Questions tagged [technique]

Common, repeatable methods of achieving particular storytelling effects or of avoiding narrative pitfalls.

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Working backwards from "Delete the people, keep the math and jazz." (SciFi short story)

I'm a great lover and a modest consumer of the short story genre. But I've precious little experience writing fiction. A line just popped into my head while listening to music and working problem in ...
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-2 votes
2 answers
87 views

How do I avoid using "the" in a story?

No matter what I do, I can't find a way around "the" when it comes to writing stories or making a story that feels like it's repeating. Here's an example of what I've gotten so far with a ...
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4 votes
2 answers
378 views

Is there a balance on being subtle?

I love literature that leaves clues that readers can connect or makes them discuss their own theorys/interpretations. I'm making my own, but how do I make one. Like, looking deeper in the words per se ...
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1 vote
1 answer
69 views

Can Word be put in Writing Mode?

I think the title of this question deserves some explanation. For a number of reasons I am using Microsoft Word, Office 365 version. I subscribe to the writing versus editing technique. I clear my ...
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20 votes
5 answers
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How to include deliberate inconsistencies without it seeming like lazy or bad writing?

I'm writing a thriller (scifi/supernatural) and have a race of characters who can bend reality. They've come to earth with the intent of purging humanity. They can do it, but they have limitations. ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Would using poetry to represent a character's dreams be viable?

In a couple of my writing projects I have used poetry to represent the dreams of the POV character. That way some of the content of the dreams and hopefully some of the emotion/feeling of the dreams ...
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1 vote
2 answers
142 views

Guy's POV when falling in love. Too much, not enough?

Half of my story is told from (1st person) male POV and he falls in love with the leader of a rebellion he's meant to be undercover investigating and trying to stop. He slowly comes round to join the ...
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2 votes
2 answers
115 views

How do you make a place/situation seem brutal?

Up until around the early-through-mid 1800's (of the real world, for clarification), the rights of criminals, disabled people, and the poor were commonly ignored. As a result, the justice system was ...
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How do i write a character with Amnesia? [duplicate]

Im thinking of a character that has lost their memories. However my lack of full knowledge in amnesia. I know that there are ways and types of Amnesia, one of them is that you can lose your memories ...
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Is there a written equivalent to the "jump scare"?

The "jump scare" is a standard storytelling technique in horror and science fiction film and video games, in which a very rapid transition (stereotypically, a creature literally jumping up ...
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1 vote
3 answers
138 views

How do I deal with "false filler" scenes necessary to move the plot along?

I wanted to ask this question after seeing this question. The two question are similar but kind of touch on somewhat different topics. Specifically, I am wondering what one should do about "fake&...
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Would an equals sign as secondary language exact quotes be misinterpreted in literary fiction?

I have chosen to show an accented English that is only comprehensible to speakers of the secondary language. The topic of translated sign language has been beat up and I accept that there is no ...
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Can supporting characters remain effective during long periods off screen?

My protagonist develops relationships early and gets kidnapped In my literary fiction story spanning about a decade, new relationships develop, they join with the street gang. Old relationships fade. ...
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0 votes
1 answer
84 views

Is the saving sidekick ever used outside of comedy?

I am writing a literary fiction, so it's not bound to genre tropes. Just the same, it has one a sidekick who may also be a foil. I'm not writing comedy although I have elements of humor, which life ...
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2 votes
1 answer
56 views

How do I make and decide whether a story should be a sequel or prequel?

I have lots of inspirations that I can make into stories, but I face this one question a lot: Should it be a prequel or sequel? Here's the thing: I'm an amateur writer, but I do have lots of potential ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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How do I describe a character tripping but regaining their balance?

In the story, my protagonist is walking in a part of town that is not taken care of. My character, at this point in time, is super tired and trips over a clump of grass growing from the sidewalk.
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1 answer
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How do I know if my cast contains too many characters?

I have one MC that will discover more about themselves, and in that, they will discover the different parts of themselves — their psychology and their hidden desires. The deeper the person, the more ...
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1 answer
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Avoiding tedium and trivialisation from repeated events

I'm writing a sci-fi novel set on Earth in the recent past. In the novel, an alien giant robot destroys numerous cities in North America. The first such occurrence, New York City, receives a lot of ...
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2 votes
3 answers
141 views

How am I supposed to use bad luck as a disadvantage?

So when I was thinking of a character, I tried my best to not make them a Mary Sue. We all know Mary Sue is the number one horrible character. As such I came up with ideas of characters that I can ...
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3 votes
2 answers
101 views

MC has selective mutism; what to do with dialogue?

In a book I’m writing, the main character (a 15-year-old girl) has/struggles with selective mutism. I’ve quickly run into the problem where she is in a “mute situation” where she doesn’t talk. I’ve ...
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1 vote
2 answers
70 views

How to format quick flash cuts of photos in a screenplay?

I am writing a script where there are quick flash cuts, where the current present action is then 'captured' in a still photo which is representing a 'highlight' on an Instagram post/story shown for ...
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Capitalising after punctuation within speech?

I've notices that Emily Bronte does not always capitalise in dialogue after exclamation marks or question marks, for example (light spoilers): "Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Share expert insights about a field without sounding arrogant or gaslight my audience

I've worked for a good number of years for a couple of big-tech companies (FAANG). I've seen just how efficient they are comparing to the rest of the IT industry. I plan to tweet/linkedin about these ...
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12 votes
1 answer
129 views

Translating analogies in a 100 year old fairy tale

I am having a hard time translating analogies and descriptions in a fairy tale written a century ago. My fear is today's children will not understand the analogy at all or misunderstand it, and as ...
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3 votes
4 answers
199 views

Is it okay to explicitly explain the core idea of a work of fiction?

First, I'll explain what I mean when I say core idea of a work of fiction. It is the concept that the fictive work tries to be communicate (be it a poem or a piece of prose) through its metaphors, ...
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0 votes
2 answers
113 views

Bursts of plot development versus slow rising action

From most of the stories I've read, the plot development tends to follow a smooth curve. This has obvious advantages given the reader can start to use his/her imagination more, anticipating/worrying ...
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4 votes
2 answers
147 views

What options are available to remove the protagonist and still have a story

I will be writing a fictional story whereby there are only antagonists -- conflict instigators. I know what you're thinking: without a protagonist to combat with, how can there be conflict? This is a ...
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2 votes
2 answers
103 views

Novels with big time jump

In a father/son novel, there are two parts to the story: half the book follows the protagonist for a few years. Part two is twenty five years later. The story transitions with a 10 - 12 page narrative ...
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3 votes
1 answer
125 views

How can garden path sentences be used (and misused)?

"A garden path sentence is a grammatically correct sentence that starts in such a way that a reader's most likely interpretation will be incorrect; the reader is lured into a parse that turns out ...
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0 votes
2 answers
76 views

Trouble finding two-syllable and three-syllable rhymes (or near-rhymes) for "eld" as in "field"

I am using The Complete Rhyming Dictionary, edited by Clement Wood, as a reference as I work through a poem. I can't tell if my search is not thorough enough or if there is a shortage of this ...
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12 votes
3 answers
1k views

How can I flavour quote-only dialogue?

When writing dialogue, I know it's sometimes normal/useful to drop attribution and provide only the direct quotes during dialogue, like so: "Like we used to Mamma?" "Einmitt, my little ...
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0 votes
3 answers
236 views

Why does Faulkner get a pass for purple prose?

I've been accused of purple prose for single words. People will go through my work with a fine-tooth comb and interrogate me. "Why this big word?" It feels like, if everyone doesn't ...
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7 votes
4 answers
184 views

How do I describe an accent from our world in a non-Earth fictional world?

In my writing, I feel it can give a character distinction if they have an accent; our main character(s) have an American accent, but the newly-introduced one of them has an Irish accent. My problem, ...
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2 votes
3 answers
105 views

Least confusing way to structure 2 plot lines merging when one starts several years before the other

My story has two POV characters, Delilah and Jack, who start separate and meet ~ 1/4 of the way though. Delilah's story starts several years before the Jack's and is the entire reason he even has a ...
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1 vote
2 answers
203 views

How to "show not tell" hero's thought process?

This question is inspired by a different one - How to communicate characters' inner states?. Although it may seem similar at first glance, I find the difference quite profound. My question regards ...
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0 answers
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how to write the word "so as if it is slurred or exagerated [duplicate]

How should I write the word "so" as if it is slurred or exaggerated for example: I'm sooo sorry. I've been so miserable and lonely.
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1 vote
3 answers
218 views

How to communicate characters' inner states?

This is a huge question, parts of which have been answered on this site. However, this is one of the biggest challenges writers face, and so I think the question's relevancy matches the amount of work ...
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2 votes
2 answers
91 views

How to revise or edit an extremely long story?

I have a story that I am working on that is extremely long. The first volume in the series is about 120,000 words, and that is only about half of its predicted wordcount. Counting the other entries in ...
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1 vote
1 answer
97 views

How would you describe a character that is ‘dogmatic’ without referring to religion or politics?

I am trying to develop a character who has a very rigid world view but I want to use more than just a single adjective to bring out this character’s “quality”. I also do not want to inject any ...
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2 votes
3 answers
222 views

How best to write an anxious character?

A character is shy, anxious, anti-social, nervous, etc. So, when speaking, she often pauses or makes noises like “uhm”, err”, “uhh”, etc. I’m asking a couple questions: What would be the best way to ...
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3 votes
1 answer
832 views

What is the process of creating a word using Latin and Greek word parts?

I am trying to create a word that means "division of a single God", but I am having some trouble. If I understand correctly, any word must have a suffix, root and prefix, but sometimes I ...
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0 votes
3 answers
145 views

What makes you turn off from reading a blog immediately?

What tell-tale intro elements are a red flag a piece of writing isn't worth your time? I write commercially but am conscious that my online pieces often have a lower-than-hoped-for time on site. My ...
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9 votes
6 answers
3k views

How to avoid overdoing deconstructive tendencies in writing?

The Issue I'm a person who likes to take things apart to see how they work, and someone who likes to poke holes in ideas. As a result, it's not surprising that I've always been drawn to a writing ...
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0 votes
1 answer
153 views

Is it possible to use an intentional plot hole as a literary device?

Is it possible to use an intentional plot hole as a literary device? If not as a literary device, can you use a plot hole intentionally for other reasons? I am wondering if there are authors who use ...
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3 votes
4 answers
174 views

Writing an American-style book as an outsider to the culture

I am an aspiring writer from Pakistan. It's a south Asian country rich in culture. Our cultural heritage and history is very interesting, twisting and multifaceted. However, I have grown up reading ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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What are some common purposes in using run-on sentences as a literary device?

Generally, this is considered grammatically incorrect, and called a stylistic error. There are many examples of run-on sentences used as literary devices in literature. However, not all long sentences ...
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0 votes
0 answers
96 views

Deciding potential scenes and keeping the tension in my short story

To give some background, my short story is written from the perspective of person K. His school friend A (they are both in their mid-twenties now) invites him to stay in Vegas for a short time, and K ...
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  • 111
-1 votes
1 answer
56 views

This my approach to make a superhuman combat sport more fair? [closed]

This isn't really a world-building question. Since I im asking for y'all thoughts on my writing and writing a general. In the past, I said it would be hard to add an MMA/Boxing weight class type of ...
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2 votes
1 answer
72 views

Is "small-c conservative" or "capital-T Truth" redundant?

In English speech, it's perfectly normal to refer to the capitalization of a term to clarify if it's a proper noun or not—"The party's new approach is small-c conservative", because the ...
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0 votes
2 answers
72 views

How do you preserve emotions in a poem?

I am just another person who writes poems to vent out emotions. I discovered that the amount of emotions that I feel my poem has during the time of writing, slowly evaporates away. When I re-read it ...
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