131 votes
Accepted

Is no religion a bad thing?

You're looking at this from the wrong side. Your goal isn't to include or to represent. Your goal is to tell a story. The story should contain all the elements that it requires, and nothing but the ...
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113 votes
Accepted

Is the "hero guy saves girl" trope misogynistic?

This is a matter of opinion; personally I don't find it sexist. People have genders, and sexual orientations, and they have to mix. We stray into sexism when we pile up too many tropes. In your case,...
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  • 92.1k
103 votes

Is my story "too diverse"?

I don't think it's alienating, but it does press my suspension of disbelief a bit to have such a large fraction of the cast be LGBT characters. Gays are something like 3-5% of the population, with the ...
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  • 1,331
77 votes
Accepted

'The Chosen One' paradox

It's not a paradox - it's a choice You, as the author and creator of your specific fictional world, have the choice to define which of these statements is true. There is no inherent reason to assume ...
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  • 5,586
75 votes
Accepted

Avoiding the "not like other girls" trope?

If you want to avoid showing a character as "not like other girls" then make sure your "other girls" aren't stereotypical. The trope shows up with female characters who don't fit in. They don't have ...
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59 votes

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

Since the subject matter on which the character is an expert is specific to the world that you created and not related to any real world knowledge or faith, you already know everything there is to ...
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  • 10.7k
57 votes

Does this scene fail the Bechdel test?

The Bechdel Test has three rules: It has to have at least two [named] women in it Who talk to each other About something besides a man Some people who try to apply it use "man" in the romantic sense,...
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52 votes

Is the "hero guy saves girl" trope misogynistic?

In general, if you can swap out a woman for a precious object and the story remains mostly unchanged, you should attempt a rewrite. The most important thing here is to give the character her own ...
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  • 658
50 votes

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

Show his religious practices more and his explicit beliefs less. What does a devout Catholic do? Probably he doesn't spend all day talking about his beliefs; instead he lives them. He tithes. He ...
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49 votes

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

Your protagonist is not the only iron the mentor has in the fire In Avatar, the Last Airbender, Uncle Iroh is a powerful and interesting mentor character (with his own complex arc). He has his role ...
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  • 7,891
48 votes

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

I also have Asperger Syndrome. Before I explain how I "write around it", let me talk a little about showing and telling. Writing isn't what it used to be, and I don't mean that in a bad way. ...
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  • 9,517
45 votes

Is my story "too diverse"?

After the OP's edit, 4/300 characters is not "too diverse". That ratio nullifies all the answers here. In the age of Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy, it's probably not possible to be "too ...
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  • 24.3k
45 votes

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

To be honest, your question has me scratching my head a little. You've described your character as a person with no qualms about manipulating others, all while putting on a sweet face to the outside ...
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44 votes
Accepted

How important is writing for games?

Excellent writing is one of the primary selling points of some games - but it is by no means necessary. It can even be counterproductive in some situations. There has been research into what aspects ...
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  • 2,129
44 votes
Accepted

How to write female characters with agency?

On "Jo Writes Stuff", Jo has produced an epic analysis of whether or not a character is a "strong female character"; and a test to go with it. Here is her instructions on How To Use The Test. She ...
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  • 92.1k
44 votes

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

I am not on the autistic spectrum, and I confess that it is not obvious to me to what extent and in what manner you plan to characterize your character. On the other hand, I think that your problem ...
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  • 10.5k
43 votes
Accepted

How soon is too soon for a redemption arc?

Monica's excellent answer provides you with the how, but I'd like to touch on when, since you asked "how soon is too soon?" The rough answer is "It's too soon if the villain hasn't earned it." Your ...
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42 votes

I feel like most of my characters are the same, what can I do?

You talk of your characters as one or two basic characteristics, and that's it. That's where your problem is. There is more to a person than a short tag. Think about your friends. Chances are, you can ...
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41 votes

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

This is far more personal a question than you might think, because it depends entirely about your voice as a writer. Let me take your example and give you examples based on it. (it makes sense, if you ...
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  • 5,431
41 votes

How to write female characters with agency?

Woman here. :) I think what your female character would struggle with most is that suddenly she does need her man beside her - for safety, for being treated a certain way by other people, etc. It ...
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41 votes
Accepted

Choosing between two people in a romance?

There's another character in this equation: the MC. It's why this is called a love triangle rather than a love-decision or a love-fork. Relationships are not like ordering "chicken or fish". The MC ...
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  • 24.3k
39 votes
Accepted

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

Thought one: To my mind, a "token character" is one who can be completely described in one sentence. If after reading your book you gave someone a quiz, like reading this book was a school assignment, ...
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  • 25.2k
39 votes

Disposable Characters

Your premise is flawed: the characters that are killed are not disposable in the sense that it doesn't matter whether they are killed or not. Quite often they are peoples favourites, which makes them ...
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  • 5,586
38 votes

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

I found a very elegant reduction of alignments in a Tumblr post: I figured out a simple guide to the alignment chart last night: Lawful: Rules matter more to me than individuals.
 Chaotic: ...
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38 votes

Doubt on the trope "power trio": what are their psychological basis?

Power trios are often "Freudian trios." One of the best arguments I've seen about the psychology of power trios is that each trio has a character that loosely represents Freud's ...
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  • 8,622
37 votes

Is the "hero guy saves girl" trope misogynistic?

Answer: It depends on the execution. What makes this misogyny is if the sister is in the story (solely) to allow Edward to be a hero. If she is a throwaway character who serves only to provide a prop ...
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  • 23.5k
36 votes

How soon is too soon for a redemption arc?

The light is inside him; it just needs a path out. Not a big gaping doorway that opens all at once, but small tendrils. Think "many drips carve a rock", not sudden change. How do you do that? In a ...
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35 votes

Dead parents: something to avoid?

Young protagonists are often presented as orphans, because it gives a plausible reason they might be fending largely for themselves. For adults, on the other hand, there are many possible other ...
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35 votes
Accepted

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

When I was a kid, I was bullied a lot, and I don't usually see accurate depictions of bullying in the media. The bullying I suffered was mostly verbal, but some was physical. What adults don't ...
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  • 8,733

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