1. V.Inkdrop
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    V.Inkdrop Member

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    Character Religion

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by V.Inkdrop, Nov 14, 2013.

    I want to add a diversity to my characters, so they are of varying ethnicities and religions. So the three main characters are two boys and a girl. The MC, one of the boys, makes friends with the other boy first. Then the girl is introduced. And I want to make either the MC's best friend or the girl Muslim. The other two would be Catholic and agnostic, and the girl and MC's best friend are going to have an attraction that will never work. So which is more interesting: A badass Muslim girl who has a crush on the MC's Catholic best friend, or a Muslim best friend who has a crush on the agnostic girl?
     
  2. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    the elephant and the mouse or the t-rex with the goldfish?

    is your story dictated by audience participation or your heart? It's your story, make it unique. You decide your plot, write as best you can and when it's edited at least twice post some of it, I'm looking forward already to critiquing it!
     
  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Hi V - welcome to the group.
    As for your question. Personally, I have no problem with adding diversity to a novel as long as you're not
    leaning on types to create conflict. It could result in a lot of familiar scenes. But you're ahead of the game by
    making the muslim girl against type - terrific! Also, ( might not even need to be said ) keep an open mind when
    handling both religions. I've read a few stories in which the writer was so biased about religion they used
    them only as road blocks, making their character look rather foolish and their book very soap-boxy.
     
  4. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you can that easily switch between the girl being Muslim or being agnostic, then her religion seems hardly a crucial part of her character. And if it's purely cosmetical (she's blonde or brunette) and plays no real role in the story, then it really doesn't matter. She could be a scientologist or wiccan or jedi... But if you just declare that without going into specific ways it affects her actions, choices and decisions...
     
  5. V.Inkdrop
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    V.Inkdrop Member

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    The Muslim character isn't super religious, but it just puts a strain on any romantic relationships.
     
  6. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    More than Christianity would?
     
  7. V.Inkdrop
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    V.Inkdrop Member

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    Yes because Islam forbids extramarital sexual relationships.
     
  8. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    ?

    If you're talking about sex before marriage then Christianity does too.
    If you're talking about all sexual relationships there wouldn't be any more Muslims.

    You should make the girl a Baha'i.
     
  9. V.Inkdrop
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    V.Inkdrop Member

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    No I get that I just mean Muslims aren't allowed to have relationships outside marriage.
     
  10. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Do you mean sexual relationships outside marriage? Because that's pretty taboo in any religion.
    If you mean any relationship outside marriage then you really need to do some research from somewhere other than Fox News.

    EDIT: The original post contained the phrase "bigoted idiot". Our editors felt that was too strong.
     
  11. V.Inkdrop
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    V.Inkdrop Member

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    Excuse me, but my source is myself, as I am a Muslim. Are you?

    And while I realize that sexual relations outside marriage are not allowed in most religions, Islam has a stronger tradition of forbidding them. Women and men are not allowed to be anything more than friends. Most people have a relatively easy time grasping this.
     
  12. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, there are some groups of Christians that believe this pretty fervently, as well. But in any event, as far as your original question, it can't be answered as posed. The most interesting relationship is the one that develops between the characters naturally.

    Unless people are extremely religious, and devote a good portion of their time to their religion, it doesn't really come up on a day to day basis. If your characters aren't religious, their religion is only going to come up when some holiday arrives and they have to go celebrate it with the family. If the family is very religious, but the character is not, that could cause problems as far as the relationship, and certainly that is something you could explore (and indeed, this topic has been explored many times). So, I wouldn't set out as Muslim crushes on Catholic or Agnostic. I'd start with, for example, the Muslim character -- you don't have to hit us over the head with Islam -- just show how there are certain things that happen because of the religion, like someone tries to serve them pork, or someone discusses someone else's lapse in religion, or how the character feels when some holiday arrives or whatever. Then write him/her interacting with other characters and see what develops. Sometimes you can write the characters and they'll tell you what religion they are and how observant they are.
     
  13. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    A trully believing (religious, practicing) Christian of any of 3078 sub-denominations would feel the same way about girl-boy relationships...
     
  14. V.Inkdrop
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    V.Inkdrop Member

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    Thank you for your understanding.

    I agree with what you're saying. Actually, the Muslim/Catholic crush wasn't supposed to develop until after they'd been friends for quite a while. That was actually when I was going to reveal that the Muslim character was actually Muslim. The religion of this character is not important to the story at all except when it comes to that specific incident.
     
  15. V.Inkdrop
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    V.Inkdrop Member

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    Yes, I completely understand this, but there is a higher proportion of Muslims who hold this belief. This character would also work as a practicing Christian, but I just wanted to try something I haven't seen very often.
     
  16. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd be careful in doing this, though. You can portray the Muslim character without much reference to religion, but you should drop some hints. Maybe through things that are important to other family members - - for example, maybe a mother or a grandmother, who cooks some sort of traditional food, or whom it is important to appease with some holiday tradition. But if the religious difference is at all an issue, it might be too jarring to the reader to spring it on them all of a sudden with no hint beforehand.
     
  17. V.Inkdrop
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    V.Inkdrop Member

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    Yes!
    Like he/she may ask, 'Is this halal?' when eating with friends, or something like, 'My mom's at the mosque'. But he/she is more than first- or second- generation American. They're not cultural Muslims. (Cultural Muslims are Muslims whose' culture has religious elements embedded in it.)
     
  18. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Anything, such as an exchange like this:
    "Where's Mom?"
    "She's at the mosque."
    "What? What is she doing there?"
    "Grandma made her go."
    "Oh yeah. I forgot Grandma was coming today. "
    "You better make sure your room's clean. You know how irritated she is when she gets back from the mosque with Grandma."

    And that could be it.
     
  19. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    But traditional meals are part of cultural, not religious background!
     
  20. V.Inkdrop
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    V.Inkdrop Member

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    Yes, that's why my character's culture is not Islamic. They have a secular culture and Islamic religious practices.
     
  21. V.Inkdrop
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    V.Inkdrop Member

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    Absolutely.
     
  22. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    A "secular culture" would mean non-religious background. What you want is an American wearing hijab. :)
     
  23. V.Inkdrop
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    V.Inkdrop Member

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    Essentially. :)
     
  24. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    You mean, they don't hold on to the traditions of their Old Country (Persian traditions are WAY different from Moroccan!) but have embraced the every-day life routines of the Colony - except for being Muslim instead of Baptist?
     
  25. V.Inkdrop
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    V.Inkdrop Member

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    They don't necessarily have to have an Old Country-I don't. I don't necessarily want to go deep into that, but maybe they have convert grandparents, maybe they have a mixed background. (I might make them Hispanic)
     

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