Questions tagged [characters]

Real questions about imaginary people.

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70
votes
12answers
19k views

A critic made a comment that my female character sounds like she was written by a man

I'm a man. Working on my sci-fi novel. It's meant to be a light-hearted heist caper. My main character is a woman. She's a strong and sassy character based on the women in my life, and the story ...
63
votes
17answers
15k views

Avoiding racist tropes in fantasy

I'm interested in starting a pleasure project: a fantasy story, along the lines of a witch delivering a prophecy to a king about a dangerous and deceitful foe who will overthrow him, and the king ...
61
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 ...
58
votes
4answers
12k views

What kind of protagonist or writing style is Jack Sparrow?

I want to ask about a certain style on how to present a character. I know Jack Sparrow is from a movie (and I've only watched the movies too) but I want to integrate in my writing how he was presented ...
57
votes
23answers
9k views

Choosing character names is a constant difficulty

I find it hard to name my characters. Every normal name sounds funny if applied to a product of my fantasy. If I take a common name, I may get the image of someone I know into my head. And that may ...
53
votes
22answers
13k views

How do I avoid the “chosen hero” feeling?

In many works of genre-fiction (I'm talking mainly about fantasy and sci-fi, but others genres can apply), and across many forms of media, the main characters ends up being special in some ways. ...
53
votes
13answers
10k views

How to write a character that knows a lot about explosives?

I'm writing a story where the main character makes and detonates bombs. The character could be considered a terrorist. I want to portray the character as an expert, but I don't know a way to obtain ...
52
votes
15answers
13k views

How to make the reader think that the *character's* logic is flawed instead of the author's?

Following up on my previous question, "How to make the villain's motives understandable if his logic is flawed?", how can I let the reader know that the lack of logic is on the character's side, ...
50
votes
12answers
11k views

How to trick the reader into thinking they're following a redshirt instead of the protagonist?

I'm currently planning a "magical girl" story, and I thought of an interesting way to start it, rather than launching straight into the backstory. It opens with a woman in her mid-thirties, complete ...
49
votes
17answers
8k views

How to creep the reader out with what seems like a normal person?

The person in question, though this is yet unknown, is not actually a person. Instead, they are some form of eldritch being of which we cannot comprehend. Though, they seem for all appearances and ...
48
votes
12answers
10k views

Convincing argument about something I don't agree with

In my dystopian novel, Day, the son of a fascist dictator, is trying to convince Analise, a young genetic mutant oppressed under said fascist dictator, that the dictatorship's laws allowing censorship ...
48
votes
15answers
25k views

Killing the protagonist - should it be done?

I am an aspiring author, but I have written several short 'test novels.' With each of those, it became increasingly clear how you have to develop the main character, the protagonist. After all, the ...
45
votes
6answers
8k views

How to avoid mentioning the name of a character?

I am writing a short story which features a character known only as Old Man, but there is a part of the story where someone calls the Old Man by his name. Only once, and I was wondering if there was a ...
42
votes
13answers
12k views

Averting Real Women Don’t Wear Dresses

Real Women Don’t Wear Dresses is when writers portray female characters possessing traditional feminine qualities as being less desirable, competent and reliable instead of their tomboy foils. They ...
40
votes
14answers
12k views

Do hard to pronounce names break immersion?

I have a character in my book named Jiolluav (with the correct accent, Zholl-you-of or /ʒōl-'yoo-äv/), and I've written my entire "novel" (it's a work in progress) using this name. When I asked a ...
38
votes
16answers
9k views

How do I convey that a relationship is platonic?

I've been toying around with the idea of writing a novel. The story revolves around two characters, one male and one female, and the perspective will shift between them. One of the central ideas of ...
36
votes
15answers
12k views

“Real people don't make good fictional characters”. Really true?

I came across such statement here on Writing SE and I don't agree much with it. But what I'd like to know is why would it be "impossible" to make good characters using real people. Searching about ...
36
votes
10answers
10k views

Would readers feel cheated if the villain is successful in convincing the protagonist to change sides?

So I'm writing a story where the main character is sent to kill the main villain. I have the basic world set out before me, and now I focus on story. I was planning out the main storyline and I hit a ...
36
votes
10answers
8k views

Protagonist's race is hidden - should I reveal it?

I'm currently on the fourth draft of a novel I'm writing, which features two protagonists. One of them, is, in my mind, black. I say, "in my mind" because at no point in the story do I ever explicitly ...
35
votes
16answers
16k views

How do I write LGBT characters without looking like I'm trying to be politically correct?

So I have a few characters now (two possibly three) who identify as LGBT. My problem is I'm worried that I might come across as "trying to be politically correct". How do I write about characters who ...
35
votes
2answers
4k views

What is meant by “purposeful, habitual, and gratuitous” actions?

In his "Characters" essay, Samuel R. Delany purports there are three types of actions to characters: "purposeful, habitual, and gratuitous." He also defends that, in a novel, if "a character [is] ...
32
votes
16answers
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 ...
32
votes
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 (...
31
votes
10answers
15k views

How many characters are too many?

I am plotting out a longish story, which would have the following number of characters: Main/ reasonably significant characters: Nine Characters still vital for the story to work:Thirteen Side ...
31
votes
5answers
3k views

Avoiding repetition when there are two unidentified individuals

The tall figure was overwhelmingly tall. It stood in the corner of the room. The skinny figure right beside him sat on a chair. It wasn't moving at all. The tall figure moved to the opposite side ...
30
votes
19answers
15k views

Writing a Super Intelligent AI

Something I have been thinking about recently is how to write a character who is an artificial intelligence and not have him feel human. Specifically an AI who is designed to think faster and better ...
28
votes
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, ...
28
votes
11answers
9k views

An LGBT main character, but the book isn't about LGBT issues

So I'm in the very early stages of plot development on a new story. It focuses on a (nonbinary, hence the they/them pronouns) witch named Kem who recently discovered their powers and met some ...
28
votes
14answers
7k views

Are reactive protagonists inherently a bad thing?

I'm just getting into writing and while reading about it I've found a lot of topics which claim that reactive protagonists are generally frowned upon. Reactive: Acting in response to a situation ...
28
votes
6answers
12k 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
7answers
4k views

Help! My Character is too much for her story!

A while ago, I started writing a short story for a competition. It was supposed to be about four girls in a shared student apartment. The plan was to have everyone conflict with everyone until they ...
27
votes
9answers
6k views

Do readers need to identify with fictional characters?

On the modern day many people complain about how models, actors are damaging to society because people can't identify with them. Males actors or models which are ''too'' muscular are considered ''...
26
votes
9answers
8k views

How to detach yourself from a character you're going to kill?

So, in a WW2-ish story featuring a co-ed military, I have a female soldier who is very kind and caring. I'm setting her up to be a mascot and somewhat of the postergirl. Trouble is, she dies further ...
26
votes
11answers
5k views

Writing diversity

I am writing a military sci-fi novel about an international military force facing aliens. My cast is very diverse: the MC is Yemenite-Israeli, his love interest is German, his room-mates are from ...
26
votes
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
votes
7answers
3k views

How to make characters more than the words on the page?

At the time of writing this question there are 5337 Harry Potter questions on SciFi and a further 165 on Movies. Many of these questions drill right into the character's motivations and emotions such ...
25
votes
5answers
7k views

How can I hint that my character isn't real?

How can I make a side character's tangibility open to interpretations so the audience is unsure if she's even real? My short story is about identity. My main character is being pressured by a friend ...
25
votes
10answers
7k views

Can a successful book series let the bad guy win? [duplicate]

I have a five book series and I have plotted them all out. The main bad guy wins in the end. My problem with this is my girlfriend keeps telling me that bad guys winning will make readers upset that ...
25
votes
8answers
7k views

Is an easily guessed plot twist a good plot twist?

In my post-apocalyptic novel, there are two "twists", but they're mostly tied up in each other. The first is that humans have developed different kinds of kineses, like hydrokinesis, telekinesis, and ...
25
votes
11answers
7k views

How to prevent “they're falling in love” trope

I have two characters, the male being sort of a jerk, but lightening up later in the story, and the female is...very hateful. But a person who read the first chapter asked me if they were going to get ...
25
votes
6answers
4k views

How to write a homosexual character, whose homosexuality isn't the point of the story?

I'm writing a modern fantasy novel, with a female protagonist whose principal romantic interest is another girl. I want to know how I can write her without having her homosexuality being the ...
25
votes
4answers
5k views

How to Write an Eldritch Abomination?

My trilogy features an otherworldly monstrosity called Fenrisúlfr as it's primary antagonist, whose characterisation takes cues from Nyarlathotep, Sauron, Showa!King Ghidorah, Sutekh, Makuta Teridax ...
24
votes
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
votes
11answers
7k views

Is there any way to get around having everyone in the world speak the same language? [closed]

You see this a lot in fantasy fiction, where everyone on the planet (and sometimes beyond) speaks the same language, even though it makes absolutely no logical sense for them to have any knowledge of ...
24
votes
5answers
12k views

How to describe the point-of-view character without using mirrors

In fiction, the main character is often the first person we meet in the story. Given that the story is written from his/her point of view, how would you describe what they look like? The classical ...
23
votes
5answers
8k views

Can I use the name Valerian in my sci-fi novel?

I have an Ancient Roman theme with the names of my characters, however someone pointed out to me Valerian is already a scifi character's name. Are the french comics (which spell it with an accent over ...
23
votes
10answers
7k views

Should I defend my character's appearance?

I'm in talks with a publisher about my comic book. In it, the main character is a hunter who hunts monsters, but in a way inspired by how real hunters hunt. My editor suggests that the character wears ...
22
votes
16answers
8k views

Not having any white MC's?

(For reference, I am not white. I've asked another question about race here). So I'm pretty far into writing my dystopian novel and I was reading over what I had. Something that helps me when I ...
22
votes
11answers
9k views

Is it bad to have no gender variety?

The majority of stories, movies, shows, comics, and other media I've read or seen have a pretty even split between men and women, and that's fine, I don't have a problem with it. But if I want to ...

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