Real questions about imaginary people.

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6
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4answers
134 views

How to make a dark story not-so-dark (Shining the light in darkness)

I'm writing a war story, and it's dark. However, I find that every scene turns out to be depressing because of it. Readers will be overwhelmed. Are there ways I can induce hope/shine the light in the ...
6
votes
3answers
222 views

How can I keep my characters' identities a mystery successfully?

There was a similar post about keeping a character nameless in order to contribute to his closed off personality. My concern is is keeping all my characters nameless, only describing their actions (...
5
votes
8answers
2k views

Is it appropriate to use real-life quotes in fantasy/sci-fi novels set in alternate worlds?

Situation: You have an imaginary world, fantasy, sci-fi, whatever, and you are at a point where, as an author, you know a suitable quote for the situation a character is dealing with. Is it ...
5
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
7answers
244 views

How to handle characters being funny in a dire situation without ruining the mood

There's one thing I always find impressive and moving when I see it in accounts of historical events or depicted well in fiction: gallows humour, when a person who is facing likely or certain death ...
5
votes
5answers
424 views

How should changing the point of view be handled?

I am writing a book with the particular twist that between chapters it switches the point of view. For example, in the first chapter it is from the main character's point of view, then in the second ...
5
votes
5answers
212 views

Is Jaime Lannister a “telling not showing” example?

Warning: spoilers of A Song of Ice and Fire. I was reading through this site that you should avoid telling what a character is by using other characters, example "Dan is the funniest person I know" - ...
5
votes
3answers
892 views

How to write a character who uses a lot of smalltalk without boring the reader?

Since a lot of what they say is by definition irrelevant to the plot should I just skim over it? I'm worried this might make their manner unclear to the reader and I don't want their impression of ...
5
votes
2answers
836 views

Are there more character alignment grids (like D&D)

One thing that I find helpful when trying to create a character is some sort of grid stereotypes. For example, Dungeons & Dragons (before they broke it in 4e, but that's another story) has a 3x3 ...
5
votes
4answers
91 views

How many characters can I introduce in the first chapter before the reader gets overwhelmed?

Assuming that all of the characters are unique, interesting, and stand out from the rest of the cast, is there a limit to how many characters I can introduce in the first chapter before my reader ...
5
votes
4answers
210 views

What should you do if the events in your story happen in real life just when you finish writing it?

I was finishing my novella when I heard about the terrorist attacks in Paris (I pray for the souls of the victims). I was surprised to know that circumstances revolving around the violent attacks were ...
5
votes
2answers
420 views

Arch Hero and Arch Nemesis in one book

I am standing before a problem. For my story I largely developed the background and the world for two main characters: the hero of my stories and a villain. I started with the story of my hero, his ...
5
votes
5answers
479 views

Changing main character within a trilogy, is a good idea?

I am writing the first novel which will be part of a trilogy. For plot reasons, I am considering to change the main character in the other two parts (will be the same in the last two books). But I ...
5
votes
2answers
163 views

What exercises will help me write my co-author's character?

I'm working on a novel together with my co-author, K. K's come up with this great character - a sassy were-cat name Garlic. Unfortunately, I'm having a really tough time writing for Garlic - K has a ...
5
votes
4answers
191 views

Methods for writing from an alternate gender/age/cultural viewpoint?

While many aspects of a culture, etc, can be researched - there are intrinsic difficulties to writing from the PoV of a woman as a male author and vice versa, and I'd argue even harder for an adult to ...
4
votes
5answers
522 views

What gender do you think the narrator is?

Once again, I traveled three hours only to eat sushi, alone. Cars passed by and people streamed along the sidewalk. Hanging in the air, I could feel the faint scent of spring. Or maybe it was just the ...
4
votes
3answers
805 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
621 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. ...
4
votes
3answers
145 views

How to describe a diverse set of characters without falling into purple prose or exoticism?

In my setting, a city was founded by people from all over the world, and developed in almost complete isolation (long version here). The story in itself starts several generations after the foundation....
4
votes
5answers
686 views

Does it confuse readers if a character name is similar to the name of an object?

It has been said that you should avoid similar sounding character names. One recommendation is to let character names begin with different letters of the alphabet, and not having them rhyme or ...
4
votes
3answers
375 views

A POV character who's a slave?

I'm currently working on a novel, in which one of the POV characters is a slave. He was born to a slave (so he was born a slave) of a rich merchant family and was treated well most of his life. One ...
4
votes
5answers
131 views

Is killing a character to further the plot necessarily a bad thing?

I've heard quite a few complaints about character deaths being used to further the plot. They say it's boring and overdone and mention that there are plenty of other ways to get to the same point ...
4
votes
3answers
488 views

How to make a dumb decision as a character and still not let the reader to think same about him

My character is a police detective. But not the best one. I'm trying to stay away from idealizations in this book. Characters will make normal, human, mistakes; they'll change their minds and be more ...
4
votes
3answers
395 views

Good way to create character names?

I find that a problem that I run into quite often is the fact that I can't create names that sound real, but also have a nice ring so that they fit the character. Does anyone have any suggestions on ...
4
votes
3answers
250 views

Will changing a protagonist into an antagonist alienate readers?

It's really hard for me to write questions here without giving a complete info dump on my story. Every time I start to explain my problem, I find myself writing an entire synopsis. This is my third ...
4
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
149 views

Writing a Platonic Relationship

I'm writing a story, however I just can't seem to form a platonic relationship between my characters. Whenever I am writing my characters (Eric and Abigail), it feels they should just kiss and make ...
4
votes
2answers
226 views

Stupid Villain rather than Dark Lord

In many high fantasy settings, there is a "Dark Lord" that is undoubtedly evil and will cause doom to the world if he is not stopped. However, when I read "The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity", I ...
4
votes
1answer
975 views

When to use the character's name and when to use she/he?

This is the first short story where I'm using actual names for the characters. Here is a sample: "Sorry for the question," Jun said. "But why don' you have friends?" Ling glanced at him, then ...
4
votes
4answers
136 views

Forming The Perfect Inspirational Character

I would like to know what cues I can use to make a character inspirational. What are some of the traits of characters like Albus Dumbledore, Peeta Melark or Gandalf, that are quoted often in popular ...
3
votes
6answers
303 views

Should I describe my characters going to the toilet?

Should I let the narrator (third person) describe that my characters are going to the bathroom (for a sense of realism and accuracy) or should I simply omit it as it as it adds no value to the ...
3
votes
6answers
544 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
7answers
2k views

Main male character description

I've been asked to write a story as an assignment. It should have as the main male character an unusually smart, clever, insightful and thoughtful guy who is somewhat reserved and mysterious. The ...
3
votes
4answers
298 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 off,...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Multiple Point of View characters in a short story

I'm working on a short story (maximum of 6,000 words) and realized that I will need to have two point-of-view (POV) characters. Let's call them Greg and Jeff. This became necessary when I saw that ...
3
votes
3answers
974 views

Organization for epic fantasy writing [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Organizing your Universe? I have some issues on the organization of my fantasy story. For instance there are many factions that come into play during the story and I ...
3
votes
8answers
197 views

How to Keep a Main Character Nameless

I'm currently writing a story about a girl who was found by a couple in a magical isolated town, where everyone is named by the leader. I want her to not have a name because of two reasons: 1. She ...
3
votes
4answers
115 views

How do I bring my readers closer to my characters when using the third person?

I've chosen to write my story in the third person due to the scope of it, but by doing so I have made it harder for the reader to feel 'close' to my characters. The narration seems to be, ...
3
votes
4answers
153 views

How do you believably write a moron?

I've heard a lot of people ask how to properly depict intelligence in a written work, but I'd like to go in the opposite direction. I want to know how to write a moron/fool without having them be the ...
3
votes
2answers
204 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? Personality-...
3
votes
5answers
260 views

How would a knight act around a princess?

In my current book, the main character is a knight and in one of the beginning scenes, he interacts with the princess. He's intimidated because of who she is (royalty) and acts very formal around her ...
3
votes
4answers
162 views

How to write about Autism and Intellectual Disability?

In a novel I'm writing, I have a minor character who is either autistic, or has an intellectual disability. (I know they're different. But like I said, he's a minor character, so I haven't really ...
3
votes
3answers
288 views

Non-human protagonist - Good, bad, or up to the writing?

In a novel I plan on writing soon, the main protagonist (and indeed nearly everyone else in the story as well) is an elf. Humans are present, but they are far in the mountains, living in disorganized ...
3
votes
2answers
810 views

Conversation with Multiple Characters

I'm writing a dialogue heavy scene. The protagonist has met with a group of mercenaries that he spent a great deal of his younger days with. He doesn't come to them for a catch-up however, he has ...
3
votes
2answers
100 views

What are symbols for a highly painful and irreversible trauma of a woman?

In my novel, I have a heroine, who must be hurt at the beginning of the story. I need to find a symbol for a deep trauma for a woman. That is, I'm looking for a symbol of a trauma, which satisfies ...
3
votes
5answers
210 views

How do I demonstrate ideological differences between characters who are politically not too different?

I'm currently writing a novel, in which two characters who are old friends are having an argument. I'm writing the argument to establish who the characters are and what their values are (the argument ...
3
votes
2answers
287 views

When Is a Relationship Too Antagonistic?

A story I'm working on features a "slow burn" type romance with a long build-up. The arc begins with (what's mean to be) obvious attraction, and proceeds through a long period in which the female ...
3
votes
2answers
61 views

Realistically Writing newly-deaf characters

I am not deaf and nobody I know is, yet I am curious how an author goes about writing in a newly-deaf character's POV when they aren't deaf themselves.
3
votes
1answer
165 views

How To Write An Unreliable Narrator?

So in my latest works I've decided to make my narrator, whom is my main character as well, pretty unreliable. How do I get this across to readers? I read a few short stories online that were pretty ...
3
votes
6answers
213 views

How to name characters of unspecific nationality and race?

I am writing a generic story. I have a setting that is not tied to a specific region on earth, though the story certainly does occur on earth, and there are numerous references in the setting that ...