115

Yes, agnostics and atheists can do anything they want with religious language! I am another atheist, and a practicing scientist at a university. I don't regard any entity in any religion as real or sacred, and have no problem speaking of them. I know many religious people, including half my extended family, so I am conscious of not offending them, but I don'...


34

There are two ways religious concepts appear in speech. First, there are common expressions: "Oh my god", "go to hell", etc. Those are a natural part of our speech, we hear them all the times and do not give them much consideration. An agnostic or an atheist is likely to use them the same way, without giving them a second thought. You can use those freely. ...


33

Jane Austen is the master of Free Indirect Speech, a 3rd-person style where the narrative voice becomes the direct thoughts of a character. In your example it would work something like: John hated them. Slimy, wretched creatures! It's an immediate, emotional style, that bypasses the "He thought to himself…" and states the character's opinion as ...


31

This depends on the narration. If you have a third person omniscient narrator then they usually would describe things in a fair and even way. Most modern writing though does not use an omniscient narrator. Most writing is done in third person limited. In third person limited the camera stays consistently over a specific character's shoulder for often at ...


28

This depends on the character. You're quite right to realize that the set of images a character will use, should depend a lot on that character's "inner lexicon"; on the particular imagery that character would plausibly reach for and use. It makes sense that, when feeling unsteady on their feet, a sailor might think "like during a storm," a city-dweller ...


17

Some people see beauty in the world outside of the perfection of conventional beauty standards that Hollywood portrays. Have your narrator fall into this category. (Okay you already decided that, so how do you do that?) Simple, describe something typically seen as a flaw or an imperfection and describe it in a loving way. Don't ignore the imperfections. ...


15

There are many ways you can tackle this question. Some considerations would be how close your narration is to the MC, how the MC thinks of themselves, and how you want the reader to think of her. Let me give you some examples of how different authors treated the question, and you can see which approach fits your story best. One famous example of the MC ...


14

There's multiple pitfalls to consider here: The first is the Uncanny Valley concern you mention in the OP - actually being able to write in the style of the time period to a suitable level of accuracy. Depending upon how far back you go it's not going to be far off attempting to write in a foreign language like a native speaker! By no means is this ...


13

This is called "close third-person" POV. It's kind of a hybrid where you present the world in the third-person, but from the perspective of a given character (as you would do in first person). It's a common technique, and one that is perfectly fine to use. The major warning is that you need to be cautious if you are switching back and forth between this ...


9

The readers only know what you tell them. If you want the reader to realize your narrator isn't telling the truth, the truth must get to the reader around your narrator. Your narrator can be caught in an outright lie by another character, and has to either admit to it or weasel out of it. An event or series of events occur (the narrator gives a note to a ...


9

When the reader is the focal point, it is called second person.


9

As Amadeus's one and other answers have pointed, atheists do use religious vocabulary in real life quite often. However, please keep in mind that anything you write can be used to convey some idea to the reader. If being an atheist is an important feature of the narrator, you can underline that feature by making him not to use religious language at all, ...


9

In art, there are essentially 2 ways of creating a new work in an old style. RETRO – attempts to preserve all aspects of the old style, including the themes and techniques that were appropriate to the time. a "retro-noir" film will be set in Los Angeles in the 1930s. It will incorporate themes that were explored in the original works, like political ...


9

The examples you bring are of food taste described badly, as @MarkBaker explains in great detail. Those descriptions fail to evoke what they're supposed to evoke, and instead take your mind to all kinds of unintended places. But should food be described at all? Why shouldn't it? We describe sights, sounds, smells - why not taste then? Of course, we do not ...


8

No, you can only do that if you're making some sort of break or shift in narrative style. If the story switches to a dream, for instance, or if the characters enter a Fae realm or another universe where they perceive time differently, you might be able to get away with it, but in English prose, if you're not literally going somewhere fantastical, your story ...


8

Yes, it breaks the rules you learn about writing, but it is possible. You seem to have a clear reason as to why you want to do it, which is a good start. In the novel "The Queen of Attolia" by Megan Whalen Turner, there's a fantastic example of switching viewpoints in the middle of a scene. She does it (IMHO) so smoothly that the reader barely notices. ...


8

Use the real name. I do this all the time, in my current writing the main character (a female) is often spying to gain information, and pretends to be a fictitious person to do it. My narrator always calls her by her real name. She introduces herself by her assumed name and responds only to it. She never uses her real name anywhere but in her real life. ...


8

Prove her wrong; have her contradict herself You can initially illustrate that your narrator is unreliable by having her assert that she's the last person on Earth - and then show that it is not true. Eris had convinced herself that she was the last person on Earth until the group of survivors picked her up Put doubt or conflict into the narration ...


8

Describe the scene from a person's point of view. You say this: these characters travel back in time and across the world If I were to travel back in time and across the world, then I would use vocabulary that I know. If something looks like a hole in the ground to me, then I'll describe it as a "hole in the ground". If people defecate in this thing, ...


8

If you're internally consistent this can work. A variety of books are first person, or a third person style that shows the character's thoughts enough that it has the intimacy of first person, but the character doesn't survive the book (or series). There are countless examples. I just finished a trilogy told in first person, past tense, where the main ...


7

Good question! This is called free indirect style. Now you know the name, you'll find lots more about it on Google. The description I've linked is probably the easiest one to start with. Hope that helps.


7

I think it is extremely important to keep all content of the book including the narrator not have any anachronism. This is unless it's meant for specific effect like comedy, time travel,or some sort of modern reflection, Keeping the reader emerged in the work is one of the most important parts of creating a good narrative. Any references outside the work ...


7

Yes, you can. Because you do not believe in God does not mean that you don't know the concept. I am atheist and I wrote some auto-fiction where I wished to access God's Library.


7

If I say that something is stuck as tight in a rock as the Sword in the Stone, it doesn't mean that I necessarily subscribe to the literal truth of the legends of King Arthur, it just means that those legends are part of my culture. The same applies to religious metaphors and similes.


7

It all depends on your narrative voice, and how sympathetic the narrator is to the character. she absolutely intends to become a new person each time, and sees herself as a "Jane" then a "Dolores", etc, at different points of the story, but I don't know if it would be clear enough for the reader. The narrative voice should confirm the new identity, not ...


7

I have a character named Alexander and the name form he thinks of himself as at any one time reflects his mood and the relationship of those around him. To his sister, he is Alex or Xander, rarely Xan - though when angry she calls him Alexander Nicolaus. When he is with her, he thinks of himself as Alexander or Alex and is called such by me. When he is ...


7

TL;DR: First-person protagonists are never all-knowing, but if they're telling the story after the fact, they can know things they haven't been told yet. First-person narratives come in two flavours: past-tense, where the narrator is recalling events that have already happened; and present-tense, where the narrator is describing events as they happen. Past ...


7

Is this considered a bad writing habit, or is it all a matter of opinion? I consider it mediocre writing. I don't think it is possible to write actual taste experiences, at best you can refer to things your readers may remember having done, or compare things they should remember. I'll agree with Mark Baker, food doesn't run wild, or explode. When you find ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible