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22

You have several advantages over your characters: You get all the time you need to conduct research. You have time to think about each thing they will do or say. You get to think through the implications of the situation they're in, and the effects of their actions. You can constrain and adjust your story world so that your character can excel in it. You ...


19

It is a better mentality for fiction, no matter which genre. Probably everyone wants to be god-like one way or another (even so I doubt it would be fun if you really think it through). But reading about god-like characters is only one thing: boring! Even if you describe monumental battles, nothing really happens. The reader knows who will win from the ...


17

Well, first and foremost - do you believe in the character? Do you think he/she is sympathetic? If so, you're already in a good position - because you have a believable, sympathetic character, you just haven't convinced your readers of that yet - meaning, if you get negative critiques on the point, you just need to figure out why you like the character, and ...


17

If your character sounds too good to be true, then it is probably a Mary Sue. If your character always seems to be in the middle of everything and is always the one to resolve any issues/problems, then it could be a Mary Sue. If your character is more attractive/powerful/impressive than any other character by a mile, then it is probably a Mary Sue. Unless ...


17

There is indeed such a term. Phil Farrand of The Nitpicker's Guide to Star Trek called this "being the cabbagehead." Certain information had to be revealed to the audience, but it was information which the characters would reasonably already know. So the writers picked someone in the room to be the "cabbagehead," meaning someone developed the I.Q. of a ...


16

One thing you've got to remember as a writer is that you are not, in any spiritual sense, getting "inside people's heads". What you are doing is producing an artefact that convinces other people that you are inside the minds of many different characters but only as long as they don't look too terribly hard. Your question poses a worry that you can see that ...


16

The real question is: boring to the writer, boring to the reader, or boring to the other characters? If the character bores you as the writer, either change the character or excise him/her. That person has no place in your story. I just had to do this myself two weeks ago, and it made a massive, awesome improvement in the entire book. If the character is ...


14

If you're asking yourself this question, you may well have a problem, or... this could be normal writers' insecurity. Sherlock Holmes, say, was a polymath who was believable because he was an unbearably obnoxious person who loved to show off his genius; James Bond is also a bit of a polymath in ins field, but impatient, careless, and a misogynistic ...


14

Some tool such as this could be useful, but I believe you are asking the wrong questions. In my answer to the question you linked and another answer in that question by Fox Cutter, the questions we posed weren't life detail questions. They were motivation questions. There's a key difference. I might create this shell man who gets up at 6:45 on the dot ...


14

Some Preliminary Words... I'm not entirely sure that withholding a character's name is the best way to go about producing an aura of mystery. In fact, this is something that I've seen in a lot of early writers (and I even did it a few times myself back in high school), but which almost never works. Usually, the reader just finds it incredibly annoying. Even ...


13

As I see it, there are two possible ways for a character to influence others after death, but each has a number of variations. First, the character could directly influence others after death. This would involve some sort of continued existence either magical or supernatural in origin. Some examples: Ghost (or any other non-material existence after ...


13

If I'm following you, it seems that the travelling itself isn't important, but that the characters have traveled is advancing the plot. You can cut out most of the actual journeying, showing the quest in what the characters do when they stop moving. You can have characters refer to the travelling enough to make it clear how far they traveled -- gods damn ...


13

Character development can refer to either the task of sitting down and creating a character (working out their appearance, history, mannerisms, and so on), or it can refer to the change a character undergoes during the course of a story. In the first instance, the idea is to create a fictional person, complete with flaws and weaknesses, history, mannerisms, ...


13

How sympathetic to make your villain depends heavily on what your villain's role in the story is. Once you're able to figure out what role he has, what effect you'd like him to have on your audience, I think you'll be able to see quite easily whether that role demands reader identification (and how much). The villain always causes trouble for the ...


12

My answer is: steal a little. For example, your character needs to be a big spender, or a big gambler. If you have a friend who is impulsive in every capacity — overly generous with money, dashes off for a weekend jaunt to Mexico on a whim, walks into a store for a pair of headphones and walks out with a new stereo, eats anything put in front of him, ...


12

I do it by interviewing my characters. The main idea is to probe and challenge the character, then follow the character's energy. Ask a question that invites the character to tell me something new Listen for emotional intensity in the answer. Sometimes the emotion is subtle, and other times it’s big and obvious. Ask my next question based on that emotion. ...


12

There's two issues here. In no particular order: Avoid cliche Make Quintessential Some of the best advice I ever had about making quintessential characters came from James N. Frey author of "How To Write Damn Good Fiction". In that book he gave two essential pointers to making a good protagonist which is a great start. Again in no particular order: ...


11

So, the inner purpose of the journey is to forge the relationship between the two characters, show the reader how they interact with each other, and also show the reader who each character really is. Conflicts. There doesn't need to be any major conflict, but even a minor conflict, just to show how each character reacts. I'm pulling this out of my head ...


11

Depending on your entire scenario, you have, I think, three options. The "ghost" route, whereby the departed exerts influence by appearing in an ethereal form to the various characters. Of course, this has to be consistent with the worldview already expressed, AND you need to explain why there are not hundreds of spirits hanging around, continuing to ...


11

To add an extra perspective into the already excellent answer above. In RP we call characters on a quest to game the rules and create a sort of Mary Sue RP surrogate "Minmaxers" or "Power Gamers" (these are both derogatory terms). As irritating as these people are in a game with an extensively defined ruleset (a "crunchy" system) they have the potential to ...


11

Primarily, cheat by writing the story backwards. Start from the end revelation of the implicit story (the crime) and progress towards beginning, iteratively removing any simplicity. Start with the outcome, the rather simple final set of events that is to be discovered. Then take it apart: tools, witnesses, methods, motives. Take a look at each of them. ...


10

There is no need for the characters to remark on each other's traits because your prose should be showing those traits as the story moves along. You already do some showing in He dropped it from his flipper. The same kind of showing can be used to illustrate an angry character: The lug wrench clanged to the floor as Jerry dropped it from his flipper. ...


10

I'm inclined to say no, in that any answer will depend entirely on the genre that you're writing in. In some genres, such as techno-thrillers, many mysteries, and many subgenres of SF, plot-driven stories are the norm, and character development is allowed to be minimal. In other genres, especially literary fiction, character-driven stories are the norm, and ...


10

Not all ESL speakers will sound the same, for the simple reason that they all had a first language. If you want to add realism, you need to determine what language they natively speak. Your native language shapes your ideas of tense, sentence structure, and what phonemes you're used to considering as actual word-sounds and not mere noise. Some oriental ...


10

Smart, clever, insightful, thoughtful, reserved, and mysterious are all abstract qualities. They are summaries. And the summaries lack all of the juicy details that lead people to attribute those qualities. Instead of describing such abstract characteristics, demonstrate them. Show the character doing clever things, or mysterious things. Let the reader ...


9

It is a valuable pursuit. If you can learn and enhance your writing, it is valuable. As a writing exercise: Write down, how you characterise yourself. Your profession, habits, feelings, traits. Then write about a person with all these characteristics but the opposite sex. Discuss with friends/spouse how realistic this person appears to them. Learn your ...


9

In addition to the points made in SF.'s answer, one can also express the act indirectly or express the effects of the wit without showing the wit itself. Here are some examples: Joe whispered something to Susan and her face contorted in an attempt to suppress her laughter. - "Then the waiter brought three glasses of water," Helen continued. ...


8

Characters tend to be boring if they're just normal, or mundane. To generalise, people want to read about characters that are slightly larger than life. I don't mean they should be eccentric, but they're that much more real, more determined, more passionate, cleverer, more diabolical, weaker, stronger than everyday people. They need to be dynamic characters, ...


8

I think it's three things. First, the accessible writing style, with its informal language that matches how regular people think and talk, is helpful but not sufficient. Second, the character's acceptance of the situation, which he appears to have accepted from the beginning, is unusual; we expect convicts to be hardened, angry people, and this is not that ...


8

Details. Out of context, fragmented details. Blood on carpet. How shall I clean it? My little brother cries like a cat Broken window. Daddy will be angry. Damaged school building. Today, we can stay up late. Clothes are torn apart. I need to thread a needle. Et cetera.



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