45 votes

Can I have a non-living thing with its own perspective?

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 ...
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44 votes

How to describe a female character's figure without comedy?

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 ...
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  • 1,692
44 votes
Accepted

How to write female characters with agency?

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 ...
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  • 91k
41 votes

How to write female characters with agency?

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 ...
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27 votes
Accepted

Would it be cheating to change the main character's "name" partway through the story?

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....
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22 votes

How to describe a female character's figure without comedy?

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'...
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  • 4,041
18 votes
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How to write two seemingly different characters that are actually the same person?

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 ...
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16 votes

How do you write about the human condition when you don't understand humanity?

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, ...
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  • 12.6k
15 votes

How would a mature teenager behave?

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 ...
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  • 10.7k
15 votes
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Referring to a character in 3rd person when they have amnesia

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). ...
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14 votes
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Colours of ultraviolet

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 ...
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  • 7,530
13 votes
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How to write internally emotional characters?

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 ...
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13 votes

How do you write about the human condition when you don't understand humanity?

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 ...
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  • 2,932
12 votes

Would it be cheating to change the main character's "name" partway through the story?

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 ...
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12 votes

How to write female characters with agency?

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 (...
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  • 221
11 votes
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Can a scene be written to be disorienting and not be too confusing to readers?

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 ...
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  • 226
11 votes

How to describe a female character's figure without comedy?

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 ...
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  • 91k
11 votes

How to write female characters with agency?

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 (...
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11 votes

How to write female characters as a male writer?

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 ...
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10 votes
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Can I have a non-living thing with its own perspective?

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 ...
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  • 216
9 votes

How should I have my male character express strong feelings?

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 ...
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  • 25.2k
9 votes
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How would a mature teenager behave?

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 ...
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  • 91k
9 votes

How to write internally emotional characters?

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 ...
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  • 24.2k
9 votes

How do I know if my character is a self insert and how do I avoid it or overcome it?

Your character almost certainly is a self-insert on some level. This can be said without even looking at your character for several reasons. All characters are, on some level, drawn from one of two ...
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  • 4,327
8 votes
Accepted

How should I have my male character express strong feelings?

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 ...
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8 votes

To what extent can a first person narrative tell someone else's story?

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 ...
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8 votes

How to write female characters with agency?

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 ...
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