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44 votes
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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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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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31 votes

How to not confuse readers with simultaneous events?

You could try using a common element outside of any of the scenes themselves to establish a common reference point in time. For example describe Alice and Bob having a heated marriage argument but ...
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28 votes

Why not God as our subject?

As a counter-point to mbakeranalecta's answer: God can have a story arc albeit one with an obvious victor. For example: the Christian God Yahweh takes human form (with the name Jesus) in the books ...
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24 votes

How do I keep the gender of my main character purposely ambiguous?

Just don't mention it! Consider giving your character a short name, so that it's less jarring when you inevitably use their name more often than usual, and find ways to phrase your sentences without ...
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20 votes

How do I keep the gender of my main character purposely ambiguous?

Once again, @MarkBaker is spot-on. When the author keeps information from the reader that the other characters all know, it feels manipulative to the reader. If you must keep something from your ...
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20 votes
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How can I indicate time passing?

What does the time spend hiding do to your character? Pick things that start off easy to manage, but becomes hard to maintain (especially under stress or pressure), and talk about those. For example,...
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18 votes

How to write a convincing character with a opinion that differs from the author's?

If the readers think the opinion of your protagonist is your own opinion, then I'd guess the problem is not that the protagonist has that opinion, but that the protagonist's opinion is not or not ...
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18 votes

Is it okay for a chapter's POV to shift as it progresses?

There are two questions hiding in your question, 1. Can the POV character not be the character who's most active? Consider Sherlock Holmes as an example. Watson is the POV character, the story is ...
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18 votes
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How to not confuse readers with simultaneous events?

If your goal is hectic momentum, then two-sentence paragraphs with a visual indicator of "scene change" might work. Colonel Mustard frantically wiped up the table. No one would believe he hadn't ...
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17 votes

Can the prologue's POV be different from the POV of the main story?

This is not only done, but is a staple of George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire - all books' prologues and epilogues have a one-time POV character that dies by the end of it. So yeah, it's ...
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17 votes
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When two first person POV characters meet

Personally, I have a strong dislike for multiple first person POV. With that said, I'd say your option of following through with one character's POV is best. It's not uncommon to have the same ...
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17 votes
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How to Write Like a Little Kid

Character first They are still a character, and more importantly a protagonist who will compare directly in the same work to 2 other (adult) protagonists. They will each need to hold their own in the ...
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16 votes

How do I keep the gender of my main character purposely ambiguous?

...I should write from [the] first-person perspective to make things easier... If for whatever reason you want to keep the gender of your main character a secret, the first-person perspective is the ...
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16 votes

How can I indicate time passing?

One possibility is to just say that time has passed. "The two men sat staring at each other, neither saying a word, for fifteen minutes." Another possibility is to fill the time with action. If the ...
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15 votes

I'm writing a prologue from the POV of a non-English-speaking character. How should I write the dialogue?

The "subtitle problem" is an extremely common one in stories with multilingual characters, and there are a few different approaches. Here are three suggestions for how you can do it. In most ...
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14 votes

How to write from the male point of view?

Study Your Friends You likely have male friends. When speaking with them, really think about their responses. Listen to their phrasing and try to remember exactly how they put things, then go back ...
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14 votes
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How important is it for multiple POVs to run chronologically?

It is not necessary to run different character arcs chronologically synchronized. However, it is important not to create a false impression that these arcs are synchronized. For example in "A Song of ...
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14 votes
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How can I introduce a new POV late in my book?

One way to make the transition easier is to have more Points of View - chapters or interludes where the main character is not the POV. For example, if the main character tells someone that they are ...
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13 votes
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The effect of different "narrative voices" in the same novel

The biggest risk is that you may lose the main characteristic of the narrator out of sight: to tell the reader what is important. There is nothing wrong with changing the point of view and paying ...
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13 votes

How do I differentiate between the "voices" of my characters in a multi-character POV?

How do the people speaking around you, wherever you are, speak differently? How do your favorite authors give characters different voices? Here are a few ways your characters might differ: Different ...
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13 votes
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How do I differentiate between the "voices" of my characters in a multi-character POV?

Well, kind of a wide question, but you already got the hang of it: the entire worldview, it changes from character to character The whole point is having a clear idea of who your character are. As ...
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13 votes

How to Write Like a Little Kid

I have a few ideas, gleaned from writing exercises that imposed this: Starting with, avoid misspellings and anything that would be cutsey-wotsey when it comes to dialogue and narrative voice. In ...
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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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