if they don't If you were to ask a highly educated person 2,000 years ago why things fall down, they'd have an answer. (It just wouldn't be a correct answer.) If you asked them what light is, they'd have an answer. Their answer wouldn't have anything to do with particle/wave thingies which (probably)...


22

My answer is fundamentally similar to JonStonecash's, but comes at it from a different angle. You mentioned the following: the narrative intent behind this is to lower the reader's guard by making them laugh at how silly this is, only for them to stop and be forced to reconsider when the consequences of this “silly” magic system result in mass loss of human ...


19

There is no topic that per se is inappropriate to write about. Great literature has been written about everything, including rape, incest, child abuse, murder, terrorism - and yes, including the victim POV, the culprit POV and others. What your family may have been referring to is not so much the topic, but the style. One thing that great literature isn't is ...


16

Other answers have already given you good reasons why it might be a good idea to not spell out the exact details of your magic system. However, if you still want to share some background on how the magic works in your story and the only thing preventing you from doing so is that the cast doesn't know, you could do it outside of the story. A common way to do ...


16

The most important question is, why does it matter what the details of the magic system are? It may be important for you as the writer to know, but does it matter to the characters or the plot? For example, does the behavior of the protagonist change (or can be explained) because said protagonist has deep knowledge of the magic system. Think carefully before ...


15

I think what you are being asked for is to personalize the settings. Imagine yourself walking into two places — one is place you think is dangerous and the other place is your safe-space or homey. For each of us, we might choose different places — like a biker bar and a democratic rally. The physical details — the leather, the guns, the healthcare is a ...


11

To make scenes feel different, you have to use a different set of descriptive words. For a diner, it could feel cozy and quiet, and the first thing they might notice is how warm and comfortable the diner is. For the strip club, you paint a picture of flashing lights and loud noises, music pumping through their ears. What your editor is getting at (I believe) ...


9

The secret behind this is that we never perceive things neutrally, but always through the lens of our mood, our experiences, and our emotions. Coloring the descriptions can be powerful way to put the reader in the head of the POV character, and to make a more immersive experience. With that said, your moods aren't actually affecting the weather unless you're ...


8

Every writer has to take inspiration from somewhere, and if this topic interests you and makes you want to write, then please do so. It's a touchy subject as you said, but if you're passionate about the story, then the rest matters less. Whether you write about the pandemic or not, countless people will. In fact, dozens of epidemic and pandemic movies ...


6

In somewhat reverse order: Subverting expectations with a false/flawed narrative is fine, and doesn't necessarily lead to outrage. It's all about how the subversion and eventual reveal take place. I can envision several different scenarios that can accomplish this end. I'll share two. Make it evident that the characters providing exposition have a flawed/...


5

Although it has been touched on in the other answers I'd like to highlight something: If it is important to the characters in the story, it is important to the reader. You mentioned that you're not sure how to introduce this exposition dump, or why your character is even interested to start with because it's "ridiculous". Maybe your character is ...


4

Go ahead. It is MORE important to write about current events as they happen because after time memories become tainted. For an example, in an 'everybody panic' situation you may be shocked to start with, then cynical, then reflective about society, then reflect on your part. Each is a box that once opened can't be shut. It's a VERY interesting situation ...


4

I'm just going to comment the feedback, and only to make it visible how crazy that feedback is. They told me this novel was capitalizing on an important issue, and ... it's wrong for an author to capitalize on something so scary and real. I can just assume that they haven't: watched the movie Titanic watched the Chernobyl mini series haven't played Call ...


4

I think the advice to focus on sensory details is spot on. You want to create an association in the reader's mind between your setting, a sensory impression and a lived experience. Of all the senses, smell is a particularly good way to do this. Smell and memory are powerfully linked, and you can make associations that act as a bridge between the reader's ...


4

In my experience, when your settings run together, it's because you haven't done the work to fully imagine and render them in your mind. I'm not the most observant person, so whether I'm remembering a setting or inventing one, it tends to be fuzzy and abstract by default (writers who are highly visually observant tend not to have that problem). What helps is ...


4

Don't fight the allusions to colonialism, lean into them. 100% morally flawless protagonists are just as boring as 100% morally despicable antagonists. Acknowledge that not everything in the "good guy" empire is all fine and dandy. When you feel that what they are doing is similar to colonialism, do your research on why colonialism is generally ...


4

Avoiding Hot Water: Sonic and Taco John's are actually more wide-spread, but I get the point. People in the region are likely to get oblique references (Mount Rose MN vs. Rosemount MN in the movie Drop Dead Gorgeous) while people outside the area are unlikely to get the reference at all unless they Google it (if you saw the movie, did you know there was a ...


3

Science Will Lead: I think exposition is bad, unless you are establishing an absolute authority of what is right or wrong. This answer is not really radically different from the rest, it's just too extensive to be a comment. So that last line says a truth which seemingly undermines the answer I'm giving (despite it being accurate). Oddly, those of us who are ...


3

Unfortunately I can't remember who said it but I remember reading in a foreword of a (Stephen King I think) book, if you want to write, write! I really don't see the benefit in not writing it. IMHO (and this is a very opinion-based question TBF) it's absolutely appropriate to write about the pandemic! If you believe it is wrong to "capitalise" on ...


3

Controversy and Emotion: There are lots of publications about industrialization and colonialism, and it's a really complex topic. If you want your writing to have a plausible feel, not just a pat anticolonial one, you have to embrace the complexity of the situation. I read a controversial but well written article suggesting colonialism was a net benefit for ...


3

This technique can feel cliché when it's used clumsily for effect rather than fitting the story. In a solid, working story, everything should fit together seamlessly, the story, the characters, the setting, the dialogue, almost as if the reader is watching you piece together a puzzle right in front of their eyes and when they see the final picture, ...


2

One important but easily overlooked point is how quickly a character gets a grasp of their surroundings. In a place they're enjoying and feel comfortable they will want to savour the experience so will take in every detail one at a time. Somewhere they're scared of or escaping from, they will take in many distinct details very quickly, and will notice ...


2

This is a somewhat tricky question as I don't know the general plot of your book, but this is what I would recommend: You could possibly escalate it to a global/different world/alternate reality, but, does that make sense for your book? You said your book was comedy horror, which usually doesn't go to that big of a scale. You could however like Ceramicino0b ...


2

According to Ernest Hemingway, the reader can always tell the difference between things that the writer knows and understands, but deliberately hasn't included in the story (because they don't belong there), and things that the writer hasn't thought through, and has left out because of laziness and convenience. The first category is good, the second is bad. ...


2

No, but there's a fine line Look, it's your story. If you think that the story needs to be told, tell it. Just know that, there's a fine line. Your characters are allowed to be horrible people with horrible views (such as racism), but you aren't. When you're writing a story to get a political point across, you've crossed the line. Also, please don't write ...


2

Colonialism isn't a moral issue (on the scale of a nation) Historically, colonialism has never ended because of moral reasons. It was always a power struggle : The colony becoming strong enough to claim its independence. The colonizers becoming unable to control their colony (too weak, too strong opponents, etc) The most powerful faction within the ...


1

If you have to ask whether you're promoting Colonialism with your writing, you already know the answer; of course you're promoting Colonialism. Don't write the story. The only thing you can do now is give up all ambitions to be a writer and never put pen to paper again. Although, I fear the problem here is deeper than that. You appear to be guilty not ...


1

While reading your question I kept thinking about what I always tell myself whenever I'm stuck. Don't force it. If you can't make it work/look right, make people think it was intended this way. In your question you mention the magic system is considered “silly” on purpose. That's perfectly fine. On the other hand, you sound like you're trying to force a ...


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