105

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: ...


78

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 ...


68

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 ...


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 ...


53

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 ...


43

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 ...


40

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

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 ...


38

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 ...


38

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 ...


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 - ...


36

You leave out small talk by focusing on big talk! By this I mean every thing a person says should be something at least one person in the conversation needs to hear, or wants to hear, or is surprised to hear, or if the other person ignores it, should have wanted to hear. Dialogue has consequence. Cut out lines that don't have a purpose, or aren't going to ...


35

Sir Terry Pratchett had several characters who, like Jack Sparrow, were used sparingly in the stories of others, but had a strong presence both in terms of their impact on the story, and in terms of the way the audience saw them. Pratchett wrote: Like Death and the Librarian, I tend to use Vetinari sparingly, lest he take over every plot. (The Art of ...


33

Lack of proofreading has been the bane of writing in many locations over the last few years. Do you remember back when newspapers came to your house and you paid to subscribe? Okay, maybe you don't, due to age or location, but it was a thing. Most people (at least among the college-educated folks I knew) subscribed to the daily local paper which was ...


32

Chekhov's Gun takes many forms... I use Chekhov's Gun CONSTANTLY in my writing too. It has sort of gotten to a point of being excessive, actually. That said, I've learned quite quickly that Chekhov's Gun doesn't need to be fired inherently. Using the classic parable's example: the gun on the mantel can be "fired" in multiple ways. It could be actually ...


32

Have animals react to them strangely It's a trope (with a surprising amount of real-world evidence) that animals can sense things wrong with the world that people can't. Impending earthquakes, cancers, nefarious intentions etc. Dogs raise their hackles and stare, cats slink out of the room. Easy to explain by him/her/it saying 'yeah, dogs and cats just don'...


31

Honestly, if it's outright impossible to write due to overwhelming emotion, don't write. Wait until after the upset has passed. However, if you're upset, but yearning for creative expression, use that misery. I can't remember how many times I've harnessed depression and melancholy to evoke genuine pathos in my writing. Perhaps I'm approaching it from an ...


31

If your givens aren't working, change your givens. If Vampirella McExplosia is dominating every scene she's in, then she's too big for this story. Save this draft (so you aren't putting a stake in her, just moving her) and rewrite your story entirely with someone else as Roommate #4. You will have to change plot points, and probably the entire main ...


30

I think the best tool in your toolbox towards this aim is probably language. A lot of how we view something is in how it is described. The culture you are describing sounds very formal, polite and ritualized, even if the acts they are committing are brutal --not unlike feudal Europe or Japan. So, it's a "duel for honor," not a "revenge killing." In this ...


30

At first I thought it was a call-back but, as explained at that link, even those are usually relevant later. So I think what we really have here is a continuity nod.


30

This is something you need to be careful with. In popular Western culture, going back decades or further, jealousy is often seen as a positive trait. "His jealousy proves he loves me so much." Especially when it's a man jealous of interactions his female partner has with other men. In reality, there's a very thin line between "cute" jealousy and ...


29

I think Secespitus hits the nail on the head by saying: People will rarely look at the letter of a word means. They know what "tiptoeing" implies and that is all they need to imagine the scene. Imagine being the key word. IMHO, immersion is far more crucial in a story than correctness. The true joy of reading comes when you are so engrossed in a story ...


29

I think the problem with the blue-pink subversion is that there is no clear reason why; other than the intent to surprise the reader. And secondly, it is not clear this trope subversion has any actual story consequences. Normally, trope inversions have at least some rational reason for existing. e.g. Wonder Woman is one of the first female super-heroes (...


28

What you should have done, and should do in rewrite, is make it clear to the reader a traitor exists, perhaps make it clear a poison that does exactly that exists, etc. You can do that early in your book, in a story or fable. The readers already believe the MC would never do this thing. So you need to hang a lantern on this behavior during the battle. Say ...


27

The components of a really effective payoff, in my mind, are these: The reader knows something is coming But: they don't know what is coming. They have open questions; they have doubts. They're in a state of tension; anticipation. The payoff resolves the tension, in a way that makes sense to the reader -- but, ideally, not something they were able to guess ...


25

This is something that I've seen Japanese writers (in Manga/Anime) do especially well. From what I've seen there, I'd say... The key to pulling this off is in how your MC reacts to her jealous feelings. If she gets petty and takes it out on her love interest (as you describe with pouts and annoyance), it may be seen as obnoxious and non-productive by your ...


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