Thread: Writing Tips
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Old August 8th, 2011 (9:02 PM).
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    Originally Posted by Dagzar View Post
    Mine: Treat all of your characters equally, whether protagonists or antagonists, or whether heroes, villains, or the little people. Treat your world realistically. Don't make one character's life living hell while you pretty much throw roses onto another character's path. In more general terms, giving a character too much luck will make them seem 'sue-ish', while never giving a character a break will seem like you're either bashing or picking on them. Both can cause a reader to lose patience with a story, especially if they happen to a main character.
    You're on to something, especially in regards to preventing Sue-ish-ness, but I wouldn't go so far to say that you should treat your characters "equally." I would say "reasonably," instead. I think that when applied correctly, obvious disparity between the amount of luck that two characters have can create drama (the good kind!), but only if the author makes it an interesting part of the story instead of just an accidental artifact of Sue-ish characters. As an example, it often seems in Harry Potter that Ron has gotten the short end of the stick when compared to Harry (especially when it comes to money and popularity), but Rowling makes sure that it never goes overboard, and she makes the jealousy an important and interesting part of Ron's character.

    And now for my own advice:

    I've found (and others have occasionally pointed out) that I have a problem with telling as opposed to showing. For a long time I just didn't know what to do with the advice "show don't tell," but now I think I'm finally getting better at it. (Maybe. Don't hold me to that.) What I've found helps me in this regard is while proofreading to recall which passages are supposed to make more of an impact on the reader, and then look over them and try to picture just what kind of feelings and sensory impressions the reader will get from the words alone. If something seems dry or passes too quickly, embellish it. There's always a disconnect between the vivid scene in your mind and what the reader will get from the words, so try and put as much of what makes the vision in your head vivid into your language as possible.

    Imagery is the key, and it doesn't just mean what things look like. Imagery is any kind of language that appeals to the senses, and that includes sound, smell, and touch.
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