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Dialogue (Elements Of Fiction Writing) by Lewis Turco is an older book from Writer's Digest Press (F+W Publications) but it is really good. I honestly read it in a day (it's not too long) and it provides a lot of good detail about getting character voices right and keeping them consistent. Our understanding of a character in a novel often comes almost ...


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My answer is relatively direct in this matter. To my mind, true equality occurs, when a person recognizes another person is homosexual, yet this information is not interesting enough to cause any kind of reaction, i.e. it is so normal that one may say, "whatever". Equality is not, "Oh, Greg, Mira told me you're homosexal, that's co cool!". Equality is, "...


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A character's death is a setting point in a story. It can be a new start for the plot or an emphasis and reality check for the reader. How you deal with this mechanic characterizes whether or not homophobia takes place: If the character dies because of fair reasons or even the very in-universe homophobia (which can be used to describe and criticize actual ...


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IMHO no it wouldn't be homophobic. Here is a sort of reductio ad absurdum example. Imagine a story set in a Middle Eastern city in the 13th century (1201-1300) with a population manly Sunni Muslim, with minorities of other Muslim sects, eastern Christians, Jews, etc. The language would be either Persian with Arabic minority or Arabic with Persian minority,...


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The answer to your question depends on how strongly the set of names is associated with the preexisting work of fiction. Not just the individual names, but the set of names together. For example, individually Romeo and Juliet are common enough names, if you set your story in Italy. However, if you name the main characters in your story Juliet and Romeo, it ...


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I’m going to challenge the framing of this question a bit. The way you’ve asked it, only a troll could answer yes. Of course it’s absurd to give writers a list of predictable dos and donts to check off—especially since the original justification for a lot of them was, “Write something different for a change.” If you want validation on that, you’re right: ...


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No, I think you're good. Since so many of your named characters are queer, it's not a case of killing off the sole token of a group, like it is with the 'only black guy dies' trope. Similarly, the villain being queer shouldn't be a problem because there's lots of other representation. And as Ash said, you're not killing her off because she's queer.


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If Saskia is his biological mother, presumably she was bisexual, not exactly gay. So although in the LGBTQ community, she was not lesbian or gay, you aren't following that trope. But that is nitpicking: The real morally corrupt element of that Trope is making LGBTQ an evil punishable by death, and since you have other LGBTQ characters in the novel (most of ...


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Homophobia is a state of mind. Actions cannot be homophobic in and of themselves, the intent (or the unconcious bias) matters. Since you do not want to be homophobic, the only way for your writing to be homophobic is if you have a bias against lesbians that you are not aware of yourself. (And to be sure, I have seen queer people who dislike gays because they'...


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Would you kill them if they were straight? If yes then you're not being homophobic, whether you're seen as being homophobic by readers and critics is a different story of course. If the death drives the story forward then its necessary and if you treat that particular death no differently than you do the death of straight characters in the same piece then ...


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Well-written, compelling dialogue does two different things simultaneously. 1. Good dialogue moves the story forward. The more words you use to say something, the more characters you use to build an impression of a social set, the more place-names or magic-system rules or historical tidbits you weigh your reader down with, given a certain amount of ...


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Every aspect of writing comes alive when it has multiple levels to it. Characters saying exactly what they mean, in a purely functional manner, is boring, unnatural, and superfluous. But great dialogue is so much more than functionality: Sound: Even in real life, some people have a tendency to speak in unconscious poetry. And in fiction, you have free ...


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Characters interrupt each other People don't always wait for one another to finish speaking (and say "over" to indicate they are done) before they start talking. To extend Amadeus answer from above: "That is a beautiful necklace, did you just get it? I haven't gotten any new jewelry in so long. I was going to buy myself something but my hus-" "I saw ...


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... what are some good ways to distinguish between them without taking the reader too far out of the story? First introduce the main character (unless you prefer to introduce the alternate first). Provide an overview that establishes some characteristics of the person. Reveal additional information about the person later to further develop our impression ...


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Treat it like a play. Read the conversation aloud. Does it sound like something the character would say? Does it build either character, plot or world? If not, why is it there? Is it something that someone would say: "Good morning" may not be building anything, but you don't want your character to sound rude either, as in walking up to someone and just start ...


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This is a frame challenge. I think your issue could also be that your characters do not have a distinct voice. A 15 years old sounds different from a 20 years old. I am not referring to the timbre of their voices, which should also be different. The vocabulary is different, the ability to articulate their thoughts is different. Even their logic, their ...


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You leave out small talk by focusing on big talk! By this I mean every thing a person says should be something at least one person in the conversation needs to hear, or wants to hear, or is surprised to hear, or if the other person ignores it, should have wanted to hear. Dialogue has consequence. Cut out lines that don't have a purpose, or aren't going to ...


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Dialog in a story serves to advance the story or develop character. I’ve been taught that dialog isn’t conversation as much as its the ‘best of conversation.’ It condenses while it evoke emotions. It informs while obfuscating falsehoods, making them seem true and vice versa. If you are unsure about your characters dialog when you work your draft, you can ...


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Writer and former editor Jenna Moreci has a great series of YouTube videos that delve into lots of different writing topics. Some of them discuss dialogue, and here are a few cherry-picked tips of hers that you might find helpful: Avoid banal pleasantries. If you're reading a story that has lots of small talk, it may have been poorly written. Small talk ...


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There isn't one, fiction, both reading it and writing it is a subjective experience, everyone sees it differently so there's no single formula that works in all cases. The best way to learn good writing is by reading good writing. You need to find dialogue that you do enjoy reading, that doesn't cause you to disengage and learn from the style of the author(s)...


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If it were me, I would pick a name with a common, well-known nickname, and then call the younger version exclusively by the nickname, and the older version by the full name --for instance, "Andy" and "Andrew." Andy was starting to think he didn't like "Andrew" very much. Apparently, as he got older, he was going to turn into an even meaner version of his ...


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Pick a name and go with it. If the fact of the new character being future Adrien isn't a secret from the reader, you don't have to worry about names that spoil the surprise. Use whatever name Adrien himself will use. He's not going to refer internally to his future self by his own name or by something long. He'll pick a name pretty quickly, because his ...


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The Magic 2.0 series by Scott Meyer has this situation with a core character (so it's not a passing situation). The narrator and the characters identify the two as Brit the Elder and Brit the Younger. When more time-travel shenanigans happen, we also encounter Brit the Even Elder and Brit the Much Younger, which doesn't seem sustainable but these are ...


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Clarify each character's motivation in the scene. The best way to keep dialog straight is when the dialog makes sense. This shouldn't be any different than any other two characters engaged in dialog. The limited-POV MC certainly won't be confused by which one of the two is speaking. Stick closely with him since he can lampshade the weirdness of talking to ...


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I think it may be solved using the same term consistently. From what you wrote: "the man", "his older counterpart", "his future self", "his older self", "Older Adrien", and "his other self". Those are a lot of synonyms. While they are correct and they do convey the idea, a reader is going to be pulled out if you change "the name" of a character every ...


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Why is it important that the reader know this fact about this character? This isn't just a rhetorical or a frame challenge question. If it's going to make it into the book, it needs to be for some reason, and what that reason is will determine how it is presented. (a) This is an important and recognized identity for this culture and world: And why not? ...


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Social innocence As has already been said, there is a large variation in what it means to be ace/aro. So this feature (based on my own experience) will not be exhibited by all ace characters. Put simply, such a person's reasons for socialising are driven by curiosity and friendliness rather than attraction or sexual motives, and they have difficulty ...


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I'm aro/ace myself, so my advice comes from that perspective. Before trying to write your character, there are three things you should consider. First, how does he feel about the act of sex itself? Asexuality is the absence of sexual attraction, and aces can be sex positive with high libidos, sex-repulsed with no libidos, or anywhere in between. A high-...


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Create a culture that recognizes aro/ace as valid sexual identities The easiest way to show that a character is aro/ace, is for the character to explicitly identify as such. This is tricky if your culture doesn't recognize aro/ace as valid identities. If there's no word for it, how do you put a name to what you are? But just because there wasn't a name ...


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A good example of this IMO is the book rendition of Brynden 'the Blackfish' Tully, from A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones. He's the younger brother of Lord Hoster Tully, who by all means seems like a man who was obsessed with uniting the realm through strategic marriages. He arranged a Stark marriage for his eldest daughter, an Arryn marriage for his ...


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The obvious way is to simply not have the character enter any relationship (or harboring any feelings for anyone, if your POV gives insight into the character's mind). However, the default assumption will probably be "straight, but not dating right now". If you want to highlight the aro/ace aspect of your character, you could explicitly raise the topic via ...


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A Master for your Student I would solve this issue by creating a Master for your Student. Either a new character, or re-purpose an existing character. In The Karate Kid, Daniel (Student) is a new kid in town, and getting picked on, escaping a few fights. But he gets cornered by six teens taking Karate, and gets beat up -- but saved by Mr. Miyagi (Master), ...


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I don’t know if he could possibly just say something along the lines of “I just don’t feel that way about people.” If so, how would I work this into a natural conversation? Show, don't Tell How does this character's orientation effect the story? Are they pressured into a sexual or romantic situation? Why would they need to say this to another person? ...


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The term for this person is the interlocutor, from the Latin. It means the one who "speaks between," and often used for a character in a dialog --for example, the Platonic dialogs --whose role is secondary to the main speaker. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/interlocutor If the person only asks questions, you could also call them the querent.


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This is an "info dump" or "exposition dump". The character doing it is Mr Exposition. (Warning: TV Tropes links.)


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Straight Man A member of a team of comic performers who plays a supporting role by helping to set up jokes and punch lines through engaging in preparatory dialog with the principal comedian. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/straight_man See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straight_man


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I don't believe there is a single term for this kind of character. The terms usually applied to those characters roll in relation to the protagonist are Foil, Confidante, and stooge -- or as I call them Chumley. The Foil serves to highlight the protagonist's qualities and make them stand out stronger by the comparison. The Confidante permits deeper ...


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I believe in this case, a 'sounding board' fits the bill, simply a person to bounce concepts, dialogue, and ideas off of. Just how some characters act as nought but mouthpieces, this one acts as nothing but an earpiece.


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There is a myriad of different ways your sergeant could be feeling and acting regarding his subordinate. He could value his former sweetheart's happiness, and thus be protective of her husband, for her sake. Both Karl May's character Winnetou and the Star Trek Jean-Luc Picard have this in their backstories. That doesn't necessarily mean that he isn't ...


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Passive-Aggressive Behavior Implement passive-aggressive actions that are apparent to the reader, yet unnoticed by the other characters in the story. It will be assumed that direct provocation may result in anger, yet the resentful character may never be pulled to action. After recognizing the passive-aggressive behavior, the reader can make assumptions on ...


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Don't do it. Compare: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beowulf_(disambiguation) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achilles_(disambiguation) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percival_(disambiguation) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_(disambiguation) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_(disambiguation) Some "established ...


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Two words: Severus Snape. Snape's backstory is pretty similar to your sergeant's: James Potter, who bullied Snape at school, married Lily, the woman Snape loved. Snape consequently detests James, and this manifests in his hatred of James' son Harry, who looks just like James. But I can only think of two occasions in the entire seven-book series where ...


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The sergeant could be unfair towards the other character while being in denial about it or without even realizing it. One example that comes to mind about this kind of behavior is Birdbox. MAJOR SPOILER BELOW


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Foreshadowing Death of a character, just like any other event needs to be fit into the overall plot of the story. That determines the satisfaction of reader. If correctly done, writer can make readers unconscious mind feel that something is going to happen without explicitly giving any details. When the character finally dies, all that invisible tension ...


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My two cents: Some of the examples others have cited, like 1984, or other similar novels like Animal Farm or Brave New World have endings where the main characters lose, but I think that's because these books aren't about the characters, they are about painting a picture of some ugly aspect of society. There's a sort of catharsis that comes from identifying ...


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Yes, provided that it were not inevitable from the outset Suspense and uncertainty are vital ingredients to many a great novel. When it comes to making a good narrative, the outcome itself is less important than how we get there. Readers are often excited by outcomes which could have gone another way but for a few unlucky occurrences (for a classic case ...


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When I was much younger, my actual "definition" of a "novel" was a book that ended unhappily. Old Yeller, The Red Pony, Where The Red Fern Grows...decades ago that was what was in the libraries, so I read them. All the examples that people are giving of "successes" are from books written many decades ago. They probably wouldn't have much of a market now, ...


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Depending on your setting and if you want your character to be more or less different from neurotypicals. You can create a new word for Aspbergers that fit your world. "When she grew up it become clear that she was a Nothlak. Many of the mages and scholars in the capital were Nothlaks, as the mages require years of studying and undisturbed concentration. ...


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Yes. A sterling example is the "Parker" series of books by Donald Westlake, written under the pen name Ricard Stark. Parker is a "bad guy" but the protagonist of the series, and always wins in the end, usually against the odds. These books challenge the notion of what a "bad guy" is, which is what you must do in your books if your bad guy is going to win. ...


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