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8

I think it depends on what the main problem is in the novel. If the main problem is technical in nature, the reader needs to have some sense of what it technically possible. If the main problem is psychological or moral, however, what matters is the decision to use or not use the power in question. There is a whole cottage industry online doing "if A has ...


7

I think we need to make a distinction between a stereotype and an archetype here. The two are often confused, as illustrated by Wikipedia's unhelpful definition of a stock character: A stock character is a stereotypical person whom audiences readily recognize from frequent recurrences in a particular literary tradition. Stock characters are archetypal ...


6

Being filled with regret does not necessarilly make your character pathetic. If what she is regretful about is truly horrible and self-damning, then that regret may be an appropriate response to the loss. It only becomes pathetic in the eyes of your readers, when what has been lost and is now sorrowfully missed, was never real or really valuable in the ...


4

There are some stories where backstory is extremely important; there are some where it's entirely inconsequential. The easy answer is: If you know what kind of story you're telling, you know whether backstory is important or not. To take a few simple examples, in a light adventure, or a police procedural, you probably don't need anything more than ...


3

How well do YOU understand the physics of what the character is doing? If you have a detailed, fully internally consistent process worked out, then you can probably just allude to it in very general terms if the in world population wouldn't understand it (and perhaps the character himself doesn't have the scientific vocabulary to articulate it if he is the ...


2

Doing research for characters can only be good, as it will make sure that they do not break the suspension of disbelief. If you make characters that do not fit with their upbringing, they will seem too fake to be able to relate to. The difficulty with character building is finding a good balance in each character between interesting and believable. A ...


2

Since he or she appears to be your protagonist leaving out how such a powerful "tool" can exist is a powerful tool indeed. A kid's imagination is not going to be overwhelmed by the fact of such an ability but what your character does with it. If it's such an exceptional power how is this so? meaning...through usage show the exceptional nature of this ability....


1

"Stock characters" are shortcuts to creating characters. As such, you want to limit their use to secondary characters that nevertheless play important parts in one or more scenes. Doctors are examples of stock characters. They may play an important role in saving the life of the hero or heroine, for instance. But they do this in their roles as physicians, ...


1

I had a similar problem with my current novel project. The first draft was quite horrible, exactly due to the fact that my characters felt like stereotypes cut and pasted from my literature research. I had several episodes in mind that I read about and wanted to include in the novel - say, for example, the story of a couple in the 60s: The husband is at sea ...


1

It sounds like your critic is telling you that your characters aren't three-dimensional enough for her to care about them or see them as more than thinly sketched "types." Adding backstory might or might not help that problem. The best writing advice I've heard on detail (Sturgeon, via Delany) is that you should know much more detail than ever makes it ...


1

This is a screenplay so I think your initial salient points are plenty. I want to learn about the character by seeing what he does not have all kinds of details about why he ties he shoes a certain way. Viki King explains that a lot of this backstory writing is often a way that authors escape doing the real work of writing the screen play. How To Write A ...


1

Characters are defined by what they want and what they are willing to do to get it. The specific details you give about them are there to justify what they want and what they are willing to do to get it. Joe wants X because he was raised by wolves in a trailer park in the 70s. Mary is willing to do Y because she was raised on a commune in Argentina by a ...


1

A former boss asked me to: "State your results, but don't tell me the details." That might be a good rule for your physics "whiz." Talk about what he can do, but don't tell how he does it.


1

If you're writing for broad audience, you will be accepted if you're skimming the details and not going in-depth. If you focus on a specific audience, you might ride the wave of the success of The Martian if you go really in-depth. Instead of "power of light", gain mastery of electromagnetic waves. Radio, laser, X-ray, microwave (+radar), infrared, ...


1

I suggest a popular literary technique called 'indirect characterisation' If your writing in first person; write about her thoughts and reasons and actions. If she is approached by someone who speaks and she reveals how that person has affected her ,good or bad. If in second person you may start a chapter revealing that she had suffered a breakdown and is ...


1

While through your description i assume your story is a serious one, i think your best point of reference would come from comedy. It is a common trope in comedy, specially british comedy, to have characters who don't like anyone else, or that aren't particularly interested in anyone else. Like for example Jim, from Yahtzee Croshaw comedy novel "Mogworld". "...


1

You are talking about two different things here but you are treating them like they are the same. Sheltered vs. not sheltered is different than immature vs. mature. A girl who takes care of seven younger siblings will probably be somewhat mature for her age because she is used to responsibility. If she is sheltered, she may also be rather innocent. The 11-...


1

I hate to try to divine motive, but are you sure this is a story question? It sounds more like you are trying to make an argument than tell a story, more like you are trying to find a way to convince that reader that their lives are not governed by fate than that you are trying to find a convince the character. The destruction of someone's life view is ...


1

Every human being strives to establish a place in the world, to be seen and accepted in a certain way. Their voice, the way they react to each situation, is developed in an attempt to establish and maintain that place. Their way of speaking, their vocabulary, their boldness or timidity, is shaped by the place they wish to claim and maintain. What they say ...



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