New answers tagged

0

It depends on whether it resolves a problem for the characters or not. Unlikely coincidences are fine for causing problems for the characters, but they must have the authority to resolve those problems. Violations of this authority —godly intervention— constitute Deus Ex Machina.


0

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 ...


1

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 ...


0

Deus Ex Machina is when a chance event serves the purposes of the plot, leading to some outcome that is intended by the author or even sometimes desired by the audience or at any rate increases the dramatic effect of the whole story to the audience. Coincidence is when an event simply adds to the story-telling without significantly altering the plot. As a ...


8

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 ...


2

It all depends on how unlikely the event is, how vital the event is to the plot, and whether the reader/viewer has enough time to notice the holes. For an example of bad plot-conveniences, consider the opening half-hour of Star Wars: A New Hope. Luke's reason for leaving Tatooine comes back to a crashlanded droid showed a transmission about someone called &...


23

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 ...


1

I had this exact problem, and advice from here was instrumental in helping me solve it. It all comes down to point of view. In a movie, things are external, the viewer sees them on a screen. In a book, we see everything through the eyes of either a character or the narrator. For that reason, flat descriptions just sit lifelessly on the page. They need to be ...


-1

I have read somewhere, "There are no writers, but only re-writers." While mapping one's thoughts in writing, or pre-writing, one doesn't need to be perfect in spelling, grammar, etc. Yes, while reviewing it, if one can refine it in terms of grammar, spelling, punctuation etc., without taking someone's help, it will be great. At the same time, ...


0

Partial answer about punctuation. The most "natural" way to improve would be to read a lot of books that interest you (as in, books that definitely went through editing) until you get intuitive understanding of the most commonly used punctuation points. This really is a long process though, and if you want to learn faster you need to combine it ...


3

It's a perception and a vocabulary problem: it appears flat because you are describing what the characters are doing but there's no emotions or sensation involved. Among the things that I humbly suggest to correct it: Enlarge your vocabulary to describe your character's actions ("dart" instead of "run", or "he flopped on the chair&...


0

The problem, psychologically speaking, is that horror is intrinsically alienating while humor is intrinsically identifying. Humor brings us closer to characters, where horror drives us away to the position of hapless onlookers. If the two are mixed badly, it can end up implicitly asking the reader to identify with the horror, as though the horror were ...


1

In my opinion, there is no problem with using a screenplay-esque style. I have used a more visually descriptive style for some chapters in my books; it is quite helpful at times in building suspense. You must use whatever narrative style you think fits your plot. Whatever helps you best unravel the story is okay. There's no dos and don'ts in writing. It is ...


2

Read more and watch fewer things in visual media. Try to pick works that are not very screenplay-like in style. Writing pastiches may help. Take a very uncinematic writer and try to write a scene the way that writer would have written it.


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 ...


1

Don't feel bad. Few people, if any, are perfect writers. As an editor, I'd rather fix spelling and grammar and other technical aspects of writing for someone who can tell a story well than struggle with a poor storyteller who is technically a good writer. For example, I'm a competent writer with a good handle on PUGS (punctuation, usage, grammar, and ...


1

Good grammar was created to help us communicate our ideas accurately and effectively. In general, using good grammar will improve your writing. In general, though, the perfect grammar community is just another religion designed to create a club from which they can exclude others to make themselves feel included. (Other such clubs are etiquette, Ivy League ...


5

I don't think you should feel ashamed of using Grammarly to correct mistakes. You should, however, take it with a grain of salt. Not because it makes a lot of mistakes, but because you wish to learn correct spelling, punctuation and grammar it suggests. So, instead of blindly clicking on the red line try to fix the mistakes on your own before going for its ...


4

The purpose of writing is not for you to be perfect, it is for your prose to be (close to) perfect. No writer ever spits out perfect prose on the first go. It just isn't possible. That is why the writing gods created the act of revising to move the imperfect closer to perfect. Grammarly is a useful tool in this process. So are dictionaries. So are beta ...


2

Use a structural template to fit it in If you're into some structure in your writing, I'd suggest using a structural template like a Story Circle, and then using that to find a natural spot for your bit of conflict in some broader narrative. The Story Circle is a simplification of the Hero's Journey as specified by Joseph Campbell, further developed by Dan ...


1

When I come to a problem like this I usually write a list of all the characters, ideas, scenes and other things I want to include in my story. Like this: Include a battle scene between _____ and _____. Add a character called ______. Use a twist were _________. And so on... Anyway, after I've done that I try and piece them together like a puzzle as Rolfedh ...


4

Do not worry, give it some time. If you have what seems to be a good idea, your mind won't let it go. Eventually you will either build a story around it, or, while working on some other story, you'll discover that the new story and old idea would actually go pretty well together. Don't settle for a bad story around a good idea. Let it work through.


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 ...


4

What I do is write the idea itself. By the time I have done that a solution or the next idea usually suggests itself. If it doesn't, I go for a walk and try putting random ideas or words together to find a solution. In the rare case that these don't work, I revise something else I have written and then come back to the piece. At this point I sit there until ...


3

This sounds a bit like dramatic irony. Defined as when the audience knows something about the story that the characters are unaware of, it can have a similar effect to what you're referring to, creating tension and anticipation.


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