Hot answers tagged

107

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: ...


83

There is definitely conflict, in the sense of narrative conflict, in My Neighbor Totoro. Sickness (with possible death) counts, whether it's resolved through any action of any characters or not. Finding Totoro and then not being able to find Totoro, or seeing the growth of a magical grove of trees, and then having it not be there later counts. Not knowing ...


83

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 ...


79

Harry Potter wasn't a particularly original story. For people who read a lot of fantasy, many of its themes, settings and characters were deeply familiar. But Rowling did a very good job bringing her own vision to it. Your story doesn't sound --to me --at all like Harry Potter. But like most fantasy stories, including Harry Potter, it has some familiar ...


76

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 ...


75

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 ...


65

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 ...


58

My Neighbor Totoro makes heavy use of Kishōtenketsu: Kishōtenketsu (起承転結) describes the structure and development of classic Chinese, Korean and Japanese narratives...The first Chinese character refers to the introduction or kiku (起句), the next: development, shōku (承句), the third: twist, tenku (転句), and the last character indicates conclusion or kekku (結句)...


57

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 ...


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 ...


49

Your protagonist is not the only iron the mentor has in the fire In Avatar, the Last Airbender, Uncle Iroh is a powerful and interesting mentor character (with his own complex arc). He has his role of providing advice for Toph, and maybe a little for Aang - but he's primarily the mentor for the show's first antagonist. He's interested in seeing the Avatar ...


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 ...


47

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 ...


45

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 ...


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 ...


44

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

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

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 ...


42

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 ...


41

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 ...


41

To expand on what @Mary said, the reason people don't like the "it was all a dream" twist is that it cheapens what came before. Imagine if you, the reader, have gone through all emotion of watching a protagonist lose their best friend, suffer through the grief and self-doubt that results from that loss, overcome it, and arise triumphant to beat the ...


40

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 ...


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 ...


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

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

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

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-...


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 ...


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