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56 votes
Accepted

What do you do when your message could be dangerous?

If you don't want people rioting in the streets you should show how people are rioting in the streets in your novel - and how that way utterly fails to achieve what the people wanted to achieve. ...
Secespitus's user avatar
  • 5,686
50 votes

How can I portray body horror and still be sensitive to people with disabilities?

Disabled people fear losing functionality as much as anyone else. Perhaps even more so, because they need to rely on existing functional parts more strongly than others do. What you want to avoid is ...
Cyn's user avatar
  • 32.4k
50 votes

How to write a sincerely religious protagonist without preaching or affirming or judging their worldview?

Show his religious practices more and his explicit beliefs less. What does a devout Catholic do? Probably he doesn't spend all day talking about his beliefs; instead he lives them. He tithes. He ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
33 votes
Accepted

Do I really need to have a message in a novel to appeal to readers?

A message and a theme are not the same thing A story need not have a coherent message to be successful. Look at Disney's take on The Little Mermaid - what was the message? If you sign away your ...
Jedediah's user avatar
  • 8,687
30 votes

How do I introduce dark themes?

Foreshadowing is your friend. Your example of Harry Potter isn't quite right. Chapter One is titled The Boy Who Lived. Now that's a bit ominous. Magic is hinted at on page 1* and is outright on ...
Cyn's user avatar
  • 32.4k
25 votes
Accepted

Should I focus on ideas which the market enjoys, or ideas which I enjoy?

From your either-or phrasing, I understand that you're asking whether you should write something that appears "hot", but that you personally find utterly boring. How then do you propose to write such ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
25 votes
Accepted

Story that's too depressing?

It depends on your target audience. If you are writing for adults, go with the flow and let terrible things happen as long as they make sense in your paradigm. If you are writing for young adults, ...
Rasdashan's user avatar
  • 12.3k
22 votes

Story that's too depressing?

Are these many layers of misery inflicted upon innocents too much for a reader to handle? You must be careful here: the way you phrase that statement, you appear to be laying the blame on the reader -...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
20 votes

How to write a sincerely religious protagonist without preaching or affirming or judging their worldview?

What should I include or avoid in my story to ensure that the reader can empathize with this protagonist but not feel that I am either evangelizing or sending anti-religious messages? Treat the ...
kingledion's user avatar
19 votes
Accepted

What should tie a collection of short-stories together?

If you can make a good case, you could potentially group the short stories by whatever common thread you want, including author. You can also subgroup them. Some examples: Main point in common: ...
SC for reinstatement of Monica's user avatar
16 votes

How do I introduce dark themes?

Four chapters in, your readers should have an idea what they're in for. Not everything that's going to happen, but certainly a hint. Once you've hinted that there is darkness, you can skirt it, turn ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
13 votes

What do you do when your message could be dangerous?

From my POV, if I strive to make myself clear and unambiguous, and people take that the wrong way, that's on them. Not me. Virtually every revolution for the good has involved "illegal" acts, ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 103k
13 votes

Do I really need to have a message in a novel to appeal to readers?

Let’s look at the even-numbered Star Trek movies. They’re considered good pop culture, and tonally, they’re all over the map, so they’re a good example. Counting backwards, VI is a blatant allegory ...
Davislor's user avatar
  • 1,601
12 votes
Accepted

How do I include a powerful theme in my story without making it blatantly obvious?

No one can really answer that. Because what works for you may not work for me, and that may or may not work for the next one in line. It's personal, and different people need to go about it ...
Fayth85's user avatar
  • 5,421
12 votes

Should I focus on ideas which the market enjoys, or ideas which I enjoy?

Write what you enjoy. Even professional authors have written first books they couldn't sell, and even when famous wouldn't sell without rewriting them from page 1. It is difficult to sell a first ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 103k
12 votes

How can I portray body horror and still be sensitive to people with disabilities?

Having a villain lop off an arm or leg ought not offend someone who either was born without them or lost them due to accident or combat. Losing limbs is not desirable. I have some disabled friends. ...
Rasdashan's user avatar
  • 12.3k
12 votes

Picking a theme as a discovery writer

I am a discovery writer; I don't usually look for a "theme", and my readers don't seem to miss it. There can be a problem with a story seeming to stall, and I don't know that there is an easy fix in ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 103k
12 votes

Is there a "right" way to interpret a novel? If so, how do we make sure our novel is interpreted correctly?

It's impossible to make sure your book is interpreted the way you want it to be. Some writers have actively disavowed particular audience interpretations of their works. In many cases the audience ...
TMuffin's user avatar
  • 2,008
11 votes

How to write a sincerely religious protagonist without preaching or affirming or judging their worldview?

Save the cat All the standard tricks will still work. Readers can like the protagonist through some simple actions that show he he is a kind person. Allow him to help someone in need, show a kind ...
wetcircuit's user avatar
  • 27.2k
10 votes
Accepted

Is thematic character naming off putting?

It's all about immersion. You need to make things realistic from an internal logic point of view. I agree with both mwo and Sara Costa, but the point they both miss is immersion. Let me give you an ...
Fayth85's user avatar
  • 5,421
10 votes

How can I portray body horror and still be sensitive to people with disabilities?

If you want to be PC, stick to symptoms of infectious diseases, where the sense of body horror would reinforce prevention and be justified as a mean towards avoiding contagion. As the OP suggests, ...
NofP's user avatar
  • 10.6k
10 votes

Picking a theme as a discovery writer

A theme isn't a "meaningful moral" Or even a regular moral. A theme is the central idea and a moral is a lesson. These can overlap, but they're not the same thing. It's okay to develop your themes ...
Cyn's user avatar
  • 32.4k
9 votes

What do you do when your message could be dangerous?

So, you've come across a message that you "really believe in, but if taken the wrong way by enough people, it could have horrible consequences" and, I assume, you don't want people to be persuaded in ...
robertcday's user avatar
  • 7,753
9 votes

Crossing the line from Middle-Grade to Young-Adult

Aged 10-12, my understanding of sex was "that's how you make children". It didn't sound like fun, so my understanding of why people would do it, other than to make children, was rather in the "adults ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
8 votes

Story that's too depressing?

To a large extent this is will be dependent upon the taste of the person reading - so you have to work out who your target audience is and how you're trying to make them feel. There's nothing wrong ...
motosubatsu's user avatar
  • 7,293
8 votes

How can I portray body horror and still be sensitive to people with disabilities?

To the best of my understanding, the main problem with the zombie genre is that it positions decay-disease-disability as non-human evil to be eradicated, and as a threat to humankind. (I don't ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible