Tips, tricks & discussions: How to make your story better

As I said, I didn’t watch Godfather, but the last mafia themed movie I watched is Legend, about two brothers.
And what I loved, is that main character made me feel conflicted about him. On the one hand, he cares about his brother, and is affectionate towards his wife (?), On the other hand he was really violent and cruel, and with time he was just as cruel to his wife. And the ending, she committed suicide, brothers died in prison. This is the ending mafia, and their supporters deserve. But despite the fact that MC wasn’t a good person, he was very entertaining to watch. And I got my satisfaction with the movie ending :slight_smile:


Yeah, that’s the spin I like. The Godfather is similar in some things, and in some moments you really can sympathize with them, though they are the bad guys. It’s not all black and white, I can agree.

I read also the autobiography of Pablo Escobar’s son, where he explains that Escobar was a caring father and really devoted to his family, but on the other hand, he was a ruthless monster. But, Escobar justified his crimes by saying that that’s just his job…

Anyway, I don’t want to go off topic, this thread is important, especially for us, writers, because, as I said, we need to think about what message we are sending. Mainly because on this platform the readers are underage, and as you said, this kind of things can have a huge impact on their psychological development.
One of the reasons I started to write gang story is because there are a lot stories with similar plot and unrealistic endings. And the scariest thing is probably the abusive relationships that MCs are in. And you are really doing a great job with pointing that out and explaining how mind of psychopaths and sociopaths is working. I’m just not satisfied with reaction of the writers who make stories like this, or worse, with their lack of the reaction…


Totally :slight_smile: And the worst part is that a lot of this type of stories are featured. Not just gang thing, but there are many other things, that shouldn’t be glorified.
I was actually thinking about reviewing featured stories, just not sure if it will arouse interest, enough for me to spend time on this thing.

But hey, thanks for taking your time to read, and post your opinion. Good to know that someone is taking her time to bring a better approach to an old concept :slight_smile:


:laughing: :laughing: I’m gonna make another thread today where we read another. But at the end of it we’ll read a GOOD story to make up for the views we’re giving the shitty ones.


He he, no problem, thank you for such an insightful approach and creating this thread. :smiley:

About reviewing the featured stories, I would totally encourage you to do it! Just brace yourself for a lot of negative reactions. :joy:

Btw, I enjoy our discussions and I think you have a lot of things to say that can improve our stories and I like how you think, so keep up with the good job. :smiley:

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Another post, because #ArtBlockRagePainAndMisery

One-sided, inconsistent characters and how to avoid it

This is actually a very common problem for authors, especially new ones, and I think I might have the same problem. Welp, I’m not a professional writer, so sorry, not sorry. Anyway, what do I mean by that?

Inconsistent character, in my humblest opinion, is that kind of character, that acts totally different in each/almost each scene/conversation/event. I recently reviewed one story, and I noticed, that character acted completely different in conversations with 3 different guys. Not like, a bit different, but MAJORLY different. Personally, it makes me confused. Like I’m reading a story, I get to know my character, and either I find it fine/tolerable and continue, or not and I quit. If I think that character is fine for me, but then in later scenes she acts like a totally different person… Now that might happen if a character has split personalities (btw, if you know such story, suggest it, really interested). But for regular ones… It makes me think that the author doesn’t have a clear character concept, and just fits its behavior for each scene, without really thinking.

Now one-sided characters. It speaks for itself. Have you ever met a person that is perfect in any way? Or bad in everything? No. Every person has its flaws, and advantages, every person is always conflicted, even if a bit, about what society and relatives wait from him/her and what he/she wants. Behavior dictated by our past, dreams, fears, morals and many more.

Now creating a one-sided character and creating non-consistent one is equally bad IMO.
Why does it happen? Because we don’t have a clear character concept in our head, so we project our mood/plotline/side characters and character acts illogically, if you compare it to previous behavior.

How to create consistent, interesting character

Now let’s imagine you have some character idea. Vague, but that’s fine.
I strongly advise filling character questionnaire for every important character in your story
What is this? Character questionnaire (link is below) is the list of questions you have to answer from your character’s perspective, about its age, name, family, dreams, likes and dislikes, best qualities and worst, its fears and aspirations, what it thinks about religion, sexes and other things.
Yep, it is time-consuming. But it’s totally worth it. When you answer these questions, you imagine this character in your head, almost like it’s a real person, and further, when you’ll be writing its dialogue lines, describing what it feels, you will have more or less a very clear image. And these questionnaires will help you a lot with the plot itself, I can assure you. They will give you more plot ideas, and make your writing better and easier.

Character’s Questionnaire

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Hehe thanks. And I totally love negative reactions :smiley:

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Yeah, I have to admit, I have a problem with this, while I’m writing story, so thanks for the advice. :slight_smile:

But I’m interested to know what do you think about - well I don’t have a right expression for that - some kind of character “degradation”?
For example, you have one character who is mature and developed, and acts in one way, but under some particular circumstances, the character starts slowly to “change” in some way, starts to behave in way that maybe it’s not common to that specific character? Do you think that’s realistic? And would you think that that character is inconsistent?


I actually found a hilarious story yesterday that wasn’t bad

Hum…Not sure I understood. Maybe u have some examples from the stories you’ve read?

Without examples. Well, characters can act differently, just like people. But there must be some kind of reason. Like if you remember Harley Quinn, and how Joker slowly changed her (although IMO madness was already there, just covered). It doesn’t happen in one day.
I have a tendency to over-analyze things, and I do the same with my own behavior. For instance, I say something, or do something, or react to something, and after that, I’m starting to think, why did this happen, was I always like this? If not, then when changes started, why? You know? :smiley: Everyone slowly changes, well, maybe not changes, but more like adapts to given conditions.
I’m totally gonna bring a speech from my story now. So everyone (almost) must’ve watched Twilight.

Now it might be a lil hard to talk about her because she is the most shallow damn character I ever had pleasure watching. But regardless. Remember her at the beginning. She was kinda… Nice? Friendly, trying to get along with her dad (the only tolerable character there). After she met Edward (I’ll call him Bling’a’Ding) she started acting like a total idiot - ditching friends (who accepted her from day 1), being a bitch towards her dad. And Bling’a’Ding totally controlled every aspect of their relationship. Making out with her, then accusing her because he lost control, leaving her without discussion. Then she got pregnant with a mutant ninja turtle, who literally broke her from the inside and killed her. Then she became a vamp, but still. She died, she will watch her family deaths. Even when her dad meets her the first time after she became a vamp, you can see how he is crushed, he knows that it’s not her anymore. So yep. She changed her behavior, to adapt in toxic relationship.
Sorry for the long answer, but while writing thought about an example :smiley:


Besides that though it is really scary how many stories are about gangs and promote it. In my neighborhood gangs and gang violence happens often. Being violent isn’t romantic, it hurts innocent people. I always get frustrated seeing stories like this because it makes young kids think it’s cool to do it.


Tots. While adults mostly find it funny, and I was literally crying yday out of laughter, the most horrifying thing is that there were admiring comments in the fan mail. I suppose by the same age-kiddos.
But hey. We have Twilight for this kind of shit, just working more subtle.


I know! While it is funny to us, it is so scary that this is something young girls look at as love. That terrifies me so much


I don’t have an example, because it’s something I was thinking about and what I want to include in my story… :smile:

But you basically answered me with the Twilight story.
Btw, thanks for explaining the plot, because I’m probably the only person who didn’t watch that movie. :joy:

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Well… Good on you :smiley: I just like to know what I’m trashing. :rofl:

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Thanks for bump :smiley:

Happy New Year everyone.
As I’m still recovering from celebrations, this post will be short.

I accidentally found one comment by @JemU776 that I think makes total sense and can be very helpful to remember.

What is the best way to make readers emotionally attached to characters?

:cookie: for u @JemU776

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I’m not sure if someone asked this before, but what’s the best way to portray a character’s flaw?

For example, in my story (upcoming story, still working on the first episode :sweat_smile:)
my main character’s biggest flaw is her failure to open up to people, I have another character notice this, her love interest, but I don’t bring it up otherwise with the character.

What are other ways to portray a character’s flaw?

(This is kind off topic but I love your review thread, and your reviews! :sweat_smile: I’d love for you to review this story when I finally publish it :smile:)

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I will write post in a few hours. Thanks for ur input :slight_smile:

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Character’s flaws - what, why and how.

“Perfection has one grave defect: it is apt to be dull.”W. Somerset Maugham

Why flaws are important?

It is actually very often we’ve got to meet “sterile” characters in stories. They are just perfect… Well, not necessarily for the reader, but definitely for the writer.

Why is it very important to incorporate inner (not physical) flaws not only for main characters but for secondary as well?

The flaw is one of the main things that make human…well, human.
Flaws add depth and conflict, make the character more real and memorable.

If a character is perfect, then all the conflict in the story is someone else’s fault. The character is the victim of circumstances and just goes with the flow, too often relying on other people help. So many stories with “perfect” characters, that experience drama and bad treatment not because of their own decisions, but just because, for the sake of drama. The character becomes just a static thing in the story, that is being affected by other characters decisions.

Flaws also serve as a sub-plot for the story, that allows creating character development. How can character progress through the story without inner conflict, something to overcome? Flaws lead characters towards degradation and destruction or overcoming these flaws, and becoming a better person. Readers relate to the struggle, and they get an emotional connection with the character, especially if the character succeeds.

Why am I saying that physical imperfections are not flaws?

Because it’s not the physical imperfection that defines character’s actions and emotions. It is how it feels about them. Shame for disability? The regret of some past decisions that led to them? Pride for being different?

Now, this leads us to the thought, that when you choose a flaw, keep in mind that there has to be a reason behind it. Beliefs, traumatic past…
Now. IMO it is better to show the reason behind character’s major flaws because it will make the reader more sympathetic towards MC. The reason grounds the flaw and gives the reader a basis on which to judge it less harshly. It allows the reader to understand why the character is the way he/she is.

You don’t have to explain secondary characters flaws (while it is necessary to give them these flaws), but it’s better than you have this explanation in your head. When you know the reason behind the flaw - you will incorporate these flaws more successful, meaning that character won’t contradict himself, and there will be more logic in his actions/words/emotions. But you also should remember not to make the character be overwhelmed by these flaws.

How to better portray character’s flows

So first of all, don’t just label characters. Use the specifics to show the flaw, dialogues, reactions of other characters and MC own reactions and emotions to display these flaws.
Have him make a different mistake each time because you don’t want to get caught in the loop of similar scenes. It is extremely annoying.
I remember reviewing some story, where the character was positioned as a very independent bad-ass woman. Like, literally positioned, as writers described her precisely in the narration, which is the first thing to turn me off personally because I really enjoy getting to know the character at a reasonable pace. Now, there were put a lot of scenes, where MC interacts with other characters. And every conversation, although was happening with different characters, was written by the exact same scenario - someone scolds MC for being alone (sister, mother, best friends, the waitress in the restaurant (not kidding), and MC yelling at them that she is independent, and don’t need anyone. It was extremely annoying and basically looked silly. Don’t be too blunt when you show these flaws. Put the character in different situations where the flaw can be shown.

What else is important?

Flaw doesn’t mean shit if it doesn’t have any consequences.

In my story, MC has some unresolved problems with the past, that results in a few flaws. She doesn’t like to open up to anyone. While it drives away some people from her because it takes time to get through this shell, this is the thing she can work on, by trying slowly to build the trust, at least for some people. Also, because of the traumatic past, and her inability to open up, she was forced to find a way to deal with her feelings. I decided to go with the drinking problem, as it is kinda common, plus I can portray this problem realistically, because I incorporate my own past into this character, while raising awareness of the consequences this will lead to. I often see how writers portray drinking as a very fun thing to do, but in reality, it can be very ugly, and hard to deal with.

Punish your character for the actions and decisions, that were caused by their flaws. And let them deal with this punishment, either by overcoming them or by sinking even deeper until there’s no point of return.

I suggest adding these questions below, for your major character questionnaire. And remember, that there can easily be more than one flow.

What is the general flaw?

What are the specifics?

What is the cause of this flaw?

What makes it seem reasonable to the character?

What mistakes can the character make because of this flaw?

Do the consequences have an effect on the storyline?

Is the character aware or unaware of the flaw?

What form does the arc take in relation to the flaw?

Thanks @Stargazer54 for the very interesting topic :slight_smile: Enjoyed writing it,

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