1. There_She_Goes
    Offline

    There_She_Goes Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    1

    Character development getting out of hand?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by There_She_Goes, Jun 13, 2012.

    So, has this it ever happened to you that your characters have kind of got out of hand? I, for example, was frustrated cause I wasn't able to make a character of mine fall in love with another character. I was "disappointed" in her and thought that she was just mean, picky and selfish. I was sorry for the other character she was supposed to fall in love with. I started sympathizing him and thought to myself: "That bitch (the other character, the "mean one") would probably only fall in love with some crazy beefcake with a slimy attitude". But then I realized; no, she wouldn't. She's actually a lesbian!

    I know, this sounds very schizophrenic, but I'm so confused anyways. I don't care if it's odd. I know there are rational people here... :D Should I just get rid of those characters I can't "control" anymore? I understand that bitch, she's been through a lot, but I pity that boy who she should fall in love with cause he's crazy about her. But it's so hard to just drop a character and create a new one. But I really hate her. She's a stubborn idiot.

    Anyways, any similar experiences?
     
  2. louis1
    Offline

    louis1 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Messages:
    238
    Likes Received:
    7
    if you hate her keep her! I think it's wonderful that your character seem alive, make the reader her her too, see where it brings you.
     
  3. growingpains
    Offline

    growingpains Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2012
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maine
    It's up to your writer to sympathetic with the character and pity the boy who falls in love with her. Right now it seems like you're taking on the role your reader should and that's getting in the way of your writing. Distance yourself from your characters a bit. Contrary to popular belief, characters don't have minds of their own. They have the minds that you give them.
     
  4. AnonyMouse
    Offline

    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    337
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Let's not argue semantics. If you give them a mind, they now have a mind of their own. If the mind you gave them isn't the mind you intended, it can lead the story off course. Rewording the problem doesn't bring us any closer to solving it.

    The OP's problem can be summed up as, "my character isn't doing what I wanted her to do."

    Your response can be summed up as, "she's doing what you made her do."

    That is a correct response, IMO, but where do we go from here? Rewrite the whole story so the character's thoughts, actions, and dialogue match our original prototype... or just roll with it?

    I say roll with it, because they do have minds of their own. A well-developed character can be just as unpredictable as any real person and attepting to pigeonhole her into a strict vision of what she should be will make her appear one-dimensional or flippant. Unless this character's free will is utterly destroying the story, I see no reason not to give her free range. In the end, it leads to more realistic, dynamic characters and more interesting plotlines.

    The trick is, make sure the mind you give them fits the story you're trying to tell.
     
  5. kyelena2
    Offline

    kyelena2 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I agree completely. Sometimes the first thought out intention of your book becomes the past. I say continue writing until you feel happy with the ending. You have a passion for your character's feelings, and I support that. What those characters need is your support. Follow down the path "they" want to go, and see where it takes you to.
     
  6. kyelena2
    Offline

    kyelena2 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Best of wishes!
     
  7. killbill
    Offline

    killbill Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    where the mind is without fear...
    Exactly! Only a very dynamic character can evoke such passion. BTW, I really do believe my characters have their own minds :D
     
  8. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    Yes! My characters have definitely been known to drive me up the wall. No matter what perfect niche I put them in , they crawl out and start doing their own thing. Right now, I'm having a similar problem because my hero and pseudo bad guy are practically, switching places - the book is taking me to a unknown destination. I have two choices , go with it cause maybe what I planned will never be as spectacular or nip it in the bud. I'm on the fence because I think a writers subconscious can either enhance their writing or trip it up.

    I think if this change can help your story, maybe it needs to happen. If not ditch her.
     
  9. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I have seen other members post similar complaints.

    First of all, the character is your creation. He or she has no independent existence. This may sound like a "duh" statement, and indeed, I hope it is. I have had discussions in which it was clear that the other person clearly believed the character lierally had an independent will. If that is the case, nothing I say will make any difference to you.

    If you're still reading, examine your character's growth. What factors in his or her design made the undesired reaction inevitable? What happens if you tweak those characteristics? Can you do so without completely unraveling your story to this point?

    Maybe the problem is in the story situations you've put your character through, the actions forced by one or more story events may have pushed your characters down paths that cannot be easily rejoined. In those cases, you can modify or eliminate those events, or you can introduce other events that push your characters back to compatibility. I'd probably choose the latter, and leave the tension created by the rift to strengthen the story.

    One more thing. Don't overdefine your characters prior to placing them in your story. Doing so can heap on constraints you neither need nor want. I'm opposed to the use of character sheets and other rituals to "fully know" your characters in advance. You don't want to lock your character in steel restraints.
     
  10. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,728
    Likes Received:
    4,826
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    This is a very important point, and I've stated it before in these forums. Cogito's reason is valid here, but there's another to be considered: If the events of your story are really important to your MC (and they ought to be, otherwise there's no character arc), then your character will change during the course of the story. At the end of the story your MC may be wiser, stronger, or even weaker and more foolish, than he was at the beginning. You have to start with a character loosely-defined enough to permit these changes to happen.
     
  11. Cassiopeia Phoenix
    Offline

    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Brazil
    Pretty much what everyone said. Real people are not constant -- neither should be characters. and you can take advantage of that: perhaps a behavior that is not consistent to your character now can be consistent later, or in a different situation. Maybe the characters have their own minds, but the writer is the one who controls the events on the story and you could use that to change your character as you wish.

    Just because she's not falling in love now, doesn't mean she won't do it ever.
     
  12. chicagoliz
    Offline

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I've heard that you should not write with the ending in mind because you run the risk of forcing your characters to do something forced or unnatural. Maybe the story you've got in you is how your character gets past his infatuation with this character and later finds love with another character. (Or maybe not, but at least knows what he's looking for.) Or maybe this character becomes a friend and is accepted by your character for what she is? Or maybe the character treats him badly and he learns something as a result. If your character is a lesbian, it's probably not for the best if she ends up in a romantic relationship with your male character. Let him work through this.

    I said once before on this forum, so forgive me if you've seen this. But I've been to a few book club meetings that featured a writer who's had a half dozen books published. People would often say to her, "I was really surprised when X happened." She would reply, "Yeah, that surprised me, too."

    Sometimes the characters know better than you do what should happen, especially if they've been so well developed that they are able to resist what you want them to do. I'd say try going with it and see what happens.
     
  13. There_She_Goes
    Offline

    There_She_Goes Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thank you ever so much for these opinions you guys have given :)! I have to admit that when I posted this thread I was a bit afraid that it would turn into a "it's crazy to think your characters have minds of their own" -kind of a conversation... :) But instead, I got so many useful tips and thoughts! Thank you :D!
     

Share This Page