21

The readers need to care. If the protagonist is likable, that is one reason to care. If the protagonist is not likeable, you need to give the readers something else to care about. This is difficult, but not impossible.


21

"He's selfish, arrogant and grumpy, and tries to find blame in others for everything wrong with his life." Other than the blame, he sounds like Dr Gregory House and Dr House managed to engage people enough to survive 8 seasons on TV. I would argue that the main character doesn't have to be "likeable" as much as "relatable". If ...


19

There are many different thoughts on this. If you are writing a novel, then you can do basically whatever you want (and I'll get to that later), but if it's an academic paper, you should be more rigid with your length. For academic papers, your assumption was right-- 5-6 sentences is a good length for that paper. You won't want standalone sentences that you ...


18

You can do this, but I think you have to ask what you're hoping to achieve by doing so. When you say: The obvious answer is usually "as long as you have a compelling / interesting / engaging enough story / character then it's OK to have an unlikable character", but this suggests that all other things being equal, your character should be likable. ...


17

You can (must, really!) be passionate about what you write, which inevitably ends up with you being emotionally attached to and invested in it. But you gotta be Abraham with Isaac. Love it, but willing to sacrifice it in the name of good story telling. Doesn't mean you care about it any less, you just have to be brave enough to be mean to it in SPITE of that ...


14

Purdue OWL gives a great definition of the concept of a "paragraph": Paragraphs are units of thought with one adequately developed idea. In other words, paragraphs are not just clusters of sentences, but instead ideas. The length of the paragraph, therefore, represents how much you develop the idea in the paragraph, and the division of paragraphs ...


12

You could add a prologue that tells the backstory of what made her decide to join the militia, then skip directly to the story itself where she's already part of the group. Alternatively, you could start in media res and add flashbacks to explain the backstory.


11

What's important is that the character is comprehensible. A character who does horrible things is one thing; a character who does horrible things for no apparent reason is quite another. It's the former we typically see. Maybe they think they're doing the right thing; maybe they feel slighted by a perceived injustice; maybe they have an inflated sense of ...


11

DISCLAIMER: This is going to be more of a way to help you understand how other places have a blue and orange morality and how the main character's goals still make some sense using a children's movie. I won't be able to link everything from your story to the example, but I'll try my best to explain. WARNING: Spoilers for The Nightmare Before Christmas Think ...


10

It's good that you're starting with the story! Getting straight into the action is my favourite kind of storytelling (and I believe that's the general opinion nowadays?) I've seen this approach taken often in your situation: Slowly reveal her backstory through hints and implications in the rest of her and other people's actions and interactions You can also ...


10

This is actually quite a common problem I've seen with writers just starting out - if I had to hazard a guess as to why it happens it's because as we first learn to write language the focus is very much on constructing the sentence not the paragraph (or other larger unit). When you start getting larger units of text the flow of the whole becomes more ...


7

My personal rule of thumb is that if a paragraph reaches 100 words, I should think about either trimming it down or breaking it into two, lest I end up with a wall of text. That's just a guideline, though, not something I rigidly obey. Aside from that, I don't think there are any hard-and-fast rules about paragraph length. A paragraph should be as long or as ...


6

The famous American satirist and science-fiction writer Kurt Vonnegut advocated starting your story "as close to the end as possible." We also live in an era where most people don't have much patience for slow starts, so if your instinct is to skip the prologue, I think it's a good one. I've been working a lot lately with Hemingway's "Iceberg ...


6

Just write her like a person. There's really not much else to it. I know it may feel like girls are confusing and mysterious at your age, but honestly, in almost any situation, you should take the same approach to writing a female character as you would with a male character, with some minor caveats. When it comes to what goes on in the heads of people with ...


5

Write what you love and love what you write. I wrote a scene that provided deep backstory on my MC - it was the moment he was orphaned. I connected with his parents, though they barely are mentioned and the man who killed them - fell asleep driving his rig and woke up driving through a sedan. I wept for that driver who knew he’d killed at least two people ...


5

Cruel To Be Kind... In the right measure, passion and ruthlessness must go hand in hand. You must love your writing unless you're crazy-brilliant, and I'd argue you can't be without the passion. Nothing is sacred, however, and you must abandon cherished motifs and plotlines when the story transforms into something different. The best example I can think of ...


4

I recently read through the short story Trapalanda by Charles Sheffield. In the 25-page or so story, the main character is rather unlikeable. He is selfish, sexist, and jealous of another disabled character. These are all bad traits, but they, along with the premise, make the story interesting regardless. What's more, over the course of the story, we learn ...


3

If it's a "magic" hidden neighbourhood (like, let's say, Harry Potter's Diagon Alley) or something like that, you have total freedom to do what you want with it. If it's not, I suggest you to create a suburb (or a suburban town, they can be relatively big too) instead of a neighbourhood, 'burbs are in the outskirts and more or less far from ...


3

It seems like the reason you're asking if it's racist is because you find it "obvious" that black is in fact bad and white is in fact radiant and good. I'd recommend reading the first book of the Recluce series, The Magic of Recluce. In the series as a whole, white represents chaos, and black represents order, but especially in the first book, told ...


3

Can someone please guide me on what is acceptable and what is the most preferred? Do editors change your formatting if they don't like it? There's no hard and fast rule on what to use. Personally I've used various combinations depending on what suited the particular piece - if I find myself regularly needing harder scene breaks during a chapter (such as a ...


3

This is a really good question! Many stories have gone through phases where they start at different times or need to be reworked. Something that might work for you is writing everything before the story "starts" and then figuring out when it needs to start. For example, my character could find her true love at a bar, but the events leading up to ...


2

I don't know if "Not now" changes the depth of the POV, but I would argue that both of those last two sentences are repeating the sentence before it. If it's so close to his chance, we know he can't afford an injury right now. There's a few other instances of repetition I might eliminate that make for more concise narration. so he could catch ...


2

I was also about to quote Vonnegut, but someone else beat me to it. I think you're making the right choice at your current starting position. You, the author, think that the training is boring and unnecessary. A reader will be even more likely to be uninterested because they don't even know or like the character yet. I'd argue that it's much more compelling ...


2

You have several options: Rewrite the training so that it links back to something important. Start even later, show important things in flashbacks, or rewrite it so the important things are explored in the present. Start earlier and gloss over the unimportant parts like the training. and more... The main point is, all of these can work.


2

This is a fiction novel. Other than the restrictions you put upon yourself, there is no problem in changing some historical characters, dates, etc. The limitation would probably be that you want to strictly follow historical events, or that you were afraid of an astute reader noticing that and thinking you were wrong / no longer enjoying the story (however, ...


2

I do this a bunch and i just move around, write a chapter or two of one and then go back to the other one. I don't really plan out my story all the way to the end though, so if you plan everything then you might want to just go all the way through first but who knows. Currently, I have 5 stories in progress(although my account for my 3 fanfiction stories ...


1

Do not be afraid of cliches. They are cliches for a reason. often they're the better story ideas that fall out from whatever concept they are part of. So one solution would be to simply embrace the cliches and run them ragged. Basically to get them out of your system. Having done that, the real work can begin. This involves looking at each cliched element in ...


1

When is a stereotype not a stereotype? When you do something fresh with it and make it unique or special. Search this site by "cliche" and you'll get a dozen similar questions that may help (someone may close the question as duplicate; don't take it personally if they do). So you want to write about something that feels old and overdone to you. Why ...


1

If you feel the very last end is jarring, drop it. This is purely a Question of style, which means either all that matters is what you feel, or you might like to join a week(end) seminar for writers where you could explore the topic in useful detail. What's 3rd person POV, "close," please? What might make this "objectively…" rather than ...


1

No. He can actually be a monster with very little redeeming features and be completely unrepentant, and it can still make for a gripping story. Consider Hannibal Lecter. He is noted as the main antagonist the first novels, and becoming a protagonist in the third only, however, in all the novels he is much more of a main character than anybody else in them.


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