Open Novella Contest and more!


Welcome, to the thread of Improving one’s writing, the Open Novella Contest II (<— click the link if you want to check out Wattpads contest that started at the beginning of the year), and so much more. Let’s help each other out, ask questions to improve one’s work, ask for advice about (insert something advicey here). I’m always looking for help, with too many questions on the mind and nowhere to look, and if you’re in the same boat then this is the place for you!

So I suggest, together we help one another out. (Yes, I probably repeated that.)

Like always, here are some questions that I have: (And if you have a question that no ones answering, let me know and I’ll put it up here to help you out!)

  1. How to write in second person pov? What rules are different when you go about doing it? Are there certain stories that just aren’t made for second person pov?

(For anyone wondering I’m hoping to learn more about the Secon POV as I want to write in it.)

  1. Are you entering the Novella Contest?

Yes, yes I am.

  1. When writing a story that aims to be between 20,000 words to 40,000 words what point of view do you believe is best?

I’m using third person but as some of you guessed I still want to write one in second pov.

  1. Do you add your detailed descriptions at the beginning of the chapter? Or you spread the details throughout it?

I usually spread it through the chapter but sometimes I feel like I should’ve put certain pieces at the top. What do you suggest?

  1. How do you come up with names that you’ll know the readers will like and not “suggest” to change?

This question isn’t supposed to offend anyone. I’m really just curious. Mainly because one of my character names is… well, that’s a story for another time.

  1. When you find yourself stuck what do you do to fix it?

(I’m really curious about this one)

If you’re in the same boat as me, have questions you don’t know where to place or don’t want to make a thread for it, want to encourage others or even yourself, then post on down below. And if someone doesn’t answer your questions I’ll try my best to!

If any you haven’t clicked that link for the Wattpads Open Novella Contest II because you’re curious what other users think, then head down to the comments below! A lot of us are in it ( I do believe.) With 65 prompts and the chance to twist it any way you want, why I never saw a contest like that before. (Mainly because I never cared for the bigger ones but this time I’m going all for it!)

Old Questions That You Can Still Answer

How do you know when to add description? How do you know when you added to much description?

When writing in first person pov, how do I know when to describe my main character? A little detail at a time? Have them look in a mirror? (I’m always struggling with this one. I usually end up not doing it…)

For those who don’t jump start to chapter one which is better to use, Prologue or Preface? (Yes, I know that someone doesn’t have to use them but I"m interested in figuring how when the right time is and how others use them).

How long is your Prologue or Preface? (for those that do use them)


Detail: Honestly, personal preference. Consider adding more details when you need to slow down the pace of a scene, and less when you want to speed it up. Again, it’s subjective. I’ve read professionally published books with pages of description for a single person/location and loved it. If it’s well written, you can definitely get away with longer, more detailed descriptions.

First person: NEVER LOOK IN A MIRROR TO DESCRIBE THE MC. This is the most tired and overused cliche when it comes to first person POV. I would rather the protagonist just come out and say “I’m a tall blonde with crystal blue eyes,” then have her look in a mirror to describe herself. Just slip in small details about appearance here and there and you’ll be fine. Attach it to actions or other things going on and it’ll flow more seamlessly.


Okay so I’m not really experienced, but I can give you the tips I use, or have seen :calmwolf:

How do I know when to describe something?
Well, when something happens, or the setting is changing is a good time. It’s. Really hard question… when the reader needs to know something it’s good to slip small hints in. Sometimes description is used to set the scene or help with pacing.

More description = slower pacing
Less description = faster pacing

Depending on the diction as well, you can give the scene a different mood. Action, romantic, suspenseful, inspirational, serene, sorrowful, happy, sad, etc.

You kind of have to experiment to see what works for your style.

My friend has this trick called the rule of three. When a character walks into the room you can tell the reader the three most important things about the room, and everything else should be told in a more subtle way or later on. If that makes any sense.

Okay, I write in first person a lot, and the way I do it is I slip in details subtly. So I don’t outright say, “I have brown hair” it would be more like the wind blew my hair into my face, and as I raise my hand to brush the brown strands away, the wind dies down. The mirror seems to be a cliche… some think of it as a lazy way to do it. I don’t mind it as long as it’s done right. Don’t have them look in the mirror and describe themselves outright or solely for the purpose of showing what they look like. Do it for an actual reason and slip in a little description.

Ex. (okay mirror cliche use, in my opinion—there is a reason she is standing there, practicing for a speech, and the description is slipped in with her actions)
I stood in front of the mirror, trying to calm my breathing. My cue cards in one hand, I seem to be paler then normal as my stage fright starts to take over. Fiddling with one of my brown locks I flip the cue cards back over and start again. With each line I try and look up to meet my own gaze, but it’s harder then ever. What if they hate me? What if it goes terribly wrong? I cast my green eyes to the floor, my shoes becoming of sudden interest. Pursing my lips, I tap my fingers against the cards nervously, my fingernails making a small click each time.

~Here we learn she: has stage fright, is doing a speech, has brown hair or medium length, long nails, paleish, green eyes, questions herself~

Ex. (not a good way)
I look at myself in the mirror. I have brown hair, that’s relatively straight with red highlights. My skin is sun kissed and I have lovely long nails, etc.

~Here we learn about her appearance as well, but it’s not very engaging, and there isn’t really a reason behind it. Other then the fact of wanting to get her appearance to be known.~


By Novella Contest do You mean the Open Novella Contest


I see, thank you for taking your time to reply. Detail can be a tricky thing it seems, so your answer is helpful.

The mirror was the first thing that came to my head when it came to asking about how to decribe them. I can understand your feelings for this answer and can relate. It’s been a while since I used a mirror to describe a character in first person and couldn’t really figure out another way to do it.

That makes complete sense. I want it to flow in the story and not make it seem like I’m just throwing the details at the reader.


That’s okay. Thank you for taking your time to reply.

That actually sounds like it would be a awesome trick. Yes, well at lest to me that makes sense.

Okay, I believe I get what you did there. How you went about doing it in front of the mirror so that it didn’t seem so… well I’m not sure the word but I’m sure I haven’t seen many (or any) describe it like that.

If I did it that way I would’ve added in more details because… well, I do a lot of details and am trying to better myself at choosing the right moments.


Yes, that is the one I’m talking about… Wait, is there another one? Am I getting the two of them mixed up?


I read this amazing book called The Changling. It wasn’t in first person but from the POV from a guy named Brian. There is never any description of him until several chapters in when his mom comments that he cut his hair.

Many, many chapters later you find out what race he is by his friend saying: “two black guys going in a graveyard in the middle of the night”. You never find out more than those two tidbits.


No I just wanted to make sure that there wasn’t another one that I didnt know about


Oh, okay. Ya, I’m pretty sure it’s just that one. Are you entering?


Yeah. I’m actually working on my entry now!


That’s awesome! Feel free to drop by if you have any problems or want to try and help other people out…


Ok :slight_smile:


Hey! I’m also taking part in the contest


I think I’ll be doing the Open Novella Contest as well. There are so many good prompts to choose from.


Welcome! Always glad to see others who are taking part.

I’m curious on what your story is going to be about. Do you already have it planned? Still planning? Do you have the first chapter? Did you add a prologue? Preface?

Sorry for all the questions I’m just… really curious, you know.


Welcome! Always glad to see others who are taking part.

I know! I plan on mixing three of them together while making only one stand out the most. It’s sure is going to be a challenge.

Do you feel discourage from all the different but good prompts? If you do end up doing it, do you think you’ll only pick one? Or try and combine them? Will you be writing it in First Person? Third Person? Second Person?

Sorry for all the questions I’m just… really curious, you know. Everyone writes so differently and have different opinion that there is always a chance to learn.


I’m taking part :smiley:


Hey! I’m thinking of doing fan fiction or one of the fantastical fiction prompts. I haven’t fully decided yet. It’s so hard to choose. Unfortunately, the most I have is my main character’s name.

What about you?


I actually have the same problems as you, particularly because I prefer to draw than to write, so it’s such a pain in the a… to do descriptions, especially when I’m doing 1st person - I always end up thinking “I’ve done enough”, but then I’m told that I need to add description and at least say early on if my main character is a guy or a girl (even if I’ve added somewhere that he’s a med student wearing a polo). you see some readers just don’t get it.

So what I usually do, is add some descriptions as I write, like for example…
instead of >> I shrugged.
write >> My long honey blond hair cover my green eyes as I shrugged.
instead of >> I stood up.
write >> I stood up and pulled down my skirt.

For Prologue…
They say a 100-300 word prologue is enough for a chapter or short story.
If it’s a novel, I guess it’s totally up to you, it could even be a whole chapter from the past that would then be linked to the story to come.

For Preface…
This I think, is actually a self intro by the author… where you tell the reader what the story is about, compared to a prologue that is actually a part of the story…
Anyways, that’s what I know :smiley:

hope it helps!