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23

It's definitely possible to do this without losing the reader. The New Testament is a story where the "protagonist" dies towards the end. I'm sure plenty of readers are quite satisfied with that. Much like the Gospels, killing the protagonist is advisable only if it really means something. Emphasis on the really. Even if you make your character a martyr ...


13

Unless your hero's enemies are all intensely stupid, he and his companions will be totally unarmed, and will have been carefully searched for anything valuable. Really, unless your goblins are nobler than those in most stories, readers will expect goblins to take everything from their captives. Your hero can't pull a lockpick or a poisoned pin from the ...


13

I'm not an accomplished writer (heck, I'm not even an unaccomplished writer), but here are some techniques used by actual real-life authors: Charlotte's Web: The eponymous character (the spider) dies near the end, but the author deals with this by having two main characters; the spider and the pig. When the spider dies, the attention is drawn to the pig, ...


11

If the goal of the scene is to show why a person decides what he or she decides, then you only give the detail necessary to demonstrate that. If part of what changes Adam's mind afterwards is the way she looks, you need to focus on her appearance and not the act. ("He watched her face change as he slid into her" or "his eyes roamed hungrily over her ...


8

We've addressed "the protagonist continues to talk after dying, even in first person" here: Ways for main character to influence world following their death 1st person story, but the main character will die in the end and some of the story needs to be told after his death. How to solve this problem? It sounds like your concern is that the death of the ...


8

I decide what should be written next only when I am writing that. This called being a "pants writer" or a "pantser," meaning that you write by the seat of your pants. It's completely valid as a workflow, IF you are then willing to go back to the beginning when you're finished and edit with a firm, even harsh hand. Just because it spews out of you ...


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

Get out of your own head. Write. Just write. Stop worrying about whether it's perfect. Stop worrying about which book to follow. You've got a list taller than the coffee table and they can contradict each other. Just write. Get something on paper. If you're really flailing around, pick your first book about plotting, follow some of the advice there, and ...


7

I suggest you search Google Scholar for scientific publications on the matter. For example, Porter, Birt, Yuille and Hervé (2001) list several publications that report real cases of perpetrators forgetting that they committed homicide or other extreme violence. This is the abstact for that paper: Mental health professionals and legal decision-makers ...


7

Make sure you have introduced another character to take his place, and that at that point the reader has already developed some connection with it. From that point forward, work to intensify the connection between them.


6

The technical terms in literature and art theory used in relation to this are "mise-en-abyme", "metafiction", and "self-referentiality". All may denote slightly different aspects of the phenomenon, depending on the definitions used by the respective theorists.


6

What strengths does he have? What weaknesses do they have? Especially, hidden, non-obvious, difficult to trigger. That's all up to you, foreshadowing given strengths and weaknesses, and letting them shine when the time comes. There are countless. What weaknesses can be exploited? Gambling? Ambition? Greed? Gluttony? Stupidity? Arrogance? What strengths can ...


6

Off the top of my head, solmnambulation and memory-impairing drugs are probably the easiest and most probable. Human memory is somewhat frail. In real life this generally impacts the accuracy and availability of memories, but yes, under the right circumstances people can fail to remember having done something. Many things affect memory, and with a little ...


6

Even if readers are radically and nearly exclusively committed to the protagonist, there are several ways for the protagonist to "speak after death". The protagonist's legacy can speak. (This is covered in the answers to "Ways for main character to influence world following their death", linked in Lauren Ipsum's answer. The legacy of a Cause does not seem ...


6

For a moment abandon the crew of your story and have a peek at your readers. Well, before that prune endings that are too expectable, out of characters or otherwise faulty, but once you come with the decent set... Which ending would be most satisfying? Which would elicit most of the emotions which you want to create? Instead of thinking within the story ...


6

First of all: it's your choice how far you want to go into detail. When two characters having sex is a plot point in a story which is not supposed to be erotic or not even romantic, a detailed description of the deed can seem out of place, especially when you aren't really comfortable writing it. This can go so far as to just imply that sex has taken ...


5

It is true to a point. As you suggest, they are generalized form encapsulations of conflict. In other words, they are archetypes. Similarly, you will hear folks say there are only 32 plots at times, too. The number varies. Often one will be more popular than others for a while. Understanding them can be helpful at times if you're studying story and story ...


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

This answer is highly, highly subjective. But I personally dislike almost every YA dystopian future novel I've ever read (they're all the same thing to me and they're all predictable), so I think if you're asking about reader expectations, I might be a good person to answer the question... mostly because I see similarities in all of the YA novels I've ...


5

I'm going to spin this around for you. In Jeffrey Schechter's My Story Can Beat Up Your Story, Schechter suggests that a lot of theme is about the protagonist asking a thematic question, e.g., "Should I settle for less romantically?" "Can I balance 'ordinary' responsibilities with my secret identity?" "How do I decide who to trust?" And in ...


5

There's a couple of vocabularies (aka ontologies) out there (which I've been helping develop). Have a look at Ontomedia and Stories Ontologies: http://contextus.net/ I've been investigating this kind of thing for a while (see, for instance, http://www.r4isstatic.com/54), and would be happy to chat more about it. Of course, you can always use a collection ...


5

Possible routes to escape (they can be combined): Luck - the captors make a mistake, or something completely unexpected happens that the hero can exploit. Preparation - the hero, knowing that capture was possible or imminent, prepared something (a tool, spell or ally) that would help him escape. Knowledge - the hero knows what the captors want, need or ...


5

Allow me to introduce you to Scrivener. Scrivener is a word processor which allows you to create unlimited documents within a single project, and organize them into folders. You can have each book project as a folder, and within a book folder have multiple subfolders. You can see all your documents in a nice document tree in a side pane. You can drag ...


5

I firmly believe that you should try both approaches and experience yourself what works best for you. Would you marry someone that you have never seen? Would you sign up for a job, or employ a new worker, without some practical probation? Would you buy a car without testdriving it? Would you decide on a lifelong diet without trying at least one meal? Do you ...


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

I don't believe there really are long ideas or short ideas. Instead, there are just ideas. Even if you say that your plot is very detailed, it doesn't really matter. Instead, it all depends upon how you write the scenes. Here's the entire Wizard Of Oz (by Frank Baum) story. The year is 1935. The place, a dirt road, somewhere in Kansas. Dorothy, ...


4

For now, write to amuse yourself. It might also amuse other people, but that's not something to worry about now.


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

The difference between kishoutenketsu and Western twists... I hadn't thought about that before. I can think of a few differences, though. Have you ever seen a yonkoma manga? They're four panel comics that normally follow kishoutenketsu structure. The idea is that the first panel is ki, the second is shou, the third is ten, and the fourth is ketsu. So the ...


4

Which end do readers expect? Either of the ones you given. Some will expect one, others the other That's why you should choose neither. You have two obvious options, plus a dull 'no choice made'. That's one point where the difference between a common book and an excellent one is made. This is where the protagonist should not just decide or fail to make a ...



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