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When writing traveling scenes, I often think of bickering couples. I like my characters to have a friendly argument about something completely silly, and take it too far, than make up. However, I also believe that every scene should contribute to the story as a whole, even something as simple as character development, if such a thing could be called simple. ...


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No one needs a back story. Absolutely no one. Not even the major or even main protagonists Hermione (Harry Potter series): Her backstory is paper thin. Daughter of a muggle dentist. (very much doubt the author thought much beyond that) Bilbo (lord of the rings) Hobbit from the Shire (very much doubt the author thought much beyond that) Frodo (lord ...


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Here's a thing you need to consider, a frame challenge if you will. When setting your story in the 1950s, or in the 1920s, or even in the 1800s, your characters can speak the way people spoke back then. In fact, we rather expect them to. But if you set your novel in Shakespeare's time, and one uneducated street child tells another "thou art a boil, a ...


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Diagnosis is hard; mirror mood with style Even with the increased sensibility of our times towards these conditions, I would still have a hard time discerning a person with BPD from a random attention-seeking drama queen. Unless you clearly state that your character has a medical condition, or mention such a possibility at some point, a medically untrained ...


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Thing about BPD is the reactions usually don't come out of nowhere, but are overreacts. I am now going to try to give the most basic example as I can. Let's say the guy is with someone he loves and feeling all mushy and relaxed because of it. Then this loved one says something in the lines of "Did you forget buying lemons?" A BPD mind goes into a spiral of "...


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Female perspective here! (The first paragraph is the most fundamental part of my answer, about creating a strongly written female protagonist. Also refer to Chris Sunami's answer and links. The rest focuses more on portraying a female character, or character of any marginalized group, in an authentic manner.) Your female protagonist is the hero of her own ...


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Ultimately audiences don't need a lot of details about most characters' history, what they do need, in order for the story to make sense and be immersive, is justifications for their actions. If a character has clear (stated) motives, reasons for being in the tale and doing what they do that is enough. You as the author will generally know far more than you ...


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First and foremost, every character requires a backstory in your mind. You need to know who they are, why they act in a certain way, how they would respond to new situations, etc. Once you have that backstory, you can decide how much of it will be revealed to the reader, at what point of the story, and whether directly or indirectly. Bits and pieces of a ...


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A backstory needs to matter to the story; in this case it probably matters to the MC; few people fall in love with a person they know nothing about. They fall in lust, certainly, and that lust can lead to true love by compelling them to pursue the object of their lust and thus get to know them personally. But lust isn't love -- If in getting to know the ...


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The word which means "protagonist" and does not have potentially unwanted connotations of heroism is "protagonist". Anything else is an excuse to not write your novel. Write your novel.


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Congratulations! Seems that you have a story with a vary conflicting, gray scale of morals. That's usually a good sign. Coming to your question, I'd say your hero is an anti-hero, or rather a revenge-driven hero. You mention him having a strong sense of justice, yet he has no problem on killing (so using any mean to an end) and it seems driven mostly by ...


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I'd call the hero an anti-hero, and the villain an anti-villain. The quick definition you get of anti-hero when you google it states that it's "a protagonist that ultimately aims for good but lacks some or most conventional hero qualities". Your hero labeling everyone helping the villain as a "terrorist" and having no qualms about killing them, even if ...


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I think this is an opinion piece, but IMO the protagonist is a hero, and the scientist is a villain, and the ending is a mixed bag. For starters, anybody trying to coerce everybody against their will is evil, a slaver, no matter what their motivations. Just because he happens to be right or happens to help people does not mitigate that evil, he forced ...


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No, it is not too much (I agree with Galastel). If you are feeling it is too much, I suspect your story is underdeveloped, or under-imagined. You need more scenes to illustrate the transitions smoothly, which means you need to invent more story, more conflicts with more emotion. It means your outline doesn't sound terrible, but perhaps you need to slow down ...


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A short story has limited space, you have to limit yourself to a few characters and one conflict. A novel is not like that. In a novel you can have plots and subplots, a multitude of characters, you can tell a story that is complex and multifaceted. That's the great strength of a novel. In your story, you seek to contrast the fall of one character with the ...


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How to write a sincerely religious protagonist without preaching or affirming or judging their worldview? At a basic level, you can't. You've already identified this character as a protagonist, meaning you are already passing judgment on him (his morals and character) as essentially good and you are expecting your readers to judge him similarly. As for ...


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I would say no. The phobias are more in the realm of irrational fears, not rational ones. So she might develop coulrophobia, but she doesn't have it just because she got raped by somebody dressed as a clown. She is more likely to fear that specific clown makeup; not the whole category of clowns in general. I can't imagine a doctor incompetent enough to ...


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To write a book you need to study first! As a Catholic, I know we are not supposed to preach all the time, but to try living as best and "rigther" way as possible and always help and forgive everyone around us. It's our habit to go to mass at least on Sundays, cofessing frequently and do charity with our friends at church. Also, you don't need to be ...


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I just have some miscellaneous observations: Secular people were much rarer then than now. What makes your character different in the England of that era is his Catholicism more than his piety. It will be important to think about how the Church views magic. Is it, in their view, all witchcraft and hence the work of Satan? Or can they come to view it as a ...


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It doesn't always happen this way- No Country For Old Men was a conscious effort by the Coens to shatter these tropes. The villain is alive and murderous at the end, the heroic old sheriff gets killed, the handsome hero/anti hero doesn't get the money, there's no love story etc


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As a Catholic, with my entire k-12 education in Catholic schools, Catholics often get some unusual portrayals in media because the United States and England a predominantly protestant (from the Catholic Perspective, Anglican is protestant, just like every other non-Catholic sect of Christianity save for Eastern Orthodox.). Catholics are also not evangelical ...


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Your task as an author is not to moralise, it is to tell a story. This may sound like an odd distinction, but what I mean by this is that the writing style should be objective even if the narrative structure is subjective. Quality fiction is similar to good journalism or history; it shows what happened and leaves it at that, explaining different ...


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Most people are largely prone to sympathize - with themselves If you're writing "close 3rd-p limited", your character will probably see himself as basically good, perhaps with occasional doubts. I'm not sure what you mean by having the narrator be mildly agnostic, since I thought close third-person limited generally involved the beliefs of the POV ...


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I think that having him struggle to reconcile his religion with his life experience, as you said, will really help with the issues you are concerned about. It humanizes the religious character and shows that they aren't so judgmental and steadfast as other books and movies would have the public believe. A huge part of religion is an endless struggle. I think ...


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What should I include or avoid in my story to ensure that the reader can empathize with this protagonist but not feel that I am either evangelizing or sending anti-religious messages? Treat the character fairly, and present the character's views as-is. If religion is not he point of the story, then simply write a character that is motivated by the ...


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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 fasts on Fridays. He attends mass daily before going to work (or wherever he spends his days). He teaches in Sunday school. He studies self-defense but it's ...


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Save the cat All the standard tricks will still work. Readers can like the protagonist through some simple actions that show he he is a kind person. Allow him to help someone in need, show a kind heart, concern for suffering, and consideration for those who would go unnoticed. Make him relatable Allow him to have (human) flaws, family, and friends. Give ...


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It's common in comedies because much of a character's humor is the personal flaw of the character being challenged and then forgotten about next episode. For example, Bart Simpson has learned many a lesson about not being a misbehaving brat of a child or how he should appreciate his sister or mother more. Cut to the next episode and it's as if the lesson ...


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Goal driven characters, and I'm thinking of one story in particular more than any other, can accomplish their story arc without ever facing their flaws, without growing as people, and without their accomplishments necessarily bringing them any true happiness. The case of Druss is particularly instructive because it's clear that he never would have succeeded ...


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Stories do not require growth of a character; there are many series (Detective series being the most prevalent) in which the MC doesn't really change much at all, even if they do have emotional experiences. They may or may not grow during the series. Often these are adventure series or "mystery" series (the main crew has to solve some mystery). You can ...


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I am not aware of a "common practice" - writers are fickle beasts who tend to disregard rules. But there's nothing that says the progression of your story needs to be "linear unless marked otherwise". The first example that comes to my mind is The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin. First chapter of the novel - the MC makes a dramatic escape from his homeland ...


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A character coming to understand that what they want is impossible and instead learning to live with what they have, is a perfectly reasonable character arc. The character overcomes something (wishing for the impossible), learns something, while their life is not perfect, it surely is somewhat better as a result - those energies invested in trying to attain ...


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Finish what you start. Your instincts are correct. The more weight you give an element, any element, the more readers are going to understand it as something that will be important later on. But, that doesn't necessarily mean that if an element is important, then you're required to build a whole subplot around it and keep bringing it up again and again! ...


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