New answers tagged

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No and yes. No, you don't need to feel your character's emotions to be able to write scenes that involve them. It's the same in real life -- if a friend comes to you feeling extremely upset about his dog dying, then making yourself feel the same sort of distress is an incredibly ineffective way of helping him. You'll just end up miserable together. What ...


1

I've heard of Method Acting. But never Method Writing. There are two approaches to portraying a character on film or stage. Method Acting, where the actor gets into character by living like the character, duplicating emotions of the character, or otherwise emotionally identifying with the character. There are multiple approaches and techniques here ...


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Watch S4E2 episode of Game of Thrones entitled The Lion and The Rose. It tells the story of a very complex scene (Joffreys wedding) covering disparate events and storylines of tens of characters. It seamlessly jumps between groups of people and events that take place in a common area.


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I "roleplay" as my characters. It's not quite the same as you are asking, but it does help me get to what a character wants (their desire vs their need) and how they see their own path to get there. It helps me imagine what their limits would be when sharing their feelings with other characters. My issue with feeling what my character feels times 11 is ...


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Not when writing them no, I only really do good writing, regardless of content, when I'm at least slightly depressed and to a point the worse I feel the better content I write. When reading back a passage it is very important that it have the emotional impact you're looking to create for your audience.


3

For example, while writing an erotic scene, is it important for the author to feel the same way as they expect the readers to feel when describing the scene? For some subjective feelings or emotions, I'd say its a good gauge for the first draft. If you think you are writing an erotic scene and your first draft of it doesn't seem erotic to you at all, then ...


6

It is not important, unnecessary, and in fact utterly impossible. You need to put yourself in the character's shoes, imagine how he feels, write that, try to evoke emotions in the reader. It helps if you have ever in your life experienced something similar, so you have a reference point. But writing in that moment? If your character is in excruciating pain, ...


3

Index event(s), things that either happen to everyone or that everyone is expecting to happen will help keep the timing of the various POVs synced up. Examples of things that happen include loud noises, physical motions of the setting such as a house shuddering or a ship turning, or completely non-physical event that makes the characters collectively react ...


6

This rapid scene-switching works in film because you can establish exactly where you are and who you are with in an instant, with a framing shot or something else that recalls one. In a novel, you either have to re-describe the setting or you need shortcuts for recalling it. Lauren Ipsum's example of starting each short scene with the primary character's ...


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You could try using a common element outside of any of the scenes themselves to establish a common reference point in time. For example describe Alice and Bob having a heated marriage argument but being forced to resume their happy facade by the dinner gong calling everyone together. Charlie and Danielle are describing their plans to murder the Countess ...


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If your goal is hectic momentum, then two-sentence paragraphs with a visual indicator of "scene change" might work. Colonel Mustard frantically wiped up the table. No one would believe he hadn't done it. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Miss Scarlett straightened her dress, patted her hair, and checked her makeup in her compact. She had to look impeccable or the detective ...


1

Context will make this clear. If it doesnt yet, add enough context. For example you could mention earlier who has perfectly arranged hair of the two. Besides that, there is more subtile context. Has the sister done anything to deserve that thought? Is the Protagonist envious of her sister looks? Or does the protagonist want to portray herself as a crazy ...


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As an observation, sentences are typically embedded in paragraphs. If there is an (potential) ambiguity, I might add a reaction sentence to the paragraph, such as, "The sister, Mary, sputtered in shock." Or screeched, yelled, threw a hay-maker, quoted an obscure Latin phrase, or anything else keeping with the assaulted sister's character. Unless the reader ...


6

Alyssa is upset with her sister. Assuming that this will be make even more obvious by context, I think the text is fine as it is. You could make the sentence perfectly clear, but keep in mind that this isn't tech writing. The protagonist is angry here, and probably not thinking logically. Trying to achieve perfect clarify would probably take the soul of ...


1

If the object pronoun, ‘her’ in this case, doesn’t have a clear antecedent then the sentence will be ambiguous. By convention, the object pronoun is associated with the nearest object noun. There are exceptions since this is English and rules are only suggestions for the most part. The first occurrence of ‘her’ is potentially ambiguous since there isn’t ...


1

Well-written, compelling dialogue does two different things simultaneously. 1. Good dialogue moves the story forward. The more words you use to say something, the more characters you use to build an impression of a social set, the more place-names or magic-system rules or historical tidbits you weigh your reader down with, given a certain amount of ...


2

Every aspect of writing comes alive when it has multiple levels to it. Characters saying exactly what they mean, in a purely functional manner, is boring, unnatural, and superfluous. But great dialogue is so much more than functionality: Sound: Even in real life, some people have a tendency to speak in unconscious poetry. And in fiction, you have free ...


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I would say Rewatch Bonus or The Ending Changes Everything. As a discovery writer, I often don't know my ending until I have written 50% or even 70% of my first draft. So when I am done I actually go back through and look for moments in which I can rewrite a scene for foreshadowing, or add Rewatch Bonuses, sometimes just by modifying dialogue or adding an ...


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Characters interrupt each other People don't always wait for one another to finish speaking (and say "over" to indicate they are done) before they start talking. To extend Amadeus answer from above: "That is a beautiful necklace, did you just get it? I haven't gotten any new jewelry in so long. I was going to buy myself something but my hus-" "I saw ...


6

What came to my mind immediately is Foreshadowing Foreshadowing is the art of giving "hints" of what is about to happen in order to build tension, and a pretty common literary device. In your example, there may be multiple moments building up to the eventual death of that character. I'm stretching the definition here, and i'm aware of it. When you show ...


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You can certainly use them; but you have to set them apart from the text in a very deliberate way. You can italicize them, encapsulate it in em dashes, both... As long as you do not overuse them, or--if you do use more--make sure they are clustered. One cluster or word per three or four pages at a maximum, I'd think. Therefore, only use them when they ...


2

Treat it like a play. Read the conversation aloud. Does it sound like something the character would say? Does it build either character, plot or world? If not, why is it there? Is it something that someone would say: "Good morning" may not be building anything, but you don't want your character to sound rude either, as in walking up to someone and just start ...


36

You leave out small talk by focusing on big talk! By this I mean every thing a person says should be something at least one person in the conversation needs to hear, or wants to hear, or is surprised to hear, or if the other person ignores it, should have wanted to hear. Dialogue has consequence. Cut out lines that don't have a purpose, or aren't going to ...


5

Dialog in a story serves to advance the story or develop character. I’ve been taught that dialog isn’t conversation as much as its the ‘best of conversation.’ It condenses while it evoke emotions. It informs while obfuscating falsehoods, making them seem true and vice versa. If you are unsure about your characters dialog when you work your draft, you can ...


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Writer and former editor Jenna Moreci has a great series of YouTube videos that delve into lots of different writing topics. Some of them discuss dialogue, and here are a few cherry-picked tips of hers that you might find helpful: Avoid banal pleasantries. If you're reading a story that has lots of small talk, it may have been poorly written. Small talk ...


3

There isn't one, fiction, both reading it and writing it is a subjective experience, everyone sees it differently so there's no single formula that works in all cases. The best way to learn good writing is by reading good writing. You need to find dialogue that you do enjoy reading, that doesn't cause you to disengage and learn from the style of the author(s)...


1

Rhythm and emphasis define the usage. The first word is the most read, and is the reader's introduction to the sentence. Trudy said, "What a nice day." Emphasizes Trudy. Trudy cringed, "What a nice day." Still emphasizes Trudy, but surprises with "cringed". Cringing, "What a nice day," Trudy grumbled. Adds action and description, emphasized ...


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The general problem with tropes is that they often indicate lazy writing, and since they're so shopworn, they don't tend to contribute much new, original or of value. But it doesn't have to be that way. One of the problems with the current craze for reducing everything to tropes is that it minimizes the way that you can always bring fresh new perspectives ...


3

One very bad way of subverting a trope is thinking you're being clever and subverting a trope only it's Dead Horse Trope and no one actually uses it straight any more. For instance, there have been instances of non-genre writers trying their hand at a genre and think they're being innovative and daring and subverting all sorts of tropes, only the tropes they'...


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Unlike with comics, you wouldn't want to use sound effects as dialogue or dialogue adjuncts (in comics the letterer makes them separate from actual speech), though you can get away with it in something humorous. You can, however, evoke sound effects. The door slammed shut. vs. She shut the door hard. Or She nocked another arrow, let it fly, and ...


4

Fair warning: as a reader I have a pet peeve about onomatopoeia; I dislike it intensely as it tends to break my flow when reading. This is usually when non-word syllable strings are used rather than proper words but my aggravation carries over to all forms. You can use onomatopoeia in any genre - at least you certainly can if you're using a first person ...


1

There's a MasterClass from Judy Blume on creating stories for kids which might be useful to you as well as R. L. Stine's class.


0

There are already a lot of good answers here and my answer will overlap some of them, but I think it's an interesting question so I want to answer anyway. :-) One: Time. I'm not sure how long it takes to read a typical novel, but I now I've spent entire days reading some books. A movie has to fit into one modest length. 2 hours is a long movie. So a novel ...


1

I think the best answer lies in your question. The key, to my thinking, is whether you are actually subverting the trope or whether you are simply not following it for the sake of not following it. Subversion implies that you are invalidating, mocking or demonstrating the limitations of the trope. Why do we see tropes used so often? Because on some level ...


0

Writing / Reading builds imagination. When you see a film or a TV serial, you are confined to the directors vision of how the plot should be, how the hero/heroine looks like .... how events unfold. But when you read a novel, you are free to visualize how a person looks like. You are not confined to a visual POV. Reading / Writing a novel also builds a ...


-1

I'd honestly vote to close the question as opinion-based, but since it's attracted some answers, I'd demonstrate why by disagreeing. "Villain" victories and hero-designated villain team-ups are awesome. Readers shop for stories in which heroic characters win -- if they did, stories would be advertized by their denouements. They should root for the heroic ...


4

There have been a lot of good answers so far. I think a few areas have been missed. So, on top of the other answers, I would add: As Social Commentary: Since tropes represent, in a small way, our expectations, subverting a trope can be used to put social norms in stark relief. The Star Trek episode "Let this be your Last Battlefield," featured the ...


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TL;DR If it leads to new situations or fresh characters, GREAT! If it's at the very end of the story and it's just there to pull the rug out, BAD! Playing against types A stereotype inversion is still only 2-dimensional. Chances are it doesn't really alter the plot much. It's probably better than the usual, but not by much, since it's still based on ...


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I think the problem with the blue-pink subversion is that there is no clear reason why; other than the intent to surprise the reader. And secondly, it is not clear this trope subversion has any actual story consequences. Normally, trope inversions have at least some rational reason for existing. e.g. Wonder Woman is one of the first female super-heroes (...


9

There's a danger with subverting tropes, in that you can end up giving misleading promises ... e.g. your story seems to be a romcom for the first 20 pages but then !surprise! it's a horror--well, all the people who wanted horror have not even started the story (they thought it was a romcom), and the people who started it because they wanted a romcom are now ...


14

If you're just doing it for its own sake to bask in your own 'cleverness', it stands out like neon in a windowless room (see: The recent fallout regarding the ever-'subversive' Season 8 of Game of Thrones). Intent is a lot more transparent than people think. If you're subverting tropes to discuss said trope, or simply because that's the story you want to ...


0

For the consumer it's a lot easier to skip back and reread a passage, skip a 10 page long monologue that's largely irrelevant to the story line (I'm looking at you, John Norman), and bookmark interesting places for future reference when reading a book than when watching a movie (even more so with television, where there is no way at all to pause and rewind, ...


5

Tricks with the written words themselves Other answers gave many useful things you can tell with books, that would be harder or impossible with other media. Internal states, not showing something, different senses, multiple points of view, passage of time, "special effects" that would be visually beyond today's technology, or even simply beautiful prose... ...


8

Sensory detail A movie or TV show is limited to visual and auditory cues. A book, on the other hand, is capable of describing the whole suite of human sensory experience. You can described the smell of popcorn in the circus air, or the warmth of a downy blanket on a cold night, or the pins-and-needles prickling of moving a limb that's gone to sleep. A ...


5

A reader gets to imagine things a viewer is forced to see. I did not like the first part of The Lord of the Rings on film - my mental images were so much better. I skipped the rest. As an author you can trigger your reader's imagination in ways that aren't available to a filmmaker.


6

One big advantage that may or may not be mentioned here is pacing. With a movie or TV show, due to the time limitations, not only do you have less freedom with content, but you also are limited by the ability to express the pace of the story. With a book, every reader reads at a different pace, but you can use that to your advantage. It allows you to write ...


11

A big advantage that I've seen used (and am currently trying to use myself) is that your audience can't actually see your characters. Now I know what you're thinking--"Isn't this a limiting factor?" It may be, but it also means that if you have two main characters who trade off on POV for different chapters, you can have them both run into the same ...


12

The Sensory Supernatural Fundamentally, something TV and film cannot do is control the viewer’s response to sensory experience. This generally comes up in fantasy or fantasy tangential genres that involve emotional or psychological effects of visual or auditory phenomenona. Stuff like: Songs that lull the listener to sleep Inhumanly beautiful beings ...


68

You've already gotten quite a few good answers, but there's one important point that I didn't see in any of them: You can omit visual and aural details. If you don't want to tell the age of the protagonist, or the hair colour, or the type of clothes, or if you don't want to tell it yet, then you can. In film and TV that's not possible; the protagonist is ...


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The main difference is the ability to be published. To break into TV, you need to live somewhere that produces a lot of TV shows (in the United States, you'd move to Los Angeles and try to hang out with others in "the industry"). I'm not sure how else you break in, but it's not easy. You can self-publish 100 novels with the same ease (and money) it ...


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