44

The kinds of criticisms you are encountering are not aimed against the concept of the hero having a love interest. They are aimed against female characters that that exist only as a motivation for the hero, and that are, as a consequence, generic, cliched, stereotyped, unrealistic, and unsatisfying as characters, particularly for female readers. At one time ...


25

A love interest is not the only reason to risk life and limb. IRL there are many stories of people risking life and limb to save children, sometimes losing their life. In psychology there is a real phenomenon, primarily involving young adults in their teens or twenties, of taking insane risks to save a child they don't even know. Daniel Goleman documents ...


19

Here's an easy test: if for all intents and purposes the woman in your story could be replaced with a golden chalice, you're in trouble. Someone stole the guy's chalice, he wants to get it back. Someone crashed the guy's chalice, he wants revenge. Worst offenders are the "if you save the princess, you can marry her" stories - there the woman is literally a ...


15

Let's take a look at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in the Lord of the Rings: First, we have the Rohirrim. Among them are Theoden, Éowyn, Éomer and Merry. Then we have Minas Tirith, with its various forces, and with Gandalf and Pippin as focal point characters. There's the events inside the city with Denethor, and there's Imrahil outside. In the middle ...


13

Is the illogic absolutely necessary? Is it imperative to some aspect of your story that your villain's internal voice be self-contradicting and irrational? Many mental illnesses can be represented in fiction just by establishing an incorrect yet fanatically held belief in the mind of the afflicted. It is not necessary to damage the afflicted's chain of ...


9

It's a great question --writing and editing are definitely two different skills. I think the editing quits being boring and tedious when you start to take pride in it as its own thing, not just the hoop you have to jump through to get your work out there. Perhaps think of it this way: When you dig a diamond out of the ground, it just looks like a rock. It'...


8

You need to distinguish between payoff for the character and payoff for the reader. The character may or may not get the payoff she wants --your contract isn't with the characters, but with the readers, they are the ones you owe the payoff to. Throughout your story, and especially at the beginning, you as the writer are making a host of promises to the ...


7

I'd make the villain reflect on or discuss his own illogical actions. It makes it clear to reader the villain is acting illogical, and that he is not able or willing to restrain himself any more in order to act logical. Feelings like frustration and anger in combination with stress can bypass rational thoughts. A strong psychological trauma can drive ...


6

I think the real answer is, fall in love with the nuance of language and how it works in the reader's mind. I often mention the book, Make Your Words Work, by the late Gary Provost -- amazon link, because it is the book which most helped me fall in love with how words on the paper transform into images in people's minds. Don't view the editing process so ...


6

Let me reach for that resource and hope I don't sink in the process... For The Evulz - he's a destructive force, a person who "likes to watch the world burn". No deeper reasons, no hate, no revenge. Simple love for destruction. One I can't find the trope for, "Burn down a national park to steal a bag of french fries": the disaster and resulting chaos was an ...


6

Ensure there's enough objective external cues to indicate precisely that. For example, did his throat start to sting or his eyes tear up when he saw his enemy in pain? In addition, perhaps have him confuse his feelings for a similar, but considerably less friendly feeling, like pity. You can get creative too, talk about an internal conflict using his ...


5

Some possibilities: It was an accident. This would give him something to cope with. He works at the site, and his neglect or incompetence or other personal failing caused the problem or made it worse. He works at the site. He tried to get his superiors' attention about problems at the site. Though he did not cause the accident, he believes that he allowed ...


5

One note of encouragement: First drafts suck. This is practically an iron law of writing fiction. Don't worry if, after you sit down and write something out and then re-read it, the thing doesn't hang together. First drafts never do. Being a writer is about being a re-writer and editor; first just get your ideas down and then go back over and fix them. ...


5

Negative feelings resonate in humans more strongly than positive ones - but a positive spin is needed for long term motivation Humans have a tendency to value what they have, and therefore what they might lose, higher than what they may achieve. This is important from an evolutionary point of view, because when we have everything we need to survive and see ...


5

I can see three reasons for a murdering protagonist to be appealing: 1. the ethical struggle between law and what they perceive as right Presumably, your protagonist killed the politicians for a reason. Maybe they felt that for some reason killing them was their moral obligation. Maybe it's a revenge story. The reader might not agree with the murder, but ...


5

If this is done from a POV that allows the reader to experience the character's thoughts directly, immerse us into his world view enough that the we the reader can understand why, to this character, this makes sense. His actions or logic don't have to make sense to the rest of the world or to someone without the character's particular world view. But it does ...


5

What you're describing is a trope known as Broken Pedestal (tv tropes link). It describes the painful disillusionment with someone the MC considered a role-model, or otherwise a person to be respected and admired, until discovering that character's "true colours". Such disillusionment can be a powerful motivation, and often a source of conflicting emotions: ...


5

properties [of] a generic main character of character-driven/psychological novel Short Answer: A very long list. Oh, and a degree in Psychology helps. Long Answer: Assume that you are an MC in such a novel. What makes you an individual and, therefore, will make the character a deep, fully fleshed one? Let's ignore the physical appearance for now, and ...


5

I think it's like this: a normal person wants a lot of things: a new car, a raise, sex, some peace and quiet... When something dramatic happens, a person suddenly realises what's really important in their life. It sort of crystallises, and everything else becomes less important. For example, if there are rockets falling on my house, getting that new dress ...


5

I think the problem is you misunderstand what a "driving want" is, based on many of your examples. A driving want is the compelling desire that moves the character through the story. It doesn't have to be the entirety of their existence though, and most of the time it isn't. It's just a foundation that you build into your character to make them realistic and ...


5

I never used the snowflake method myself, even if I gave it a look sometime ago. The problem with your abstract and concrete goals is that one is the specialization of the other. After all "killing X because it did Y" is just a particular instance of "vengeance". So they are basically the same goal. Another problem with this is that the abstract goal ...


5

The key is to write a person, not a pet dog in the form of a female companion / love interest. A person is a complex, with aspirations, motivations, interests, and a personality. And now you have this complex character, should she still be with the hero? As a writer, you need to write that. And writing a love interest is not easy, not even for good ...


4

This may seem a bit unorthodox, but if you'd like to see a very good example of an antagonist with believable motivations, the character Jack/Handsome Jack from the Borderlands video game series is an excellent place to start. This example may be a bit more outlandish/extreme than what you're going for (at least from what I can extrapolate from your House ...


4

You are on the right track, but apparently your showing was not explicit enough. A possible problem might be that you have a perfectly fine image of the mother in your mind, but you never communicated it clearly. Have you described the actions of the mother? The choices that made her the kind of person she is? The things she valued and the things she did ...


4

I guess this depends on your definition of "trust", so I will offer two takes on that. First, trust is most easily earned when it is least necessary: The more open and transparent one side can be, the less need there is to "just trust them". If I can see, somehow, that you have no rational reason to betray me, harm me, or rob me, I have no rational reason ...


4

Yes, we are all murderers at heart. We are all killers at heart, for food. Some evolutionary scientists believe we would not have evolved brains without eating meat on a regular basis; regardless we are particularly well suited to long distance running which is probably how our earliest ancestors in Africa hunted: Running all frikkin' day, chasing animals. ...


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