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The author of "Kick Ass" said that every major character in the story was partially autobiographical, including the hero and villain, in that either at some point in his life he wanted to be that character or felt that he had a lot in common with that character. Every major character in his story is distinct. None are Mary Sue. Why not? he took a ridiculous ...


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In my own fiction, I'm "autobiographical" with ONE of the main characters. That's the best way for me to keep track of everything that's going on. Sometimes, my character is the protagonist, and he speaks for me. Sometimes my character is the antagonist, with the protagonist being my "date." (Trying to see yourself through the eyes of your dates is quite ...


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Even between two people of similar ideologies, they can vary in the degree of "hardness" or "softness." Take two Reagan Republicans that I know. One is right wing, and "tea party" down the line. The other has a way of occasionally "running left," e.g. by going on a radio show in 1988 as a "Republican for Dukakis." One will accuse the other of "leaving the ...


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I once tried to write a (ten scene) screenplay with only a backstory and an ending. I started with Scene 1 (basically a "continuation" of the back story). Then I jumped to Scene 10, the ending, followed by Scene 9. I continued writing the story "backwards," jumping back to scenes 5 and 6 in the middle, finally adding scenes 7 and 8 to connect them to scenes ...


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In his book From Where You Dream, Robert Olen Butler describes a method for generating a story that he calls "Dreamstorming." It works. In a nutshell, you enter a dream/trance state and imagine scenes or scene fragments that touch you somehow. Write a brief description (just a few words, not even a sentence) of each scene you've imagined. You can write ...


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For me it's easy. Pick your characters and start living their lives. Have little nudges of fate guide them towards key points of your story, but don't force it; if the character just doesn't realistically fit in there, change the plot point and keep developing the story. At times it will be entirely different from what you planned, but better. Essentially: ...


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Plot... Story... blah blah blah. You're talking about a journey. You're talking about a quest. You're talking about a goal, a conflict, and a resolution. What I don't like is the use of the term "filler content". You can't go into a story thinking like that. Everything you write has to be important, every sentence should define a character or the world, or ...


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Children begin reading books without conflict at all (colors and shapes), and then advance to simple external conflicts (Dr. Seuss), and eventually discover inner conflict around adolescence. Harry Potter's story grew with the character, and the audience. The earliest book provided little in the way of internal narrative at all. As the character grew, so ...


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(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 ...


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First, Imagine you are experiencing the same conflict as your character. Next, imagine that your mortal enemy (seriously, think of somebody you really dislike) wants to go with Option 1, which would naturally make you want to take up Option 2. The beauty of this is that you are not your character and thus do not have an opinion or a preference either way; ...


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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 ...


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The less ordinary the better is what I think. Why would Joe Bloggs want to read a story about Joe Bloggs? Joe Bloggs would most probably enjoy the experience more if he/she were reading about Joe Awesomepants. Or, conversely, Joe Awfulpants. It is often the very high-achieving characters (richer than rich, powerful, slightly crazy) or the downright ...


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I feel like I am only going to be adding a footnote to some very well made points and suggestions but I feel you pain and would like to offer some constructive advice. As the author you clearly disapprove of the actions of one or more of your characters and that is probably a sign of good moral character. However if you drop out of the flow of events to ...



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