Questions tagged [character-development]

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

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16
votes
6answers
3k views

What is the term for an accessible character that knows nothing?

In a lot of books, movies, or TV shows, there will be a character that knows little to nothing about the subject at hand. Most cop shows and medical shows will have someone who doesn't know very ...
15
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6answers
1k views

How to find authenticity in a character of color

I am working on a book. I am aware that, being a white guy, I always perceive characters as white men. I want to push myself into building a character that is black. My problem is that most of the ...
22
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11answers
44k views

Software for developing and organizing characters

I'm looking for a software that helps me develop and organize the characters for my novel. What I want: something like a filesystem, with a file for each character it should have or allow me to ...
29
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14answers
18k 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, ...
17
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8answers
6k views

How do I better handle my nameless main character when trying to retain mystery?

I have written a short story, and the main character is referred to as "he" right the way through - the idea being that this character is very guarded and mysterious. My plan was to not ...
8
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6answers
5k views

How do you write a story about a team?

There just isn't information about this on the internet (at least that I could find), so I'm here. A few specific questions: how many team members should there be? Should they all be main characters, ...
6
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7answers
6k views

First Person vs. Third Person: Advantages and Disadvantages?

My name is Alex and I'm writing a fantasy novel. I don't know if I should use first or third person narration. First person writing is good for protagonists and important characters, but third ...
35
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10answers
12k views

How to write female characters with agency?

I'm attempting to write a novel, an historical fiction with a small fantasy component (time travel through a portal). The travelers (main characters) are a young couple from the late 23rd Century who ...
38
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7answers
3k views

Getting Inside Someone Else's Head

A common problem for novice fiction writers, and one that I feel that I myself haven't quite graduated from, is always writing characters who are like the author. Each character is merely some facet ...
24
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5answers
2k views

How to avoid hearing “that's me!” from your friends when they read your characters?

I recently asked about getting inside of someone else's head for writing good characters who are noticeably different from myself and received some great answers. One answer suggested that you should ...
13
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4answers
2k views

Ways for main character to influence world following their death

The main character of a story dies before the story itself ends. Nothing new here, you can keep a story interesting following their death. But I have an additional requirement: The dead main character ...
11
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3answers
1k views

Should my readers be able to identify with the bad guy?

I'm in the process of defining the characters for a novel. It is a crime fiction, with a really strong focus on the characters. I hope to construct really rich, complex and clearly defined characters. ...
16
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8answers
6k views

How do I make an ESL character sound realistic?

I have to write an assignment in which there's an English character talking with a English as a Second Language (ESL) character. It is turning out really, really badly. I have a general idea of what ...
12
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3answers
743 views

How to give characters a unique voice

When writing dialogue all the characters sound the same. I'm not sure I even know what giving a character a voice means, but my dialogue sucks so any advice will be greatly appreciated.
7
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3answers
6k 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 ...
10
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2answers
2k views

How to do research to write characters from a different culture?

Let's say I'm French and I'd like to write a Korean character. How can I build their personality traits, values, etc. in a realist way? I'm afraid to end up with a character only superficially ...
40
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7answers
4k views

How does one write a character smarter than oneself?

How does one write a "genius" character? I don't mean a scientific genius, or someone who is a prodigious talent in math or chess or something like that. I mean the following scenario (or an ...
20
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6answers
817 views

What are some ways to get to know your characters?

For example, I have recently taken to analyzing all my characters within the scope of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. I already had my characters in place; I just used this test as a tool to get in ...
14
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7answers
3k views

How to invest readers in a story that (initially) has no clear direction?

The main character of my novel (third person limited) is an outlaw, on the run from government agents and living from day to day trying to survive. In the first quarter of the story, she doesn't ...
11
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8answers
6k views

How do I write sexual tension between two characters?

So. This is one of my first projects, so I have to ask this. The story takes place in a dystopian future, where a young man and a young woman meet each other. They then try to overthrow the tyrannical ...
14
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6answers
4k views

How to write a Complete Monster?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with TV Tropes lingo, a Complete Monster is the worst kind of villain imaginable: one that is evil to the core and has little to no redeeming traits whatsoever. ...
10
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8answers
3k views

How to make a character's personality trully distinguishable/memorable?

Before anything, please pardon any grammar (or other kinds of language) mistakes I might make, for English is not my mother language. I'm making a fictional world, medieval-like with a wide variety ...
20
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6answers
3k views

Not projecting myself onto my characters

I have struggled with mental illness for my entire life. Writing has been an extremely helpful and important mode of self-expression for me, since I was little. But recently, I feel like my writing ...
29
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13answers
7k views

Painting ritualistic murder in a “good-guy” light?

My good guys murder people. They slowly carve runes onto them to help defeat the bad guys. Sure they try to use "society's worst" people for the rituals, but realistically that doesn't always happen. ...
5
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7answers
898 views

What to avoid when writing a villain? [closed]

The villain so far has only appeared in two chapters. However now he's making a return in a chapter which is mostly about him, his actions and his past. Now. What are mistakes I should avoid when ...
28
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11answers
7k views

How to make the villain relatable/human without making the hero seem like a monster for killing him?

I have a story I'm writing which has a villain that, in order to make him more human/developed, I gave him a relatable, tragic and/or disturbing life story, gave him plenty of reasons to be who he is ...
4
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6answers
1k views

How To Develop A Character For A Character-Driven Story?

What is essential for a character-driven story - except, obviously, appearance?
9
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3answers
940 views

How to write about an emotion you never experienced?

Is it possible for a writer to describe realistically a never felt emotion? For example I have never experienced faith, or being truly in love. I've never physically hurt anyone and have no idea of ...
6
votes
2answers
242 views

Doubt about a particular point of view on how to do character creation

Of course developing a character is quite an intimate process. But still, like a story, you can in fact have some tools that give you some sort of axiomatic path on "how-to". There is a TV ...
3
votes
5answers
320 views

What is an easy way to create a detailed character profile for a short story?

What is an easy way to create a detailed character profile for a short story? I'm new to this Stack Exchange, and need help creating an organized character profile, with the information I have on my ...
3
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4answers
3k views

What is the Purpose of an Inner Conflict?

I've long known what the purpose of inner conflict is. Indeed, it was one of the simplest concepts for me to grasp when I was learning about it. Now I'm not so sure. I seem to have developed a dual ...
13
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8answers
6k views

“The more fleshed out the character is, the more the reader will care about him”. Always true?

I have a problem with the protagonist of one of my stories. In the story he's in, he dies at the end (self-sacrifice), so I readily made sure to flesh him out the most possible, because, at least in ...
9
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6answers
2k views

What are the basic elements of a crime investigation story?

I've been delving a lot into the the crime investigation genre, and at first I thought "Simple, just start of with Who, What, Where, When, Why and How and you've got yourself a story!" but I quickly ...
5
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5answers
4k views

Is it illegal to imagine a real person for a fictional character?

There are times I meet someone for a brief time, maybe a couple hours, and their personality impresses me enough to create a fictional character about them. Obviously I am adding my own attributes to ...
5
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6answers
4k views

How to write from a cat's perspective?

I want to write a short story from the perspective of a cat who wants to kill a bird that extremely annoys her. Just like Tom is trying every time to kill Jerry or do something to him. However, I don'...
4
votes
4answers
218 views

Can I use prominent people in history to as characters in my fiction?

I am a little puzzled. I want to set my story in a real era that happened; like say, the American civil wars during Lincoln's time, and involve the then prominent figures like Lincoln and McClellan as ...
2
votes
1answer
179 views

Realistically writing culture shock for this character?

I wanted help writing a character for my setting. Basically, in this story I’m writing, I have a character named Christina. Basically, she lived in an underground bunker, in a post-apocalyptic world, ...
6
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2answers
419 views

I am losing significant word count in the second draft of my novel. How might I use that space to deepen the characters and story?

I have a word count goal for my fantasy novel (climate fiction/fantasy) of 100 - 120,000 words. It doesn't need to fall in this range, but that is the typical length of books I read when I pick up a ...
6
votes
6answers
417 views

Early investment in a character who “learns better”

I'm looking for ways to build early reader investment in an unlikable character who "learns better," but not until fairly late in the book. In particular, I'm writing a first-person middle-grade ...
5
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3answers
399 views

Are there times when delayed character development is acceptable in fiction?

In my screenplay, I have my female protagonist wear Prada, and perhaps drop other hints of her character, but not act like Miranda Priestly for the first two acts, until she gets a promotion at the ...
4
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5answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
197 views

Doubt about the concept of “true (or complex) character”

Following the answer of @Cyn and my comment (on Doubt about a particular point of view on how to do character creation ): I would like to know more about how to "know" more about a true alived ...
1
vote
1answer
94 views

Writing Longer Flashbacks

In my story my MC has suffered a severe injury and has no recollection of who he was before it occurred. He knows what happened and where he was when it occurred as he was told by the people who found ...
26
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7answers
13k views

Signs of Bad Character Development

When creating a character, what red flags would show me that I'm creating an unbelievable or unsympathetic character? I know that to be believable and sympathetic a character must not lean too much ...
48
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12answers
18k views

'The Chosen One' paradox

In many books novels or other forms of fictional writing, the reader is introduced to a so called 'chosen one'. This character or being is of higher power or in general, of different nature than other ...
22
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3answers
3k views

How do you make a character quintessential, but not cliched or cartoony?

I think it's hard to make a character standout and embody their traits without becoming cliched or cartoony. How do you do this? What are some tips to enlivening a character and making them memorable?
42
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13answers
17k 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 ...
19
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8answers
3k views

Characters that take on a life of their own

There are definite advantages to writing comprehensive character maps, but one downside that I've found is that when a character is fully fleshed out, she/he tries to take on a life of her/his own and ...
12
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3answers
2k views

Finding the 'voice' of a character

This is a very general question that I want to throw out there just to get some insight into different approaches used. I have my own, but am intrigued to know what others might try. I'm wondering ...
22
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3answers
3k views

How/When to create deliberately boring characters?

Among a million other ambitions under the general heading of "Writing," I have this fantasy where I write a major series, several books long with a giant cast. But I started thinking. In giant series ...