SC for reinstatement of Monica
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Averting Real Women Don’t Wear Dresses
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84 votes

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 ...

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Do readers need to identify with fictional characters?
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54 votes

Personally, I don't need to identify with the characters to enjoy a story, whether in literature or in cinema. What I do need is to identify the characters as realistic constructs with human reactions ...

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Sometimes a banana is just a banana
52 votes

I work with teenagers (language classes). 'Banana' is a terribly unfortunate word that will kickstart a flurry of giggling and joking. Woe befall the poor soul who says they like bananas! Hopefully, ...

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How do you get out of your own psychology to write characters?
24 votes

I think there are two steps: 1. Decide the character's philosophy of life I'm using the example of two medieval characters because that's my settings of choice. Imagine we need two female characters: ...

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How do I tell the reader that my character is autistic in Fantasy?
23 votes

I shall kick off with anecdotal evidence: when I was a kid I couldn't distinguish the sounds 'v' and 'f' as they both sounded like 'f'. I had trouble with all the voiced consonants (which are produced ...

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How to help the reader wrestle through historical atrocities which would be considered normal to the POV character
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19 votes

"Sadly, women in ancient China had no sense of self-respect." I'd like to disagree with this statement. When you say this, you are already thinking in modern terms. My area is European Middle Ages ...

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What should tie a collection of short-stories together?
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19 votes

If you can make a good case, you could potentially group the short stories by whatever common thread you want, including author. You can also subgroup them. Some examples: Main point in common: ...

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How do you build a story from a world?
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16 votes

Out of the blue, I can count four ways to go about it. All assume that your world was created with one or more civilisations (meaning races, kingdoms, whatever). The first option is to focus on a ...

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How do I present a future free of gender stereotypes without being jarring or overpowering the narrative?
13 votes

My suggestion is to casually alude to it. I'm taking up the 'men is dress' example you mentioned. If you have characters going shopping for clothes, you can have both men and women casually commenting ...

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How to describe POV characters?
13 votes

As naturally as possible, which means it depends entirely on the character's personality and the actions they are doing. One thing to keep in mind is to refer only the most important physical ...

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How to compactly explain secondary and tertiary characters without resorting to stereotypes?
13 votes

You don't need much visible fleshing out, IMO. It's all in the details. Take the 'wild party friend', for an example, who swoops in and drags the MC into a crazy college party where everything goes. ...

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Rules about breaking the rules. How do I do it well?
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13 votes

Elaborating on what a great teacher (Portuguese literature) of mine once said: 1. Rules exist for a reason - understand why If you know why a rule exists, you know when you should follow it, when ...

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Help! My Character is too much for her story!
13 votes

You have two different options for dealing with a character that overshadows the others. But before making a choice, ask yourself: What is my aim? If the character is disrupting the path to your ...

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Should I start a new paragraph after a dialogue if the action is being taken by a new person?
12 votes

First of all, I'll admit I had some trouble identifying who said “I thought you said that name was already taken?” I'm assuming that Oddie said it in reaction to Arden's suggestion and that Nat, the ...

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How do you fill pages with fluff?
12 votes

While @DTP's answer is accurate, I'd like to point out a few things. The difficult part is my writing style revolves around a confusing and mysterious character. I have no intention to be mean, ...

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What is the difference between Tension, Suspense and Mystery?
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12 votes

Mystery: According to the dictionary: anything kept secret, unexplained or unknown; a person or thing that arouses curiosity or wonder; the quality of being hidden, hard to understand, or puzzling: ...

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Handwriting speed
11 votes

I sat for nearly ten minutes trying to decide whether to answer or not, because yes, this question is off-topic. On the other hand, how we physically write can influence what we write (keeping in mind ...

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How to make a setting relevant?
11 votes

settings feel irrelevant The characters, for example, are in an office, or a restaurant, or a different office at various times throughout the story ― but any of these places are interchangeable If ...

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How can I answer high-school writing prompts without sounding weird and fake?
11 votes

As a teacher, I never look at the examples given as 'correct answers' when we're talking about personal writing topics. Let me elaborate with two examples: a) Write an essay about Romeo and Juliet. ...

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Should I start writing my novel or first learn on short stories?
11 votes

It depends. For me, writing short stories feels like a waste of time and I can't stop myself from creating connections that can transform the short idea into a long, far more interesting (for me) tale....

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In a series of books, what happens after the coming of age?
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10 votes

In a series, I expect to find one of three approaches: a) One single plot that covers the entire series and which is divided into smaller parts in order to give each book some level of closure b) ...

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Killing off a character
10 votes

While I agree with @Henry Taylor, I would also like to add it may depend. I find that writing such pieces may be cathartic only if well done (at least for some people). An example: Bobby is a bully (...

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Act 3 totally broken...keep writing?
10 votes

I'd like to add to Lauren's answer: whenever you realise that the story has problems, whether it's in the plotting, character development, or whatever; whenever you realise there is a problem, go back ...

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Do I need a pen name? And how do I pick a good one?
10 votes

Do keep in mind @RobtA's advise concerning copyright. I'd also like to suggest that you look at what you write and decide what type of name fits. Take steps: language (English, Chinese, Spanish, etc)...

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How do I write real-world stories separate from my country of origin?
9 votes

You may benefit from taking a big breath and looking at the situation from outside. You are Indian and you grew up in a society with richly pervasive traditions to which you feel bound. A Japanese ...

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What to look for when criticizing poetry?
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9 votes

I studied literature at school, and the most important thing I learnt is that the obejctive of a poet is to transmit something, whether an idea or a feeling. To do so, the poet uses a range of ...

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Character is an expert on something I'm not
9 votes

Whenever a character is an expert on something the author isn't, there is only one way out: research. However, some expertises are easier to research than others. For example, one can much more ...

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What is a good way to handle lengthy monologues/lectures in a novel?
Accepted answer
9 votes

I would suggest using a variety of methods. Allow the first conversation to be a bit longer than the rest (do notice the emphasis on the 'a bit'), for two main reasons: 1) You are presenting a new ...

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"Real people don't make good fictional characters". Really true?
9 votes

On the body of your question you say But what I'd like to know is why would it be "impossible" to make good characters using real people. I believe it is possible to use real people as characters, ...

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How does a novel writer explain the meaning of foreign words without giving the English translation?
9 votes

In fiction, I much prefer foreign words not to be in italics. Being foreign already makes them stand out, adding italics makes it even more distracting. I also like to use well-known foreign words, ...

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