I have a unique character that I'm having a problem writing. He's a virus!

This question was put on-hold due to apparently being off-topic, probably because someone though the OP was asking "what to write", and it was very unlikely to help anyone else. I don't see neither of these points.

Firstly, despite the wording of his question, he is not asking what to write, rather how to write, as there is a specific character related conundrum he is faced with. His specific problem might not be too relevant to most people (even though mind-control is getting pretty popular nowadays), but the broader problem it is within is relevant to all writers. "How to make your villain menacing?" In this case, there are certain factors making the OP not sure how to tackle the job of making the bad guy menacing.

But just because those factors are specific to his case, doesn't mean the question isn't likely to be helpful to anyone else. Look at the top ranking answer to the question. It is not tackling exactly how the OP should make his exact villain menacing, but rather how to make any villain menacing.

My answer is a bit more specific to his question, which means there are less people that will get help from it, but there's still a considerable amount of people that might find use in it. Because it regards how to make villains that aren't really too present menacing. All in all, I think it was a good question that warranted and resulted in good answers that can be helpful to many. I don't think it is right that it got put on-hold, but then again, I'm not an expert within the rules of this site, so please enlighten me if you disagree.

EDIT: Due to debate with user Cyn, I have come to a slightly different view. In my post I portray the OP's question a lot broader than it actually is. What I really think is that it is still useful, as some of the answers it warrants can teach you how to make any villains menacing. The question itself isn't that broad, but the wisdom to be learnt from seeing the answers to it can help with that broader purpose.

  • This question is soooo not "how to make any villain menacing." It's about wispy clouds. That part is not what I object to. But I do disagree with you thinking it's broader than it is.
    – Cyn
    May 3, 2019 at 20:32
  • No, the question itself is not about "how to make any villain menacing", but the answer it warrants will include information that can help anyone make any villain menacing, or with my specific answer, any villain of the OP's like menacing. It's not always about the question, its also about the kind of answers it raises. This site is not the sum of all its questions but rather the sum of all its posts, yeah?
    – A. Kvåle
    May 3, 2019 at 20:52
  • Yes, I agree with you that the answers are ones that could be useful to people with different but related problems. I do not object to very narrow questions (and this one is not all that narrow in SciFi/Fantasy anyway). I just think your argument that it was really a broad question about depicting villains was flawed.
    – Cyn
    May 3, 2019 at 20:54
  • You know what, I think you're right and as such I'll try to reword my post here, not that it'll matter much now anyways. @Cyn
    – A. Kvåle
    May 3, 2019 at 20:59
  • I agree with what you said in your edit. Thanks.
    – Cyn
    May 3, 2019 at 21:04
  • 2
    No problem. Thank you for tackling your disagreement of my arguments in a respectful and informative way. It's always nice to have civilized and productive discussions. @Cyn
    – A. Kvåle
    May 3, 2019 at 21:07

2 Answers 2


I agree -- this is a question about how to depict the character, not what it should do or other what-to-write considerations. I've reopened it.


First of all, please remember that when we vote to close a question, we have to choose from a small handful of pat answers. Yes, we can create our own, but it's easier and more straight-forward to just click on something.

So don't read too much into the exact reason someone chose for closing. It's more of a "yeah, this doesn't really fit here and needs to be closed. click Oh now I have to pick something? Okay... click."

Much of the time there is a very clear reason why I choose to vote to close a question. But most of the time, there is more than one reason, but I can only pick one. Sometimes none of the reasons fit so I either write my own or make do.

I'm one of the people who closed this question. When I go back to the close button on the question it confirms that I VTC. But it doesn't say which reason I picked. And I don't remember. It may very well have been that it was too story based.

You're focusing on the "not likely to help someone else" but I don't even think about that part. I think of it as "this question is about what is going to happen within the story and that's not something anyone but the author can answer."

Re-reading the question, I am absolutely convinced that it is much too story-based. It's all too broad. With a bit of unclear what OP is asking. Yes, OP does ask "how do I make a wispy cloud menacing?" and "how to write it in such a way that it comes across as menacing?" both of which are reasonable questions (and overlapping ones).

But we have two other direct questions as well:

  • How do I create actions against a wispy cloud?
  • If he takes over other people's minds then wouldn't those people be the ones who are menacing instead of him?

Those are more suited for a place like Worldbuilding (not that the question would survive there). But they're also about the story, not the writing.

Then there is the additional information in the question that are indirect questions, or extra bits that add to the story but don't help us answer the question. Really it's just too much.

I'm frankly shocked it got reopened and would vote to re-close it if that were an option. There is maybe a good question in there (and it might turn out to be a great story) but nothing I've seen yet shows me a good question for Writing.SE.

  • I see your points, especially one the "How do I create actions against a wispy cloud", and I do agree that he did include a lot of irrelevant information (that would probably be suited for Worldbuilding.SE), but I believe the essence of his question is one more than suited for this site. But also, isn't the subject of story elements and the structure of the narrative part of the subject of writing? @Cyn
    – A. Kvåle
    May 3, 2019 at 20:48
  • 1
    @A.Kvåle while some questions get closed because they'll never be right, the stated purpose of having questions go "on hold" when they're first closed is so the OP can re-write it to make it better. Had the OP done this, I would have been okay with it. But the OP did not edit it at all (the only edit was yours for a couple minor things). The OP also did not comment at all in reply to the many comments we all left. There was zero effort to make this a better question.
    – Cyn
    May 3, 2019 at 20:52
  • That is true, and I too believe that should matter a lot. Because with some editing his post would have been A LOT better, even though the core question itself was pretty good to begin with. But yeah, he did not do much to improve, which is something that was definitely warranted. So I think I can agree that the put on-hold was right as he didn't respond nor cater to any of the criticism, as the question could do with a lot of improvement, but I also think it is better open as it is than closed forever as there is a lot of value to it even in its current bad state. @Cyn
    – A. Kvåle
    May 3, 2019 at 20:56

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