1. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Character traits, layers

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Xatron, Jan 30, 2013.

    I started writing a new story recently and i am having some problems with my main character development. The idea is that the character has three layers of character, first the mask he projects socially that is completely fake but convincing, second the face he only shows his sister and his closest friend and third his true characterthat he shows noone at first and only one or two people in the end. My problem is that while the first layer comes off easily through everyday interactions and the second also somewhat forms quite good, the third layer i can't show. How can i show a face that he doesn't show to anyone and he doesn't incorporate in his everyday behaviour either? I thought maybe i could show it through his introspection when he is alone at some point but what i want is for it to build up for the reader slowly, not appear out of the blue. Any help is welcome.
     
  2. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    You can't 'show' internal thoughts and emotions if you have a character who is also using a 'poker face' while they are in the presence of other characters, so you will need to use internal monologue, which you can do at any time. Your thought in your last lines is probably along the right lines. General advice though is not to get too carried away with such monologues, unless you're trying to ape 'Hamlet'.
     
  3. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    My main concern about internal monologues is that they will kill the mystery a character with so many layers is shrouded in. I don't usually use internal monologues.
     
  4. AchiraC
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    AchiraC Member

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    I have run in to a similar problem. In my story, different people know different sides of one character, so the reader could construct a more complete picture than any one other character could. Also, there are moments when he does or says things that are 'out of character'. The others would notice and be able to glimpse a part of what lies under the mask he wears for society.

    Hope this can give you some ideas!
     
  5. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    Then I would say that you need to completely stay out of your main character's POV, and only have them seen from the other characters PsOV (similar to what AchiraC said). Then you will need to let your main character have barely noticeable flaws that the other characters either don't notice or don't comprehend, that show through his 'poker face'. Done subtly it can be very effective.

    What you can't really do is have a main character who is both known and unknown. You need to make a choice whether your story will see your MC's POV or not.
     
  6. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    I will try adapting part of the story so far using achirac's approach, i have a feeling it will work much better (thank you lots!). Actually, my character was supposed to be both known and unknown at the beginning and if it was 2 sides only it would have worked, but anything more complicated drags the quality down. And the third side, the difficult one is where my first part finale is based on. Thank you for the advice
     
  7. jrtvick
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    jrtvick New Member

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    If you're a good enough writer, subtle actions/reactions that you pepper in should paint a picture for the reader over the course of your work. For example, your character's 1st layer is innocent and naive, but throughout your writing he/she is doing things that seem as though they are cutthroat/ street smart/ more aware than their words are letting on.
     
  8. Roxie
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    Roxie Active Member

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    I agree with jrtvick that you can flitter in subtle actions/reactions in your piece that will elude the reader to the third and true personality of your main character. Also, using the other chararcters impression of him will give the reader good insight. Hope this helps.
     

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