Hot answers tagged

104

There are several ways to think of Jack because he takes on many, many roles depending on what the movie needs. In general, he's a walking plot device and only very rarely does he develop anything along a character arc. If he does develop, he may not be faithful to it. And his role changes from point to point as the movie has different demands. Primarily: ...


76

You don't. To put it in more words: the audience has to get attached to make the death relevant. You want her death to be a wake-up call, a touch of realism and a reminder of what war is. Sure, there is no guarantee that your audience will like the same characters that you like. But if you realize that you've grown fond of that female soldier, if you find ...


75

You can't. I mean, sure, write your book matter of fact. The advice I give out a lot. It works. But it's not just about what you say or don't say in your book, it's about the choices you make. When we've talked about diversity and racism in books we talked about how making a choice to avoid such things makes a statement. Choosing to include real-world ...


73

I simply let my character survive a wound that he shouldn't have survived, and then left a note at the bottom about what would have really happened. As a reader, this would break my immersion and ruin the story, everything after that is BS, I know it, the author knows it, and did it anyway. Change the plot point. Change the injury to something crippling ...


66

The convention is usually that the resolution of the story is the resolution of the mystery, but if you want the mystery to remain unresolved, what is it that gets resolved at the end of the story? Why does the story end when it does? You might have your protagonist coming to terms with what he's done and with the idea that he doesn't know what really ...


59

No, they are not all of them. This is a common game, there are many books claiming there are 3 plots, 7 plots, 12 plots, 21 plots, 23 plots, whatever. You could say there is only one plot: Character Has A Problem. Overcoming the Monster. The monster is the problem. Rags to Riches. Poverty, disrespect, deprivation is the problem. The Quest. Finding the ...


55

Sounds like a great idea! Seriously though: the antagonist is the single most important character to any plot. The very best antagonists have motivations and feelings that readers can understand and empathize with. A former protagonist as an antagonist sounds really good. Both the reader and the author should be in for a fun ride, because it is very likely ...


55

The Bechdel Test has three rules: It has to have at least two [named] women in it Who talk to each other About something besides a man Some people who try to apply it use "man" in the romantic sense, but it doesn't have to be. So if your scene has the two women as named characters talking about a foreclosure, it passes. The idea is not to tick off a list ...


48

Things are not as they seem. Time and again. What you present to the MC is not what it seems to be. It requires your imagination to figure why it isn't. You can conceive of a problem: Then try to imagine a way what looks like a problem is NOT, or is actually an opportunity, or is actually the way things should be. The monster is not a monster. Or it is a ...


46

The twin tropes you are referring to are Deus ex Machina and Diabolus es Machina. In both cases an event comes out of nowhere, not foreshadowed, to effect a drastic change. Both tropes are frowned upon. For example, Marion Dane Bauer in her book on writing, would say to her writing students "If you end your story by having your main character get hit by a ...


44

Excellent writing is one of the primary selling points of some games - but it is by no means necessary. It can even be counterproductive in some situations. There has been research into what aspects of video games players enjoy the most. One model is Quantic Foundry's Gamer Motivation model. Their research indicates that there are six primary aspects of a ...


43

It's definitely possible to do this without losing the reader. The New Testament is a story where the "protagonist" dies towards the end. I'm sure plenty of readers are quite satisfied with that. Much like the Gospels, killing the protagonist is advisable only if it really means something. Emphasis on the really. Even if you make your character a martyr ...


43

Such characters are often found, from the works of Jane Austen to those of Tolstoy. People are perceived as what they appear to others either through actions or words. In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet comes to believe that Mr Darcy is arrogant and not worth her time, but she later realizes her error. Quiet people who do not seek to please the ...


43

Monica's excellent answer provides you with the how, but I'd like to touch on when, since you asked "how soon is too soon?" The rough answer is "It's too soon if the villain hasn't earned it." Your villain has to walk all the way back through the brainwashing/teaching/propaganda etc. which got the person to the dark place s/he began the story. The villain ...


43

You absolutely can do this, but there are two very important points to consider. What is your purpose in choosing this ending? In what way will this be a satisfying conclusion, from the reader's perspective? In your question, you're describing a particular sequence of events as being an unexpected one. That's great, but what makes story isn't just the ...


40

You don't necessarily want or need flashbacks and you don't necessarily need the reader to like the character who died in an intimate way where they actually know who that character was. What you want is for the reader to understand what the lack of this character has done to the world and to see other people who for good reason miss that character. An ...


39

Skipping through time is totally legitimate, and often the best choice. You can just leap there: "At 7:15--her mother's advice regarding the precise definition of "fashionably late"--she knocked on the door." You can summarize the time: "The rest of the day was filled with preparation, from an appointment with her mother's hairdresser to a near-tantrum ...


39

Each writer is of one gender, and one sexual orientation, and in order for their stories to reflect real life, they have to learn to write from the POV of other genders and other sexual orientations. Don't be sexist on yourself, male heterosexual writers have written about homosexual males and homosexual females. Heck, people write convincingly about ...


38

Just Desserts From TV Tropes: A villain ultimately finds their evil deeds come back to bite them. Literally—they end up getting eaten. This does not include a Heroic Sacrifice. But may be subverted with a minor character being killed and eaten in obvious foreshadowing of what is going to happen to one of the bads at some point. While Mooks ...


37

I don't find anything wrong with your explanation per se. You have a range of options as how to best present it, and what works depends on your aims: Don't explain it at all: This is a legitimate choice, especially if you're sticking close to the POV of the humans, and they (we) never figure it out. Give it a brief, non technical explanation: ("Great ...


37

TLDR - Readers guessing your plot twist doesn't have to mean it's ruined, there are ways to make it satisfying linksassin's answer is good, but I'll offer an alternate idea : Anticipated plot twists can work if they're executed well Take the famous Star Wars example. The twist that Darth Vader is Luke's father isn't a twist for present day first-time ...


36

The only reason we say there are a small number of plots one can list is because they're defined in an extremely vague way. There's still plenty of room for originality; I'll let you decide whether it constitutes "hope". Here's the best analogy I've heard: The basic plot is like a mannequin. You're pretty limited in the number of shapes you can come up ...


36

There's another character in this equation: the MC. It's why this is called a love triangle rather than a love-decision or a love-fork. Relationships are not like ordering "chicken or fish". The MC is completed, or complemented, differently by each woman. Figure out the chemistry between the main character and each woman – that means there is something new ...


35

There's a rule... I can't recall the name, but it's a fairly common rule. Essentially, the more accidental your reveal is, the more build-up you need not to make it a cheap deus ex machina. To give an example, Tom Clancy's "Sum of all fears". A nuclear submarine crashes into a huge tree trunk in the middle of the ocean, suffering major damage right when a ...


35

Sir Terry Pratchett had several characters who, like Jack Sparrow, were used sparingly in the stories of others, but had a strong presence both in terms of their impact on the story, and in terms of the way the audience saw them. Pratchett wrote: Like Death and the Librarian, I tend to use Vetinari sparingly, lest he take over every plot. (The Art of ...


35

The light is inside him; it just needs a path out. Not a big gaping doorway that opens all at once, but small tendrils. Think "many drips carve a rock", not sudden change. How do you do that? In a lot of fiction that I've read (and I suspect there's psychology behind this, but I don't know), the first cracks come with perceived inconsistency and self-...


33

A story should finish what it starts. You control what, exactly, you choose to start. If you're not going to be finishing a murder mystery with a solution, you need to be careful not to set the story up in a way that the story will be unsatisfying without a solution. You say that not having a clean resolution is "the basic idea of the novel." Here are a ...


33

There is a joke that we always told each other in my school when we had to analyze texts or poetry that goes something like this: Teacher: What did the author mean when he said that the curtains are blue? Pupil 1: The curtains are a replacement for the endless skies that can't be seen from the inside. They are the narrators way to connect to the ...


33

One way to keep it from taking over your story is to make it unexceptional. Quite literally. Kem is nonbinary. If Kem, other characters, and the narrator don't make a big deal out of that, don't either hide it or gawk at it, and just go about their lives, you'll convey the message that this is normal in Kem's world. That part about not hiding it is ...


32

Give him his own story so he's not stealing scenes in someone else's. If he's that awesome, he should be starring in his own book rather than sucking all the oxygen out of this one.


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