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27

I think it may be solved using the same term consistently. From what you wrote: "the man", "his older counterpart", "his future self", "his older self", "Older Adrien", and "his other self". Those are a lot of synonyms. While they are correct and they do convey the idea, a reader is going to be pulled out if you change "the name" of a character every ...


19

I don't think this is the right way to go about it. I have to say I'm not a fan of explanatory footnotes in fiction, it's far too much of an immersion breaker. In fact I'd go so far as to say they are flat-out awful and should be avoided wherever possible. It's a mental load having to go down to the foot of the page, read something that necessarily breaks ...


14

Pick a name and go with it. If the fact of the new character being future Adrien isn't a secret from the reader, you don't have to worry about names that spoil the surprise. Use whatever name Adrien himself will use. He's not going to refer internally to his future self by his own name or by something long. He'll pick a name pretty quickly, because his ...


11

You don’t say what age of children you want to address and I’m not sure whether your use of the young-adult tag indicates older children or if that is intended to cover your ’adult’ audience. If you are talking about children who have a minimum 4-5 years of schooling, I’d suggest considering a glossary as a section either at the front of the back of the ...


9

Putting scientific definition aside, "Flower head" works better since it's a personification. The human reader has no trouble associating the upper part of a body with the upper part of a flower. On the contrary, "a flower's heart" is a little harder to imagine. Without further context, I would struggle to understand what you mean, exspecially since I'm ...


9

If it were me, I would pick a name with a common, well-known nickname, and then call the younger version exclusively by the nickname, and the older version by the full name --for instance, "Andy" and "Andrew." Andy was starting to think he didn't like "Andrew" very much. Apparently, as he got older, he was going to turn into an even meaner version of his ...


9

If you're writing for an American audience, with an American publisher, then use an American dialect for your narration. But... your character is living in England. Whether she's British or an immigrant or a visitor, she's going to be exposed to the local dialect. She will use local terms when appropriate. If she's in Year 8 in school, she'll say that. ...


8

The Magic 2.0 series by Scott Meyer has this situation with a core character (so it's not a passing situation). The narrator and the characters identify the two as Brit the Elder and Brit the Younger. When more time-travel shenanigans happen, we also encounter Brit the Even Elder and Brit the Much Younger, which doesn't seem sustainable but these are ...


7

Young adult vs adult fiction isn't about the age of the characters (though that usually does vary too), it's about the age of your readers. If you're writing for adults, then write for adults and pitch your work that way to publishers, agents, and potential customers. If you use a traditional publisher, they might want to classify your book as young adult, ...


7

The marketing environment for books has become immensely more complicated and crowded than it was in the past. Partly due to the ongoing information explosion (which lets you and discuss this at all), marketing is increasingly "siloed", or targeted, because the sheer number of offers is now too much for a human to process in full, you need the tech that ...


7

A few alternatives: She dived into the flower. She dived into the zinnia's flower. She dived into the petals. She dived into the zinnia's center. Or, simply: She dived into the pollen. Add the rolling in pollen parts if needed. I realize you want to differentiate between zinnia the plant and the actual flower. You don't want your ...


7

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 are weird" realm. (Adults were also weird in other ways: they drank bitter coffee, and sour wine, and smoked stinky cigarettes, and it's not like any of those ...


6

Writing is like a dance. I love ballet and modern and other dance forms but, way too often, it's all about the tricks. Triple pirouette. Step step. Leap high in the air. Step. Look! my leg is totally over my head! For anyone who understands dance, we know it's really all about the transitions. Quiet moments, dynamic moments, flow and rush and freeze and ...


6

You've got a plot planned out, you've got several scenes that you see vividly, you want to get them on paper, because they burn like a fire in your bones. Great. Now that you've done that, you must look at everything else. There are two ways you can approach this: you can plot what happens between your already-written Scene A and Scene B, or you can ...


6

You say that in your head there are pauses in the dialogue, but in the text they just aren't there. Well then, insert the pauses. ‘How terrifying!’ said Frodo. There was another long silence. The sound of Sam Gamgee cutting the lawn came in from the garden. ‘How long have you known this?’ asked Frodo at length. ‘And how much did Bilbo know?’ J.R.R. ...


5

Read something you wrote a year or more ago. It is entirely possible that the reason your recently written dialog is racing by so fast is that you are very familiar with its content. When your eyes touch the first few words of a sentence, you already know how the sentence will end, so you skip the tedious reading time and just dump the content from ...


5

I'm probably gonna be crucified for this given the relative lack of artsiness, but why not say 'landed amid the Zinnia's anthers and covered herself in pollen'. Anthers being the rods which present the pollen of a plant. Stamen also works, as that's the whole male apparatus of a plant. More here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stamen


5

This is a classic problem for writers. I once heard a lecture by Isaac Asimov, a well-known science fiction writer, where he said that his first attempt at writing fiction was set in a small town, and people told him that was a bad idea because he had, at that point in his life, never been outside New York City. But, he said, he went on to write stories set ...


5

Well, it may seem obvious, but you need research. From your point of view it may seem really difficult, since you didn't have any experience of schools after first grade, but don't worry. Most of us writers don't have direct experience with dragons, wars, swordfights, eldritch horrors, torture, espionage, terrorism, distopian dictatorships, and so on. ...


5

I have 107 characters. In a single-book, standard length, middle-grade novel. There are a small handful of auxiliary characters too. Obviously, they're not all main characters. I'm not sure how many of those I have because it depends where you put the lines. I have one girl who is the main character, a secondary viewpoint character, and 3 more kids I ...


4

Your publisher will decide where to file your book, and it's largely a marketing decision. In the USA, books are often shunted into YA if they can possibly fit there because it's a healthy market. Also schools will often pick up or promote YA books --even ones that are a bit edgy --because they're trying to get kids to read. (Also for this reason, it may ...


4

Clarify each character's motivation in the scene. The best way to keep dialog straight is when the dialog makes sense. This shouldn't be any different than any other two characters engaged in dialog. The limited-POV MC certainly won't be confused by which one of the two is speaking. Stick closely with him since he can lampshade the weirdness of talking to ...


3

Grab a friend or family member and print out the scene so you each have it on paper. Ask the other person to read it out loud, acting it out to some degree. Was there a pause in your head that your reader just missed? Circle it on your copy. Have your partner take one character while you take the other (add people or double up on characters if you need ...


3

This is a frame challenge. I think your issue could also be that your characters do not have a distinct voice. A 15 years old sounds different from a 20 years old. I am not referring to the timbre of their voices, which should also be different. The vocabulary is different, the ability to articulate their thoughts is different. Even their logic, their ...


3

Most of the difference is in a degree of adult themes that are depicted in the book. For younger readers, you would have less violence (or the violence that is less graphic), and you don't want to go too deep into the dark themes. However, "Relationships/Sex" stands aside in the list of your concerns. This is the area where middle grader might have a lot of ...


3

The problem with a lot of characters is a result of something we call in mathematics "combinatorial explosion". Eventually, if they are MAIN characters, the reader expects they will all get together at some point, and then there are N*(N-1)/2 possible unique pairings of the characters. With 9, that means 9*8/2 or 36 possible pairings of the two. That is 36 ...


3

I am not sure of what you expect from a travel story, but after what you described I would think of a coming of age story: characters are naive and learn valuable life lessons throughout their adventures. Being in another country, confronted with new cultures and ways of thinking, may be a good starting point for characters that are ingenuous, had lived in ...


3

I'm not sure what a travel story is supposed to mean. A story has a problem for the MCs to solve, an answer to find, something to discover. Most of my stories involve travel and discovering new things. If Frodo, in Lord of the Rings, did not have to travel to all kinds of new and interesting places, there wouldn't be a book! Just tourists going on a trip ...


3

This has been an issue for me as well. As the writer, you bring a wealth of context to each word that isn't present for the reader, unless you put it on the page. If all you're writing is dialogue, you'll end up with a script, not a book --something that will be incomplete unless some actor puts in the work to bring it to life. With that said, the answer ...


3

Thinking about it. This bit expands on Chris Sunami's suggestion, one way to extend the dialogue is to describe the thoughts and feelings of the POV character as the dialogue progresses, or as the scene progresses. We are presumably following some character, or several characters, that are not wooden posts, and care about and think about what is being ...


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