104

There are several ways to think of Jack because he takes on many, many roles depending on what the movie needs. In general, he's a walking plot device and only very rarely does he develop anything along a character arc. If he does develop, he may not be faithful to it. And his role changes from point to point as the movie has different demands. Primarily: ...


84

I would suggest looking at the women in your life (family, friends, co-workers, etc). I have a problem with the ideas of 'feminine qualities' and 'femininity'. They imply that without those a woman isn't a real woman. Much like a man won't be a real man unless he is and can do a set of things. You could perhaps think about the stereotypes for 'manly ...


83

Structure your answer properly This is something that is relevant across all sites. You should be used to markdown and know at least the basics: Using headings Paragraphs and soft linebreaks lists numbered and unnumbered Put your most relevant points in the start and make them bold so that people will know at a first glance whether they share your ...


69

You've already gotten quite a few good answers, but there's one important point that I didn't see in any of them: You can omit visual and aural details. If you don't want to tell the age of the protagonist, or the hair colour, or the type of clothes, or if you don't want to tell it yet, then you can. In film and TV that's not possible; the protagonist is ...


61

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 the villain in first-person. For example, you might write something like: Dick thought about his problem. How on earth could he lock a door that did not even ...


59

If this detail is important enough that readers should get it, you can have your characters make guesses at the truth close enough that (at least some) readers can connect the dots, while the characters can't and remain puzzled. For example, two especially educated explorers in your world could discuss the plants, and how all other plants they know need ...


55

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 seemingly irrelevant details, I think I can predict exactly what is going to happen, or I don't feel invested in the characters in the scene, I'm liable to skim ...


52

Something is very off about this being, and everyone knows it. Except it's not. When someone is very off, people steer clear. The creepy guy who hangs out in front of the supermarket makes his creepiness known by asking out any woman unfortunate enough to engage him in conversation for 5 seconds. The creepy little girl likes to talk in depth about dead ...


51

Explain what needs to be explained as it becomes relevant rather than trying to present all the information in one go. This has certain advantages: it avoids dumping all the information on the audience in one indigestible lump. it actually makes the world feel bigger. Info-dumps tend to bore readers to tears so avoid them: instead tell your readers the ...


46

"Show don't tell," as a three-word directive, is pithy and simplistic. But it's used because it's one of the fundamentals of writing well, and one of the things new writers understand least. As Lauren says,"showing" doesn't entail endless description of minutiae, or attempting to convey a cinematic level of visual detail using text alone. What is means is ...


44

You could try reading the final draft out loud either to yourself or to another person. (That's what I have always had my own children do when they're working on school essays.) Reading out loud slows you down so that you are less likely to read over a duplicated word and it will be more obvious when a word is left out. It is also a good method for ...


44

Take a dimly lit corner of your universe and one of your lesser characters and start writing some of their backstory as an in-the-moment adventure, not an aspect of someone's history. You know by the character's present-day traits that they had an experience like this, so jump back in time and walk the younger, more innocent version of them along the hard ...


44

Readers establish a sense of the story they are reading in the opening pages. That's where you set the contract. If you open with the death of this evil being, the readers will expect that being to be important and assume that the evil being will return. But if you tuck it in after the contract, maybe combine it within local lore of the world along with a ...


44

Skipping scenes is usually quite welcome in a novel. Sometimes you don't want to see every step. But the amount of skipping you propose is pretty jarring. You will break your readers out of their immersion in your world if you do something like that. Especially if you do it over and over. The way to make it work is just as you say, to fool the reader ...


43

You are confused about what's being shown. "Show, don't tell" means "show us that the hero is confused by describing the look on his face and how he stutters and drops things" rather than saying in narration "He was confused." It doesn't mean "don't describe the room he's in." If you don't like a lot of scenery being described, there's nothing wrong with ...


42

I like Secespitus' answer, and I also like Sphennings' point about actually answering the question. But I didn't see an answer which combined those two things, and addressed everything I've found important. So I'll write that answer. Answer the Question Not to steal any thunder from sphennings, but I believe this is probably the most important criteria ...


40

You have made a common mistake about world-building: believing that it all has to go on the page. World-building is for you, the author, to help you craft a story in a setting that feels real and unique, even though fictional. The actual details that make it to the page are only what the characters and reader need to know. Knowing details like the actual ...


39

Inarticulate speech or sounds is an instance where I tell, I do not show. Shriek, Screech, Scream, Howl ... It can help if it startles somebody that comes bursting into the room to protect her, or she wakes up already screaming, if it echoes off the walls, if it pains her throat, if there is some other consequences of this action. But I don't try to write ...


39

A work of fiction that exists only to promote a particular point of view is not actually fiction, but rather a polemic. Some of these have been successful and influential, from Plato to Rand, but they tend to have a different audience than fiction, and are read primarily for their ideas rather than their artistic value. Your best bet, in this case, may be ...


39

You want to spend as little time as possible on "setup". Even one page of nothing but setup is too much. The reason for that is that the reader is not yet invested in your story. You'd be forcing a reader to read something akin to a fantasy-encyclopedia about something he has no reason to care for. That's boring, readers aren't going to do that. Instead, ...


39

Each usage has its place. #1 is most commonly used in such situations. Even if you're not writing for children, you don't necessarily want every bit of cursing. Sometimes telling that the character used a strong word is enough, or even more effective, than actually spelling out what exactly he said. #2 has place when you're writing for adults, who would ...


39

Adapt to the culture. If it's a town of demons and the narrator is implied to be well familiarized with them, then you can go with 'tiphoof' and other such expressions, coining new idioms for the culture, replacing common phrases with more suitable counterparts, often playing puns with the expressions. On the other hand, if there is a culture clash, with ...


39

This is really a version of the Chekhov's Gun problem. Things aren't in a story unless the writer puts them there, so readers tend to expect significance from important-seeming things that are mentioned. It doesn't really matter if they know the tropes or not. So the question becomes, why is this detail in here if it's not going to play an active role? Is ...


38

Let's take Tolkien's Middle Earth, and the Lord of the Rings, as an illustration: Not beginning at the beginning At the very beginning, Eru created the spirits which would become the Valar, who would in turn create Middle Earth. Or something along those lines. This is described in the Silmarillion. (Which it's been years since I read.) Also in the ...


37

I try to always answer in 3 paragraphs whenever possible. Less is often too little for a substantive answer, and more becomes less and less likely for people to read. The first paragraph should always be the most direct answer to the main question in the original post, as asked, with a minimum of editorializing. It should generally cite a reputable source,...


37

There's a difference between filler and moments which aren't advancing the main plotline. What one might consider filler at first glance often holds important information about setting, character, and character relationships. I love using moments of 'downtime' from the plot to establish certain character traits, because it lets the reader focus on the ...


36

The problem here is that by giving him a clearly understandable (even if evil, misantropic) goal, you're making your Fenrisúlfr more human-like. Sure, we can say - by rough sketch - that it wants to eradicate life. But to be truly "so far from human comprehension" we need to cut off any human understandable explanation from his actions. Your question ...


36

I think in recent years the gap between what is "possible" in a prose vs. film (both cinema and TV) has narrowed significantly - historically the limitations and expense of things like CGI and practical effects made some of the more exotic genres such as Sci-Fi and Fantasy difficult to translate onto film. This is realistically no longer the case in 2019 - ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible