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11

Is your black character living in a world like the one your black friends live in, or a more immersively black culture, or...? I think it's definitely a mistake to assume the character will be different just because of skin colour (unless you're talking about frequency of sunscreen application or something). You can't just write "a black character", you ...


9

I really appreciate this question, because as a black person who reads a lot of writing by white authors, I've found that very few do a good job with their black characters, and many do a very poor job. Michael Chabon is the only well-known white author who easily comes to mind as creating black characters that read as authentic (to me). I'm not sure there'...


8

Overbearing pride. He's done a lot. He's seen a lot. He has a lot of experience. He's very accomplished, and he thinks anyone would benefit from learning from him. The "nostalgia" and "being overlooked" you mentioned are the keys. He loved being helpful, loved being the strong protector, loved being the one everyone came to, loved the attention. It was for ...


7

Treat fantastic, made-up facts the same as you would treat facts about our own world. Do you describe the physiology of human beings when you write a book about people like you and me? No. Neither should you go into medical detail when you write about aliens – unless your protagonist is a scientist studying them. In that case, give us the same amount of ...


7

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 ...


6

There's already good answers here, so I'll add in what I think are some of my techniques for constructing rounded characters. Making Strengths Into Weaknesses Ever heard the phrase 'honest-to-a-fault'? Even the most noble and virtuous of attributes can become weaknesses if they are improperly moderated. It's easy to stretch a trait such as determination ...


5

Part of why we read fiction is to learn something by going through an experience with the character --that's what makes identifying with the character important. For someone to lose what they and others have always felt is their core strength is a real experience, and one that could be compelling to go through in fiction --if it resolves in a way that feels ...


5

Show the character's Strength (perseverance) being driven by his Weakness (ego, for example). Over time, our vices erode our strengths. When your character gives up (forfeiting his Strength), it is because his Weakness (again, ego, for example) has taken blows that it cannot withstand. While admiring his perseverance (as well as his other fantastic ...


5

The answer depends on the work's intent. If the characters are thinly characterized and stereotyped because the work's main attraction is a sensationalist plot crammed with dramatic events, then we call this a melodrama. Wikipedia reports that a Professor Ben Singer has identified "moral polarization" as one of the key elements of melodrama. On the other ...


5

No it should not be an info dump. The story continues. The only thing that should change is you switch to the character’s voice instead of using your own. You might think of it as though your reader is going to put down your book, pick up a short story written by a character in your book and read that, and then pick up your book again. As a writer, you can ...


5

You need to make the mistake understandable. One way to do this is to make the falsly accused victim look guilty enough for people to believe the mistake. He could be framed in such a way readers would know what really happened, but the detective not. Or you could give the victim a reason to want to go to jail, so he will confess. Maybe he is threathened, ...


5

Create a turning point, a defining event for this character, with elements of trauma. Here's an example: John is as stable as a rock, he's very trustworthy and everyone at work depends on him. Nothing seems to scare him. Until, one evening, on his way home, he witnesses a young boy mugged by gangsters. This triggers a memory that was buried in his ...


5

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

Whatever point you choose on that spectrum you will have some readers who won't like the place that you have chosen. You will never get the balance exactly right for everyone. I am sure some people would enjoy a purely anthropological study of another species, if it was well written and contained interesting insights - myself included. Equally, that would ...


4

No writer can experience everything. Most of us haven't died, and yet we write about death all the time. Likewise, when we write about grief, we may draw on our own personal experiences, but oftentimes, we let our imagination take control. Perhaps you can boil down the specific emotions you want to describe into more general emotions: you may not have ever ...


4

Inspirational character is anyone who inspires others... And yes, that sounds like I am messing with you, but actually what I am saying is that you are thinking about it upside down. Do not think about what makes a character inspirational. Instead create issues and conflicts for other characters that require some inspiration. Then have the "inspirational ...


4

You could, but having separate stories is a good idea as well. Knowing the outcome can actually make the story more interesting; think of Anakin Skywalker, who everyone knew from the beginning was going to become Darth Vader. The interesting part here is how he became evil, rather than the discovery of it. You could also, as you mentioned, fuse the two ...


4

Your protagonist will still be the girl. She's the "main character". A protagonist doesn't have be a hero. They can be a reluctant anti-hero, amoral, or even a villain. You could write a book with Satan as the protagonist if you wanted. As long as the readers have built an attachment to the character, and her actions make sense from her point of view, your ...


4

It would entirely depend on their personalities. If the knight was charming and superficial, he would be in his absolute element in this situation. Spouting off lines such as, "You are as radiant as the sun above, with a smile that lights up this chamber like it were midsummer's day", which sounds good but doesn't really mean anything. Then later on when ...


4

"it just feels like a chore to read these sections" For me, I typically find it a chore to read long stretches of lengthy description. The key for writing a chapter like you mentioned is dialogue. Chapters without much dialogue tend to be boring. Obviously this is not always the case, but dialogue definitely speeds things up and engages the reader. I ...


4

First of all, your protagonist almost must change, or there's not much point to your book. If s/he does not at some point stop running and pull him/herself together, your reader will feel like the book is a waste of time. To make it seem not rushed or fake, you need two things: sufficient buildup before the epiphany to give enough space to the epiphany ...


4

A few possibile viewpoints: An omniscient narrator who describes what the machine does and says. One of the nearby sentient beings, when any are available to observe the machine's important actions or communications. Reports from someone who pieces together the machine's communications and actions from available evidence after the fact.


4

Write it as data inputs and responses. INPUT: USER 1 enters room RESPOND Y/N? Y OUTPUT_$content: {greeting}; {Salutation: 'Good'} {TOD: 1415, 'afteroon'}; INPUT: USER 1 response {"Good afternoon yourself. Did you finish compiling that report?"} SEARCH_DB6b.46: report {SMITH, CHARLES: activities prior 72 hours}; LOCATED COMPLETE Y/N? N ET COMPLETION: 4.7 ...


4

I think you are oversimplifying a complex issue. And it is complex because humans are complex beings. You can't compare two human beings in a general way, and therefore you can't make the claim that a MC is similar/better/worse than the intended reader - another assumption: is the intended reader a single person? At best, what you can do is present a ...


4

I'm not sure where we got the notion that readers have to identify with the main character. We are one of the most narcissistic societies of recent memory but we are still interested in people other than ourselves. We do still read about characters who are interesting even though (or even because) they are not like us. I think there are four kinds of appeal ...


4

Character-Driven Story Is Driven From Self-Concept Self-concept is one of the strongest powers on earth. That's because so many people have self-concepts which put them at odds with the world around them. Self-concept drives the actions a person takes. Because it is so real, it is the essence of what we search for in our stories. Self-Concept Drives ...


3

Each character needs to be easily distinguishable. If the narrative is in first-person, make it so each character's monologue is different in noticeable ways (vocabulary, punctuation, sentence style, frequency of metaphors and other literary techniques, etc). Even if it's in third-person, slightly alter the narrator so that, again, each chapter is ...


3

It's hard to give a completely accurate answer without the complete context of the character (her dialogue, her descriptions, how she views the world, and how specifically this situation unfolds) but the assumption of pettiness might not be wholly a symptom of likability, and more to do with how round, or fleshed out your character is. Ask yourself is this ...


3

I think you need to be more specific about your character. Simply being black does not give someone a certain personality. Instead of focusing on the color of their skin, you should think about their childhood, the environment in which they were raised, and the environment in which they now reside. Then their ethnicity would play a more important role ...


3

A neutral term: black and white morality. Good and evil are unambiguously defined and, while a character can have faults, we never doubt its moral standing. Typical example is The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit. The Silmarillion would be a bit of a stretch, especially when it comes to The Children of Húrin.



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