1. JunieValkyrie
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    JunieValkyrie New Member

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    character development...gives me a headache.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by JunieValkyrie, Jan 1, 2009.

    im trying to flesh out my characters and im getting a headache from it. xD ive been at it all winter break and my characters arent coming alive, for me. and now i have a headache cuz ive been on the computer for almost 2 days trying to work with these characters. xD
    god! i thnk im doing this all wrong.
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are you sitting down and trying to come up with histories/backgrounds, physical descriptions, likes and dislikes, personality quirks...etc...etc. in isolation, or are you trying to develop the characters in the context of writing the story?

    Terry
     
  3. goldhawk
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    goldhawk Senior Member

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    Choose one thing that your character dislikes or hates. Write a scene with him as an 8 year old and his 12 year old sibling is teasing him with it.

    Character comes out under stress and conflict is a good at stress. And most writers seem to forget that their characters were children once*. Imagining them dealing with common childhood problems can give you better insight to their nature. So have fun with it; write something silly. You never know what you'll come up with. :)

    * With exceptions like robots, aliens, and supernatural beings, of course.
     
  4. JunieValkyrie
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    JunieValkyrie New Member

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    i tried both of them. ive gone back to developing the characters through the writing. but i HAVE to keep going back to make sure im not showing the wrong personality traits. for example im writing a humorous story that's meant to have really dry, snarky humor in it, so certain characters make mean, but funny comebacks. BUT i dont want them to be MEAN characters. so i keep going back every 5 minutes and i eventually end up rewriting one line of dialogue like 10 times.

    edit-
    haha thanks ill actually try that. it could stop me from trying to define them in everything they say.
     
  5. goldhawk
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    goldhawk Senior Member

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    Two things come to mind. Your subconscious mind may be refusing to do the scene because it doesn't fit into your story here or the characters would do it some other way. Try this : you are a director of a play and your characters are actors. They are balking at doing a scene. So, you decide to talk to them to find our their grievances and work out a compromise (you can't fire them; well, you can but that would involve the union and a lot of red tape). Write that meeting in the first person (remember, you are the director).
     
  6. Daedalus
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    Daedalus Active Member

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    Make sure your characters aren't too unique. Readers relate to characters. They envision themselves as the character. If your MC is six-foot-six, two-hundred and twenty pounds, and a former world's strongest man, there isn't going to be much relating.

    Then, put your characters through every conceivable bad thing that you can think of. Torture them. Make their lives miserable. That's when we discover true character.

    For your antagonists, give them life as well. Make us love to hate them. If we don't care, you've failed to bring them to live -- failed to give them character.
     
  7. goldhawk
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    goldhawk Senior Member

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    I disagree; everyone loves Gov'n'r Arnie.

    I agree with that. You should send more time developing your antagonist than even your protagonist. They have to do things because of their motivations, not because the story needs them to. Try to avoid them being mentioned on Peter's Evil Overlord List.
     
  8. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    And I disagree with that. BOTH should be developed adequately, and BOTH should do things due to their motivations as well as the demands of the plot. Who wants a protagonist who does things only because the plot says he should? Who wants an antagonist who does things just because of his motivations, forget the plot?

    To the OP, it sounds like you're making too much of a chore out of developing characters. Developing characters should be fun, not tedious. It sounds like you're making it into work when it should be more like play or just getting to know people. I don't set out to "develop" characters by making lists of traits and such. Instead, I just write them as individuals. I get into their heads by putting myself in their place (a good way to develop characters who might be completely different from the writer--imagine you're in their mindset), and then I have them interact in the story. That's the best way (IMO) to develop characters...much better than making lists and getting everything settled beforehand.

    I learn most about my characters by putting them in action. I find out new things about them all the time, even years down the line, just like with real people. If you just set out to make a complete profile or list of their entire personalities beforehand, you run the risk of them becoming stale, static characters...and of giving yourself a headache. Do we get to know every single thing about the people we meet, the first time we meet them? Unlikely. Same with characters.

    Just write them as people, keep track of the basics that you might forget (like their birthdates, physical appearance, etc.), and forget about having to go back every five minutes to make sure you're developing their personalities right. Do you have to remind yourself every five minutes what the personalities of your friends or family members are like? Probably not, so why do you have to do it with your characters? You should know them better than that.
     
  9. goldhawk
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    goldhawk Senior Member

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    I never said to make a list; I think you're confusing me with someone else. :) If fact, I wrote two posts that encouraged the OP to write scenes about the characters that will never appear in the story. Everyone has their own way of developing characters. What you have to do is find the way that works best for you.
     

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