113

Yes, agnostics and atheists can do anything they want with religious language! I am another atheist, and a practicing scientist at a university. I don't regard any entity in any religion as real or sacred, and have no problem speaking of them. I know many religious people, including half my extended family, so I am conscious of not offending them, but I don'...


47

That's a substantial bit of revision. It can definitely be done, but the question is if that's what you want to prioritize right now. During a first draft, there will be a lot of things you'll want to go back and fix. The problem is, go back for enough of them, and you'll stop making any progress at all. So my first suggestion would be: don't go back yet. ...


34

There are two ways religious concepts appear in speech. First, there are common expressions: "Oh my god", "go to hell", etc. Those are a natural part of our speech, we hear them all the times and do not give them much consideration. An agnostic or an atheist is likely to use them the same way, without giving them a second thought. You can use those freely. ...


31

It's fine if the switch is clearly intentional and well sectioned-off. It's fine to jump between POVs for say, chapters or whole scenes. What isn't all right is a book that mostly is one POV, but occasionally will be privy to the thoughts and feelings of another character for a single line/paragraph of a scene, then hops right back to the main character's ...


28

This depends on the character. You're quite right to realize that the set of images a character will use, should depend a lot on that character's "inner lexicon"; on the particular imagery that character would plausibly reach for and use. It makes sense that, when feeling unsteady on their feet, a sailor might think "like during a storm," a city-dweller ...


26

While it's okay to gender your robots if you really feel the need, it's not necessary. The first version with "it" instead of "he" read just fine. It's a bit awkward writing it, as we're trained to use "he" or "she" when speaking of beings with volition, but reading it went smoothly. Because you make it obvious they're robots! If you didn't, it would be ...


24

This is how it was handled in the Asterix comics. Specifically Asterix and the Goths:


24

It might seem stilted to try, but English has had a gender neutral pronoun for awhile: one. If the story is limited omniscience using Tom's inner thoughts/feelings, then using phrasing like "this one" and "that one" might work to break the monotony and confusion of it. Phrase some of the narration as actual thoughts. Tom found itself alone with its ...


23

Even though you notice the problem in the first words (in the subjects of the sentences), I think the problem is elsewhere: Each of the first five sentences has a verb that reminds that we're in Adele's head. But we already know we're in Adele's head, so these reminders are unnecessary, and they weaken the sentences. Consider this edit, which removes all ...


20

This has been handled a few ways in comics: Have the text in word balloons be a translation of the original, with a footnote indicating "translated from other-language-name". You can graphically remind the user of this as you go along by having the other language be in a different typeface, have the word balloons be a different color than usual, or a ...


19

Young adult generally is written in first person for the strong voice and the closeness of the POV. It has almost become industry standard, likely because it sells well for the target market. You can read articles and blogs expounding on the virtues of the viewpoint for the age. My guess is that, for the precise reason that it is monopolistically popular, we'...


17

You have multiple options. You can, as @Amadeus says, rewrite, so your character can be in the battle. You can have somebody recount the battle to your character after the fact, with your character reflecting bitterly on not having been there, and having been unable to affect things. In this case, you don't have to narrate the three months of doing nothing -...


16

You seem to have chosen third person limited scope, and then decided that you're "supposed to" follow the rules of third person limited scope. You should make decisions based on what serves the story, not based on whether it's consistent with a label that otherwise applies to your story. If you had some motivation for choosing third person limited, then ask ...


15

This is written for a general audience. Some knowledge the askee demonstrated a fundamental understanding of will be re-explained for sake of novice writers. You ask what level of telling is acceptable to reveal character motive, and what specific rules might exist for making such a decision. The high level answer is that a certain amount of telling is ...


15

Either Tom and Mil are characters, or they are inanimate mechanical constructs. Examining the latter case: Machine B removed the connector from Machine A's port and inserted it into one on the door. This looks fine. Notice "arm" was replaced with "port," to get rid of any hint of anthropomorphism (also, the original phrasing suggests that the door has ...


14

You have a few things going on here: 1) If the story is first-person, your problem is solved. We rarely address ourselves by our given names in internal monologues. 2) If your story is in third person, then you have a cultural issue. The children may not get official Names (Starfall, Willow, Runs With Scissors) until they do something to earn it. But you ...


12

Boy does this sound familiar! I struggled for a year trying to coloquialize my YA characters. Every week, I would bring a new sample to my writing group. It became a standing joke, guess how old my POV characters is! The group's conscensus never got within a decade of my targetted age. Then I received the suggestion which I will share with you now... ...


12

Short answer is No, it's never too late. The question is: how much will it cost in terms of time and effort? Given the fact that, as you say, this is your "first piece" and you write it to improve your writing, I would give you two suggestions: 1) you can start from scratch, and go back 97 pages and start from 0. It is a big effort, but it is a great ...


12

Dune head hops the whole way through and is still held up by many as an example of a Sci-fi great. The rule to any writing mechanic is that it must be executed smoothly, consistently, in a way that does not confuse the reader. Finally that mechanic must be additive, in that it provides something to the story. In Dune, head hopping is is used to show how much ...


12

This will be a matter of opinion. My opinion is no, it is not okay. I write in 3PL myself, exclusively, and everything I write is as if the MC is seeing it. You are doing nothing but saving space, and saving space is not important. I would probably write that scene as: Alice sat up proudly, then shrunk back down. She just realized where she was, Bob ...


12

'They' is a valid alternative, as are zir and eir(and mx, if I remember correctly), all of which are gender-neutral pronouns. If you only have two or three main robot characters and want to refer to them all with gender-neutral pronouns you could just use a different set for each character, though you may have to be careful to establish whose pronouns belong ...


10

I would find it annoying, or annoyingly convenient, to be switching POVs repeatedly, particularly just for one sentence. I think even when you have an omniscient narrator, you need to stick with one person per scene, or per beat. When you read a story, you are kind of sitting on the shoulder of whoever is the focus of a scene, and if the POV jumps from A ...


10

The trick here is to bend the rules without breaking them. Including something that the PoV character doesn't know about is technically 'breaking the rules.' But when writing, you have to remember that reader experience trumps all. As long as it doesn't jar the flow, you can get away with something small. For this example, I would simply say what Boy says, ...


9

You have to identify them somehow. Use adjectives. The tall man vs. the short man The older man vs. the younger man The long-haired man vs. the man with the thistle-down hair The carpenter vs. the electrician The French man vs. the German man It may get repetitive to say "her hands rested on the carpenter's shoulders, just they way they rested on the ...


9

If the character knows the vital detail, and if the vital detail matters to the character, and you want us readers to be deeply inside the character's head, you have to give the detail. Otherwise, when you reveal the detail, we suddenly discover that we were never really deeply in the character's head after all. If we were, then we too would have known the ...


9

Third person omniscient and third person limited are analytical categories. They are terms you use if you want to dissect the use of POV in a piece. Don't take them for rules about what you have to do, and don't think you have to even be able to describe what you end up doing in those terms. The fact of the matter is that writers switch POV all the time, and ...


9

The simple answer to this is that this stuff works when it is revelatory, when it shows the reader something they care about, when it draws them in. That is not about quantity, it is about aptness. Is the hatred of a green sweater or the need to fix the lock on the front door revelatory? Not in themselves, but perhaps in context. Sometimes the detail itself ...


9

As Amadeus's one and other answers have pointed, atheists do use religious vocabulary in real life quite often. However, please keep in mind that anything you write can be used to convey some idea to the reader. If being an atheist is an important feature of the narrator, you can underline that feature by making him not to use religious language at all, ...


9

Rewrite. I don't think it is a good idea to have a new POV character for one scene. You have control of history, don't injure your hero character, or don't injure her so badly, or go back in your story and figure out how to delay the battle until she can participate. It sounds like you are a discovery writer, inventing the plot as you go. So am I, but ...


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