1. Ana
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    Ana New Member

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    Believeable and interesting?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Ana, Dec 6, 2009.

    My two main characters in my story are complete opposites. I want them to be believable as people but I feel like they don't have enought depth. I'm pretty sure that there will be no romance between them and for most of the time they won't get along. Dispite their differences they have to sort of 'quest' together for reasons I'm not gonna go into to.

    Female character: rude, bossy, strong, brave, says whatever she wants, messy and pessimistic.

    Male character: polite, sometimes sarcastic, kind, smart, a coward, weak and optimistic

    Do you think these chracters soud interesting?
    They aren't supposed to be completely amazing but do they sound like together they could be heroes?
    Is being so different a bad thing?
    Do they sound believeable?
    Are they too boring?

    How can I make my characters believeable and interesting at the same time?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A character is not just a string of attributes. Whether a character appeals to a reader or is believable depends on the quality of the writing.
     
  3. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    I agree completely with Cogito that what makes a character is not the idea or features the writer decides or believes that character should or could have, but how any of that is written and integrated into a story. Till that happens, you simply don't have characters at all (and so they cannot possibly be either believable or interesting). Just a list of empty features--definitions, so to speak. Truth is, any quality or characteristic can be used as easily to describe deadly dull characters who don't come to life in a particular story, as they might be blockbuster compelling in an exceptional one. The key is what happens to them and how you present the story you tell. I think that's where characters are actually born, if they're ever going to exist at all.

    So, I'd say that the first key to believability and interest value in a character is to write them into a story. Literally writing them, I mean. No benefit (to character building) at all will come from discussing their features alone. Simply begin to write them into a situation of some kind and unfold them to the point where they're not only plausible and fascinating to you, the circumstances they find themselves in form a storyline that's interesting, too. Then polish and perfect the story in which they exist and test out your story characters on readers who are, after all, the only ones in a position to answer your question about how well you've succeeded in conveying them--and even that depends largely upon how clearly those readers are able to express themselves and how willing they are to share their genuine reactions.

    I think it's crucial to remember that the only place a particular character can possibly come alive is within the story you tell. And, until the character is actually viable, his big nose or sloppy clothing, mental illness or alien features, ordinariness or quirks--none of it matters at all.
     
  4. Coldwriter
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    Coldwriter Contributing Member

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    I agree, however, it is not the just the quality of writing but the conflicts that the characters runs into and how he or she reacts to them. Conflict drives that character on to make a choice and that choice keeps the reader engaged or will have them bored.

    I used to try throwing attributes together but it never seemed real without substance or a story behind the character. Why should the reader care? Answer that and you got something.

    If you really like the idea of a character having a certain quality or two, try writing several scenes with those qualities and see what happens. Put them in a scene with dialogue, then do mainly narrative...then add a completely random and goody attribute to spice them up. Let the creativity flow!
     
  5. ChimmyBear
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    ChimmyBear Contributing Member Contributor

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    Good writing has everything to do with believable characters. If the quality of the writing is poor, the character development is going to suffer.

    On a side note, it is always good to allow your characters the space to grow together. Try not to force a relationship between them...simply write and see where the story takes them. I am not saying don't write them as partners, since this is your plan, just don't make it happen by force because it's in your outline. The reader will pick up on it and might become frustrated and uninterested.
    I have learned one thing from my writing, expect the unexpected. You just might surprise yourself and your readers.

    Finally, It's your story, you are telling us what to believe, if you do it well, it will all come together.
    Have fun. :)
     
  6. Coldwriter
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    Coldwriter Contributing Member

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    Some say in an idealistic bubble they cant wait to

    I concur!
     
  7. Never Master
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    Never Master Member

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    Quick suggestion:

    The reason you aren't real sure of their depth is you haven't explored anything of depth yet. Have you looked into why she is pessimistic? Or perhaps why he is a coward? Don't base these two off of each other, base them off of themselves and what has happened to make themselves the way they are.

    The rest of their relationship and its involvement in the plot will start falling into place. (Metaphorically, of course. Even after the best character 'fleshing out' that can be done has been completed, there is still much to be done)

    Good luck!
     
  8. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Treat the characters like real people and it can always work if you have the skill. Just relax and go with it. On one level, you do have to explore the depth of these characters, as Never Master has described, but on another, you just need to relax and go with it. Alan Alda said he didn't like talking about his character on MASH because he didn't like thinking of him as a set of characteristics, which tends to happen when you talk about the character you are playing. He knew that if he did, he would go into the studio thinking about how to play those characteristics instead of just playing the character, if that makes any sense at all, and it would distract him.
     

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