Drudgery in Fiction

Fiction may be the glamor child of writing, but it too has elements that are, kindly, drudgery. Fortunately, help is at hand: Questions dealing with topics like research and summarizing plots and character information have been asked and answered over on Writers.stackexchange.com, and their answers can help make these chores a bit easier.

Writers is a pro and enthusiast Q&A site built by users. Instead of wading through a lot of random discussion to get to the good stuff, the best answers are always voted to the top.

The site covers fiction, non-fiction, editing, style issues, and much more. Here are some example questions; click through to read the questions in their entirety.

Getting details of a past century right, by Ritika Upadhyay

I have been gathering ideas for a novel. The basic idea is in place; the story combines two different eras but the same place. How do I get the little details about the place, the people, their life and language right? I have never visited the place (it is real). It seems to me I could even end up reading on the place’s history all my life if accuracy is what I’m aiming at.

How do I go about it and avoid a bad bout of analysis paralysis?

How to tell or retell basic character and setting information in a series?, by Village

I am writing a short children’s novel and I want to expand this into a series made of several short novels. I intend to write the whole series at once so that the internal universe is consistent and so that I can add an arch across the books. This arch though is not the focus of the story and I hope that readers will be able to pick up any of the books and start reading it without needing to read through the in order.

  • What is a good technique for placing basic information about the characters and setting so that readers who started in the middle of the series are not lost and readers who started at the beginning do not feel bored seeing the same information again?
  • Is there any series that has used this technique well?

This post is based on content from writers.stackexchange.com.

Neil Fein is a freelance editor who specializes in novels. If you’ve written a manuscript or are getting close to finishing, you can get in touch with him here, and even ask for a free sample edit. He rides his bicycle as much as he can, and he paints when he damn well feels like it. He’s also a musician who plays in a Celtic fusion band.