History Literature / HowNOTToWriteANovel

27th May '17 3:46:29 PM Chariset
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* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: Read the title-now guess what the book's about.

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* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: Read Subverted: While it's a tongue-in-cheek guide to writing a bad novel, the title-now guess what actual purpose is to teach the book's about.writer how to avoid the obvious mistakes and (hopefully) produce a good one.



* LittleProfessorDialog: The example of ''Sock Puppet'' has a group of plucky kid detectives speaking in the same voice as the narration.

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* LittleProfessorDialog: The example of ''Sock Puppet'' "Sock Puppet" has a group of plucky kid detectives speaking in the same voice as the narration.
26th May '17 8:25:40 AM Chariset
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* ChekhovsGun: "The Gum on the Mantelpiece" uses a version of Chekhov's law: if there is gum on the mantelpiece in the first chapter, it must go on something by the last chapter. Also mentions "The RedHerring on the Mantelpiece." For bonus points, the example text for the "gum on the mantelpiece" is a Chekhov pastiche.

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* CharacterShilling: Writing characters just to laugh at the protagonist's jokes or gush about how awesome they are is a big no-no.
* ChekhovsGun: "The Gum on the Mantelpiece" uses a version of Chekhov's law: if there is gum on the mantelpiece in the first chapter, it must go on something by the last chapter. Also mentions "The RedHerring on the Mantelpiece." For bonus points, the example text for the "gum on the mantelpiece" is a Chekhov pastiche.pastiche. They also approve the use of this trope as a RedHerring.



* ComicBookFantasyCasting: "Channeling the E! Channel" says there's nothing wrong with basing a character on a celebrity, but [[TextualCelebrityResemblance directly saying "She looked like Julia Roberts"]] is a no-no.

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* ComicBookFantasyCasting: "Channeling the E! Channel" says there's nothing wrong with basing a character on a celebrity, but [[TextualCelebrityResemblance directly saying "She looked like a blonde Julia Roberts"]] is a no-no.



--> [[UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler Adolf]] [[UsefulNotes/NaziGermany introduces Fascism to Germany,]] [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII spreads war throughout Europe,]] [[UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust murders millions in concentration camps]] -- but he's a strict vegetarian and [[PetTheDog loves his dog]]. Tossing in a touching scene with his German Shepherd Blondi and a dish of lentils won't make Hitler's character "balanced".

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--> [[UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler Adolf]] [[UsefulNotes/NaziGermany introduces Fascism to Germany,]] [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII spreads war throughout Europe,]] [[UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust murders millions in concentration camps]] -- but he's a strict vegetarian and [[PetTheDog loves his dog]]. Tossing in a touching scene with his German Shepherd Blondi Blondie and a dish of lentils won't make Hitler's character "balanced".



* NoYay: "Last Tango in Santa's Village".[[invoked]] (Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like). In other words, you can have a non-sexualized character in your story, but for the love of God give him some sex appeal ''before'' making him someone's boyfriend. Otherwise your readers will just be bored, confused, and/or disgusted with the relationship.
* ObservationOnOriginality: In the "how-clichéd-are-your-characters" quiz, the ideal score is a balance of formula and novelty, i.e. somewhere in the middle. Too many predictable notes are boring; too many erratic beats are jarring and only the author will be amused.

to:

* NoYay: "Last Tango in Santa's Village".[[invoked]] (Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like). In other words, If you can have a non-sexualized character in your story, but for the love of God give him some sex appeal ''before'' making him someone's boyfriend. Otherwise your readers will just be bored, confused, and/or disgusted with the relationship.
* ObservationOnOriginality: In the "how-clichéd-are-your-characters" quiz, the ideal score is a balance of formula and novelty, i.e. somewhere in the middle. Too many predictable notes are boring; too many erratic beats are jarring and only the author will be amused.jarring.



* PoliticallyCorrectHistory: Discouraged in "The Vegan Viking" and, to a lesser extent, in "Hello, I Am the Medieval Knight!". Characters with modern attitudes (including progressive attitudes towards gender, sexuality and race, or neoconservative attitudes towards economics) will look out of place in a historical setting.

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* PoliticallyCorrectHistory: Discouraged in "The Vegan Viking" and, to a lesser extent, in "Hello, I Am the Medieval Knight!". Characters with modern attitudes (including progressive attitudes towards gender, sexuality and race, or neoconservative attitudes towards economics) will look are out of place in a historical setting.



* RedHerring: They encourage these to give a novel some added depth, though warn people to be careful of unintended examples (see WhatHappenedToTheMouse).

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* RedHerring: They encourage these ("The RedHerring on the Mantelpiece") to give a novel some added more depth, though they warn people authors to be careful of unintended unintentional examples (see WhatHappenedToTheMouse).



* ShaggyDogStory: "The Benign Tumor", a section of the novel that's a ShaggyDogStory and can be completely removed [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment with no effect on the rest of the story]].
* ShowDontTell: Many examples allude to this concept; for example, they advise against the use of adverbs [[SaidBookism when reporting speech]] because the writer is in effect telling the reader what to think about their dialogue, rather than showing them.

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* ShaggyDogStory: "The "[[PlotTumor The Benign Tumor", Tumor]]", a section of the novel that's a ShaggyDogStory that has no bearing on the rest of the story and can be completely removed [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment with no effect on without changing the rest of the story]].
plot.
* ShowDontTell: Many examples allude to this concept; for example, they advise against the use of adverbs [[SaidBookism when reporting speech]] because the writer is in effect telling the reader what to think about their dialogue, rather than showing them.
24th May '17 9:42:31 PM Chariset
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* AnachronicOrder: They have no problem with this trope at the level of the broader form and structure of the novel (even recommending the use of InMediasRes if the chronological opening of the story is rather slow), but provide a example of it used rather poorly in "Linearity Shrugged", in which shifts in chronology and subject matter happen after every other sentence, making the story impossible to follow.

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* AnachronicOrder: They have no problem with this trope at the level of the broader form and structure of the novel (even recommending the use of InMediasRes if the chronological opening of the story is rather slow), but provide a example of it used rather poorly in "Linearity Shrugged", in which shifts in chronology and subject matter happen after every other sentence, making the story narrative impossible to follow.



* AngstWhatAngst: "Failing the Turing Test", in which Professor Johnson finds a college student lying naked in his bed instead of his wife... and emotionlessly asks why she's there. She pulls out a gun and says that she's going to kill him...and he simply asks why. When she says that it's because he gave her a C, he says he'd be willing to reconsider if she does him a favor. And then, when she tries to seduce him, he asks her to be his cat-sitter.[[invoked]]

to:

* AngstWhatAngst: "Failing the Turing Test", in which Professor Johnson finds a college student lying naked in his bed instead of his wife... and emotionlessly asks why she's there. She pulls out a gun and says that she's going to kill him...and he simply asks why. When she says that it's because he gave her a C, bad grade, he says he'd be willing to reconsider if she does him a favor. And then, ''then'', when she assumes sex is the 'favor' and tries to seduce him, he asks her to be his cat-sitter.[[invoked]]



* ArtisticLicense: Not in favor of it. They are unusually adamant that any novel which makes use of some form of specialized knowledge (especially historical novels) must be accurate.

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* ArtisticLicense: Not in favor of it. Discouraged. They are unusually adamant that any novel which makes use of some form of specialized knowledge (especially historical novels) must be accurate.an accurate depiction.



** "The Fig Leaf", where the author is clearly indulging in a vice but, vaguely self-aware about it, is trying to make themselves seem above it. Discouraged in that it doesn't work and usually makes them look like a bit of a hypocrite to boot.

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** "The Fig Leaf", where the author is clearly indulging in a lovingly describes some vice but, vaguely self-aware about it, is trying to make themselves seem above it. but has the viewpoint character sniff and pronounce it disgusting. Discouraged in that it doesn't work; if your work and usually makes them look like a bit of a hypocrite is going to boot.indulge in smut, be honest about it.



* AuthorTract: "The Educational Film" (''wherein the deck is stacked''). In the example, everything the saintly hippie protagonist encounters is somehow an example of corporate greed, and everyone she meets is someone opposed to her beliefs who goes out of their way to bully, humiliate, and make things difficult for her.

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* AuthorTract: "The Educational Film" (''wherein the deck is stacked''). In the example, everything the saintly hippie protagonist encounters is somehow an example of corporate greed, and everyone she meets is someone opposed to her beliefs who goes out of their way to bully, humiliate, bully and make things difficult for humiliate her.



* ComicBookFantasyCasting: "Channeling the E! Channel" says there's nothing wrong with having a character look like a celebrity, but [[TextualCelebrityResemblance explicitly stating that they do]] is a no-no.

to:

* ComicBookFantasyCasting: "Channeling the E! Channel" says there's nothing wrong with having basing a character look like on a celebrity, but [[TextualCelebrityResemblance explicitly stating that they do]] directly saying "She looked like Julia Roberts"]] is a no-no.



* DelusionsOfEloquence: "The Crepuscular Handbag," where the example story is a horrifying rape scene turned into comedy by the repeated misuse of words. ("Ululating under his breath, he perused her bikini to the floor and embroiled himself in her well-endowed bust.")
* DescriptionInTheMirror: "What Color Am I?"--''Where the character must be in front of a mirror to know what she looks like.'' They discourage it, naturally.

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* DelusionsOfEloquence: "The Crepuscular Handbag," where the example story is a horrifying dramatic rape scene turned into comedy by using all the repeated misuse of wrong words. ("Ululating under his breath, he perused her bikini to the floor and embroiled himself in her well-endowed bust.")
* DescriptionInTheMirror: "What Color Am I?"--''Where I?" -- ''Where the character must be in front of a mirror to know what she looks like.'' They discourage it, naturally.



* DeusExMachina: "But a Meteor Could Land There, Right?" The following description is even mentioned (in part) in a page quote for Deus Ex Machina.

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* DeusExMachina: "But a Meteor Could Land There, Right?" The following description is even mentioned (in part) in a page quote for Deus Ex Machina.



* TheDogWasTheMastermind: A literal example - the writers observe that unless the protagonist's cat is the one solving the murder mysteries the entire time, the cat should receive about as much attention in the narrative as the couch they are sitting on.

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* TheDogWasTheMastermind: A literal example - -- the writers observe that unless the protagonist's cat Bartok is the one solving the murder mysteries the entire time, the cat mysteries, Bartok should receive about as much attention in the narrative as the couch they are he is sitting on.



* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas / EvilVirtues: Argued to be a cheap way to get reader sympathy for the villains, illustrated in an example in which a character takes a moment off from gleefully forcing young girls into prostitution to reminisce fondly about his mother.

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* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas / EvilVirtues: EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas[=/=]EvilVirtues: Argued to be a cheap way to get reader sympathy for the villains, illustrated in an example in which a character takes a moment off from gleefully forcing young girls into prostitution to reminisce fondly about his mother.



* GambitRoulette: "The Riddler"- ''Wherein the nefarious plot is more complex than string theory.''

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* GambitRoulette: "The Riddler"- Riddler" - ''Wherein the nefarious plot is more complex than string theory.''



* ImprobableAge: Noted under "Magic-onomics", pointing out that it is perfectly fine to explain where a character's wealth comes from by giving them a backstory in which they were a partner in a law firm - but not if the character is twenty-five.

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* ImprobableAge: Noted under "Magic-onomics", pointing out that it is perfectly fine to explain where a character's wealth comes from by giving them a backstory in which they were a partner in a law firm - -- but not if the character is twenty-five.



* MeaningfulName: They discourage using names where the symbolic meaning of the name is blatantly obvious to any reader (for example, "Vivian", a character who symbolizes life, against "Mort", a character who symbolizes death). Though the biggest problem in the example is that the author points the meanings out explicitly.

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* MeaningfulName: They discourage using names where the symbolic meaning of the name is blatantly obvious to any reader (for example, "Vivian", a character who symbolizes life, against "Mort", a character who symbolizes death). Though the biggest problem in the example is that Doubly so if the author points feels the meanings need to stop the narrative just to point out explicitly.the symbolism.



* ObservationOnOriginality: In the "how-clichéd-are-your-characters" quiz, the ideal score is a balance of formula and novelty, i.e. somewhere in the middle. Too many predictable notes are boring; too many erratic beats are jarring and will probably entertain only the author.

to:

* ObservationOnOriginality: In the "how-clichéd-are-your-characters" quiz, the ideal score is a balance of formula and novelty, i.e. somewhere in the middle. Too many predictable notes are boring; too many erratic beats are jarring and will probably entertain only the author.author will be amused.



* PetTheDog: "[[EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas But He Loves His Mother]]". We're told that trying to use this in order to make a one-dimensional villain seem human is a bad idea; instead we should try to make the villain ''not'' one-dimensional and make their evilness believable.

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* PetTheDog: "[[EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas But He Loves His Mother]]". We're told that trying to use Using this in order to make a one-dimensional villain seem human is a bad idea; instead we should try better to make the villain ''not'' one-dimensional and make their his evilness believable.
24th May '17 5:32:02 PM Antronach
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* BondageIsBad: "When To Kiss And Tell"

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* BondageIsBad: Advised against with "When To Kiss And Tell"Tell" because, as RealLife with attest, it's not:



* {{Malaproper}}: Strongle cautioned against in "The Crepuscular Handbag". Also used for humour in other examples.

to:

* {{Malaproper}}: Strongle Strongly cautioned against in "The Crepuscular Handbag". Also used for humour in other examples.



* NoYay: "Last Tango in Santa's Village".[[invoked]] (Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like). In other words, you can have a non-sexualized character in your story, but for the love of God give him some sex appeal ''before'' making him someone's boyfriend. Otherwise your readers will just be bored and/or disgusted with the relationship.

to:

* NoYay: "Last Tango in Santa's Village".[[invoked]] (Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like). In other words, you can have a non-sexualized character in your story, but for the love of God give him some sex appeal ''before'' making him someone's boyfriend. Otherwise your readers will just be bored bored, confused, and/or disgusted with the relationship.



* SceneryPorn: "Vacation Slideshow" features endless descriptions of exotic landscapes, with no bearing on characterisation and story. The trope is discouraged if it goes on for too long and does not add any substance.
* SenseFreak: "The Hothouse Plant," where sensory descriptions overwhelm the story.

to:

* SceneryPorn: "Vacation Slideshow" features endless descriptions of exotic landscapes, with no bearing on characterisation characterization and story. The trope is discouraged if it goes on for too long and does not add any substance.
* SenseFreak: "The Hothouse Plant," where sensory descriptions overwhelm the story.rest of the writing.



* TakeOurWordForIt: Discouraged in "Words Fail Me" (''where the author stops short of communication.)''

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* TakeOurWordForIt: Discouraged Heavily discouraged in "Words Fail Me" (''where the author stops short of communication.)'''') since it defeats the purpose of literature.
24th May '17 7:48:59 AM Chariset
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* NoYay: "Last Tango in Santa's Village".[[invoked]] Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like.

to:

* NoYay: "Last Tango in Santa's Village".[[invoked]] Yes, (Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like.like). In other words, you can have a non-sexualized character in your story, but for the love of God give him some sex appeal ''before'' making him someone's boyfriend. Otherwise your readers will just be bored and/or disgusted with the relationship.
24th May '17 7:48:59 AM Chariset
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* NoYay: "Last Tango in Santa's Village".[[invoked]] (Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like). In other words, you can have a non-sexualized character in your story, but for the love of God give him some sex appeal ''before'' making him someone's boyfriend. Otherwise your readers will just be bored and/or disgusted with the relationship.

to:

* NoYay: "Last Tango in Santa's Village".[[invoked]] (Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like). In other words, you can have a non-sexualized character in your story, but for the love of God give him some sex appeal ''before'' making him someone's boyfriend. Otherwise your readers will just be bored and/or disgusted with the relationship.
24th May '17 7:27:54 AM Chariset
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* DelusionsOfEloquence: "The Crepuscular Handbag," where the example story is a horrifying rape scene turned into comedy by the repeated misuse of words. ("Ululating under his breath, he perused her bikini to the floor and embroiled himself in her well-endowed bust.")



* ObservationOnOriginality: In the "how-clichéd-are-your-characters" quiz, the ideal score is a balance of formula and novelty, i.e. somewhere in the middle. Too many predictable notes are boring; too many erratic beats are jarring and will probably entertain only the author.



* PetHomosexual: Discouraged in "Priscilla, Queen of the Clichés". Specifically, they note that many amateur writers seem to believe that once they've established that a given character is gay, the stereotypical catty, bitchy dialogue will write itself - which is, to say the least, rarely the case.

to:

* PetHomosexual: Discouraged in "Priscilla, Queen of the Clichés". Specifically, they note that many amateur writers seem to believe that once they've established that a given character is gay, the stereotypical catty, bitchy dialogue will write itself - -- which is, to say the least, rarely the case.



* RomanticFalseLead: Discussed in "Prince Charming Doesn't Deserve Me": They don't recommend against the trope ''per se'', but they do caution against making the False Lead too UnintentionallySympathetic or the protagonist too UnintentionallyUnsympathetic in the process. They also recommend that the nice-but-dull variation can be traded in for a better model, but only if the protagonist shows an appropriate amount of remorse rather than vindictive glee.

to:

* RomanticFalseLead: Discussed in "Prince Charming Doesn't Deserve Me": They don't recommend against the trope ''per se'', but they do caution against making the False Lead too UnintentionallySympathetic or the protagonist too UnintentionallyUnsympathetic in the process. They also recommend that the nice-but-dull variation can be traded in for a better model, but only if the protagonist shows an appropriate amount of remorse rather than vindictive glee.
25th Apr '17 9:01:03 AM Fireblood
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* Malaproper: Strongle cautioned against in "The Crepuscular Handbag". Also used for humour in other examples.

to:

* Malaproper: {{Malaproper}}: Strongle cautioned against in "The Crepuscular Handbag". Also used for humour in other examples.
25th Apr '17 8:48:52 AM Fireblood
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* AnachronismStew: "Xeno's iPod" for objects that just "appear", "The Vegan Viking" for anachronistic attitudes and beliefs and "Yo, Charlemagne, how dost thou big war?" for modern-sounding dialogue in a historical setting.

to:

* AnachronismStew: "Xeno's iPod" for objects that just "appear", "The Vegan Viking" for anachronistic attitudes and beliefs and "Yo, Charlemagne, how dost thou thy big war?" for modern-sounding dialogue in a historical setting.



* AngstWhatAngst: "Failing the Turing Test", in which Professor Johnson finds a college student lying naked in his bed instead of his wife... and emotionlessly asks why she's there. She pulls out a gun and says that she's going to kill him...and he simply asks why. When she says that it's because he gives her a C, he says he'd be willing to reconsider if she does him a favor. And then, when she tries to seduce him, he asks her to be his cat-sitter.[[invoked]]

to:

* AngstWhatAngst: "Failing the Turing Test", in which Professor Johnson finds a college student lying naked in his bed instead of his wife... and emotionlessly asks why she's there. She pulls out a gun and says that she's going to kill him...and he simply asks why. When she says that it's because he gives gave her a C, he says he'd be willing to reconsider if she does him a favor. And then, when she tries to seduce him, he asks her to be his cat-sitter.[[invoked]]



* CellPhonesAreUseless: Discussed in "The Padded Cell", which suggests a number of plausible ways of cutting off communication.

to:

* CellPhonesAreUseless: Discussed {{Discussed}} in "The Padded Cell", which suggests a number of plausible ways of cutting off communication.
24th Apr '17 2:15:16 PM CorporalPie
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Added DiffLines:

* Malaproper: Strongle cautioned against in "The Crepuscular Handbag". Also used for humour in other examples.
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