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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 ...


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

The specific issues you are dancing around are "Trade mark dilution" and "Libel and slander". Trade mark worries can be mitigated by: not using the exact mark, and not using it in the same industry. Pepsi and Microsoft do not write novels. Using anagrams of the mark is not the same mark. For example, Pepsi-cola and Coca-cola are different trademarks. ...


7

Jokes have been extensivle researched by folklorists, linguists, ethnologists etc. If you need to write about humor in China, go read a book or journal article on humor in China. Really, writers need to learn to research like scientists and journalists. Don't think like a writer ("How can I make this up?") but like a researcher ("Where can I find this ...


7

First, a word of warning, the first thing most people will think after reading that paragraph describing your character is that she is a vampire. Aside from the vampiric similarities, I think your best bet to create an enjoyable character without human emotions is to look at how other similar characters have been portrayed previously and take what you like. ...


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 ...


7

Everything is about him. The other characters talk about him, plot about him, worry about him, try to contact him. Everything is about what he's doing or where he's going and with whom. Scenes where he isn't there detail the effect his actions or words had on the other characters. If it's his story, then tell his story. The TV show Person of Interest is ...


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 ...


5

That depends on your audience. I wrote about a character with depression, suffering of terrible self-esteem, self-hate, very subdued emotions, complete disregard for own well-being resulting in suicidal bravery, a situation that would make others freak out taken in a firm stride, the most of his emotion shown when being murdered by the villain, after ...


5

Your problem is that your characters aren't rounded. They don't have distinguishable voices because they aren't distinguishable people. Do this as an exercise: Pick your favorite TV show, movie, book. Pick two or three characters from each. Interview them. For example: What's your favorite book? John: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Read it to tatters ...


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

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? ...


4

There is no problem in a character who is emotionless. Readers can accept it... Condition: You will have to make sure that you provide the explanation regarding why the person is emotionless. If that person has suffered so much in past, that now he/she won't be ready to feel that pain again. And if you succeed in writing such a story, then readers may ...


4

I also have multiple POVs in the story I'm currently working on, each mini-chapter switching between main characters and supporting ones, and the way I try to convey who the protagonist is is by making her related to all the conflicts that take place, whether her role in each conflict is central or minor. Of course the main story-line is hers, but when I ...


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 ...


4

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 ...


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

I recommend journaling as the characters. If you are a ways into a story (or even if you have outlined a story) you likely have a few events that they will experience in mind. Write journal reviews of how the characters felt about the situation, what they experienced, things like that. This will help identify what drives characters, how they feel about ...


3

I am confused. Does without a soul mean without emotions? Or is the reverse true: no emotions means no soul? Emotional repression is more common than I care to admit, and at least according to genesis animals don't have souls and I know from experience that they have emotions. Therefore souls and emotions may or may not be synonymous depending on your ...


3

Don't forget this precedent: the HAL 9000 computer in Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey was formed by transposing the letters of IBM down one letter in the alphabet: H <- I A <- B L <- M


3

The two thoughts that come to mind are ask someone of that ethnic background if it exists, and for fictional backgrounds think about how the back story affects humor. A great example is where Teal'c tells a joke on Stargate SG-1. Tea'lc coming from a very alien background appears to have no sense of humor prior to his attempt to tell his joke, and only he ...


3

Humor is notoriously difficult to translate. To take an extreme case, I saw an interview once with an American woman who had written a humor book. The publisher decided to produce a British edition, but they found that the book was filled with American cultural references and words that are different between the two countries, and so they added footnotes in ...


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

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 ...


2

I have never encountered such a rule or law that prohibits the use of names derived from reality that you already altered. I can't give you any basis, but I am sure that it is allowed and that you are not violating any laws. I may edit my answer if I happen to see my basis.


2

Do you enjoy the story you are writing? If your readers like the same story as you then they will most likely like the same humour as you do. If the readers don't like the joke then they may imagine the character as someone with a bad sense of humour. Is having a character with a bad sense of humour really going to destroy the rest of the story? Most quips ...


2

Sometimes, a reader doesn't need to relate to a character through their traits. A reader wants to know her story. And if like she has a love story, people could relate to that story. Still, some people were called numb for not feeling their friends' attraction to them. I guess that seems like a soulless person, and it can somehow relate people to your ...


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.



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