Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now
33

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 really understand about physical bullying is that it's more about physical intimidation than actual fist-to-face contact. A lot of the physical bullying composed ...


30

There is a surviving account of the first meeting between Portuguese sailors and Japanese locals. What's interesting about it is that accounts of the meeting survived from both sides. The accounts go something like this: Japanese account: Those barbarians! They eat with their hands! Portuguese account: Those barbarians! They don't have chairs! You ...


26

You have two problems here: Lots of good people dying, "on stage" - in front of the children Good people killing other good people The first is dealt with very well in The Hobbit, for example. Already behind [Thorin] among the goblin dead lay many men and many dwarves, and many a fair elf that should have lived yet long ages merrily in the wood. And as ...


21

I think that you already know you have to cut it. I know you are emotionaly attached to it but, if it doesn't move the plot forward and if it doesn't help establish character,... well, as you said, it's useless. Adding text just for the sake of adding it is not a good idea. But before removing it, ask yourself why you think it's interesting. Is it because ...


20

+1 Galastel; your "barabarian" might find those towering buildings just foolish, he doesn't automatically see any advantage in them at all, they isolate people, they are hard to climb, you are trapped in them if attacked, and on and on. The same for other technology, you need to understand that he doesn't understand the problem these "amazing" things ...


15

I'm a father of four children. Two of my daughters are this age. My son is just out of that range (15) and my straggler, my youngest daughter is under it (7). Kids this age aren't just less-educated adults. They're different. Smart kids this age may have vocabularies that outstrips some adults' - but their concerns are different. They want to know how ...


15

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 ...


10

This kind of killing is never done with a light heart. While you can easily jump over the act itself, you can show the turmoil and torment that goes through the mind of those that have to execute it. While it may seem that everything happened in the spite of the moment, it is far from being believable that Moses would immediately commit to such an action ...


9

I'm not a lawyer. Any questions about specific rights, etc. should be directed to someone knowledgeable about the rules in your jurisdiction. That being said, there are a number of things that could complicate this question. For example, you say 'your children' and refer to your 'ex-husband'. Is he the father? If so, do the custody arrangements allow him ...


8

Have you spent time with children? If not, and I know it's not the easiest thing to do if you don't have kids of your own, so I'd suggest watching youtube videos of kids speaking.


8

Have you considered revealing the backstory piecemeal? If the other child survives whatever kills the first, maybe the first child will be regularly fleshed out by the survivor's thoughts, feelings, and memories of her. Instead of dumping four pages on a reader out of nowhere, consider organically weaving whatever backstory is necessary into the survivor's ...


7

As someone with a speech impediment myself (far more pronounced as a child) I cringe reading this type of dialog. If it's important to the story, perhaps you could describe the type of impediment (like mixing up w/l sounds in this case) or have another character comment on it (for example if the child is being mocked, the other character might use "wiv" in ...


7

Without being pejorative, six year olds are very shallow and (if not abused) very trusting, they believe what adults tell them. Unless they are rationally precocious, most believe (or would be happy to believe) in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Stork that brings babies, and unicorns and dragons and all sorts of Magic -- but do not take those as ...


7

Yes, you can. Most Stephen King's books have children in them. IT is half narrated by childrens' point of view. A child is innocent and generally untouched by evil, so it is a very good and interesting character for a weird tale. It forces the adult reader to look into dark themes with a "clean" or detached perspective, so an adult reader can be engaged and ...


7

I will tell you the horrible truth. Nobody actually cares if people get killed. Not even if it happens for no real reason and in a horrible and painful way. And your case is actually much better than that. So what do people really care about or what do you actually need to worry about and assure them about? Could it happen to me? In your case the answer ...


6

It's somewhat of a misconception, and a crossing of borders in audience as well. Those you've listed all fall into the bounds of Young Adult books - the target audience are teenagers and/or casual readers. The only possible exception are the latter Harry Potter books (but that is by deliberate design). All these stories are 'coming of age' stories, and are ...


6

My best advice: spend some time with six-year-olds and see how they talk. Go to an elementary school and listen to them. If that's not possible, watch vlogs or family videos. From my experience, they meander through their thought process, they stutter, they use run-ons, they mention unnecessary details, and they get distracted easily. Their speech is ...


6

A narrative work creates promises and then fulfills them. If the promises are not fulfilled this tends to frustrate the reader. One of the major promises is forward motion in a work. This is let's say unlike an 80s sitcom where every episode is expected to reset everything. One of the most annoying things an author can do is unmake progress that a ...


6

I think a reasonable response to this scenario is revolt. He kills himself the second they put a weapon in his hand. He refuses to fight at all, if that means he dies, so be it. He makes repeated attempts to kill his masters. He tries to rally his fellow captives to refuse to fight. If threatened with permanent death for refusing to comply, he accepts that ...


6

how do I write colloquial speech, without jarring too-modern colloquialisms? Fictionalize it. Just avoid the clichés that people would recognize; catch-phrases or gestures or accents, give them a twist and present your own. Even then, the general rule in fiction (written or film) is to NOT be too consistent with accented speech, but spice phrases with it; ...


6

It's your story, so you make the rules. The actions of your characters can be based on whatever the group manages to 'agree on' or whatever they dare do on their own. I'm not sure what kind of story you are trying to write, and what we are supposed to experience along with your characters. In a scenario like this, I would probably establish a certain ...


6

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 ...


5

Like Lauren Ipsum said, don't overdo it. I personally prefer a slight dialect over the example you gave, which would become cumbersome if used in more than a few paragraphs. Also, don't make their grammar perfect. I don't mean that you should use garbled grammar, but rather some slight errors, and omissions.


5

You are talking about two different things here but you are treating them like they are the same. Sheltered vs. not sheltered is different than immature vs. mature. A girl who takes care of seven younger siblings will probably be somewhat mature for her age because she is used to responsibility. If she is sheltered, she may also be rather innocent. The 11-...


5

You can only do this if the entire section is narrated this way. If you are doing the entire chapter/scene/section etc. from the five-year-old's perspective, it will work. What you cannot do is have two paragraphs in this style and then, without a scene break, switch back to a normal, adult narrative style. ETA clarification as requested: When you have two (...


5

The reader expects fictional characters to have much more "eventful" lives than real people. I once read that the average real-life policeman fires his gun at a suspect approximately once every 30 years. i.e. most policemen never shoot a criminal in their entire careers, maybe possibly once or twice. But police officers on TV have two or three shootouts ...


5

Presumably you are writing your story in modern English -- or some modern language, let me assume English for this discussion. So your "5th century speech" is not going to be the actual language these people spoke. It's going to be an "English translation". Readers routinely accept that you will use modern English grammar, vocabulary, and punctuation, and ...


5

It doesn't need to be much. Being a bully doens't actually mean that everyday of school you are pushing people into lockers, smoking cigarettes in the bathroom and carving death threaths on school desks. While those things surely give the right impression, they are not necessarily the norm. Reputation and attitude do the trick. Having a reputation for ...


5

I have 107 characters. In a single-book, standard length, middle-grade novel. There are a small handful of auxiliary characters too. Obviously, they're not all main characters. I'm not sure how many of those I have because it depends where you put the lines. I have one girl who is the main character, a secondary viewpoint character, and 3 more kids I ...


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