54

Add spices and Mix: I think the problem is you are thinking of your writing as infodump. Not all infodump is always bad, but no one really likes it. What you should do, however, is figure out what the scene adds to the story and integrate the details into a cohesive whole. The content that makes it essential should be visible in the paragraph, and convey the ...


39

There is no clear line. If everything else is going well, people won't notice that your coincidence is far fetched. The same plot resolution in another story might be considered "too much" to believe. But, let's try this: A single action by one person (say, tripping and falling and hitting a lever that wasn't marked and that the person had no way ...


37

Power trios are often "Freudian trios." One of the best arguments I've seen about the psychology of power trios is that each trio has a character that loosely represents Freud's psychoanalytic theory of mind. That is, there is one character each for the id, superego and ego, where the id character is impulsive, emotional, and/or primarily driven ...


20

There are several writing tropes oriented around misinterpreting prophecies or signs of "Chosen Ones" that may give you some ideas. Prophecy Twist - The prophecy comes true as it was written, but in an unexpected way, and the signs didn't mean what everyone thought they meant. The classic example is Lord of the Rings, when the Witch-King ...


19

Compare your paragraph to He went and bought a bread and yoghurt for the homeless guy. This is omitting a little bit of information compared to your paragraph: I don't specify that the grocery store is located back where the protagonist came from, and nearby. This may vary from place to place, but I'd expect a grocery store to be nearby in an urban setting ...


17

In this context, these aliens are probably going to be very domestic and familiar to this character, just as familiar as dogs, birds and cats are to us in the real world. If she lives in this society of aliens, she has probably seen them before and interacted with them before. Therefore, if you're introducing many of them in quick succession, you don't need ...


14

A Few Ideas: Letter of crucifixion: The character's name starts with a T, but no one names their kids with a T, because children with T names are killed by some power trying to prevent the prophecy from being fulfilled. The reincarnation is supposed to have a name starting with "the letter of crucifiction". In reality, the crucifixion under ...


14

I think there are two pieces of advice I can give you that would both make your writing stronger and lead to longer stories. Both of them are pretty basic pieces of advice, but they don't mean you're a terrible or beginning writer - they're the kinds of things that are so deep that you will spend your entire writing career learning more about them. But at ...


14

The reader must understand what happened, which is why I mentioned every action the character made I want to question this, because I think it's a big driver of bad writing. Why are the actions important? Are they interesting actions? No. Do they explore the character? Well, not the way you've written them. DWKraus has explored how you can address those, ...


13

All Plots are Contrived All stories are contrived. By this, I mean that they have been created by their authors. However, some writing is contrived well, and some poorly. The key to contriving well is to keep the reader reading. There are a lot of guidelines on how to do this. You've linked several of them. The biggest, I've found, is to make sure that it ...


13

Those who build worlds inevitably want to show off their skills. The trick is not to be boring. One approach that I have tried to use is as follows: Work out the details of the world building. Write it up separately. Write a bare-bones story that depends upon that world building but does not include any of the world building. For each action and interaction,...


10

Welcome to the Writing Stack, Alayna. When you write, it's usually more effective to focus on one project at a time You've already noticed that you can't always remember what you were planning with previous projects. When you put a story down for awhile, it can begin to fade from your memory. So if you want to write a story, it's better to keep at it ...


10

This is a great question! Here are some helpful resources I found when I had this same problem. Google Docs Google Docs is an excellent free collaborative document editing program that lets you edit a document with someone over WiFi. You can see them editing in real time, and it provides revision and editing history so you can go back in case somebody makes ...


10

Just say that they walked for two weeks, but throw in a few interesting tidbits about the journey. The longer the journey, the more details you add. Don't just write; "Alright, to mount death we go!" I said. We walked for two weeks, arriving breathless from the travel, blahblahblah... Write something along the lines of; "Alright, to mount ...


9

how can I show that twenty years have past? Since you're only intending on using the +20 years time period as a framing device to show the importance of the story to the character keep the "future" segments focussed as much as possible on the character rather than the future setting itself. Ideally you'd show only that which is explicitly necessary or ...


9

I think that without proper foreshadowing - even through the title or the cover - a story that changes genre in the middle will confuse, and probably anger most readers. If I was reading about the romantic conclusion of Charlie and Julia, and then suddenly a killer clown dropped through the window and killed Charlie, severely disfiguring Julia - I would ...


9

Genre is a contract you make with the audience. If the genre is action/adventure, you're promising the audience that there will be an action sequence to resolve the plot. If its horror, you're promising that the ending will be terrifying. If it's romance, you're promising love. Comedy...laughs. If you change the genre partway through a story, you're breaking ...


9

The other answers cover the general idea of something being "too much", but don't really talk about the distinction between DEM and coincidence; this answer addresses that. One way to think about it is that DEM requires the plot to be resolved through means not within the characters' control. This resolution may occur through random chance or ...


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

Your story must fulfill the promises it makes, or readers will not enjoy it Every book begins by creating expectations for the reader. The expectations start with the cover and title, and are built throughout the beginning of the book. If readers do not feel that the book satisfied their expectations, they will find it disappointing. To illustrate why your ...


7

The difference boils down to character arcs and agency. To run with your "lost in the woods" example: You could write a very satisfying story about being lost in the woods. You could describe how the threat to life and limb gives the main character a new appreciation of life, and a new understanding that all life is a struggle. When they finally ...


7

Yes, but it would be highly unrealistic. The reason humor exists is it's a coping mechanism... people make jokes to deal with uncomfortable topics or get through fears. It's not that it detracts from the work... it's that in a real situation, someone is going to try and bring a smile to the room, even if they're in an inappropriate situation. The work ...


7

If it's a drudge to write it, it is a drudge to read it. I (as a reader) don't want to read this: He turned around and started walking to the nearby store. He bought a bread and a yoghurt. Then he came back and gave the groceries to the homeless guy. That is a drudge to read. It tells me unneeded details of mundane things - and honestly, it leaves out ...


6

Show, don't tell. I get that it sounds trite and unhelpful given how common the advice is, but in this case it's true. The way you get such a message across is to show it in the context of your narrative rather than having one or more characters act as mouthpieces. Show a male character who is a father and show that they can be as nurturing and loving to ...


6

Foreshadowing. Mostly divided into four types (although not everyone agrees on this) direct foreshadowing: clear/open direct hints at the outcome (mostly in dialogue or internal monologue) indirect foreshadowing: subtle, indirect hints about the possible plotline prophesy: a crucial event is foretold, usually in an obscure manner and without giving away ...


6

Don't toss them out; collect them! What you've got there is a story fragment. You can start a collection of story fragments. Chances are, your fragments are a constellation of related ideas. As you write and collect them, you might start seeing connections between them. Then you can write those in-between connecting parts and assemble them into a larger ...


6

I had a friend a few years back who had a very similar issue. The advice I gave him was to focus less on what is happening, and more on how it is happening and the feelings around that. Perspective changes are a huge help with this. The issue you are having is really prevalent with a third-person, omniscient or semi omniscient perspective. You are telling ...


6

Describe Only What Matters Physical descriptions are the shallowest form of character building. They help the reader to visualize the character, but they do not help the reader know the character. We know someone by understanding their choices, and height, skin color, etc. are not choices. If you want to give descriptions of your aliens, think about how ...


6

In addition to summarising the entire journey (examples provided in @Ceramicmrno0b's answer), you could also include several smaller time skips connected by significant events described in more detail. You'd summarise the first leg of the journey, then, for example, describe the scene of how they almost got spotted by scouts and little Timmy, previously seen ...


5

Lots of different ways. Step one, cut out extraneous detail: leave the exact details of the damage done for a later passage, or the readers' imagination. Don't over-describe - it breaks the flow. Good for slowing things down, drawing out a horrified realisation at the end of the battle, but bad in the middle of it. Try to imply as much as you can with as ...


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