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Q&A Avoiding racist tropes in fantasy

I'm interested in starting a pleasure project: a fantasy story, along the lines of a witch delivering a prophecy to a king about a dangerous and deceitful foe who will overthrow him, and the king e...

9 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by weakdna says reinstate monica‭  ·  last activity 5mo ago by James McLellan‭

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Q&A Do readers primarily identify with or judge heroes in a novel?

In this article about different categories of heroes, Matt Bird states that sensitive and unlucky heroes are hard to write because audiences have a hard time caring about them. He says: "Americans...

1 answer  ·  posted 1y ago by icanfathom‭  ·  edited 1y ago by Canina‭

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Q&A Compelling story with the world as a villain

My main character is up against the world, or, rather, the world and reality are up against her. A good story is in some ways defined by its villain. 1984 personifies its villain by adding a repr...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Calypso Writes‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Q&A Using accents while staying legible

My character is using a hardly legible accent, or simply an accent which is not comfortable for a reader to read. For example: “Ye've caught us in th' middle o' supper. Seein' as how yer no bleedi...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Prahara‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by rodeng‭

Question language characters
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Q&A How to make the reader think that the *character's* logic is flawed instead of the author's?

Following up on my previous question, "How to make the villain's motives understandable if his logic is flawed?", how can I let the reader know that the lack of logic is on the character's side, in...

9 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Yuuza‭  ·  edited 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Q&A How to train readers in Argot or Slang

I have a character which is typical street thug, criminal and did his time in jail. He is using a lot of underground Argot and thug slang. Example below At the end we got the ice, gravy train if y...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Prahara‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Canina‭

Question language characters
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Q&A Writing "light hearted" lead characters

For some reason, when I find myself writing a male protagonist, I seem to default to the brooding, gritty kind of man that could easily find his place into a noir novel. Those characters are often ...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Liquid‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Prahara‭

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Q&A How to show powerful emotion in a character trying to hide it?

This question deals with showing the emotions of characters when those characters are actively trying to hide their emotions. If the emotion is something subtle, like apprehension or annoyance, you...

3 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Thomas Myron‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Prahara‭

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Q&A How to write an introverted main character with accidental charisma

I’m planning a medieval-style fantasy epic in which a young protagonist is plucked from his humble life, acquires great powers, and ultimately saves his civilisation from the Big Baddie (a politica...

4 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by xtal‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by What?‭

Question characters
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Q&A How to convey the anatomy of a humanoid race?

I am writing a extra-terrestrial high fantasy novel. The story is completely set in an alien world. No visits from Earth and no visits to Earth. My characters are humanoids, who look like elves...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Sangeetha‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by DPT‭

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Q&A How do I know if my cast is diverse enough or too diverse?

Basically, I am writing a story and I want to know if the characters are diverse enough or too diverse. If I just state the characters' races, sexualities, etc, it might seem forced but I didn't re...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by kaleidoscope‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Mark Baker‭

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Q&A How to hint at an antagonist's identity?

A significant antagonist in my trilogy is an omnicidal alien by the name of Loki, whose characterisation borrows from Griffith, Keizer Ghidorah, Randall Flagg, Saruman and Hastur. Throughout the se...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Tiarnaard Cheannasach‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Mark Baker‭

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Q&A How can you redeem an awful character, who hits close to home?

There is a problem with a redemption arc: Anon is an incredibly powerful god with powers of mysterious origin. In the story, he starts out as bad but is supposed to be redeemed later. There is a p...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Mephistopheles‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Mark Baker‭

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Q&A How can I write a dark protagonist for whom there is no hope?

In my ongoing effort to weed out every beginner-related problem I might have before I write my novel (what do you mean? I'm not delaying at all), I have now come to a dreaded area: dark protagonist...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Thomas Myron‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by icanfathom‭

Question characters
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Q&A Lost my ‘magic’ concerning characters

I love creating characters, and for me it’s been the joy of writing for however long I’ve been doing it. I have maybe three or four unfinished projects which house characters whom I love, and they’...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Grace‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Mark Baker‭

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Q&A Is it alright to add scenes that don’t move the plot forwards much but develop relationships/character?

For example, let’s say the main plot is that the characters are on a quest to go find something. Can an author spend three scenes in a row detailing what happens on their journey there, even if the...

6 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by user40771‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by DPT‭

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Q&A What should come first—characters or plot?

I'm starting a new fantasy story, and although I had a loose idea of plot, I began sculpting my characters before writing anything. Creating images of them in my head, developing their personaliti...

7 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by weakdna says reinstate monica‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by ab2‭

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Q&A Doubt about a particular point of view on how to do character creation

Of course developing a character is quite an intimate process. But still, like a story, you can in fact have some tools that give you some sort of axiomatic path on "how-to". There is a TV writer ...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by M.N.Raia‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Amadeus‭

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Q&A Can a fight scene, component-wise, be too complex and complicated?

Okay, there is some preliminary information for you to be able to answer this question: There is a sword of great power, a McGuffin, and a destined one who wields it. The destined one has two compa...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by A. Kvåle‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Amadeus‭

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Q&A Do people usually like the side characters more than the MC?

I feel there is a common audience trend in favoring the side characters more than the MC. And I believe "literary science" backs that up, in regards to character focus. That even though the MC's ch...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by A. Kvåle‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Mark Baker‭

Question characters audience
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Q&A How to write characters doing illogical things in a believable way?

As much as I would like it, both in Worldbuilding and Writing, not every action is logical or "right". There are two types of this: Imperfect information: The character(s) lack vital informati...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Mephistopheles‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Amadeus‭

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Q&A How can I have a character introduce themselves as humble without making them seem arrogant?

Two people are dating, and one of them wants to tell the other they are humble, which they genuinely are. But I don't want it to seem like they're bragging or showing off about it. In normal conv...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by jazhang‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Amadeus‭

Question characters
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Q&A How to deal appropriately with an inappropriate sexual relationship

Part of the character arc for my main character from Can I conceal an antihero's insanity - and should I? is that she is a sociopath, prepared to do things that normal people would not. Part of he...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Monty Wild‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Amadeus‭

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Q&A Letting a (secondary) antagonist leave mid story - Should it be avoided?

I have a powerful antagonist perform important functions within my story. At the midpoint, he just leaves. Several Plot developments depend on this character. I tried replacing him with other char...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by System‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by celtschk‭

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Q&A Should you write character description points in bulk or spread them out?

I've heard a lot of people saying they skip descriptions if they are written as one bulk list, but others say it's important that we let the reader know what the character looks like and include al...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Klara Raškaj‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Mark Baker‭

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Q&A How to ensure that neurotic or annoying characters don't get tiring in the long run

A is a special snowflake, though for all the wrong reasons. You see, he was born with a special ability that allowed him to see premonitions of his and his loved ones' future in the form of still i...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Mephistopheles‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Amadeus‭

Question style characters
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Q&A Basing my protagonist on myself

(I asked another question about this novella here.) In a novella I'm writing, I explore the lives of a young Hispanic woman, Ramona, and her brother, Rafael, in an Orwellian-esque future America w...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by weakdna says reinstate monica‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Amadeus‭

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Q&A Giving a character trauma but not "diagnosing" her?

In my post-apocalyptic novel, my MC Eris is severely traumatized by the death of her family at her own hands. Because of this, she has extreme aversion to social interaction and even physical cont...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by weakdna says reinstate monica‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Mark Baker‭

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Q&A I have a name, and no plot [closed]

So I made a name for a character and his name is quite fancy so I have no idea what I should do with him. I named him, ready? Sir Nathaniel Charles III. Without asking for specific suggestions on ...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Cecilia‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Amadeus‭

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Q&A How do I introduce a large cast in an interesting way

I am currently writing a story about eleven college friends and a child. I don't want to just introduce them as "The Jock" or "The Delinquent," and I don't want to do a dry listing of "this is who...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Mai Green‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Amadeus‭

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Q&A How can I make names more distinctive without making them longer?

In the point-of-view culture in my story, all of the women in priestly families have two-syllable names beginning with vowels. (There are reasons for this, but they're completely tangential to my q...

11 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Mark Baker‭

Question naming characters
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Q&A How to balance the agendas of co protagonists that periodically conflict?

While not mutually exclusive, the goals of my co protagonists do conflict and I need to keep them balanced. MC1 works for the CIA and is being burned. He needs help from someone so he can find out...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Rasdashan‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Mark Baker‭

Question plot characters
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Q&A Naming Characters after Friends/Family

I drafted a book two years ago that I'm now polishing to publish. When I drafted it, for speed's sake, I named one of my primary characters after an old school friend who I'm still in contact with ...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by GGx - Reinstate Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Averting Real Women Don’t Wear Dresses

Real Women Don’t Wear Dresses is when writers portray female characters possessing traditional feminine qualities as being less desirable, competent and reliable instead of their tomboy foils. They...

7 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by System‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A How can I hint that my character isn't real?

How can I make a side character's tangibility open to interpretations so the audience is unsure if she's even real? My short story is about identity. My main character is being pressured by a frie...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by AyanaLuna‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Stereotypical names

In every country, some names are particularly common: 'John' in the UK, 'Juan' in Spain, 'Ivan' in Russia. Those names are common almost to the point of being stereotypical (consider 'John Doe'). ...

6 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Galastel‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Does the reader need to like the PoV character?

I have the feeling this is already been asked, but I can't seem to find it. Close the question if it comes out as duplicate. There's an issue with novels with a first-person narrator, or a third p...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Liquid‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A How to keep a dark protagonist who wants to keep his humanity dark?

My MC is in a dark line of work. He is an assassin. He is also someone with lines he does not cross. He has been duped or coerced to do things he would not, but still holds to some standards. I wa...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Rasdashan‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Symbolism of 18 Journeyers

In my story, 12 year old Ruth has visions from another place and time which lead her to gather a group of kids for a quest. She is told there will be 18 kids, but she can only find 17 with the spe...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Cyn‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A How to answer questions about my characters?

I'm reading KM Weiland's Creating Character Arcs. In it, she lists: Questions to Ask About the Thing the Character Wants and the Thing the Character Needs How is the Lie holding your ch...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by iamtowrite‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A What are the different types of characters in a fictional story?

I want to be able to correctly categorise and identify different characters in a story, predominantly fiction. I have read a lot about different types of characters--flat, round, static, dynamic, p...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by N.Houghton‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Can a successful book series let the bad guy win? [closed]

I have a five book series and I have plotted them all out. The main bad guy wins in the end. My problem with this is my girlfriend keeps telling me that bad guys winning will make readers upset tha...

8 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by icefire‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Do hard to pronounce names break immersion?

I have a character in my book named Jiolluav (with the correct accent, Zholl-you-of or /ʒōl-'yoo-äv/), and I've written my entire "novel" (it's a work in progress) using this name. When I asked a f...

8 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Anoplexian - Reinstate Monica‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Creating character imagery without describing their physical looks

This is more for my own curiosity than anything else but I was wondering if when reading about a character with no specified gender and no description of their looks, does the choice of words used ...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Sparrowonfire‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Do authors often base their characters off of themselves?

(I previously asked a related question about projecting myself onto my characters.) I've read just few books where authors use their own life experience as the basis for the characters and plot (m...

3 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by weakdna says reinstate monica‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A How to incorporate a silent protagonist into a chatty world?

You see this a lot in video games: a silent protagonist who can somehow communicate with the rest of the world with seemingly no or few words. Usually, it's hand-waved away by simply assuming from ...

1 answer  ·  posted 4y ago by noClue‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

Question characters dialogue
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Q&A Could the cast of my book be more unique?

Edit: After reading the question I've asked again and the answers I've gotten, I feel I should say that the descriptions of the characters here are definitely the bare basic. There is a full word d...

5 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Elil Flame‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Is no religion a bad thing?

(I believe I've asked about a half dozen questions pertaining to this post-apocalyptic novel, including my "is this story too diverse" question. This sort of pertains to that.) Last night, I thou...

8 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by weakdna says reinstate monica‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Convincing argument about something I don't agree with

In my dystopian novel, Day, the son of a fascist dictator, is trying to convince Analise, a young genetic mutant oppressed under said fascist dictator, that the dictatorship's laws allowing censors...

7 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by weakdna says reinstate monica‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Is it bad to project myself into my story?

After reading that a Mary-Sue often is a projection of the author, I realized most of my stories are. Is it a bad thing? My MC aren't Mary-sues (at least I hope so), they're the opposite of perf...

3 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Teleporting Goat‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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