1. MrPizzle
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    MrPizzle Member

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    Can you understand this character?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MrPizzle, Nov 8, 2013.

    I'm unsure if he is a tragic villain, a victim or a monster but I want people to feel sorry for him, just looking for feed back.

    I decided to make my protagonist/P a university student, just easy to relate to, how ends up being chosen to receive 4 supernatural gifts which end up putting him in a situation where staying anonymous is the only way to survive and 'win'.

    Personality wise, he is just an all round decent person, up until he has to take the life of his first victim. The game he unwittingly found himself in requires him to constantly be vigilant, always planning ahead, trying to find who is trying to kill him while staying anonymous and cover his tracks almost 24/7, he tries to also remain a good person but as he becomes more desperate and his family might also be in danger, he resorts to more morally damaging acts to stay anonymous.

    The stress of everything I mentioned above and physical and mental exhaustion starts to overtax his mind and he eventually cracks and falls apart mentally, the other players he is against also contribute to his insanity, the game requires mind games to win so while the P is mind screwing others, he himself is also a victim of manipulation, emotional blackmail and paranoia.

    The final nail is that the P is in a constant cycle of fall down this path, one of his own enemies is an alternate version of himself, he constantly plays with his mind just to ensure he continues the cycle.
     
  2. Tara
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    Tara Contributing Member

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    Just listing some events of your story here won't make it possible to tell how we feel about this character, because it's all about how you write the story out.

    If you stress how he manipulates others it would make him the monster; if you stress how he's being manipulated or how he regrets what he has to do to survive it will make the reader feel sorry for him... if you write those things well.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A character can only be evaluated in the context of the whole story.
     
  4. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    Nothing really stood out to me to understand the character, more like ya posted more about his predicament
     
  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, as others have said, we can't assess your characterization through a summary. There are lots of characters who do bad things, but we nonetheless identify with them, feel sorry for them, and root for them (sometimes we root for them to succeed even when their goal is something morally reprehensible.) Just look at all the mafia movies.

    Also, I hate to bring it up, because I feel like I mention it all the time, but Breaking Bad is a fantastic example of this. One of the aspects of that show is determining when each viewer turns against the main character, because he goes from an extremely sympathetic and relatable character, and he evolves into this cold, vicious killer. Some people never stop rooting for him, even though they realize he's doing really bad things.

    One piece of good news is that readers want to identify with your character. We start out trying to find commonalities, even though we're not really conscious of doing so. Any thoughts or feelings you can put in there that a lot of people have had will help.

    You can also put in some things that show a character is not all bad. Another example from the movies is Al Pachino's character in the movie Sea of Love -- he's a police officer and they're doing a sting to catch wanted men by setting up a pretend event that the wanted men have been invited to, where baseball players are going to sign stuff. He sees a guy who has brought his kid. He tells the guy to leave, letting him in on what's going on, essentially, because he doesn't want the guy arrested in front of his kid, and ruining the day forever for the kid. That small thing lets the audience know he's really a good guy, because there's not a lot of opportunity in the rest of the movie. (You can also find a lot of scenes in movies that sometimes seem like odd inclusions, because they don't have anything to do with the plot. But they're usually put in to show us something about the character, often to show that he or she really is a deeply caring person, hence making the audience like him or her more, because it doesn't come through enough in the scenes that drive the main plot. Another famous example of this is in the movie Fargo, where the MC has this very odd lunch with an acquaintance she knew from HS, who has some problems. She doesn't want to hurt his feelings, and we see this awkward situation, where she is concerned about him. The scene has nothing to do with the rest of the movie, but it tells us a lot about her.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2013
  6. MrPizzle
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    MrPizzle Member

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    Thank you for the comments. This is good.
     
  7. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    Here's the thing to keep in the front of your mind: The reader is with you expecting to be entertained first, not informed. If you can do that on every single page your protagonist can be pretty much anything you care to have him/her be.
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I like all these ideas. I think you've described an interesting premise for intriguing internal conflict. Write the first chapter and see what you can do with it.
     

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