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104 votes

Is my story "too diverse"?

I don't think it's alienating, but it does press my suspension of disbelief a bit to have such a large fraction of the cast be LGBT characters. Gays are something like 3-5% of the population, with the ...
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  • 1,341
76 votes
Accepted

An LGBT main character, but the book isn't about LGBT issues

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. ...
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61 votes

How to make the reader think that the *character's* logic is flawed instead of the author's?

The narrator knows about the thoughts. And the narrator will know that the thoughts are illogical, and can distance himself/herself from the thoughts. Of course that only works if the narrator isn't ...
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  • 4,007
60 votes
Accepted

Not having any white MC's?

The answer I'll give you here is the same as the ones I've already given you and others: write what works for you. If these are who the characters are, then that's who they are. If you're forcing ...
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57 votes
Accepted

Do I really need to have a scientific explanation for my premise?

Without reading the other answers, my answer is that your premise is fine as long as you set the contract with the reader. The reader is fine with your premise if you do not promise a science-based ...
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  • 23.2k
56 votes
Accepted

What do you do when your message could be dangerous?

If you don't want people rioting in the streets you should show how people are rioting in the streets in your novel - and how that way utterly fails to achieve what the people wanted to achieve. ...
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  • 5,586
54 votes
Accepted

Is it expected that a reader will skip parts of what you write?

Many readers definitely will skim over parts of your writing. In my experience there are three primary reasons for this. Your writing is boring or drags. If a book spends too much time describing ...
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  • 1,988
45 votes

Is my story "too diverse"?

After the OP's edit, 4/300 characters is not "too diverse". That ratio nullifies all the answers here. In the age of Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy, it's probably not possible to be "too ...
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  • 24.2k
40 votes
Accepted

Do 'text walls' scare off readers?

Harry Potter is not a wall of text. It uses line breaks, paragraphs, headings and chapters. That’s the opposite of a "wall of text", which simply means "a lot of text without formatting, line breaks, ...
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  • 548
40 votes

Do I really need to have a scientific explanation for my premise?

Spiderman was bitten by a spider and developed spider-like abilities. Superman is from a different planet and afraid of a glowing rock, even if this human-like creature can shoot lasers from his eyes. ...
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  • 5,586
37 votes
Accepted

Is an easily guessed plot twist a good plot twist?

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 ...
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  • 2,458
35 votes

An LGBT main character, but the book isn't about LGBT issues

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 ...
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34 votes

Do readers not like a book if it's too dark and the characters almost never win?

Hmm. When I'm not sure about something, I like to look at some examples. All Quiet on the Western Front has the characters never win. In fact, they all die, and their side loses the war (something we ...
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29 votes
Accepted

How to avoid writing irritating fan fictions?

Depending on the forum you post your fanfiction you will get those comments no matter what you do. It's a sad fact, but there are many people out there who just want to make others feel miserable and ...
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  • 5,586
29 votes
Accepted

Is my story "too diverse"?

The short answer is, there is no such thing as too much diversity! Especially when authorship comes from the community being portrayed. So many times mainstream (i.e., white) writers/producers/...
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28 votes
Accepted

Two protagonists where one is dark - a mistake?

Each reader probably won't like the protagonists equally. Readers are not a monolithic group. Some will be drawn to the virtue of the good character, while others will eat up the struggles of the dark ...
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  • 864
26 votes

An LGBT main character, but the book isn't about LGBT issues

All writing has political elements to it, whether you like it or not. Your question is a great demonstration of this. Some people consider LGBTQ people to inherently be (a) extremely rare, and (b) ...
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  • 28k
26 votes

Do I really need to have a scientific explanation for my premise?

No, people won't say that, not even full time working scientists (like me). I know a great deal about genetics; I've published academic articles about it. That did not prevent me from enjoying the TV ...
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  • 91k
25 votes

Fantasy novel with obvious - but never defined - sci-fi elements?

I would say, you don't get off on a technicality when it comes to readers, so whether you are explicit in telling them it is scifi, or aliens are spaceships or super-high-tech, is all immaterial. If ...
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  • 91k
25 votes
Accepted

Story that's too depressing?

It depends on your target audience. If you are writing for adults, go with the flow and let terrible things happen as long as they make sense in your paradigm. If you are writing for young adults, ...
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  • 12.4k
25 votes

Not having any white MC's?

Novels are not a visual medium. Your readers never actually see your characters. So unless the racial background of your characters is relevant for your story, you can easily get away with never ...
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  • 5,752
23 votes

Is it expected that a reader will skip parts of what you write?

In Technical Writing, it's expected that readers don't want to read what you write. In fact, I used to teach with a book with that on the cover (see the notepad): (basically - Tech Writing people ...
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22 votes

Fantasy novel with obvious - but never defined - sci-fi elements?

Mixing sci-fi elements into a mostly fantasy story has been done before. For example, Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern starts out as a typical fantasy series, and then turns out to have also been ...
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22 votes

Story that's too depressing?

Are these many layers of misery inflicted upon innocents too much for a reader to handle? You must be careful here: the way you phrase that statement, you appear to be laying the blame on the reader -...
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21 votes

Is my story "too diverse"?

Is it alienating to readers who are white and straight to be put into the shoes of someone who is drastically dissimilar to them? Is it alienating for a modern American to read a story about medieval ...
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