New answers tagged

1

Picture the following situation: a passenger aircraft nearly 300 people on board suffers a catastrophic failure, making the plane almost unflyable. The flight crew are struggling to maintain control, to somehow get the plane on the ground while also knowing that they have to keep it away from populated areas because if it does go down, if they lose their ...


0

The most fundamental building block of a novel is the scene. A scene either reveals part of the plot or something about the characters; after reading the scene's last sentence, the story has 'advanced' by some measure. Scenes come in two varieties; 'action' and 'reaction'. As their names suggest, action scenes set up action, and in reaction scenes the ...


3

+1 Mark Baker. In addition, you can pad a character with other characteristics. Don't make A's special ability his only reason to be in the story. Give him a personal goal he's working toward. Give him a charismatic or otherwise appealing ability to go hand in hand with his super-power. Write a subplot just for him. Heck, if you simply give him a love ...


3

Writing is all about conditioning the reader's expectations. All the big effects in writing come from an appropriate setup. If you want to show a result contrary to the narrator's expectations, you make sure that the reader is aware of the narrator's expectations before the event occurs. This is the answer to every effect you want to create. It is not about ...


5

A character has to have an arc and be seen to move along that arc. You can't show the reader the same thing they have seen before, you have to show them development -- which may mean development of the character, but more often means development of the situation in which the character finds themselves. But development of the situation has to mean development ...


0

This is quite the tricky question. I am going to assume that the character you describe is your protagonist. How To The character you describe is best classified as a "sociopath": a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience Rather than the more easily concealed "...


1

I was pondering this and had a idea based off The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. What if this book was a first person narrative? Then, the antihero could describe the events that happened in this story through a biased lens, allowing her to conceal her real actions. This narrative fit in this book's world as an account from her perspective meant ...


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 ...


0

Does your story have a character who starts out as a loyal supporter of the protagonist, but later realizes what a monster she is, and then turns against her? If so, that character is an ideal narrator. The reader will follow the narrators point of view and gradually make the same realization with the same dread. If you want to foreshadow this, you can ...


0

A very popular and functional way of writing is "Show, don't Tell" (Google will bring up many authors giving their take on it). It will likely be a much more satisfying ending for the reader to come to the conclusion of "Wow, what a socipath!", rather that coming to the closing where they are just told that is so, whether or not there is anything in the ...


2

I like Roger Zelazny's way to accomplish this: his characters are highly competent, very motivated individuals. He just never mention what kind of monsters they are. Sure, the reader can infer that they are (often) mentally abnormal, but we're following their story, and they see themselves as highly competent and very motivated individuals, not as ...


22

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 ...


3

As others have pointed out, since you are in the main character's head, it's very hard to hide the fact that she feels no empathy. We are in her head, we know what she thinks and feels. That said, if we agree with the character's goals, their actions might appear understandable, a bit cold but ultimately necessary, etc. At first, that is. You can make quite ...


4

I will agree with both Anna Fitgerald and Viktor Katzy: First, as Viktor says, I don't think saving the sociopathy for the end is a good idea, and Second, as Anna says, if the narrator knows her thoughts, I don't think you can hide it anyway. Where I differ is that the narrator doesn't have to have an opinion about what they are narrating, they don't have ...


2

I was going to comment but am not yet allowed to so I'll pour it into an answer instead. Let me know if it's not useful so I can remove it if necessary. You could try to do this by describing the character as a sweet girl (or however you want her to appear) whenever a description is called for, but then when it gets really down to it have her make harsh ...


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 ...


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 ...


7

I think you need to make a distinction between horror, which runs largely on anticipation (like every other genre) and splatter porn (which relies on the perverse titillation that some people feel when regarding scenes of gore, torture, etc.). If you are writing splatter porn, you probably can't go too far, but the audience is (I hope to God) small. If ...


0

Here's an angle to consider: What is the default for non-hermaphrodidic organisms on their planet? The basic plan for an organism is going to be more like one sex or the other, with modifications to produce the complementary one. If the embryo looks female in the early stages and only later in development do male traits form in a male, then you could say ...


5

John saw Mario again after three years, and thought that this one lost a lot of weight. As Mark says, this example's not idiomatic in English. (Also, it would be "had lost".) However, this version would work much better: John saw Mario again after three years, and thought, "This one's lost a lot of weight." (I'd tweak the beginning to something like "...


24

There is a distinct use of "this one" in English which is a matter of usage rather than grammar. It is used by one person to refer to another person (often, though not always, an inferior), who has done something stupid. Thus: We were driving along in the rain and this one decided to hit the sunroof switch. or: We were all in the living room watching ...


7

This answer is written on the assumption that you are looking for medieval or Middle English (11th to 15th century) examples of what is often referred to as 'breaking the fourth wall'. Breaking the fourth wall is when the narrator, author, or even a character within a work, address the reader of the story directly. For example: Roy, the hero of this tale, ...


2

I haven't been able to find a book, per se, but I have found a couple of resources that might work for your other request be being able to adopt someone else's writing style. I did a Google search on: "history of" "writing styles"; "history of" "writing styles" book. Here are some of the results that seem to fit your wishes best. A writer’s most prized ...


1

I don't agree with McKee's definition of "Story", like many writers I think this difference between a "beat" and an "event" are contrived. I think the way McKee intends them to be used, "beats" are little events, and "events" are only used for larger "events", e.g. a Battle is an event presented in a scene, but the beats of the battle are the little turning ...


2

I have never heard of McKee's definition of "beat." I have only heard of and use the filmmaking definition. I have always viewed Event as part of your overall plot structure, and Beat as a granular part of how you construct a smaller Scene within a chapter. Events are high and low points in your plot, which you see from a larger perspective. Events are ...


1

There are as many ways to tell a story as there are people to tell. And, how people tells stories has evolved continuously from the dawn of humanity and will continue to grow and change until the last human dies. The conventions of plot and dialogue and rising action and et cetera are observations about qualities told by successful story tellers. They ...


3

First of all, I wasn't so clear on how you're writing your story and what you're calling a plot. There are many definitions of a plot, most of which you probably want to include in your story. Take this one: Plot is about forward movement toward a specific end. And: Plot: the plan, scheme, or main story of a literary or dramatic work, as a play, ...


8

I think you are not writing a story, you are writing a vignette that captures a moment; this is more akin to poetry or a painting or a song or photography, those all (aim to) capture a feeling, emotion, or dramatic moment. (I am presuming this is fiction, and not an academic essay detailing some process or proof.) This is still art, it is still writing, it ...


10

A knowledgeable Writing.SE user once said you could write fifty thousand times the word 'meow' and call it a novel. Such a piece of writing would hardly be considered an account of anything, even less so a 'story'. If we dial back from the extreme, you could consider some random sentences, like the one that my computer can produce. The cow was being held ...


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