Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

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 ...


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 ...


8

Look at different psychological theories of personality types. From the beginnings of time, scholars have attempted to categorize human character (as well as body type, race, and so on). Most such theories have been shown to bear no relation to reality, but for character building they are as good or better as the morality based D&D system. The ...


7

Typically, Chinese ESL speakers routinely make mistakes with definite and indefinite articles. They leave them out, use them when not needed, or mix the two. They also mess up indefinite plurals and pronouns, and verb tenses. All of this is due to structural differences between Mandarin and English. So, this answer might sound like: The Chinese ESL ...


5

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 ...


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, ...


5

One thing typical for all languages would be the speaker using the wrong word when they translate to the same word in their native language. For example, my native language has the same word for both 'roof' and 'ceiling' and I used to have trouble picking the correct one in English. Another one would be having slightly awkward phrasing: not the perfect ...


4

There are two things that advanced non-native speakers do: they have to paraphrase vocabulary that they lack (e.g. "electrical bus" for trolley bus), and they make typical grammar errors, which will depend on their native language (e.g. a lack of articles if the native language does not have them). The internet is full of non-natives (like myself) writing ...


4

There's a book called "Learner English" that discusses common issues of transference between various languages and English. It's an excellent read in addition to possibly being useful for your assignment. You might also consider taking a linguistics class, because it's difficult to manipulate the mistakes that an ELL might make if you don't actually ...


3

You might benefit from some ideas: 1. Avoid the info dump (a long description scene) 2. Add your description in showing/active sentences 3. Use character contrasting (contrast one character to another) I explain more here: How to describe your point of view character in a first person novel? If you want your character to be: unusually smart clever, ...


3

I like her better in your version. It's more interesting that she sees the entire world in terms of furniture. If you make her aggressive sexually, than aggressive sexuality—regardless of kink—becomes the major feature of her character and that's pretty boring, even if the kink is pretty bizarre. There are lots of stories out there with kinky dominatrices ...


3

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 ...


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 ...


2

The best advice I can give you is to find actual ESL speakers and listen to them. If you can find an ESL class in your area, talk to the teacher. Ask permission from teacher and students to audit and/or record the class, so you can hear what word choices are being made.


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 ...


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

Magic: the Gathering has built its entire platform around the five colors of magic, and each one of them has a very distinct set of characteristics that tell you what color or colors you are. The "Guru" of the "Color Pie" is Mark Rosewater, currently the Lead Designer of Magic, and is often asked on his blog to elaborate on the color identity of various ...


2

Let's call your characters Dave (the intuitive tactician) and Kate (the analytic) so we have some way to refer to them. Kate can be so analytical, so dependent on data, that she feels like she can't ever commit to a decision. But what if there's one more supply train coming? Did we think of every single possible scenario and prepare for it? Do we really ...


1

I would suggest: Creating Unforgettable Characters by Linda Seger. This is actually listed as recommended reading for applicants to ABC network's writing fellowship. 45 Master Characters and A Writer's Guide to Characterization by Victoria Schmidt. Reviews for these can come off mixed, but I like how Schmidt uses the hero's journey and mythological ...


1

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 ...


1

This was literally decades ago (the 1980s), but what I used to do was to "splice" characters by mixing and matching the traits of my heroes and heroines. For instance, in one novel, I gave the fictitious heroine my jet black hair, my real-life boss, and my English pub, while otherwise keeping her true to her "other" counterpart. I gave the fictitious hero ...


1

So you've got a few adjectives for the character, to start off with. Some people are a fan of the figure-your-character-out-as-you-write approach, and some prefer outlining the character first. Since this is an assignment, and you don't want the character who spontaneously appeared as you wrote to differ from the one described in the assignment, I'd have to ...


1

To add to @roger's answer, another thing that can make a character unique is giving them an atypical profession or hobby. Since these things will influence what the character will do everyday they are a part of who he is. A good example is Walter Mitty, a typical shy guy but works in negative assents for Life magazine. Interesting enough his job also defines ...


1

What I would focus on is the character's backstory. You're correct that the combination of traits that you describe could be pretty common, but what is unique is the why behind it. What happened in the character's past that has caused him to be so reserved? What sorts of influences did he have that nurtured his cleverness and insight? Different answers to ...


1

An Approach (Mine, in fact) First, crack dialogue. Why? There's this weird ouroboros effect between characterisation and dialogue. Dialogue establishes character BUT dialogue emerges FROM character. Weirdly, you can exploit this by swimming a little against the tide. Take two character stubs that you have in mind. They really don't need to be all that ...


1

Usually, as Standback comments, practice is the solution to most writing problems. But it seems to me that you are beyond the basics and need a little eye opening. For that, books – on plotting, character development and whatever ails you – can be extremely helpful. When you read them, you'll note that you already know everything those books tell you and ...


1

As requested, here is a little more insight into Charahub.com. It's a website intended for writers and artists to store and/or share their characters in a central location. Free accounts have a limit of a hundred characters upon signing up. Additional characters may be earned through referral. You can divide characters into user-created groups. The ...


1

I assume that you, like most writers, are one single individual with a limited experince of the world. You have never murdered anyone, you don't really remember how you felt as a child, and you don't score 160 in an IQ test, yet you write about murderers, children, or brilliant scientist. It is, of course, impossible for you to know how these people think ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible