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    If it Can be Cut, Should it?

    Anonymous asked: “So I’m trying to write a book and I’ve recently come to realize that a sort of world building/cultural detail that is included COULD BE removed. But it’s sort of silly and if it CAN be removed, does that mean it should be? It would alter the story slightly, but only slightly.” Not everything that can be cut should be cut. It’s always going to be a bit of a balancing act. Let’s chat a little about how that might look.  First off, there’s a huge difference between dumping loads of information about a world on your reader and giving them only the bare-minimum to get by. Ideally, you…

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    Writing Made-up Settings

    Anonymous asked: “Would it be okay to write a YA story in a setting that the I, the author, just made up? For example, a made up name of a city, the school there, etc. I tried researching a certain place I desired for my story but it is so complicated because I’ve never been there.” Someone correct me if I’m wrong – but I’m pretty sure I’m not- but aren’t most stories set in fictional towns? Not necessarily cities or metropolises, but small “no-name” towns? That might not always be true for mysteries and thrillers, but generally in YA, or fantasy, or even a lot of times in literary fiction too,…

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    Worldbuilding & Opening Scenes

    Anonymous asked, “Everyone knows that the first few scenes of a story are the most confusing, especially in high fantasy- foreign names, places, concepts- so how do you make the first scene a quick-paced action sequence? Action is usually hard to write as it is, but how do you make it an intriguing, attention-grabbing first scene without making your reader terribly lost?” I suggest reading a few high-fantasy opening scenes. Especially in books published in the last few years, just because many have that kind of fast-paced, attention-grabbing opening. Look first at how much of the world is revealed. You’d be surprised. Usually right off the bat, the world is pretty…

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    On Writing an “Immersive Universe”

    Anonymous asked: “I hear someone saying that The Hunger Games isn’t immersive, and I was wondering what is an immersive universe and is it something I should be writing? And if so, how do I go about doing it?”  I am not really familiar with the term “immersive universe” in writing. I know it exists in the world of gaming, but in writing, I would guess an immersive universe might just be a good example of worldbuilding. It is definitely not a widely-used term, if it’s used in writing pedagogy at all.  If someone said that The Hunger Games isn’t a good example, that’s definitely just an opinion. I know people love…