47

Why do people seem to think that if a character isn't a straight white male, then the story must address homophobia, racism, and sexism? When was the last time you saw a movie with a black actor that didn't "talk funny", and without jokes or antagonism related to race? One of the things that made the original Night of the Living Dead movie memorable was ...


45

To be honest, your question has me scratching my head a little. You've described your character as a person with no qualms about manipulating others, all while putting on a sweet face to the outside world. Whether or not you as the author explicitly state the MC's mental disorder at the end of the book, by including scenes in which she lies, cheats and ...


25

I don't think you do need to address it, you can just ignore it. One example I can think of is the superhero-comedy movie Hancock, with Will Smith. He's black, and plays John Hancock, a black superhero (with amnesia). He lives like a bum, dressed in rags, filthy, drunk, sleeping on public benches. He does fight crime, sometimes with a bottle of whiskey in ...


23

You don't need to label your characters for the reader. And you shouldn't. Just describe them as they are, and as they act, and let the readers make their own decisions about them. The main character of The Talented Mr. Ripley is a charming, likeable sociopathic killer. The writer doesn't need to spell this out, you see it in his actions. The same is true ...


22

Remember that 100% of what is in your book is there because you want it to impact the reader in one way or another. Nothing absolutely has to be in there except what you choose. If it isn't serving the story, and your aims as a writer, yank it out. With that in mind, let's examine what you're trying to do with these problematic sections: Maybe it's ...


17

There's a long history of humour in sci-fi, ranging from wry observation and irony through parody to blue humour and even slapstick. Authors such as Philip K. Dick, Alfred Bester, Michael Moorcock, John T Sladek spring to mind, but the king is undoubtedly Douglas Adams with his Hitch Hiker's Guide series. Think also of film scripts such as Dark Star (...


17

Create a minor emergency that can be resolved only by two people working together. Perhaps the fix calls for repeated overlap every four hours between watches. Maybe each cooks for the other for those times.


16

Your schedule doesn't make sense IRL. People WILL find ways to interact and keep each other company; we are social animals. They will talk, even if their conversations are by radio. They will share entertainment. They will do their work in each other's presence, on the bridge. People like company; even if one doesn't, the other one does. IRL, people often ...


15

Personally I find this one hard to pull off. I - as a reader - would find this development at the end not satisfying (like the development of Daenerys in the last season of GoT). The problem is that this can/will break the readers image of the character, but probably not in a good way. He might feel betrayed by the protagonist, just like any character in ...


15

If you watch enough Star Trek (at least the good series... the bad ones tend to do groan worthy stuff that makes no sense) you'll find that the "Royal Smart Person" will rattle off a string of technobabble and immediately follow it up with the "For the dummies in the back" analogy to something that's a bit more common for the people to understand. In the ...


14

Other answers cover what to do if you allow your characters to meet in person. If you don't want them to see each other in person, you could use nightly logs as a vehicle for the incipient relationship. Every shift should have some documentation about what happened. Real life spacecraft and naval vessels have logs for every watch. You can see an example of ...


13

It's not enough to consider your character's present - you must also consider their past People (and characters) are shaped by their experiences in life. Even if your characters are not dealing with racism during the course of your story, if they have experienced it in the past (and I dare say that any modern American of mixed heritage has experienced ...


13

If racism is a component of your storyline, then mention it to whatever degree it's a component of your storyline. Otherwise, never feel compelled to bring something in "just to bring it in". You are never burdened with addressing any societal issue you don't want to address, and if you do want to address it, then it by definition is part of the story. ...


12

You cannot stop people from drawing comparisons between your work and earlier, similar works. Readers are going to do it no matter how original you strive to be. You cannot cover up an influence that actually exists in your writing, because people familiar with the original ideas have a bias for recognition of those same ideas. It sounds like what you're ...


11

I, personally, hate one of suggested approaches of "following it up with for the dummies in the back", which seems to be very popular in US-made works. It just screams: "Hey, reader, me, hero is smart and you and all those other characters around me are dumb, allow me to explain my brilliance to you, troglodytes!" It is especially painful if it follows with ...


11

Accessible through a crawl space that only the children can fit through. Possibly because it was used for storage for things that never got touched. Virtually every public building has some storage space. Why other children have not reached it will need some explanation, but perhaps it's unpleasant and the children are the first ones desperate enough, or ...


10

It's not necessary at all. A little over 50 years ago, Gene Roddenberry produced Star Trek. Of the main cast members, two were very much White Americans, one was black, one was Scottish, one was Russian (in the middle of the Cold War!), one was Japanese, and one was non-human, and this was all treated as perfectly normal and never remarked upon in-universe....


9

Answer #1 is a comment/question: Can you ask them the sorts of books/stories they'd each recommend to help you calibrate your extremity? that might be the sort of info that can point you in the direction you should go, because it may tell you which reader is naturally in tune with your intent. Answer #2: I think your experience is common. Science ...


7

There isn't a general answer to your question. Humor in story stories and novels, regardless of genre, is a function of the author's sense of humor, and the traits of the characters in their stories. By the function of the author's sense of humor, I mean that an author can only write humorously in the vain of their own sense of humor. An individual whose ...


7

Technobabble is in the eye of the POV character. TV shows have a limitation. They mostly can convey what happens by showing it happen. Sometimes they can convey stuff by having characters talk about what happen, but you still have to listen to them talk. Very rarely, mostly in comedy, will the narrator just talk over characters and explain something more ...


6

It sounds like you don't really know what kind of story you want to be telling. The story of a ruthless psychopath cutting her way towards the throne, is very different from the story of a sweet girl rising through society as the reader gradually realizes how disquieting and heartless she really is; a story of building horror. Different again is a story ...


6

What you can make out from these two contradictory statements is that the description of the progression of events from the present to the point where the story takes place might not be described well enough. You might leave too many events open to interpretation or expect the reader to take certain developments as self-evident when they are not. So each ...


6

This is part of the plot of The Three Musketeers. In Alexandre Dumas' famous novel, the main character d'Artagnan belongs to a different military branch than his three friends (Athos, Portos, and Aramis) who belong the The Musketeers military group. The main character, through happenstance, accidentally annoys those three the first time he meets them, and ...


6

While powers are important and defining to a character, think about what else makes a character - is Hancock "basically Superman"? They have similar powers, but the characters, personal issues and story is completely different. Is Vegeta "basically Goku"? Definitely not, the characters share a lot of powers but the difference is clearly in the character, ...


5

you are weakening your argument by presenting the extreme edge of the phenomenon you wish to engage with rather than its mainstream. That can be true, at one extreme (IRL) people get out and picket a studio for canceling a favorite series, calling for boycotts. The mainstream says, "Damn, I liked that show. Too bad," and moves on. But once in a while the 1% ...


5

This is a common enough experience. Anyone familiar with writers' groups will be aware this happens all the time. Every beta reader has their own criteria for how they evaluate any story. You should be more worried, or perhaps more elated, if they all gave the same responses and comments. So getting contradictory comments is normal. It's not your role as ...


5

Comm systems. If they've got any human traits (assuming they're of the human race), the need for company would probably be one of them. At least occasionally. You've got two people on "a deserted island". They need to communicate to stay alive, so to speak. Who's fishing today? Who's watching the fire? "Did you hear the ruffling in the bushes last night? We ...


5

They are able to communicate with each other during the non-sleep shift? If your characters have 3*4 hours working shifts and 2*4 hours sleep, that leaves 1*4 hours shift to sozialize. One works, the other eats. This allows you to get creative with the message system: Video-call? Audio (Radio), text consoles? The work does not actually require hands-on ...


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