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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 ...


17

If you want examples of successful diplomacy, try CJ Cherryh's Foreigner series, which I think is up to 15 books so far. The main character, Bren, is a diplomat between humans and the non-human species who are native to the planet where the humans crash-landed. Positively fascinating. Hard going at times, but I was never bored. And diplomacy is not ...


14

If the scene is boring, it’s not necessary. Think about what you actually need to convey to the reader to move the plot forward, write something interesting that delivers that necessary information, and skip everything else. This may be a good time to break the “show, don’t tell” rule. “Eight hours and two liters of vodka later, Ambassador Königsberg ...


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

In addition to the always wise advice to omit the boring parts... Summarize the boring parts in a short paragraph. Maybe simply refer to them in passing. Complicate the terms of the negotiation until the negotiation becomes interesting. Add conflicts or problems until the scene becomes interesting. These conflicts need not be related to the subject of the ...


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 other answers have shown how diplomacy can be interesting. But lets assume your question means that it is important to your plot that your characters are diplomats, but that their work as diplomats is not important to your plot, for example because their role as diplomats allows them to easily cross a border or gain access to some place or information ...


6

As I understand it, most authors of bestsellers ruthlessly cut out boring scenes. I've seen comments (from such authors) that if they find a section of their own writing boring, they expect readers to find it still more so. (This does not keep some bestselling authors from padding their books with boring stuff.) One way to avoid the problem is to tell ...


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

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

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

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

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 ...


4

Write a synopsis. Then get feedback on that. Your synopsis should be as brief as possible, conveying only the elements that are absolutely crucial to the story - the elements without which the story would be absolutely different. If you were summarizing the first Harry Potter book, you don't need to say "and then he went to a Potions class, and then he went ...



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