28

Don't focus on him being a "veteran". Yes, he was in a war, blah blah. You don't ever have to use the word "veteran." If you do, have him use it to game the system or seek sympathy; even veterans hate a cheat. I was in the military, I don't ever refer to myself as a veteran unless it is a formal requirement in a grant or application. I usually leave it ...


11

In Short: Your character should be villainous because they have the qualities of a villain, not because the group they are from gives them villainous qualities. I think your real question is "how do I avoid offending people?" and the answer is by having hard conversations with the groups you might offend and if possible getting a reader from those groups to ...


9

You can't always ensure that no one will be offended, but what are actual, legitimate reasons someone might be offended by a portrayal? 1 - Disrespectful: For a group, like the veterans, that most people think are owed a certain base level of reverence, it may be difficult to use them in a plot at all without someone getting upset. A similarly "protected"...


8

The self-insert doesn't have to be bad. It's just that most of the time when we see one, it's this perfect person with no flaws and perfect judgment. You of ten years ago might make the perfect choice with your ex, given another chance. But it's equally (or more) likely you would just do something else dumb. If your character is still flawed, it's probably ...


7

I don't know how that specific site works, but technically I would consider it published, you have made it available to the public. By doing so, you have potentially damaged their sales and their marketing. Consider for a moment if your work is excellent and compelling, and the free availability makes it read by hundreds of people. Wonderful, right? No, it ...


6

In addition to real war veterans whom you don't want to hurt, there's one more side to WWII. Intellectually, I know that there were good people and less good people among American troops at the time. Emotionally, Allied Troops are the reason any of my family survived. I owe a debt of gratitude to every one of those soldiers. That too is something you have to ...


6

I don't think that gender and middle names are a very big deal these days. Some of the biggest bestsellers have been written by females (with distinctly female names), and I doubt that there's much of a bias. Same goes for middle names - most book covers don't even mention them. I suppose if you are writing a ridiculously sappy, romantic novel about angsty ...


4

In addition to what others have said about how to portray the villain, a good way to have a portrayal of a bad character who's a member of a particular group(veterans in this case) without implying the same of the whole group, is to have other characters who are also in that group. If of three or four veterans in your story only one behaves like this, it ...


3

Your problem appears to be twofold. By writing in this way you are projecting onto this character: Your personality, and Your background Your character is limited by the decisions YOU would make in the same situation and your story is limited by all YOUR grievances and regrets and "what ifs". Both of these issues can be solved at once: get better at ...


3

The simple answer is that it is impossible to avoid inserting aspects of your life into a story without having a lobotomy. And in the spirit of 'write what you know'. . . it's not like its a bad thing. Turns out John Grisham was a lawyer and JK Rowling had designs on being a teacher, who knew? You can avoid even subconsciously inserting your life and your ...


3

It's common to have a different persona in your writing than in person. One of the advantages of writing is that you can appear wittier, quicker-witted, more eloquent and knowledgeable than in life, all through the magic of editing. I always advise people online to present their public persona, not their private one, and to make it a kinder, calmer, more ...


3

Another approach for you might be to write in sprints - say, 10-15 minutes - and do not permit yourself to edit. Get up for a short break, do something other than writing, then return to the writing for a new session. When you do, go back over the words you wrote in the previous session, and do any editing you'd like to do. Then move forward for another 10-...


3

In Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, she talks about "shitty first drafts." (Read about it here.) The point is that your first draft should be nothing more than a dump of creative ideas, disregarding spelling, grammar, consistency, and all other quality measures. Then clean it up to make sense when you revise. [Someone who wasn't Hemingway] said, "Write drunk, ...


3

An immensely helpful resource on this topic is Writer Beware, a volunteer organization associated with the SFWA and MWA. Their essay on warning signs of questionable agents answers your question in great depth. For completeness, I'll summarize the main points here - but do read the entire article... A reputable agent charges NOTHING but a percentage An ...


3

Deal with the implied stereotype I think the fear here is that a negative portrayal of a person from a particular group implies a stereotype of that group. The simple way to avoid that is to portray the villain as an individual that is different from, and possibly even rejected by, that group. This obliterates the stereotype and also opens up interesting ...


3

The simplest answer: just don't worry about it. Most people are intelligent enough to realise that one person's actions don't automatically reflect the behaviour of all people of a certain 'group'. Assuming that people are going to read your story, see a war veteran behaving as a villain and suddenly think "all veterans are evil" is an insult to your ...


3

You either don't emphasise on him being a veteran, or use it to your advantage to convey a story which makes the reader actually emphasise with him, such as flashbacks to the horrors of war which "skewed his mind". I see that your story is also fairly futuristic, perhaps you can create a scene where he uses his robotic powers to save people faced with the ...


2

Nearly all of my favorite antagonists are given at least one moment of vulnerable humanity. For instance: The Departed never shies away from the fact that mobster Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) is a murderous psychopath at heart, nor does it ever seek to truly redeem him in the eyes of the viewer…but we do see him express flickers of introspection, if not ...


2

Speaking as someone of German descent, no one wonders if you're going to offend modern day Germans by portraying the Nazis as the bad guys. Villainy has nothing to do with your veteran status or your skin color or your handicap sticker. In fact, there have been numerous villains who have been these things and still been great villains (Brigadier Gerneral ...


2

You could always give him a bit of a background that shows that he was maybe of "lesser" evil before he went to war. Maybe he had a few negative traits like being vindictive, self-absorbed, self-righteous, maybe even a little sadistic, etc. before his war experiences, but the war and the loss of his limbs exacerbated these traits and made him evil.


2

Two thoughts. One, make him a villain who happens to be a member of this group, and not that you suppose that all members of this group are villains. Describe his evil in ways that doesn't make it grow out of his group membership. His experiences as a member of the group may feed his villainy, but should not be the cause of it. For example, I read a story ...


1

There are basically two kinds of self-publishing. One is the heavy do-it-yourself route. You write the book, you format it for publication, you design the cover, you do any marketing, etc. What they do for you is physically print the book and make it available to on-line and brick-and-mortar bookstores. In practice, your book will be listed on the web sites ...


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