1. CMastah
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    CMastah Active Member

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    Character changes 180 degrees in the span of a less than half a day

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by CMastah, Dec 29, 2014.

    So here's the thing:

    I have a character that is suffering major trauma (he hallucinates and suffers terribly from the effects of fear), but he gets on a 'magic' cure that changes him to well adjusted immediately (the issue is that the cure isn't something he takes, it's a form of meditation). The thing is, is that the cure has a secret to it that'll break him once he finds out the truth behind it, but that isn't until MUUUUCH later. I'm concerned about turning off readers if I 'fix' my character (who up until this point is a broken wreck) with this method (even though this method is integral to the overall narrative, integral NOT in that it fixes him (though it does), it's in that it becomes something personally valuable to him only to break him when he realizes the dark secret behind it).

    The issue is that he comes to 'revere' that method so to speak, I open several chapters with him in meditation. The problem is that I'm planning more than one story, and that 'dark' aspect isn't revealed in the first (although readers are clued in every now and then that something's up (it alters his emotions noticeably)). One character later on in the story will even warn him that it's not something to be taken lightly.

    This 'cure' is critical to the overall story but I'm concerned about how readers will react when they've seen this utterly broken character who essentially 180's in less than a day (this meditation is a form of communion with a 'higher being', it first establishes contact with him by actually speaking to him).
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If you're presupposing that it is a magical effect, I wouldn't worry about it. It might help to establish that such magics exist and are effective in your world, though it can even work if the character's transformation is the first evidence of such magic. One approach to deal with potential reader incredulity is to reflect it with the character himself. An unexplained, unexamined instant change might put people off, but if even the character recognizes the rapidity of the transformation, and all of the questions that come with it, it signals to the reader that you have a handle on this and didn't just make the rapid transition without realizing what you were doing.
     
  3. karmazon
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    karmazon Member

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    The way I see it a character's arc isn't completed until the climax, so you're either going to have to break him much worse or being cured must become a source of unhappiness/downfall.
     
  4. !ndigo
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    !ndigo Member

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    I personally wouldn't have much of a problem with this as long as you described the healing process.

    If you just said "he meditated" then suddenly his personality changed I'd be really skeptical and kind of put off since it seems like a cheep shortcut.

    If you went through and did a scene where he could feel the 'higher being' repairing cracks in his mind, building walls of strength and fortitude, filling pools of calm, lighting fires of confidence etc... then I'd be really drawn in and totally accept his changed personality.

    Sound like a cool plot :)
     
  5. CMastah
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    CMastah Active Member

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    Thanks guys, I am worried it'll come off as a cheap fix but I am making sure to leave hints that it's not all its cracked up to be. In fact, the thing is he's supposed to be biologically incapable of this meditation (it's something that's inherited, not picked up), the ones who teach him to meditate (they only intended it to be normal meditation, no more) are themselves shocked when he succeeds to the point that the higher being actually spoke to him (kind of 'hasn't happened in several generations' kind of thing). I suppose though I'll have to either put in some details on the process or leave warning hints earlier.
     
  6. kburns421
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    kburns421 Member

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    I agree with this. If a character in a book or movie, for example, is so amazingly stupid that it's just ridiculous, and everyone else just accepts it like it's normal, it bothers me. But if the other characters, or even that character himself, comment on his stupidity, then I feel like that character really is just out of the standard, even in his world, and I accept it. That was a terrible example, but the concept applies to your story. If it's acknowledged that this change is unusual, or if it's explained why this change is actually normal, I doubt I'd have a problem with it, especially if there are hints that it's not the perfect quick-fix it seems to be.
     

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