Questions tagged [character-development]

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

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62
votes
14answers
26k 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 ...
55
votes
13answers
11k views

How do I write “Show, Don't Tell” as a person with Asperger Syndrome?

I have been told by my friends that my writing seems a bit blunt in the sense of I rarely practice "Show, Don't Tell" (SDT) in my stories. However, I personally find SDT hard because...I just don't ...
48
votes
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 ...
44
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15answers
11k views

How to make travel scenes interesting without adding needless plot diversions?

I have always had a problem with travel in my stories. Since I'm writing an epic fantasy novel, travel is a big theme as characters often have to move from where they are to where the plot dictates. ...
41
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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 ...
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 ...
36
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9answers
8k views

How important is writing for games?

I am trying to create a game that has a small plot (maybe more of a theme). The plot just describes why the characters are fighting each other. Other than that I have not fleshed out the story. How ...
36
votes
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 ...
34
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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 ...
33
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16answers
17k 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 ...
33
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10answers
10k views

Would it be cheating to change the main character's “name” partway through the story?

I'm writing a story written in third-person limited, and the main character has no real name. They simply go by the nickname they're given by the people they hang around at the time, resulting in many ...
32
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12answers
6k views

How to write a sincerely religious protagonist without preaching or affirming or judging their worldview?

I am writing a book in which one of my main characters is a devout Catholic. His struggles with reconciling his religion and his experiences in life are crucial to his character and I'd like to ...
31
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10answers
8k views

How do I tell the reader that my character is autistic in Fantasy?

I am a woman with aspergers and writing an autistic character has always been close to my heart. Fiera Allas, a fantasy powerhouse with immense power and sword skills has always struck me as autistic (...
29
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13answers
17k 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, ...
29
votes
14answers
9k 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 ...
29
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6answers
13k views

Dead parents: something to avoid?

A lot of people die in my story, some of them are parents. One of the main characters for example lost his father (and one brother) in a car crash when he was young, which he was a part of. He became ...
28
votes
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. ...
28
votes
16answers
5k views

How do you write boy & girl protagonists without turning them into a love story?

I've played with the idea of a multi-book fantasy story for years, where a female and male protagonists' lives intertwine with one another, the series running from 12-22 years old for them. There ...
28
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8answers
4k 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-...
27
votes
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 ...
26
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13answers
7k 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 ...
26
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7answers
12k 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 ...
25
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19answers
6k views

How can I handle a powerful mentor character without killing them off?

I'm writing a book series that involves people with various superpowers. One of these characters and is more or less the mentor of the protagonists. This character is the leader of the "good guy&...
25
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13answers
7k views

Can I conceal an antihero's insanity - and should I?

I have an idea for an anti-heroic sci-fi character whose character arc runs from spoilt rich girl, to a refugee in the rubble of human civilisation after an alien invasion, to crewmember and then ...
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 ...
24
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11answers
10k views

How to write a PG13 Succubus character?

I am currently writing a character that represents Lust and is a demonic entity... but to tone it down for a YA audience. I thought of trying to make them "Love-based" instead, but I always envision ...
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 ...
23
votes
7answers
5k 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 ...
22
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5answers
6k 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 ...
22
votes
11answers
40k 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 ...
22
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8answers
6k views

How can I make a “meeting in VR” less dumb?

I've written myself into a sci-fi cliche which I have never seen done well: two characters meet in virtual reality. The gist of my scene is one character has been in a pseudocoma, more aware of her ...
21
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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 ...
21
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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?
20
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8answers
7k views

What can I do if I hate my own protagonist?

So I'm writing a fantasy novel, and I have my plot fairly fleshed out, and I have my main players, my world is built, and now I've started to really flesh out my characters more. The only problem is, ...
20
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7answers
3k views

How do you earn the reader's trust?

Recently, I have stumbled upon a problem. After releasing an issue, I think that I failed to earn the trust of my readers. My analysis is that they did not have enough faith in me to make the "...
20
votes
8answers
11k 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 ...
20
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
20
votes
6answers
760 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 ...
19
votes
11answers
5k views

Do readers not like a book if it's too dark and the characters almost never win?

I started a book and although I wanted it to be dark, will the readers find it too dark if the characters almost never win? Or are a lot of readers into that? In my book the two main characters' whole ...
19
votes
5answers
11k views

How should I introduce my characters?

I'm pretty good at creating compelling characters with decent personalities and motivations. I like the comradery vibe, so they're generally already part of a posse of some sort at the beginning of my ...
18
votes
9answers
8k views

Writing a character who is an expert in something that I can't know

I'm writing a story where the main character comes back from the dead. The character is fully lucid, knowledgeable and articulate about what has happened. I want to depict the character as an expert, ...
18
votes
9answers
6k views

How to balance respecting diversity and avoiding tokenism at the same time

My project has an environmental theme. My characters eat meals, and because of the setting, this includes meat and eggs. Some environmentally - friendly friends find those scenes very distasteful ...
18
votes
6answers
6k views

Is it bad to describe a character long after their introduction?

I have a tendency to forget to describe character's appearance. But I always describe them, though often a little while after their introduction. So, how long after someone's introduction is "...
18
votes
7answers
4k views

Realistically incorporating trans/nonbinary characters

In most books I read and movies I watch, there are rarely any LGBT characters, and the LGBT representation I do see is almost exclusively gay men, with a smaller amount of lesbians and a handful of ...
18
votes
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 ...
18
votes
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 ...
17
votes
7answers
6k views

What are the signs of accidental self insertion?

I am currently writing a novel where the main character will be far more powerful than most of the people in the world and I am worried that I will end up losing sight of what I am writing and start ...
17
votes
8answers
4k views

Resolving moral conflict

Conflict is one of the most important things in driving a story. I’ve been working on my particular story for a while now, and I finally seem to have worked out a good plot, and by that, I mean the ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a quick way to know I have created a Mary Sue?

For those who don't know what a Mary Sue is: see here. The problem is, there are far too many ways a character can be a Mary Sue, as seen here. Many websites that offer tests to see if your ...
16
votes
7answers
3k views

What would a reader like to know about a character first?

Two characters of opposite sex meet in a blank room (nothing remarkable about the setting) for the first time and the reader isn't familiar with either of them. Since genre would sway the answer to ...

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