Mike.C.Ford
  • Member for 6 years, 10 months
  • Last seen more than 1 year ago
How can I Avoid Being Frightened by the Horror Story I am Writing?
18 votes

Seeing an axe murderer at the end of a hallway is scary, but not seeing them and knowing they're somewhere nearby, maybe round the corner, or maybe behind you, is much scarier. This is because, as you ...

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Can You Mix Readers of Fantasy and Sci-Fi?
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12 votes

The novel I'm writing is actually along this vein, and I had the same thought as you: it appears to be a portion of the market that is yet to be fully recognized and tapped into. Whilst it definitely ...

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Introducing the hero first?
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12 votes

I would say that it depends on how you want to progress with your story. Every (good) book, or series of books, that I've ever read sets the tone for the rest of the book in the first few pages. ...

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How do I find flaws in a character I'm building?
11 votes

There's already good answers here, so I'll add in what I think are some of my techniques for constructing rounded characters. Making Strengths Into Weaknesses Ever heard the phrase 'honest-to-a-...

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Prologues with no protagonist - How can they work?
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10 votes

If you read any Dan Brown books (Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons etc.), he generally writes a prologue where the main character (of the prologue) is actually the victim of the murder that the ...

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Fiction Writing - has it all been done before?
9 votes

I'm sure everyone can agree that any book that is analyzed in any literature class is not only looked at as a body of work, but also in the context of the time in which it was written. The plot, ...

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What's gained from NaNoWriMo?
9 votes

I suppose the question of "what's gained" for participating in NaNoWriMo is quite subjective, but I always felt it was good particularly for 3 reasons: Being in November, which has 30 days, it allows ...

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How to describe a diverse set of characters without falling into purple prose or exoticism?
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9 votes

There are a number of solutions that I have for this, as I suffered from the same problem: Only describe what you need to Imagine trying to describe James Bond to someone. You could say that he is ...

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Gratuitous use of magic: poor writing and/or unenjoyable?
9 votes

You might want to check out Brandon Sanderson's Laws of Magic. His tips were a great thing to consider when I was writing my story. They are in summary: An author’s ability to solve conflict with ...

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What is the difference between character-driven stories and plot-driven stories?
8 votes

In the context of experiencing a story, character-driven and plot-driven mean very little. It is only during the writing process that these terms have any importance. In a character-driven story, as ...

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Using place names from other novels
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8 votes

I've read 2 different series of books, both that have a place named "Winterfell" that is central to the plot, but whilst reading the second series I no longer thought about the place in the first ...

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Using exclamation points in fiction
8 votes

I think that the exclamation points thing is probably to do with writing it outside of dialogue. As you said yourself, all of your occurrences of the punctuation appear in dialogue, and from what I ...

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How do I get rid of overused words in my story?
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8 votes

Possibly the underlying issue is that you're trying to portray a particular sentiment or idea, and you keep doing it in the same way. In your example, it seems that you're trying to show that Abel is ...

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Just how Different are Male and Female Readers?
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7 votes

If you would like to immediately disprove your friend about the fact that female readers prefer a protagonist that is an ordinary person, I'll refer you to the works of Jane Austen, which are favored ...

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How do I contrast the thought processes of different characters in one scene?
7 votes

I should think that alternating paragraphs should be enough, as long as the tone/ voice that each character uses has been sufficiently different. It's not too dissimilar to two different people having ...

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How to write a strong villain who isn't really present?
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7 votes

Well let's look at this from the perspective of the Generals: Whilst this object that could turn the tide of the war is obviously important, it might turn out to just be rumor, or might end up being ...

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Can your current work of fiction be influenced by a sequel?
7 votes

Most people work with the thought in mind that their piece of writing will go on to be well received, and more success will come based around that, so will leave doors open for sequels. However, ...

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Death as person - A funny part of the story? Or serious stuff?
6 votes

I think in order to incorporate Death as a character into your story, you will need to decide how your story views death as a concept in itself. Terry Pratchett created Death to act in a humorous way, ...

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What is the balance between 'stating a problem clearly' and Hemingway's literary iceberg?
6 votes

It's very difficult as the writer to set something up in the perfect amount of detail, whether that's a twist, an exposition or even just a character description. I once read a series of 5 novels ...

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Phrasing a prophecy to avoid specifying gender or number
6 votes

Why not just erase the requirement for he/her entirely? As far as I'm aware prophecies don't tend to be overly long, so rather than saying He/she will accomplish these feats, just say The Chosen One ...

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What does Show don't Tell actually mean
6 votes

I think the difference between show and tell is really the difference between implicit and explicit. We can describe actions that represent something else within a piece of writing, or we can state it ...

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Why is having too many symbols a bad idea?
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6 votes

There are probably many reasons, but I feel that this is the big one: With each additional symbol, their individual importance lessens. If everything is based around a single symbol, then it makes ...

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How to make horror events more interesting in daytime
6 votes

The scariest thing I've ever read occurred in the daytime. In Stephen King's The Shining, The reason most scary things happen at night is not because it is night, but because of the things that ...

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Are there words that are "stronger" than others? If so, why?
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6 votes

There are stronger and weaker words, but using weaker words isn't always bad. Using strong words all the time would be as bad as using weaker words all the time, as it wouldn't distinguish when ...

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How do I realistically describe using a whip?
6 votes

I wanted to add a comment to what's answer, but it ended up being too long. I entirely agree that you need to have some real experience with someone using it, either using one yourself or watching ...

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How do I create the rest of the story when I only know the ending?
6 votes

I will offer a word of caution. Whilst I do like Filip's answer above, and would have said everything the same, I feel like I must provide this footnote. In the context of this question being about ...

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Convincing argument about something I don't agree with
5 votes

It's possible that you have 2 problems here. The first is that you're trying to find convincing arguments in support of someone who rules through fear, power and intimidation. Generally, these types ...

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"Real people don't make good fictional characters". Really true?
5 votes

Personally I believe the reason not to use real people in fiction is very simple: the writer already knows them too well. When you write about a person that you know first-hand, it is very difficult ...

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Is it wrong to use the same word multiple times within a few sentences?
5 votes

In situations like this, my instinct is always to completely rephrase the entire section (whether that's just a sentence, a paragraph or even more). If you want to emphasize that both the building ...

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How can I write a character whom I have no knowledge of?
Accepted answer
5 votes

The thing with writing a rivalry is simply a matter of perspective. I had an intellectual rival in secondary school that I had never really spoken to, but we both consistently competed for the top ...

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