1. MrWisp
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    MrWisp Member

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    A funny thing happened on the way to the climax...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MrWisp, Sep 3, 2013.

    I'm roughly 85-90% finished with a novel that I've been working on for quite a while now, and something interesting (and maybe troubling) has happened. My hero and the main antagonist were on a collision course for much of the story, but when they finally met, the villain was so charming and charismatic, and the hero so naive and confused, that the two kind of hit it off.

    So here's the thing. For the first half of the book, my hero, Will, is told by a number of other characters how terrible this fellow is. It's even suggested that this antagonist is responsible for the death of Will's immediate family as well as attempts on Will's own life. However, Will begins to distrust the people feeding him this information, and when he meets this "big bad", he turns out to be not at all outwardly monstrous (plus he has a lovely daughter, which helps).

    Of course, true colors show and they don't exactly skip off into the sunset together, but with Will's main flaw being his naivety, is it completely unbelievable that these two characters should get on so well at first? Has anyone experienced a similar situation in their own writing?
     
  2. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Very little is unbelievable as long as the situation is written well. I actually found your experience and characters' friendliness rather refreshing, and shows that people aren't wholly good or evil. And that's the (possibly greatest) thing about writing: you don't know where it will lead you. Write it out, see if it works for you, and if it does then show others and see what they think.

    I haven't personally had an experience where two people who shouldn't hit it off really do, but I have had many instances where events happen and I don't even know how it's happening! It's a really strange feeling. I've written things which don't really make sense (even to me) until far later in the book. I didn't plan it; it just happened. Find joy in it. :)
     
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  3. MrWisp
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    MrWisp Member

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    Thanks, Thomas. I actually am enjoying the interaction, and it is making the inevitable payoff between the two (which I'm writing now), even more interesting than I had planned. It's just that sometimes things seem to make sense in my head and mine alone, so I thought I'd gauge what reader reaction might be. :)
     
  4. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I always thought that until I joined this forum. No, really. It's surprising when you talk to another writer how much in common you have with them in terms of routine and writing habits. Have fun with the novel, MrWisp! :D
     
  5. wolfenburg
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    wolfenburg Member

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    I like when stories take you places you didn't expect. I like the idea generally. I think you should roll with it.
     
  6. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    As a reader I think I might be disappointed if the author has built up tensions between two characters all through the book, got me all excited about a massive explosion between arch enemies only to see them go share a cup of tea and a scone at the end.
     
  7. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    One of the greatest pop culture stories is The Wizard of Oz. The villian, Mr Wizard, is built up throughout the story to be evil and terrifying, but we found out in the end the 'man behind the curtain' is quite the opposite. I remember the first time I saw that movie my reaction to that twist was quite positive.

    Your villain doesn't sound to be as much of a transformation, but if cleverly written it can be effective, certainly. I'd see where it takes you.
     
  8. MrWisp
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    MrWisp Member

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    Well again, there are no tea and scones, and true colors do come out. The two do go head-to-head. This guy is still a villain through and through...it's just a flaw of the main character that he's so easily duped by him.
     
  9. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    That is one ending i would never expectt, nor have ever seen. I suggest doing it -as i have read far too many books and can easily guess the endings just by reading the back even.
     
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  10. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually, my favorite webcomic did this to great reader acclaim, so yes, it can work ;)

    Granted, it seems at first glance to be a bit late in the story to start going back and forth with reader expectations, but it really depends on what's been set up in the rest of the story, and while I don't know what you've set up specifically, what you have said makes it seem like you could make this work. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
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  11. MrWisp
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    MrWisp Member

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    Thanks for the input. I guess I could have been more specific with my description of the scenario, but it's complex and I didn't want to throw too much out there. However, the reader knows the entire time that the villain is no good, so there are cringe-worthy moments when you'd think, "Oh man, the hero's really buying this guy's BS?" And really, the hero mainly buys it because he loves the guy's daughter and doesn't want to believe that her father is so rotten.

    I just finished writing their final encounter, and I actually think it added a greater amount of emotion to the showdown than would have been present otherwise. Thanks again for the support, everyone. Hopefully you can read it one day! :)

    Just out of curiosity, Simpson, what webcomic?
     
  12. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Order of the Stick, a Dungeons & Dragons story that will reach it's 10 year anniversary this month. There are currently 916 strips that would take a while to read, and while the first couple dozen were mostly gag-a-day entires (written before the author realized how long he could keep going and how important plot and backstory would be), once the main plot-lines start picking up and colliding with each other, it just kept getting more and more epic. Brilliant villains, horrifying main character deaths, "heroes" being driven to acts of desperation and having to deal with unimaginable ramifications.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  13. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Lol, my hero is also called Will - very strange to read about your Will haha. Anyway, nothing unbelievable about that, esp given your character's naivety. I'm just about to start begin writing how my hero Will develops a friendship with my main villain Shadow Walker, who's been leading the war to destroying Will's world... should be very interesting :D
     
  14. MrWisp
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    MrWisp Member

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    Those are some incredible similarities. lol. I was very hesitant to name my hero Will, and at first, it was just a temporary fix, but now it seems to have stuck. Do you ever regret the name when you have another character say a phrase like "Will will be here soon." I've avoided the "double will" at all costs, but it's starting to take some fancy footwork.
     
  15. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That sounds pretty cool, why not :)

    Our alternative writing project T and I work on when we're sick of sci-fi also has a dubious ending in its first part... Sometimes you gotta take risks, especially if it feels fitting to the story.
     
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  16. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Hahaha "Will will be here soon" - genius. Somehow I've never had the problem actually. Do you write in the present tense? I can see that might be trouble. And the few times when "Will will" crops up, I just switch it to "He will" :)

    Nah, never regretted the name Will - I went through Heinrich, Josh and Thomas before I finally landed on Will, just to see when I look back at my notes that the original 2 names I was torn over was between Heinrich and Will. I was rather surprised cus I'd completely forgotten that I'd ever considered the name Will before. The moment I named him Will, it just stuck. No other name felt so right.

    So you gonna keep your Will will? :D You know, the only thing I do regret regarding the name is the stupid green lines in Word. Don't you get annoyed by them? Every other sentence, "Will ran forward" and there's a green line over "Will ran" and Word suggesting you change it to "Will run". Bah.
     
  17. MrWisp
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    MrWisp Member

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    Yes! Those Word suggestions drive me up the wall!

    But yeah, I'm keeping Will. He's grown on me as Will, so I couldn't just rename him. I thought about something more dramatic or eye-catching, but the "normal" name is pretty essential for the plot as well.

    We should do a crossover. A "Battle of Wills," if you will.
     
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  18. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I will if you will. ;)
     
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  19. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Will will if he says he will ;)

    In all seriousness, maybe you could make it character-relevant that - once or twice throughout the entirety of the story - somebody finds it funny when he notices he made a double-Will in a sentence? If you've ever seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you might remember a scene from Season - 3 or 4, I think - where Buffy is talking about how much she'e going to be training after class, and one of her friends asked why she has to workout so much, "Aren't you just naturally buff, Buff?" and then laughed to herself when she realized she said "buff Buff."

    And yes, that character was also named Will if anybody cares :D
     
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  20. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Hahaha a battle of the Wills, if you will, genius! Sure, what kind of crossover? For real? You know I'd be up for it right? :) Drop me a message, tell me what your character and story are like. It'd be fun :D
     

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