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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 ...


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 ...


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. ...


8

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 ...


7

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 ...


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 ...


6

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

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? ...


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 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

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 ...


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. ...


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 ...


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

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

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

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

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 ...


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

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 ...


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

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 ...


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 ...



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