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Forums > RP Discussion > Seeking Authors/Experts for my Senior Capstone

Alright so here's the dealio. For my senior capstone at school, I'm doing a huge, year-long project. For the project, I'm doing it on novel writing. So I need a few experts to ask some questions if you don't mind. I have the questions listed in this topic at the bottom of the page. YOU DO NOT NEED TO ANSWER ALL OF THE QUESTIONS, BUT AS A MINIMUM I'D LOVE 5-10 ANSWERED. Though having you respond to all the questions would be ideal.

I am also looking for someone to assist me in worldbuilding in more detail for my baby Klurst. It definitely needs work. Any help I can receive to make the existing characters for Klurst better would also be great. This will be more involved than just answering questions. However, this is not as needed as responses to the questions.

NON-EXPERTS MAY ALSO SHARE THEIR KNOWLEDGE BUT PLEASE POST ON THIS TOPIC ONLY.

Requirments needed of the expert

  • at least one published novel. Or almost published novel. Or written books not published. Can be self-published, through an agent, ect...so long as it's out there.
  • I will need a name; I can't use your user names to credit you, apologies.
  • I AM ALSO LOOKING FOR EDITORS AND PUBLISHERS

What would be nice to see (but not required)
  • Some kind of college degree
  • Authors Website
  • Some sort of world, you've created.

Where Experts Should Contact Me:
  • RPR PMs (Ideal)
  • Discord

Experts, please DO NOT post in this topic.

Non Experts, make sure you use a collapse tab for the questions.
The 40 Questions

1. What makes a believable protagonist?

2. How do you make a good antagonist?

3. How do you develop a setting for a novel?

4. How do other mediums format their stories?

5. What are all the character archetypes and how are they made more unique as characters?

6. What are some directions in a plot many authors make as an afterthought and how do I use them more effectively?

7. How do you portray potentially controversial scenes tastefully in writing?

8. How do you write a good character backstory?

9. How do you develop a plot?

10. How do you write an outline for a novel?

11. How do you write an intro to a novel that hooks the readers?

12. How do you write action scenes?

13. How do you write a vivid description?

14. How do you show and not tell in writing?

15. How do you write exposition in stories?

16. What character tropes should be avoided?

17. How do you work past writers block?

18. What are some motifs/themes you can use in a story and how do you successfully incorporate them?

19. How do you write good scene breaks and transitions?

20.How do you avoid filler content in your writing?

21. How do you set up character arcs?

22. How do you write a strong ending?

23. How do you add tension to a scene?

24. How do you write conflict in a story (man VS nature, Man VS self, ect...)?

25. How do you write POV correctly?

26. How do you create humor in writing?

27. How do you properly use foreshadowing?

28. How do you write a synopsis?

29. How do you make a good book cover?

30. How do you solve the many issues of being a pantser? (IE Writer's block, incoherent plot, ect...)

31. What's a good process to begin editing with?

32. How do you develop character goals and motivations?

33. How to write a character that doesn't include pieces of yourself?

34. How do you world build?

35. How do you come up with a proper religion?

a. setting?

b. Races?

c. Politics/Government?

d.Social, political and economical issues?

36. How do you write tone and mood?

37. What are cliches and how do you avoid them?

38. How do you stay productive while writing a novel?

39. How do you decide on the genre and time period of a novel?

40. How do I write dialogue in different scenes and time periods?


Any help would be very appreciated. Thanks a bunch

I am considering myself as 'non' expert because my book/books are not yet published and available. However I have written 3 books from start to finish, two of those are in first and second drafts, the third is on it's final draft and am currently in the progress of self-publishing it in May/June 2020.

Note: I use 'you' in some of these answers in a general sense.


The 40 Questions


1. What makes a believable protagonist?

'Believable' depends on the audience for the most part. Some people will not find a protagonist who is very happy, bubbly or kind believable but others will. Just as some people will not find a grumpy, negative, evil protagonist believable.

One of thebiggest thing is to decide who your audience is and who you want your protagonist to be relatable to. Age is also important in that, the older the reader the more likely they are to want a super dynamic protagonist.

Over all the most important thing is to make sure your character is multi-faceted and isn't one dimensional. Meaning they have multiple aspects of their personality that carry different weight and produce different emotions.

2. How do you make a good antagonist?


The answer to this is essentially the same answer as the the first with this added:

Figure out the goal for the antagonist, and then figure out 5 other different goals and motivations after that. Don't just go with your gut. Have multiple available, because you may change your mind throughout the story about their motivation. Especially during the first draft. If the motivation isn't realistic, your antagonist won't be.

3. How do you develop a setting for a novel?

The way I personally start out is I ask myself where and when I want the story to take place. Say 1955, London. Then I ask if I really want the realistic London, or if I want a version of London that would exist if fairies existed.

The latter. So, then I ask myself... Do I want to just write an alternate version of this world, where the places have the same names but fairies exist and history is different?

Or

Do I want to create a new world, with new names, inspired by this earth and London, where only fiaries or perhaps several fantasy species exist?

Then I move on from there depending which I decide. If I decide to create a whole new world, I start with the people in that world, and then where they live, the map, the history, government ect.


4. How do other mediums format their stories?

I'm uncertain what you mean by 'mediums' but generally novels are formatted with single to 1.5 line spacing, dialogue is usually on it's own line, unless continuing from a very specific place, new dialogue, new actions and new paragraphs in general are always tabbed at 5 or 7 point.

5. What are all the character archetypes and how are they made more unique as characters?

N/A I don't use follow/use character archetypes personally, haven't found that specific thing to be helpful.


6. What are some directions in a plot many authors make as an afterthought and how do I use them more effectively?

I'm not sure what this means.

7. How do you portray potentially controversial scenes tastefully in writing?

It depends what the scene is. Some potentially controversial scenes need to be written in a way that upsets the reader, sometimes that is the point. I'd personally suggest writing a scene how you want to, as detailed, nitty-gritty, and painful as it comes from your finger tips and then if you feel it might be too much for a reader, or a beta reader tells you it's too much, work on dialing it down, cutting some parts.

8. How do you write a good character backstory?

The three most important things in a character backstory are:

Family.
Friends.
Passion.

If you can describe their relationship with their family and friends and things that have happened with them, and the characters passion. You have a backstory. I personally prefer to figure out a bare bones character backstory and then during the first draft, figure out the rest while I learn the character through writing them.

9. How do you develop a plot?

10. How do you write an outline for a novel?


These two are essentially the same. I use this guide to help me develop my plots.

I use index cards that I can lay out, and start by figuring out what happens for each part, bare minimum, and then build from that.

11. How do you write an intro to a novel that hooks the readers?

First draft - don't worry about this, just write. First draft is the 'let future me deal with it' draft. It's the draft you're supposed to do the least thinking.

2nd draft onwards - I figure out what the most important part of the first scene is, and I work on building suspense to that point, starting from the first word. OR I set the scene as the first sentence.

12. How do you write action scenes?

The book I am currently working on is full of actions scenes. While writing the first draft I struggled with the action - for me I figured out I was much better at quick action that doesn't last long, and not long drawn out action.

The biggest thing I can say is to describe feeling over action.

Describe pain shooting through their fist and down their arm as they punch someone in the face, and not just 'swinging arm and punching in face.'

13. How do you write a vivid description?

Smell, sight, feeling. Most important. Second important - thesaurus. Most vivid descriptions are just using bigger and more elegant words than usual.

14. How do you show and not tell in writing?

Instead of saying. 'She was wearing a red shirt and black heeled boots' I say 'The breeze ruffled her red shirt as her heels clicked on the pavement.'

15. How do you write exposition in stories?

Uncertain of this one, might come back to it later. I will say I tend to have a lot of exposition, I just try to let it flow naturally.

16. What character tropes should be avoided?

None, really. If it's what you want to write, write it. The only thing I can think of are toxic tropes like, having a token black character, token gay character. Basically having one one type of character specifically to 'just be there' and serve no real purpose.

17. How do you work past writers block?

Sometimes you can and sometimes you just don't.

Some days I work past it by pushing myself to write a sentence, that turns into a paragraph and then I feel in a groove.

But honestly? Sometimes I just need to take a break. What helps writers block the most is often just forgetting that project for a couple days and doing something completely different.



18. What are some motifs/themes you can use in a story and how do you successfully incorporate them?

Not sure on this one.



19. How do you write good scene breaks and transitions?

I prefer just putting a few ~~~ in between scenes that are in the same chapter. If it's the end of a chapter, I like to leave chapters off on a characters final thought or line of dialogue.

20.How do you avoid filler content in your writing?

First draft? I don't. I just write. The best thing anyone writing a book can during the first draft is just write, and think about very little but the plot and the character.

Second draft on wards, if/when I find filler content, like a scene, a paragraph a sentence, I either delete it entirely or rework it then.

21. How do you set up character arcs?
N/A.

22. How do you write a strong ending?

Focus on emotion, the emotions of the characters and the emotion the reader is meant to feel.


23. How do you add tension to a scene?


Emotion - play on the characters and readers emotions. Find what bothers the characters the most, and put them in that situatution.

24. How do you write conflict in a story (man VS nature, Man VS self, ect...)?

Let's go with person vs self. For this example...

Think about the characters backstory and what you want them to be dealing with, then why. What are you trying to tell with this conflict? Then decide how they will beat it, if they will. Sometimes they don't.

25. How do you write POV correctly?

1st person: I, me, my. It's from the characters direct view, and no one elses thoughts can be included unless voiced out loud.

2nd person: You, your, yours. It's from the readers direct view, and only their thoughts are included.

3rd person limited: She, her/they/theirs. It's from one characters direct view and only their thoughts are included.

3rd person omniscient: she, her, he, him, they, theirs. It's from multiple/all characters direct view and many characters thoughts are included.

26. How do you create humor in writing?

Humor in a story is often related to past events, lots of inside jokes, teasing about past scenes in the story. Humor can also be simple things like a character walking in on something they weren't supposed to, characters tripping. Some people find those things funny, others don't.

27. How do you properly use foreshadowing?

The best way I've found to use foreshadowing is in exposition, or in very vague dialogue.


28. How do you write a synopsis?

Summarize the story in two paragraphs or less. Then delete all the parts that you don't want someone to know before reading it. Polish it with some buzz words. Play on peoples curiosity.

29. How do you make a good book cover?

Honestly? Hire someone to make it. If you can.

I personally am unable to and it's not ideal. The best advice I can give is to purchase the copy rights photographs you want to use, and use an editing software to create the cover.

Look at other covers in your genre. You want your cover to look similar to those covers, portray the emotions, and mood, but not be exactly the same, still stand out.

30. How do you solve the many issues of being a pantser? (IE Writer's block, incoherent plot, ect...)

I'm a big planner so I don't usually have these issues but; make yourself do the work. Follow the plot outline given, use bullet points, index cards. Go over your plot multiple times, read your plot to a friend, add multiple options to fall back on.

31. What's a good process to begin editing with?

Wait until the first draft is entirely done of course... Then.

Go chapter by chapter, or scene by scene if you have mulitple scenes per chapter... And write down this for each scene/chapter.

Goal: - goal of the characters during the chapter.
Motivation: their motivation.
Obstacle: what if anything, if keeping them from this or making it difficult?
Stakes: if they don't meet their goal, what will they lose?
Moving on: If they do, what is the outcome?

Things that need to be edited: - what specifically needs to be edited in this/scene chapter?

Secondly...

Do all of the scene and plot and character editing first, before you even remotely think about editing grammar, punctuation, and formatting. Don't try to take all of that on at once.


32. How do you develop character goals and motivations?

Think of their backstory, their present life, and what they would want the most. Why do they want it? What will happen if they get it? What will happen if they don't?

33. How to write a character that doesn't include pieces of yourself?

You can't. All characters that every author and writer in general writers, will have something in their personality that stems from the author. It's actually a good thing! It makes characters more realistic.

34. How do you world build?

This is a really complicated question, but I'd personally go back to question 3 where I said to start with the people living in that world, and then where they live.

If you'd like an example of a world I have created, here is one in progress!

35. How do you come up with a proper religion?

a. setting?

b. Races?
What kind of characters do you want? Do you want them inspired by animals? By other species? By emotions, or weather. The ocean or sky? Basically ask as many questions as you can. The sky is the limit.

c. Politics/Government?
Ask yourself... what kind of government are you interested in writing, if it's going to come up in plot. Before you start figuring out government and politics, you need to have countries, states,and/ or kingdoms already figured out.

Decide what each place has as a resource, who they trade it with, if they are traditional or liberal, what majority of the state is traditional or liberal, and why people often move there.

d.Social, political and economical issues?

36. How do you write tone and mood?


SKIP
37. What are cliches and how do you avoid them?

Very few cliches need to be avoided if someone likes writing them. Plenty of people enjoy reading what people would describe as 'cliche'.

38. How do you stay productive while writing a novel?

Make a schedule, for both working and taking a break. I do with 5 days on 2 days off, so usually I take the weekend off.

39. How do you decide on the genre and time period of a novel?

SKIP

40. How do I write dialogue in different scenes and time periods?

Most time periods the dialogue doesn't need to be written much different, in historical time periods, words simply need to be more elegant and often times more drawn out. Depending on the character words might be missing letters or use slang, or variants of words

2019: "What ya doin sweetie?"

1910: "What might you be doing sweetheart?"


I hope any of that helps!

Mercyinreach wrote:
I am considering myself as 'non' expert because my book/books are not yet published and available. However I have written 3 books from start to finish, two of those are in first and second drafts, the third is on it's final draft and am currently in the progress of self-publishing it in May/June 2020.

Note: I use 'you' in some of these answers in a general sense.


The 40 Questions


1. What makes a believable protagonist?

'Believable' depends on the audience for the most part. Some people will not find a protagonist who is very happy, bubbly or kind believable but others will. Just as some people will not find a grumpy, negative, evil protagonist believable.

One of thebiggest thing is to decide who your audience is and who you want your protagonist to be relatable to. Age is also important in that, the older the reader the more likely they are to want a super dynamic protagonist.

Over all the most important thing is to make sure your character is multi-faceted and isn't one dimensional. Meaning they have multiple aspects of their personality that carry different weight and produce different emotions.

2. How do you make a good antagonist?


The answer to this is essentially the same answer as the the first with this added:

Figure out the goal for the antagonist, and then figure out 5 other different goals and motivations after that. Don't just go with your gut. Have multiple available, because you may change your mind throughout the story about their motivation. Especially during the first draft. If the motivation isn't realistic, your antagonist won't be.

3. How do you develop a setting for a novel?

The way I personally start out is I ask myself where and when I want the story to take place. Say 1955, London. Then I ask if I really want the realistic London, or if I want a version of London that would exist if fairies existed.

The latter. So, then I ask myself... Do I want to just write an alternate version of this world, where the places have the same names but fairies exist and history is different?

Or

Do I want to create a new world, with new names, inspired by this earth and London, where only fiaries or perhaps several fantasy species exist?

Then I move on from there depending which I decide. If I decide to create a whole new world, I start with the people in that world, and then where they live, the map, the history, government ect.


4. How do other mediums format their stories?

I'm uncertain what you mean by 'mediums' but generally novels are formatted with single to 1.5 line spacing, dialogue is usually on it's own line, unless continuing from a very specific place, new dialogue, new actions and new paragraphs in general are always tabbed at 5 or 7 point.

5. What are all the character archetypes and how are they made more unique as characters?

N/A I don't use follow/use character archetypes personally, haven't found that specific thing to be helpful.


6. What are some directions in a plot many authors make as an afterthought and how do I use them more effectively?

I'm not sure what this means.

7. How do you portray potentially controversial scenes tastefully in writing?

It depends what the scene is. Some potentially controversial scenes need to be written in a way that upsets the reader, sometimes that is the point. I'd personally suggest writing a scene how you want to, as detailed, nitty-gritty, and painful as it comes from your finger tips and then if you feel it might be too much for a reader, or a beta reader tells you it's too much, work on dialing it down, cutting some parts.

8. How do you write a good character backstory?

The three most important things in a character backstory are:

Family.
Friends.
Passion.

If you can describe their relationship with their family and friends and things that have happened with them, and the characters passion. You have a backstory. I personally prefer to figure out a bare bones character backstory and then during the first draft, figure out the rest while I learn the character through writing them.

9. How do you develop a plot?

10. How do you write an outline for a novel?


These two are essentially the same. I use this guide to help me develop my plots.

I use index cards that I can lay out, and start by figuring out what happens for each part, bare minimum, and then build from that.

11. How do you write an intro to a novel that hooks the readers?

First draft - don't worry about this, just write. First draft is the 'let future me deal with it' draft. It's the draft you're supposed to do the least thinking.

2nd draft onwards - I figure out what the most important part of the first scene is, and I work on building suspense to that point, starting from the first word. OR I set the scene as the first sentence.

12. How do you write action scenes?

The book I am currently working on is full of actions scenes. While writing the first draft I struggled with the action - for me I figured out I was much better at quick action that doesn't last long, and not long drawn out action.

The biggest thing I can say is to describe feeling over action.

Describe pain shooting through their fist and down their arm as they punch someone in the face, and not just 'swinging arm and punching in face.'

13. How do you write a vivid description?

Smell, sight, feeling. Most important. Second important - thesaurus. Most vivid descriptions are just using bigger and more elegant words than usual.

14. How do you show and not tell in writing?

Instead of saying. 'She was wearing a red shirt and black heeled boots' I say 'The breeze ruffled her red shirt as her heels clicked on the pavement.'

15. How do you write exposition in stories?

Uncertain of this one, might come back to it later. I will say I tend to have a lot of exposition, I just try to let it flow naturally.

16. What character tropes should be avoided?

None, really. If it's what you want to write, write it. The only thing I can think of are toxic tropes like, having a token black character, token gay character. Basically having one one type of character specifically to 'just be there' and serve no real purpose.

17. How do you work past writers block?

Sometimes you can and sometimes you just don't.

Some days I work past it by pushing myself to write a sentence, that turns into a paragraph and then I feel in a groove.

But honestly? Sometimes I just need to take a break. What helps writers block the most is often just forgetting that project for a couple days and doing something completely different.



18. What are some motifs/themes you can use in a story and how do you successfully incorporate them?

Not sure on this one.



19. How do you write good scene breaks and transitions?

I prefer just putting a few ~~~ in between scenes that are in the same chapter. If it's the end of a chapter, I like to leave chapters off on a characters final thought or line of dialogue.

20.How do you avoid filler content in your writing?

First draft? I don't. I just write. The best thing anyone writing a book can during the first draft is just write, and think about very little but the plot and the character.

Second draft on wards, if/when I find filler content, like a scene, a paragraph a sentence, I either delete it entirely or rework it then.

21. How do you set up character arcs?
N/A.

22. How do you write a strong ending?

Focus on emotion, the emotions of the characters and the emotion the reader is meant to feel.


23. How do you add tension to a scene?


Emotion - play on the characters and readers emotions. Find what bothers the characters the most, and put them in that situatution.

24. How do you write conflict in a story (man VS nature, Man VS self, ect...)?

Let's go with person vs self. For this example...

Think about the characters backstory and what you want them to be dealing with, then why. What are you trying to tell with this conflict? Then decide how they will beat it, if they will. Sometimes they don't.

25. How do you write POV correctly?

1st person: I, me, my. It's from the characters direct view, and no one elses thoughts can be included unless voiced out loud.

2nd person: You, your, yours. It's from the readers direct view, and only their thoughts are included.

3rd person limited: She, her/they/theirs. It's from one characters direct view and only their thoughts are included.

3rd person omniscient: she, her, he, him, they, theirs. It's from multiple/all characters direct view and many characters thoughts are included.

26. How do you create humor in writing?

Humor in a story is often related to past events, lots of inside jokes, teasing about past scenes in the story. Humor can also be simple things like a character walking in on something they weren't supposed to, characters tripping. Some people find those things funny, others don't.

27. How do you properly use foreshadowing?

The best way I've found to use foreshadowing is in exposition, or in very vague dialogue.


28. How do you write a synopsis?

Summarize the story in two paragraphs or less. Then delete all the parts that you don't want someone to know before reading it. Polish it with some buzz words. Play on peoples curiosity.

29. How do you make a good book cover?

Honestly? Hire someone to make it. If you can.

I personally am unable to and it's not ideal. The best advice I can give is to purchase the copy rights photographs you want to use, and use an editing software to create the cover.

Look at other covers in your genre. You want your cover to look similar to those covers, portray the emotions, and mood, but not be exactly the same, still stand out.

30. How do you solve the many issues of being a pantser? (IE Writer's block, incoherent plot, ect...)

I'm a big planner so I don't usually have these issues but; make yourself do the work. Follow the plot outline given, use bullet points, index cards. Go over your plot multiple times, read your plot to a friend, add multiple options to fall back on.

31. What's a good process to begin editing with?

Wait until the first draft is entirely done of course... Then.

Go chapter by chapter, or scene by scene if you have mulitple scenes per chapter... And write down this for each scene/chapter.

Goal: - goal of the characters during the chapter.
Motivation: their motivation.
Obstacle: what if anything, if keeping them from this or making it difficult?
Stakes: if they don't meet their goal, what will they lose?
Moving on: If they do, what is the outcome?

Things that need to be edited: - what specifically needs to be edited in this/scene chapter?

Secondly...

Do all of the scene and plot and character editing first, before you even remotely think about editing grammar, punctuation, and formatting. Don't try to take all of that on at once.


32. How do you develop character goals and motivations?

Think of their backstory, their present life, and what they would want the most. Why do they want it? What will happen if they get it? What will happen if they don't?

33. How to write a character that doesn't include pieces of yourself?

You can't. All characters that every author and writer in general writers, will have something in their personality that stems from the author. It's actually a good thing! It makes characters more realistic.

34. How do you world build?

This is a really complicated question, but I'd personally go back to question 3 where I said to start with the people living in that world, and then where they live.

If you'd like an example of a world I have created, here is one in progress!

35. How do you come up with a proper religion?

a. setting?

b. Races?
What kind of characters do you want? Do you want them inspired by animals? By other species? By emotions, or weather. The ocean or sky? Basically ask as many questions as you can. The sky is the limit.

c. Politics/Government?
Ask yourself... what kind of government are you interested in writing, if it's going to come up in plot. Before you start figuring out government and politics, you need to have countries, states,and/ or kingdoms already figured out.

Decide what each place has as a resource, who they trade it with, if they are traditional or liberal, what majority of the state is traditional or liberal, and why people often move there.

d.Social, political and economical issues?

36. How do you write tone and mood?


SKIP
37. What are cliches and how do you avoid them?

Very few cliches need to be avoided if someone likes writing them. Plenty of people enjoy reading what people would describe as 'cliche'.

38. How do you stay productive while writing a novel?

Make a schedule, for both working and taking a break. I do with 5 days on 2 days off, so usually I take the weekend off.

39. How do you decide on the genre and time period of a novel?

SKIP

40. How do I write dialogue in different scenes and time periods?

Most time periods the dialogue doesn't need to be written much different, in historical time periods, words simply need to be more elegant and often times more drawn out. Depending on the character words might be missing letters or use slang, or variants of words

2019: "What ya doin sweetie?"

1910: "What might you be doing sweetheart?"


I hope any of that helps!

Thanks Mercy! Thats super helpful! I actually do consider you an expert lol. You were on my list of people to PM personally, as you are almost published.

But it helps you actually do have books written (though not published). Thanks! This is great!

updated expert requirements!

Still Looking for Experts:

Here are the updated requirements:

As long as you have a book, published or not, you are considered an expert
I will need a name; I can't use your user names to credit you, apologies.
I AM ALSO LOOKING FOR EDITORS AND PUBLISHERS

Moderators: MadRatBird, Keke, Libertine, Auberon, Copper_Dragon, Sanne, Dragonfire, Heimdall


Forums > RP Discussion > Seeking Authors/Experts for my Senior Capstone