New answers tagged

0

Everything depends on the details of the contract between publisher and author. It is not uncommon for legitimate major publishers to demand an option on the author's next work, I understand. The exact terms vary. It is far less usual to demand an exclusive deal, and that feels abusive, but such a contract would be possible and might well be legal, even ...


2

Most publishers will require exclusive rights within some market before they'll buy your book. That means you won't be able to self-publish the same work until after some period of time, when your contract with the publisher expires and you "get your rights back" to your work. You'd want to have your (proposed?) publisher contract checked by a ...


6

Plot is the dramatization of the lessons the character learns. So, if you have to pause the plot for the character to learn a lesson, something has gotten out of sync. "Show, don't tell" may be overused, not-always-applicable advice for novels, but when it comes to life lessons, it's non-negotiable. The problem is that you want your character to ...


4

Message via story Your intuition is probably right. The best way to convey a message is via Story. The choices of people, plot and setting should/will/may tie into a message. I would continue working with scenes and action, and stay clear of the magic potions for a little longer. The best way to convey a message is by not giving the reader anything that even ...


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There's no one right answer to this question --many authors have encountered this challenge and come up with many different solutions. Here are a few: Start in the middle of the story (in media res) and then jump back to the beginning. Drop the first few chapters, and start closer to the real action. Add a mini-conflict to the opening scenes to make them ...


1

It's hard to say actually. If we go by your plan A So, in the first four chapters or so, we get to know his current situation and the world in which the story takes place through his interactions with the people around him. You can still make it interesting; I am sure you must have read at least the first chapter of famous fantasy books like Harry Potter ...


0

Dude, I think you could keep this beginning linear, so you can have an introduction where people can understand the context of the story before the action starts. Make the person understand the character so that they can feel something for him, and then like the story. If you still opt for flashback, then create a scheme for your story where those memories ...


1

For my example I'll use the character Johnny Lawrence from the movie The Karate Kid and the sequel TV sries Cobra Kai. In The Karate Kid Johnny was a two dimensional character teetering on the edge of one dimensional by a single hair. For most of The Karate Kid Johnny was a stereotypical bully. He ruthlessly beat up on the main character Daniel Larusso and ...


1

Is your character really the hero/protagonist or just the main character? The film The 13th Warrior shows the difference. Ahmed ibn Fahdlan is the main character. The hero is Buliwyf. It's his decision to go to the aid of King Hrothgar that kicks off the main plot. It's his leadership (which ibn Fahdlan sees only peripherally at times) which moves the group ...


2

Reverse the order of causality: instead of the protagonist's attempts to escape the mafia leading to the villain's defeat, have the cause of the villain's defeat provide the opportunities for the protagonist's escape. So, you have a second plot running in the background, of someone else bringing down the crime-boss: it might be the police, someone he's ...


5

Is it considered bad writing if my hero isn't the one who brings about the villain's downfall? This is quite common in historical fiction. The author has to keep the story reasonably consistent with generally known historical facts, which may not leave a lot of room for fiction in that area. If you write a story about your hero storming in and killing ...


3

Let's suppose, for the sake of argument,* that there are no legal issues and you can just do whatever you want. It's still not a good idea. If you use a real video game, there will inevitably be fans of this game. Probably a lot of fans, unless you pick an obscure game (at which point, I have to ask, why bother?). Those fans are not going to be happy if any ...


3

A protagonist should solve his or her problem personally, not just stand by while someone else does, although there may well be many people working together that achieve the solution. But the "defeat of the villain" is not always the real issue for the protagonist. Sometimes the villain or antagonist is merely an obstacle, and the real issue is ...


3

Readers prefer active heroes because part of why we read fiction is to imagine ourselves facing dilemmas, and to work through different scenarios of how we might respond. There's not as much to learn from a passive hero, whose destiny doesn't revolve around their own choices. For that reason this scenario is challenging to write well. The key is to give the ...


13

Tolkien is big on this. Smaug is (arguably) the villain of The Hobbit and is slain by Bard the Bowman, not by Bilbo, or even any of the Dwarves. Likewise, in The Lord of the Rings, Frodo ultimately fails to destroy the One Ring, and it is instead Gollum's obsession with it that carries it (along with him) over the edge into the fires of Mount Doom, defeating ...


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In this case your issue is Trademark, not Copyright. The contents of the game are used in a way that is thoroughly transformative, and in ways sufficiently different from the original this is deeply into fair use territory regarding the copyright. But if you use the title of the game in prominent ways, you're essentially riding on the fame of this game to ...


3

In the 19th century novel the Betrothed the villain dies from completely external causes. The villain is a local noble, surrounded by hitmen and practically untouchable by the heroes, which reminded me of your Mafia boss. The real closure does not come with the villain's death per se although it does allow for that particular resolution to happen. There are ...


9

Another plot-line to consider is one often used in film (Seven Samurai, High Plains Drifter) wherein the hero uses his influence to inspire/empower others to take down the antagonist. Often the others have been subjected to the villain's predations but are initially unwilling and/or think they are unable to fight back. This trope has many possible nuances ...


5

A common alternative to having the hero defeat the villain, is for the villain to be defeated as a consequence of their own actions. This makes the villain's defeat seem more karmic, and if the villain is killed in the process, it handily absolves the hero of any responsibility for their death. A well-known example would be the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark....


14

This can work, but it depends on your story The quality that makes a protagonist the protagonist is that their decisions are the primary drivers of the plot. There is a fair bit of nuance to that statement (for further reading I recommend the Writing Excuses episode Hero, Protagonist, Main Character ), but the short version is that generally speaking, if ...


17

Not at all. It's not the usual, but the fact is that the hero being the one to fight and defeat/kill the villain is not strictly necessary. Look at The Hunger Games. I think everyone was completely sure Katniss would eventually be the one to kill President Snow. Alas, that wasn't the case. And it was surprising because the novels prepared us for that, it ...


3

A few suggestions: firmament air the blue (yonder) the atmosphere ether the vault the arc (of heaven)


3

You could call it the "overhead" I suppose, but that seems rather contrived. It might be that people who spend lots of time living underwater would come to use "sky" to mean the surface of the water as seen from below. It might be worth (re)-reading Hal Clement's Ocean on Top for suggestions. In any case, if you describe the view ...


1

You could simply look at Deadpool: nearly invulnerable, ugly, entertaining. A little bit foul-mouthed, maybe, but in a charming way. ;)


3

The challenge a character is seeking to overcome should not be the thing that is easy for them to achieve. If a protagonist is bulletproof, and has no problems beyond people shooting at him, then there is very little challenge or struggle involved. Overpowered characters are interesting either because they have an even more overpowered opponent, or because ...


1

Third person unlimited! If your character is empathic (mind reader or just emotions?) you can have something very close to omniscient while maintaining limited omniscience - because your character has near omniscience when it comes to other people. I did something similar, where my MC could read minds. I treated the thoughts of others like a one-way ...


5

An invulnerable character who can't be killed is not necessarily an invincible character who always wins. Suppose there was a character with the invulnerability of Superman but no other powers, no super strength, no X-ray vision, no flight, no superbreath, nothing except they couldn't be killed. Suppose the villain call be killed but has a superpower like ...


5

There are plenty of good alternatives out for the life of death theme. Here are a few of those alternatives: Use the weaker characters The main character will not be the only character in the book. You could have the villains capture the unkillable character's family and hold them hostage and under the threat of death. Now, your character has a goal and ...


1

When it comes to "entertaining" and also "nigh invulnerable", I can do no better than refer you to that paragon of paragons; that manliest of arachnids; that superest of superheroes, the mysterious blue crimefighter known only as .. The Tick! If you do a simple internet search on "The Tick" and/or "Ben Edlund", you ...


21

Unable to be killed is not the same thing as unable to be defeated. Being captured, wrapped in chains, sealed in a box filled with concrete and dropped in the ocean may not kill the protagonist, but it should "defeat" him for at least some period of time. Also threats to others may also defeat him. A missile strike may not hurt the protagonist at ...


2

How does what you want to say relate to the invulnerability of the MC? Are you writing an adventure story (invulnerability would reduce the stakes, but raise some possibilities)? A story about depression or alienation (all of the MC's friends die and MC becomes lonely)? Mystery (you mentioned the MC isn't sure about their own vulnerability)? Not every story ...


0

It is unusual to refer to any one person as "boy" or "man". It is common to refer to groups like this. For example "Most construction workers are men" or "There is a group of boys coming over for my son's birthday party". This emphasizes the speaker is unfamiliar with the group. Likewise if you refer to one person as a ...


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When the main character is physically invulnerable, then that gives you an opportunity to highlight their emotional vulnerability. Address how his newfound superpowers affect his relationships with other characters. Don't threaten the main character, threaten the characters who are dear to him. Don't threaten the main character with physical injuries, ...


10

Over the years I've noticed that, in media with nigh-invulnerable protagonists, battles tend to follow a basic formula: A villain shows up somewhere and starts causing mayhem A weaker (but still powerful) character tries to stop them and gets their ass kicked The protagonist shows up, rescues the weaker character, and defeats the villain The initial ...


1

That character must have a moment of weakness/vulnerability. For instance, Superman is unkillable (almost). One of the greatest story of his was the one where he uses his SUPER EYE LASER. This helped him defeat this powerful foe, but at what cost? He was literally nerfed down to human level for several of hours. This allows thrilling moments to enter the ...


4

Answer in three parts, for writers with differing desires for historical accuracy. Part One: Writers who don't care much about research and history. Anyone can write a story set in historical periods and places and change anything they want to, and the historical fiction police will not come to their home in the middle of the night and drag them away to ...


0

Arghh! I feel your pain. Research is a bitch. I get the impression you're having time-line problems rather than who won the Battle of Waterloo. Getting hero from A to B in a certain time might not be possible. So what to do about it? Possibly have Fred's cousin bring the news to give the 1st person exciting account of what happened last month. News ...


2

Absolutely nothing wrong with it. If Bernard Cornwell can do it with Sharpe and The Last Kingdom, you can do it with your book. It's worth including an appendix where you discuss the differences though for those of your readers who care.


7

Shakespeare changed plenty of history in his "historical" plays. He killed off Richard-II about a decade early for dramatic effect. He freely changes ages -- searching for "Shakespeare accurate" gives plenty. A search on "The Crown accurate" (a popular historical TV show) reveals similar alterations. Sadly "Hamilton ...


4

Young man There is no need to use only one word.


17

Changing history is slippery because it's a complex weave of causes and consequences, and even an expert might not know the full picture. I agree with Zeiss Ikon in their answer, the devil is in the details, and some readers will have vastly different opinions about what this or that change should entail. That's why my golden rule when fundamentally changing ...


22

Hot Water: If you are going down that rabbit hole, you need to be SUPER careful. Writing in a historical period pretty much implies you stay consistent with history, except for the most trivial of details. I agree with Zeiss Ikon (+1), that going into alternative history is your safest bet. Establish up-front (possibly on the first page) that this is NOT the ...


-9

It is up to you how you want to refer to him as. I simply describe the character age the first time I introduce them, and then call them by the name from there on. The reason is that I use the Biblical definition of Man Male - someone who is born with the plumbing Boy - someone who is still reliant and dependent on someone else to take care of them Seriously....


19

Make it ambiguous: If the woman can't tell how old he is, she may refer to him either way. If your point of view allows it, show her having an internal debate about it. If she's not sure, make a bit of a game of it. This, BTW is a great opportunity to add a description of him, and also reveal your MC's thinking and frame of reference. She obliquely tries to ...


20

I assume you mean something along the lines of Napoleon winning at Waterloo, or the British not getting caught with their pants down at King's Mountain and Cow Pens? It's usually easier to alter your story to fit the actual historical events than to stray into the (very detail-oriented) field of Alternate History. Change historical events, and don't follow ...


18

There's no definitive answer to this question, because it depends entirely on the POV character, who exists only in your mind. How would she refer to him? My own instincts align with those of @DM_with_secrets (from the comments) --an American teenager would probably describe another teenager neither as a "boy" or a "man" but as a "...


8

You could call him a teen or a teenager, if the protagonist thinks from his appearance that he is over 13 and under 20, but doesn't know if he is a legal adult or a legal minor. You could look up definitions and synonyms of "boy" and "man" to find words which are synonyms of both. Here is a link to about two dozen synonyms for boy: https:/...


1

While in fiction the protaganist and hero are typically the same character in a story, as are the antagonist and villain, "Protaganist" does not have the same meaning as "Hero" and "Antagonist" is not a synonym for "Villain." Protaganist denotes a character who the audience and story will follow as they respond to ...


0

None of that is any way unfeasible, nor anything like that. Consider what difference yours being a post-apocalyptic world, or any of the other details, might make. Eris’ unreliability as narrator, or ability to kill; her past or her finding by survivors or liking for Caspian; Saskia’s death; Ezrith’s suspicions or motivations; Eris’ nature or anything else ...


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