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15

I don't think your protagonist has to be ordinary to be relatable. While I haven't read the series, isn't the point of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid that the protagonist isn't the "healthy good guy hero" type? Writer Graham Moore just won an Oscar for his screenplay adapting The Imitation Game, a biography of codebreaker Alan Turing, and said that Turing was ...


9

You seem to reduce inner conflict to "characters being pulled in two opposite directions". That is, a person who wants two different things, is "conflicted". We can imagine a person wanting both to lose weight and to eat a creamy cake to be conflicted in that manner. This is of course boring and not worth a novel. We can also imagine stronger, more tortuous ...


8

When a character commits an evil act and you want to frame it as evil, there are different ways to acknowledge it. Describe it from the perspective of the victim. When the reader is confronted with the emotional results from the evil act, they will sympathize. Have the perpetrator condemn the act themselves and have them feel remorse. When that would be ...


8

I think you've gotten some bad advice. Lead characters do not need to be "ordinary", they need to be realistic. You could easily write a book from Luna Lovegood's point of view, provided you could make her actions relatable, which is to say, logical and reasonable. That's not the same as "ordinary", that just means we can understand why she's doing things. ...


7

It gives the most room to expand. As the story progresses, we observe the change of the protagonist, be it growth in strength or fall to corruption, or getting tangled with powers, or struggling to retain virtues against onslaught of temptations. By starting with someone "generic" you give yourself the most room to expand, to make the change more drastic ...


7

If characters never do bad things, you don't have a plot, and if every bad action is followed by a speech about how bad it is, you end up with a didactic polemic, not a novel. It's possible to frame even the worst actors within a larger moral framework --consider Nabakov's Lolita where the main character in a first person narrative is an unrepentant ...


6

Give the characters something unique: It doesn't have to be something mind-blowing or some kind of superpower. It could be something as simple as a toe fetish or not being able to remember dates. Give them an unexpected behavior: The wife of one of them left him and he reacted by ... cleaning the house from morning to night?! What? Give them an ...


6

I think there's a difference between character development and character depth. Development means change. You can have an interesting villain who is only ever a villain, but still has backstory, motivation, relationships, and hobbies. That's a deep character who doesn't change. But if your character acts like a boring, shallow buffoon for two acts and then ...


6

It is possible, as the other answerers have given examples. However, it requires more care. If you are exploring a balance between two character traits, the method the character uses to about their journey becomes more important than the journey itself. If your character goes from one extreme archetype to another, the story is a clearcut one of "this ...


5

You can certainly write a successful story or novel with a non-traditional POV --I'm thinking of Room, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time --it will just be a different kind of narrative. The main thing is that a neutral POV acts like a window onto the wider world of your story --which you can then populate with many strange and ...


5

Reality is complicated. Usually, in the case of domestic violence, many factors lead to it. For example, both partners have specific fears, both show certain behavior, and all this slowly builds up to the moment when one partner hits the other. Literature is not law. In law, one party needs to be found guilty. In literature, you can show the complexity of ...


5

You can always have a character who doesn't develop; flat Disney villains come to mind. But the flat character is generally in opposition to the hero/ine, who does develop. So the question is, why would you write such a story? What could possibly happen in it? If you have one character, period, and that character doesn't develop, what is that person doing? ...


5

I don't think any character is ever too complicated. Some may be alienating to more "mainstream" readers, but that only means you shift your target audience to more ambitious readers. Then, of course, everything happens for some reason. The character being that way is a result of a certain backstory. That backstory must exist, and be consistent. Now, ...


4

If "the humble, virtuous identity is not less or more authentic than the grandiose, power-grabbing one that replaces it," then both those (apparently contradictory) sets of characteristics exist in the same person. You have to figure out how that's possible. Her backstory is critical to that. Did she grow up as the child of a monastery's charwoman? Was the ...


4

"Glennkill" is written from a sheep's point of view. Which is one of its main points of attraction. I remember a story from the perspective of a cup (B├Âll maybe?). "The Remarkable Rocket" from Wilde's "The Happy Prince and Other Stories" has fireworks as protagonists. Of course, the Happy Prince himself is a statue. Many fairy tales have things as ...


4

Relateable Characters My favorite childhood character growing up was Bilbo Baggins. He was a single-living half-sized creature with a magical ring who was cowardly but clever, and had a great reluctance to try to go on any sort of adventure. I'm nothing like Bilbo Baggins, yet I can relate to dreams of adventure and wanting to be a quick-witted hero. ...


4

(I thought @what gave a great answer, which I upvoted, but it also made me want to look for counterexamples.) In Remains of the Day the main character is a repressed butler who devotes his life to providing exemplary service to a family that may not deserve his loyalty. In the process, he misses a shot at love with the family's housekeeper. The conflict ...


4

I recommend reading this blog post by Larry Correia: http://monsterhunternation.com/2013/04/29/ask-correia-13-ripping-off-ideas/ As to your copyright question, if you're not blatantly taking characters from copyrighted works and using them in your own (as in fan fiction, or by copying them exactly except changing their names) don't worry about it. You've ...


4

it is an interesting question, but I can't imagine it being one that has an actual answer. It is claimed that there are Seven Basic Plots (That number does change depending on who is talking about it) So there are a finite number of plots to tell, there are also a finite number of personality types to fit into those plots. I can't think how you could get ...


3

In the Unites States it is implausible that a 14 year old legally lives on her own within society. Here are some expert opinions for Georgia, but it is unlikely that the situation will be different in other states: http://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/can-a-mature-14-year-old-live-alone-with-parental--1275608.html (I searched for "14 year old living alone" in ...


3

It sounds like you don't really have a story yet, but a world. But a story is the journey of a character who wants something. Try one of these: Start with a character who lives in your world. What do they want? How they get it is your story. (If they have everything they want, you don't have a story; take something away from them). OR Start with a big ...


3

There are two approaches that are historically used in your situation, and some more modern ones that some people are trying. The first thing often done is to only have evil characters misbehave. This makes things simple especially when paired with everyone gets what is coming to them (consequences). These two techniques make for a simple tool to show good ...


3

The key thing is not that they are everyman, it's that people can relate to them. If it's Dr Who or Gandalf, no - they're totally other. But if it's someone like Einstein or Alan Turing, it can work if they're also going through normal human life struggles that your audience can relate to. The difference with using a non-traditional narrator, is that now ...


3

In my experience (in real life), some of the most bitter arguments are between people who whose positions are, objectively speaking, quite close. In this case, you've already outlined a key difference between these characters --whether cooperation with the military is acceptable. I can't foresee any trouble in drawing these two into a huge fight --just make ...


3

I believe there is no "recipe" with which to cook up three-dimensional characters. However, since "good" characters - realistic, believable, full of faults, contradictions, anxieties and passions - are what I value above all in a story and what I put most effort in, here is how I develop my characters: Start with an idea. What kind of story do you want to ...


3

Plot... Story... blah blah blah. You're talking about a journey. You're talking about a quest. You're talking about a goal, a conflict, and a resolution. What I don't like is the use of the term "filler content". You can't go into a story thinking like that. Everything you write has to be important, every sentence should define a character or the world, or ...


3

There is no minimum. When I look in the mirror, I recognise myself. Good enough. Does it matter if I have more hair above my nose or below it? Only when I get soup in my mustache. Does it matter to your character? If your character is vain or insecure, you can use their description of themselves as a way to show that. The descriptions you should include are ...


2

Is it possible? Probably. It may depend on the definition of "character development". I was just looking for a definition and didn't find one in 30 seconds, but it's normally understood to mean (a) revealing the nature of a character to the reader, and/or (b) a character growing and changing over the course of the story. By definition (a), if you write, ...


2

To a large extent, whether a character is plausible or implausible depends on how well you justify it in the story. I've often read stories where I find myself saying, "Oh come on! Why would he do that?!" It occurs to me that the more common problem in fiction is that characters are too simple rather than too complicated. I've read lots of stories where I ...


2

The TV show "Seinfeld" is an example of a show where the characters didn't develop. They never learn anything about themselves and this was a source of humor in the show. Or at least it must have been for the people who liked it (and there was a lot of them), personally I never really got into it. I think also some of Samuel Beckett's work would have one or ...



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