Real questions about imaginary people.

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5
votes
7answers
1k views

Is it OK to refer to some characters by first name and to others by last name?

I'm writing the outline for my first novel, which has three main characters. I'm very happy with their names, however I recently noticed that I was naturally referring to the first two by first name, ...
5
votes
9answers
670 views

How do I round out a powerful character?

I've created a character named "Mathias Mindblade" who is trained by a wise wizard to lead a rebellion against the Darkness Empire and eventually to establish an Empire of Light. Mathias has some ...
2
votes
6answers
270 views

Is it acceptable for a book to not have a dominant lead character?

I saw this question posted in another forum, and it didn't have any responses, so naturally I decided to bring it over here. :) I realized, 80% of the way through my first draft, that I don't have ...
3
votes
6answers
436 views

Can a likeable character be unsympathetic?

I believe an unlikable character can be sympathetic, although that's tricky. But can you go the other way? Can your character be likable but at the same time unsympathetic? I've been trying and ...
3
votes
3answers
484 views

First Person Voice - Same as speaking?

When writing in first person, if the POV character talks with a certain dialect or type of diction (eg. "I ain't got all day! Hurry it up, will ya?") should they narrate with the same accent, or can ...
14
votes
3answers
463 views

Is there a quick way to know I have created a Mary Sue?

For those who don't know what a Mary Sue is: see here. The problem is, there are far too many ways a character can be a Mary Sue, as seen here. Many websites that offer tests to see if your ...
13
votes
9answers
2k views

Source ideas for monsters in a fantasy novel?

Does anyone have any suggestions on where to go to get some ideas on different types of monsters that can be created for a fantasy novel? I'm not talking about different variations of zombies or ...
4
votes
3answers
382 views

Tips for adding more personality to characters?

Often I read a new book only to find that the characters are flat, boring, and lacking in personality. Sometimes I even find that in my own characters, and when that happens I usually just remove it. ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How do you develop a strong female character?

Are there specific characteristics that one should strive for when trying to develop a strong female character? Is it truly dependent on the genre of the book, or are there certain elements that carry ...
3
votes
4answers
233 views

Multiple POVs in a single scene

This question came up in another forum, so I thought I'd share it here. Should there be only one POV per scene? Is it OK to go with multiple POVs? An example is a scene with two characters facing ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

How often do writers develop characters before plot, and why?

As someone who writes a little as a hobby, this is something that I haven't really thought about until just recently, but... Is it common for a writer to develop characters before actually coming up ...
4
votes
5answers
591 views

Writing character cards?

I read somewhere that authors sometimes use cards to write down information about the characters in their stories. I assume these were small cards so what was written them had to be concise. What sort ...
2
votes
4answers
283 views

Does my story structure for an ensemble zombie story sound effective?

I'm working on a novel about the psychological struggle of 7 characters. It's got an ensemble cast, where every character has the same importance. I've got a structure for this that sounds good to me, ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

Example of a fictional story without any characters (the story being 1000+ words)

Guessing that there is no such example, but if there is, I'm very interested in knowing about it. Just as a short example, just to make it clear it's possible; the example is not intended to be a ...
5
votes
5answers
655 views

How to refer to character of focus in a story

I find that when I write, I'm not always sure how to refer to the character of focus. You can only say "he/she" so many times before it feels choppy and repetitive. Constantly referring to character ...
7
votes
5answers
706 views

“multiple personalities” for character development in writing?

How can I train myself to think in "multiple personalities" so I can use these personalities for character development in writing?
10
votes
9answers
360 views

Sympathetic portrayal of devout, rule-abiding characters

I'm having trouble portraying religious, devout characters as protagonists or viewpoint characters. When I try, I get the sense that the reader - not sharing the characters' beliefs - will have ...
18
votes
5answers
4k views

How to describe the point-of-view character without using mirrors

In fiction, the main character is often the first person we meet in the story. Given that the story is written from his/her point of view, how would you describe what they look like? The classical ...
10
votes
2answers
705 views

Finding the 'voice' of a character

This is a very general question that I want to throw out there just to get some insight into different approaches used. I have my own, but am intrigued to know what others might try. I'm wondering ...
3
votes
2answers
147 views

Character with extreme manners

My objective is victorian style tea-drinking "upper class" lady characters. (it's more of a writing challenge) Does anyone have any useful resources or tips for creating such a character? ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

How do you make a character quintessential, but not cliched or cartoony?

I think it's hard to make a character standout and embody their traits without becoming cliched or cartoons. How do you do this? What are some tips to enlivening a character and making them memorable? ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

How should I introduce my characters?

I'm pretty good at creating compelling characters with decent personalities and motivations. I like the comradery vibe, so they're generally already part of a posse of some sort at the beginning of my ...
8
votes
6answers
385 views

The polymath's dilemma…?

The main character of a YA story I am working on is fast becoming a polymath, i.e. someone with a broad base of skills and interests across unrelated areas of endeavor. I really like how this ...
8
votes
5answers
610 views

Is this character generator useful?

After some feedback from this site and a training course, I developed a little tool to help with character generation. It's called "20 Questions" and works just like that: It picks 20 questions (or ...
6
votes
8answers
622 views

Tools for generating characters' names

I found this name generator: http://www.fakenamegenerator.com And I'm wondering if maybe there are others? Has anybody found this kind of tool useful? What about tools for fantasy names? Should I ...
13
votes
13answers
621 views

Resources for character development

I'm weak at building characters. What resources are there to create rich characters? I'm thinking beyond name generators: Quirks, biography, diseases like allergies, hobbies and jobs, wealth, omens, ...
6
votes
5answers
550 views

Character Development - How much is too much?

I've read loads of books where the reaction and development of characters seems to extreme for the events that effect them in the story. However not having any development makes the character boring, ...
16
votes
4answers
305 views

Resources about different people types?

I'm native German, but trying to write in English for various reasons. One of the big points in a story is to keep the characters very distinct from each other, and that requires some knowledge about ...
34
votes
20answers
3k views

How to name the characters of your story?

I find it hard to name my characters. Every normal name sounds funny if applied to a product of my fantasy. If I take a common name, I may get the image of someone I know into my head. And that may ...