45

Permitted by whom? The Big Book of Writing Laws was abolished in 1849. You can use any POV you feel comfortable with for any reason or none at all. Ask yourself why you want to switch to a hitherto unseen POV. Do you have a compelling reason? As a reader, I've spent the story inside the head of a character I've either come to love or love to hate. A sudden ...


44

Don't describe the character's body. Let the action and the other characters do it for you. "Have you met Lydia yet?" "No, why?" John and Andy exchanged a knowing look. "Let me just say that once you do, you'll forget all about what's-her-name". Later Without any apparent shame, John and Andy leered at Lydia as she stormed off. "Man! ...


44

On "Jo Writes Stuff", Jo has produced an epic analysis of whether or not a character is a "strong female character"; and a test to go with it. Here is her instructions on How To Use The Test. She has stopped any new analysis, but here is a list of All The Characters She Reviewed. I believe this can help you with some of your issues; just writing a post-...


41

Woman here. :) I think what your female character would struggle with most is that suddenly she does need her man beside her - for safety, for being treated a certain way by other people, etc. It doesn't matter how feminine she was in the 23rd century, it doesn't matter if she liked cooking and staying at home and having doors opened for her, being suddenly ...


27

Interesting question. Changing a character's name is definitely jarring to the reader (at least it has been to me). The best suggestion I've found to deal with that is to create tension about the name. If the reader spends half the story wondering what the true name is and building up to that, they'll want the name to be revealed, and it won't be jarring at ...


22

Read non-comedy books. Learn from other authors how to handle those things. (This is how writers learn how to write.) Also, remember that you don't need to describe how your characters look unless it's relevant to the story. In my own reading it's rare to see a character's physical bodies described.


18

Do you mean a Jekyll/Hyde plot? Such a plot twist needs some amount of foreshadowing, so that the savvy reader might suspect, while the less savvy reader would have a moment of "Aha! now it all makes sense!" Such foreshadowing can come in the form of information that Jekyll receives and Hyde responds to, Hyde doing things that would be in one way or another ...


16

Jihad: Writing is about the human condition. But the human condition is a big, messed up gnarly thing - and guess what, if you're human, you're living it. Fiction is rarely about people with nice, stable well-adjusted lives who understand themselves and others, get along well, and are generally happy. Jihad doesn't usually mean "holy war" but ...


15

As Amadeus has stated, impulse control is the greatest attribute of maturity. Additional benefits include... Being comfortable in your own skin, never acting defensive and falsely humble. Being Patient Having Emotional Stability (accepting personal failure without complete collapse) Being Confident or at least having the courage to fake it till you make it ...


15

Use the name others use for her. It's pretty standard that, if a patient can't be identified, a placeholder name gets assigned. Jane Doe (in the US anyway) is a very common one (John Doe for males). If this continues longer than a few days, the hospital staff (or the people wherever she finds herself) will come up with a nickname for her. Or your main ...


14

This seems like the kind of thing you don't dwell on, but make a few pointed remarks on; and perhaps use as tool to get around certain obstacles. Here are my suggestions in order: Figure out what the world would actually look like if you could see ultra violet. If he's a POV character, come up with some terms that kind of make sense. One science fiction ...


13

The problem I see with your writing, the answer to your question, is that you need to immerse yourself in your character's emotion. Put yourself in that emotional experience, in that moment. What do you feel? Your thoughts? Your responses? Your associations? Your visceral desires? To use your example, having just time-travelled, Celeste is supposed to be ...


13

This is a big problem for me, because I don't really get the human condition to begin with. If you are human, then whatever your experience is by definition part of the human condition. The human condition does not refer to things that all humans experience. It refers to all things that (some) humans experience. My entire life can be described as only ...


12

In The Acts of the Apostles, leading protagonist Paul is initially introduced by his given name Saul, at which point he is an antagonist to the other heroes of the story. The narrator, Luke, who incidentally has no problem switching from third-person to first-person and back at will, changes the name of this character once he changes sides and is 'given a ...


12

I think that one fundamental question has to be answered (implicitly in your mind, not necessarily explicit in the novel), and it is this: are men and women on average different in their psychologies (in your fictional world)? You said that "she is feminine," but you have to figure out what "femininity" means. One option is that of @Amadeus: Wouldn't ...


11

If you want the scene to initially be confusing, go ahead! Since it's written in first person, that's just realistic. However, keep it brief. It would probably be rather annoying to try to read through more than a paragraph of stuff that makes no sense, and readers might just want to skip it. Also, to make sure they don't continue to feel confused after ...


11

Physical measurements seldom make any difference to the plot, and (IMO) it is an amateur mistake to imagine any character, male or female, with too specific a set of measurements. Breast size, hip size, waist size, shoe size, are all far too specific, and if you think about it, this is the telling of facts, not showing the consequences of those facts, which ...


11

While I'm not qualified to advise you on this specific question, I do have some good general advice. Start by doing some research in the form of interviews with someone who resembles your character (it doesn't need to be a writer). Obviously you won't (probably!) find a time traveler, but you can talk to young women in male-dominated fields. You can also ...


11

Women, like men, are quite diverse. Some are more introspective, some are less. Some think about their feelings, and why they feel a certain way, others are more concerned with their career and how to solve that problem in the lab. Don't think of writing a woman - think of writing a person. Find out who that person is, how they think, what concerns them, ...


10

This is a scattershot answer because I'm a washed up literature student. I just finished reading Ann Leckie's The Raven Tower, which is entirely narrated by a rock. The fact that a rock is narrating the story is gradually revealed, and its unusual perspective builds some anticipation. I also recall a chapter of Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow is ...


9

I'm sure at this point someone will say, "You can't make broad generalizations about what ALL men or ALL women do or think or feel!" Which of course is true if taken literally. But we certainly can say that MOST men do X or MOST women think Y. We're different ... and vive la difference! Men certainly do have feelings and care about other human beings. The ...


9

To me, the biggest components of maturity are a significant level of understanding, based on one's own experiences or what has been observed; control over impulsivity and rash or risky actions. So a mature person is not surprised if a politician is found to be cheating on his wife; affairs among the powerful seem pretty commonplace. Even an observant ...


9

I will present the counter-point argument. It's not you, these characters are just emotionally boring – and that's ok but focus on what's interesting instead. Here's the problem. When I hear inside their heads they are distractingly someplace else, talking about something I don't care about (chess, some old professor). As a reader, I've already accepted ...


8

We can't standardise, but we can generalise As has been mentioned, there is no standard "man" any more than there is a standard "woman". Some women are into ultimate fighting and woodwork. Some men are into cake decorating and fashion. We are all different. I'm assuming from your question though that your male protagonist is more of a standard "manly" man. ...


8

The most famous example of what you're describing is Sherlock Holmes, told of course from Dr. Watson's POV. Watson never becomes the protagonist of the story - the focus is always on Holmes, Watson serving merely as his "biographer". What Watson's perspective gives us is the incredulity at Homes's conjectures: where Holmes sees a solution to the mystery, ...


8

I think you're more likely to have problems with the male character. Back then, it was relatively common that women could be the brains of the outfit. "Behind every strong man" and so on. They may not have carried a sword, but they certainly led armies. Consider the Empress Mathilda, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Lucrezia Borgia, for example. Even lower ...


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 ...


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