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Questions tagged [character-development]

Anything pertaining to developing the details associated with characters in your writing.

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3answers
1k views

How to handle characters who are more educated than the author?

This is inspired by a few things that have been breaking my immersion when reading Worm. The main protagonist is a teen, and most chapters are first-person POV, so grammatical casualness fits. I don'...
22
votes
7answers
4k views

How do I create uniquely male characters?

In How to write strong female characters, Standback says that the best way to write a strong female character is to make her uniquely female, the type of character that can not possibly be male and ...
3
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4answers
135 views

How to write about trauma I never experienced

So, in a story, I have a girl who has been ritually abused and raped by her father for being born, as he wanted sons to continue his bloodline. Thing is, this sort of thing has never happened to me. ...
9
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5answers
935 views

Does detail obscure or enhance action?

I have two versions of a pivotal scene in my novel (both already written). My SP is a rather impulsive young woman who is learning to be a bit less of a hothead. She saves the MC by literally taking ...
6
votes
3answers
232 views

How to write about a homosexual relationship when I haven't experienced one?

I have two female characters, one who is lesbian, and the other bisexual. However, I am male. So not only am I to write the opposite gender, which I actually feel more comfortable doing, for some odd ...
3
votes
2answers
50 views

How to show that a character cares for another, but is also clumsy?

This is about a father who returns after a particularly long journey. Typically, he's not available very often anyway, but he deeply cares about his daughter. He also fails at behaving like a father ...
14
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9answers
3k views

How to compactly explain secondary and tertiary characters without resorting to stereotypes?

Sure, I understand the characters, but that's because I've been thinking about them. But how do I transfer that knowledge to the reader without taking the time and space to flesh them out further?? ...
11
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6answers
2k views

How to keep a dark protagonist who wants to keep his humanity dark?

My MC is in a dark line of work. He is an assassin. He is also someone with lines he does not cross. He has been duped or coerced to do things he would not, but still holds to some standards. I want ...
40
votes
13answers
15k views

Avoiding the “not like other girls” trope?

The "not like other girls" trope is pretty common in young adult fiction, arguably misogynistic, and usually applied to a female protagonist or love interest. Attempts to make a female character ...
3
votes
0answers
89 views

Trials to claim a throne [closed]

My novel is about a girl who is the heir to the throne of Helheim, the Norse world of the dead, but in order to claim the throne she has to pass a 3 part trial. I’m having a hard time coming up with ...
10
votes
5answers
472 views

Beyond letters and diaries—exercises to explore characters' personalities and motivation

For a few of my imaginary worlds, my characters write letters to each other. These letters are never intended to be surfaced in the main story, they are my exploration of the characters' feelings and ...
4
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2answers
92 views

Describing Pain in First Person Present Tense [duplicate]

Just a scene I pictured- (Character receives a syringe in the chest but doesn't feel the after pain until a moment later) Ex: Johnny begins to feel a burning like sensation in his chest that's more ...
25
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8answers
3k views

How much character growth crosses the line into breaking the character

(not a duplicate of Character Development - How much is too much? because that one is more about "overreaction" to smaller events.) TL;DR: How much can a character change without becoming ...
4
votes
2answers
78 views

When must a character grow beyond their archetype?

A good well-written three dimensional character requires a lot of work. You need to really show them through their ups and their downs. You have to flesh out their strengths and weaknesses. You have ...
7
votes
3answers
153 views

Can a main character leave the story early?

I'm considering to have my Main Character die before "finishing" his arc, but have other characters carry on the plot to its conclusion, let's say to fulfill his visions. In a way, the MC finishes ...
28
votes
13answers
8k views

Writing in a Christian voice

I'm Jewish. My middle-grade fantasy novel is very Jewish. Most of my characters are either Jews or converts/future converts or people with at least one Jewish grandparent. But some are not. My ...
7
votes
6answers
115 views

How far I can write about a protagonist with a different ethnicity of me?

I am planning to write a book about a life of a person. However, the protagonist is a black person. The main plot is not about ethnicity things, but where the plot happens I have to talk about some ...
12
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3answers
1k views

How to use deus ex machina safely?

One of my main character's traits is that she has some superstitious beliefs. That trait is not essential to the MC, but everyone in the era of my story is. I'm contemplating a plot point near the end ...
6
votes
4answers
890 views

How to answer questions about my characters?

I'm reading KM Weiland's Creating Character Arcs. In it, she lists: Questions to Ask About the Thing the Character Wants and the Thing the Character Needs How is the Lie holding your ...
1
vote
1answer
103 views

How to describe my character using they/them so the reader doesn't know their gender until their pronouns show up later?

I'm experimenting with writing nonbinary or generally gender-ambiguous characters in my writing. The most recent example of this is in an urban fantasy story I'm currently working on in my spare time, ...
10
votes
7answers
353 views

What points should a “Character Interview” method for character building hit?

What should a character interview contain to be successful where the goals are: characters with strong voice who are established with a distinct 'personhood' (?) and are generally interesting to ...
27
votes
13answers
6k views

How to write a chaotic neutral protagonist and prevent my readers from thinking they are evil?

I've come across a problem with one of the main characters in my book. The "heroine" of my story starts out as an apathetic self-absorbed hacker, who seeks adrenaline thrills to find meaning in her ...
8
votes
8answers
335 views

Including disabled characters without “inspiration porn”

We all have seen the headlines: "Touching Moment Where Autistic Boy is Asked to Prom", "Watch This Child With Downs Win Her Heat During a Swim Competition", etc., that are touching at first glance, ...
3
votes
3answers
196 views

Sympathy for a villain [duplicate]

I have a villain. The villain is the hero of their own story. The villain starts off as good, looking to overthrow a monstrous leader. They were once in the same shoes as the heroes. Part of the ...
6
votes
6answers
716 views

Casually inserting sexual orientation

EDIT: Many people who are attempting to answer this question are severely misinterpreting the circumstances and setting of the book, so here is some information about Eris that I thought I had ...
1
vote
3answers
95 views

How do you to turn an antagonist into a protagonist? [closed]

In a piece I am writing, I want to turn an antagonist into a protagonist. I know that numerous ways to accomplish this are somewhere out there, but none of the help with a smooth transformation. Is ...
4
votes
5answers
83 views

How can I write an annoying character without annoying the reader?

My story has a group of five refugees traveling across the kingdom. One of them is preachy and pretty much useless (unused to physical labor, trying to convert the heathens in the group). She's ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Writing a character who is going through a civilizing process without overdoing it?

In my planned novel the main character is essentially from a less technologically advanced society and is learning about the "civilized world" beyond their village. He has above average intelligence, ...
16
votes
6answers
3k views

Making him into a bully (how to show mild violence)

Joe is the worst. Nobody likes him, not even the so-called friends he teams up with at school, filling other students with terror. He's sarcastic, nasty, and a bit of a racist, and especially anti-...
3
votes
3answers
124 views

Is it ok to have many characters who only appear for a few chapters?

At least 40% of the characters in my novel appear for only 2-3 chapters and I don't really have the chance to develop them. Is this too many? How can you determine you have too many characters ...
1
vote
3answers
120 views

Should I signal completion of a decision point in an interactive novel?

In my visual novel (an interactive, narrative-based video-game), I have a detective character who decides whether he believes interviewees controlled by the player. The detective doesn't explain his ...
26
votes
8answers
3k views

How do you get out of your own psychology to write characters?

What are the best ways you find to get out of your own habitual thought patterns, personality, dispositions, and culture when writing characters? For example, we are all familiar with the Myers-...
4
votes
2answers
161 views

Ways to develop characters in a fast paced video game

The Goal: I am currently working on a video game project and I need some help with character development techniques. It is a character driven ensemble cast jRPG/cRPG. Therefore I want the characters ...
9
votes
3answers
497 views

Third wheel character

I have three characters, who are supposed to be good friends. Athos, Aramis, and Porthos, if you wish. Instead, I have two characters who share a strong Frodo-Sam relationship, and the third guy, who ...
18
votes
6answers
3k views

How to write painful torture scenes without being over-the-top

I'm trying to write torture scenes but I'm not really all that confident about it since I've never written anything like it before and have never really witnessed anything violent. I know the methods ...
3
votes
4answers
122 views

How to make a grieving father less vengeful and see reason?

I have a character who, maddened by the suicide of his son, chooses to destroy the company the young man worked for, holding them responsible. He is a successful businessman who told his two children ...
22
votes
5answers
5k views

How soon is too soon for a redemption arc?

My character, Day, is the son of a dictator and the director of state-sanctioned and sponsored torture of mutated humans, one of whom is my MC. He killed his own sister to prove to his father that he ...
7
votes
3answers
221 views

How to get my characters' emotions out of the way so I can get on with the plot?

Setup: 18 kids (ages 2-14) from 1995 America time travel to Ancient Egypt just before the Exodus. The MC knew this would happen (or thought she knew) and told people, but no one believed her. Now ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Showing that a character is in pain in a dialogue

Do you add pauses? Do you add interjection? Which ones? Do you misspell certain words? What are some of the tricks writers use? I don't want to say it in the descriptive passage. I want people to feel ...
15
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4answers
1k views

Ensuring that character dialogues sound like they are coming from different people

I am wondering if I should make the female characters speak in a different way compared to male characters, and I am wondering how to make sure they all sound different. What are some strategies, ...
2
votes
3answers
198 views

Writing couples with age difference [closed]

Basically, all I want to know is how I can get my readers to root for a pairing where the difference in ages is about 15 years. I don't want them to spend the entirety of my novel pondering over the '...
-2
votes
4answers
135 views

What meta-properties should a character have in general? [closed]

What are the properties a generic main character from a character-driven/psychological novel should have? E.g. relations, motives, personality, knowledge.
2
votes
3answers
109 views

How can I make distinctions between a hive-mind and a super consciousness?

Not sure if this is a worldbuilding or writing question, but here it goes. In this setting, gods of humanity are beings of absolute order that exist in another plane of existence. They are ...
58
votes
14answers
24k views

Is the “hero guy saves girl” trope misogynistic?

(Question about my hacker (hacking??) novel.) Just an FYI, I am a woman. Edward is a cyber spy and works with an organization named Vox Populi to curate and release all data online, especially the ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

MC doesn't know something that's obvious to the reader

(Another post-apocalyptic novel question! I'm just full of them.) My MC, Eris, has the power to manipulate life force. As a child, she accidentally killed her family and other survivors who ...
3
votes
8answers
3k views

Could the cast of my book be more unique?

Edit: After reading the question I've asked again and the answers I've gotten, I feel I should say that the descriptions of the characters here are definitely the bare basic. There is a full word doc ...
30
votes
15answers
16k views

Is no religion a bad thing?

(I believe I've asked about a half dozen questions pertaining to this post-apocalyptic novel, including my "is this story too diverse" question. This sort of pertains to that.) Last night, I thought ...
12
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3answers
3k views

Is it bad to project myself into my story?

After reading that a Mary-Sue often is a projection of the author, I realized most of my stories are. Is it a bad thing? My MC aren't Mary-sues (at least I hope so), they're the opposite of perfect ...
2
votes
1answer
142 views

Crafting an organic female platonic relationship [closed]

There has been a story in me for quite a while. It is of two girls, set in a feudal/medieval era. They met as children. One is a antisocial bookworm, highly opinionated with a quiet steely composure. ...
28
votes
11answers
16k views

Is my story “too diverse”?

(Edit: I feel like I should clarify, these are the only LGBT characters in the story, and the only characters whose sexualities are even touched on, and they are part of a larger group of people, ...