Tags: character type rants


Six ways of using the insider

Now that the reading for my exams is finally letting up a bit, I can write another rant!

The “insider” in the title of this post means someone who’s a native member of the culture/world you’re writing about, or at least familiar with it. A common worldbuilding trick in fantasy is to bring a visitor, a sheltered innocent, or sometimes a complete alien, as in modern-day people crossing over from Earth, into the picture so you have someone who will ask questions about aspects of the culture and can be Explained At. But outsiders have problems, too, the most pernicious of which is limiting the stories you can tell. Using the other half of the equation and telling fantasy stories with insiders is very far from impossible. And no, it does not need to involve the characters telling each other in monologues what they should have known already.

Here are ways of doing itCollapse )

I’m open to suggestions about what to do next.

Writing a visionary (part 2)

The first part of this rant was mostly about the pitfalls of handling a visionary character—and, admittedly, focused on visionaries who were heading towards armed revolution and massive, forced changes in their societies. But there are other kinds of visionaries, including ones who propagate inventions instead of fights, or don’t participate in armed revolution, and this part of the essay is about them.

Or—why someone who has a vision in your story doesn’t necessitate an attack on the BastilleCollapse )

And the next essay will be on creating a history of ideas for your fantasy world, because I struggle with that often enough.

Writing a visionary (part 1)

Here’s a topic dictated by the story I’m playing with currently. I seem to keep getting saddled with plots that demand this kind of character, which is an inconvenience, because I don’t like writing about fanatics. (I am trying to make the latest one a visionary in the cause of noticing other people. I’m not sure it’s working).

And a lot of visionary characters are fanatics—but they can be other things, tooCollapse )

I have more to say, especially about visionaries not leading revolutions, but my hands hurt like hell, so stopping for now.

Creating convincing religious characters

A couple people asked me to do a rant on convincing religious characters, and I thought it would be a nice follow-up to the ‘convincing crises of faith’ one.

But this is even more personal than that one, in a lot of waysCollapse )

That was very snarly. Well, what can I say? This topic makes me snarly.

*goes away*

Rant on writing extroverted protagonists

This is one of the character types that doesn’t often show up as the protagonist of a fantasy novel, but gets relegated to being a sidekick. I suspect the reason is not a story-bound one—like an extrovert hero being incompatible with a lot of fantasy plots—but authors not thinking things through again.

Extroverts say hi!Collapse )

*looks fondly at extroverted protagonists* There is no law at all that says they’re less interesting or intelligent than introverts. They just get written that way.

Rant on exiles/expatriates

Once again, a set of characters I’m grouping together, although there’s at least one difference between them: usually an exile is assumed to have left home unwillingly, while an expatriate can have willingly given up home and allegiance to that home.

So what’re ways to use them in fantasy, then?Collapse )

It looks like moments of great social change is next.


Twins rant

This targets the clichés, mostly, but also includes ways to try and improve them, because I’m feeling nice like that this evening.

Multiple births shouldn’t mean multiple stupiditiesCollapse )

Yes, that was bitchy. On the other hand, I’ve really started to dread stories with twins in them, because authors get so freaking hung up on their looks and nothing else.