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13

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 ...


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

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

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

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. ...


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

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 ...


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

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 ...


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

"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 (Böll 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. ...


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

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 ...


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

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

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

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 ...


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

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 ...


2

I've had quarrels with some of my friends where they say that some book or movie is bad because it depicts people doing evil things. And I say, But look HOW it depicts them! It clearly depicts them as evil and destructive! There is a huge difference between a story in which a character does evil and it is portrayed as perfectly all right and having no ...


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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