1. Vamp_fan22
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    Vamp_fan22 Senior Member

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    a ghost as a character?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Vamp_fan22, Aug 3, 2011.

    In the beginning of my story there is a character who dies and comes back a ghost. He has no connection to my MC but is still an important character because he actually comes to my mc later in the story. My question is how do I go about this? Him being a ghost, how can I develop his character? Is it different than developing any other character? Sorry if this is a stupid post.
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Develop him the way you would any other character, plus any supernatural qualities that you might decide to give him. If you'd like me to post some shrink-->patient style questions to him that would help develop him, check out the character development clinic thread in Word Games.

    But yeah...him being a ghost doesn't change the mechanics of character development. You'll just have some new issues to consider, such as his death, whether or not an afterlife will play a role etc.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    First you should decide whether a character can continue to grow after death. You can always "develop" a ghost character by showing more aspects over time. But you should decide up front whether a ghost can learn from mistakes, reach new insights, etc.
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    ^ That's a really good point! :D
     
  5. Ursus_Buckler
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    Ursus_Buckler Member

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    From a Ghost character you can access qualities that you can't with other types of character; and that is that a Ghost has already died. Imagine for a second how that would affect you (or the character, more appropriately)- how will already experiencing death once affect them? Will they still be scared of danger? Will they still have a motivation, or will they be anxious to just drift into the void like they were supposed to? Will they try their best to preserve life whenever they can, or, knowing how peaceful death can be, will they seek to accomplish the opposite? Alternatively, you can make their inability to develop central to their character; I'd say for inspiration look at Mogworld by Yahtzee Croshaw, or the character of Rimmer in the Red Dwarf series.
    Don't forget that being a Ghost doesn't necessarily stop a character from being human, though.
     
  6. Seye
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    Seye Member

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    How much time would have elapsed from this character's death to his 'visit'?

    How much time did the story prior his death give to him? Was he a shadowed in character, or was there a section built around him? Since he comes back, I suspect you have a scene for him so the visit doesn't get a 'huh' from a reader.

    The original character sketch you have for him need not change. He can be a ghost who needs to give hints to the MC or instant recognition because his features - though ghost-like - have not changed, nor does his characteristics have to, or at least I don't think they should at all, because it is 'recognition' that makes a ghost, someone has to see them as they were back then.

    Gawd I ramble :(

    But my thought is this - You don't need to draw him in any different(maybe a bit transparent) but his character should be one easily recognised by the MC. When he appears as a ghost, their new relationship develops then. If they bond closer, then you build in his character more, but don't draw him in too much if his second opportunity is short live also.

    My opinions can be filed under LOL if need be.

    :)

    Seye
     
  7. Vamp_fan22
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    Vamp_fan22 Senior Member

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    His death is the whole epilogue scene. The epilogue starts six years earlier. Basically the epilogue is just his last moments and his thoughts as he is about to die by his own hand. He doesn't believe in an afterlife so he's terrified of what will happen to him once it's over.
     
  8. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    This book, definitely. Read this book.

    It depends on what the character is capable of doing as a ghost - can he haunt someone's dreams or harm them directly? Is he somehow accountable for his actions as a ghost? Will he change his character now that he is in a new state of 'living'? Is he relentless in demanding things from others or is he more passive?

    Characters are created based on how they react from pressures placed on them, by society, authority, or the like. Now that the very rules of his 'life' have changed, will he adapt or will he go on trying to live life based on his old dogma?
     
  9. Rennuruof
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    Rennuruof Member

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    Like has already been said many times ghosts can be and do many things. I'd recommend checking out 'The Graveyard Book' by Neil Gaiman. (you apparently have a lot of reading to do). :)
     
  10. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Develop who he was before he died. He had a life, he have memories, he had friends and family who loved him. He had habits, pet peeves, hates and loves, he had regrets and dreams and unfinished business. Develop that. Oh and develop how he copes now that he's a ghost. What can he do that he couldn't before? And what can't he do that he could do before? How does he deal with this? Has he come to terms with being dead?

    And then decide if a ghost can still learn and reflect and change, does what he do still matter? Does it have an impact on the real world or on himself?

    Just don't fall into the trap of not giving him any background, please. I did that. My MC doesn't have any memories of his past life - and I was stuck on how to develop him. So I went ahead and started writing. Seriously, now I'm faced with the stupid dilemma of having my supporting character being much more charismatic than my MC. My MC is a personality-less, soulless, bland, boring emo who's always afraid of everything. Until I realised actually, he still had a life AFTER he got adopted, why on earth didn't I develop that!? So yeh, just don't do what I did.
     
  11. AveryWhite
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    AveryWhite Senior Member

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    This sounds really similar to a book i read. In that the ghost character who wasnt the main character but he knew the main character(love interest) grew as a 'dead person' and changed and learnt things. Its called 'Kissed by an Angel'. Maybe you should read.
     
  12. AveryWhite
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    AveryWhite Senior Member

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    ^ actually my mistake he didnt come back as a ghost but an angel (hence the title i guess ooooops, havnt read in a while lol) but its still a similar sinario cause effectively he still thinks of himself as a ghost. Anyway sorry for the misguidance :s
     
  13. Leah
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    Leah Member

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    I was intrigued by your idea - very original, imo.

    I am not sure what sort of mood your overall story will have, but it could be interesting to see things from the "ghost" point of view - as they discover what their new abilities/restrictions are being in that form. Might be an interesting side story.
     
  14. The_NeverPen
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    The_NeverPen Member

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    Living characters develop through growth. Perhaps a dead character should develop through decay? What happens to a character - a mind, essentially - when it is disembodied? How might they develop if they lost parts of their body as their self loses its normal cohesiveness?

    I recommend reading "The man who mistook his wife for a hat" by Oliver Sacks. It'll show you just how drastically our personalities can change when our brains are damaged. Perhaps the same could be said for a ghost?
     
  15. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Slightly off topic but this has always been a curiosity to me. Why is it that so many people (Not necessarily you, Quez, just borrowing your comment as a springboard) seem to feel ghosts must, necessarily, be inherently evil or harmful a la A Christmas Carol rather than the more amenable captain in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, for example? Even in 'real life' people seem to be so terrified at the idea of encountering a ghost.
     

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