1. TheNuttyAuthor
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    TheNuttyAuthor New Member

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    Characters for an original fantasy novel

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by TheNuttyAuthor, Apr 1, 2011.

    Hi. I hope I'm not being rude, but I would like some help with two protagonists and an antagonist for my heroic fantasy/supernatural/zombie apocalypse story. It is possibly the first blend of the genres that I've seen written, so I want to know if I'm creating characters correctly. I'd like to know if I created a Mary Sue, because one of my protagonists is female and I plan for her to have a large role in the plot; it is also important for me to know if my characters are too stereotypical or if they wouldn't work in the sort of story I'm working on.

    Brela Ironhammer is the first of my protagonists. She is a middle-aged dwarf (about 79 years old) who has braided black hair and olive-colored skin; typically, she wears full armor for when she fights zombies, but out of armor, she wears simple leather trousers and a cloth shirt...with the same plate mail boots--she tends toward the busty side by human standards, with DD-cup breasts (which are about normal for a female dwarf in most media that features them), and I don't know if that's a Sueish quality or not. She is Knight-Commander of the city where she lives, and wishes to rid it and the surrounding areas of the zombies that come out at night. She carries a double-bladed ax and has a stubborn and determined personality that prevents her from knowing when she can't win battles. However, she is responsible for helping win the Battle of Nerus Arch, and believes it is her duty to ensure that the world is zombie-free after the city and surrounding area are. She was born fifty-nine years before the zombies came, and as a result, still holds out hope that the world will be similar to the one she remembers in her youth.

    Horace Cross is the second of my protagonists. He is a forty-one-year-old werehorse who is trained as a foot soldier and a knight's steed (he turns into a massive draft horse during the full moon), and fights zombies not because he wants to, but because they threaten the customers in the bar that he considers his retirement plan. He has short black hair and dark brown skin, and generally carries around a sword and shield so that he can ensure that the zombies are as far away from him as possible. In terms of clothing, he usually wears similar clothes to Brela, with some heavy plate worn on his arms and a helmet to protect his head from attack. He is determined, but also considers himself a realist and thinks Brela is too much of an idealist--thinks the zombies will never leave the world where he lives--yet will be coaxed into fighting them outside the general area where he lives when necessary. He was born after the zombies, and therefore they are part of the way he has always lived.

    The current antagonist is an elven sorcerer who commands the zombies. He views all non-immortal races as worthless, and sends the zombies to wipe them out. I haven't developed him as much as my protagonists, largely because I do not want to catch myself feeling sympathy for him as I write about the character. I have a dislike of "flat villains" with no motivation but being evil, but also of "sympathetic villains" who have easy excuses for their actions and are not terrible people, and I worry that I will fall into one of those two traps when writing the elf. His name is Malfurion, as he thinks he is too cool for a surname, but letters addressed to him say "The Elf Sorcerer Mal Furion."

    Can anyone help with these three characters? It doesn't have to be the same person who helps; I merely don't want Brela, Horace, and Malfurion to be one-note characters.

    Also, please tell me if the idea I have is too far out there, and help me with the sort of secondary characters that should be developed for this novel.
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Hi,

    Don't be worried about having a Mary Sue simply because you've got a large-bustsed strong female character. (Unless you go on and on about her rack like it's the greatest thing in the world)

    Mary Sues are people who are shoved down readers' throats as being cutesy, sympathetic, loveable, the type of person you want to hold and cuddle....while also being perfect at everything he/she does, "the chosen one" and the constant exception to all the rules. Think Harry Potter (Come on, I love the series, but you've got to admit HP is a bit of a MS).

    A good place to start is the Mary Sue Litmus Test, which can easily be found by Google search.
     
  3. bumblebot
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    bumblebot Senior Member

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    From the information you have given, your character does not sound like a Mary Sue. Characters can be sympathetic as well as attractive and extremely powerful or talented, as long as they have realistic personalities, faults and all.

    Your second character sounds pretty interesting, I like the werehorse idea.

    And just so you know, Malfurion is a Night Elf character from World of Warcraft lore.
     
  4. TheNuttyAuthor
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    TheNuttyAuthor New Member

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    Thank you for the input.

    Regarding Brela's rack, it was a detail I had put into the story because I had estimated that to be the average size of a female dwarf's breasts in fantasy. I do not plan to go on about it, and it will probably only be mentioned in her introduction.

    I may have to rename the elf; I thought I had come up with the idea of his name on my own, but he could easily be named Malachai instead. It is unlikely that anyone will sue over that name.

    As for the werehorse, I was trying to make a shapeshifter that was the opposite of what one would expect. Horses are not stereotyped as predators, but Horace Cross is trained to fight the zombies. I also thought that I could provide aspects of an equine personality to the character, and aspects of a draft horse's imposing size and strength would also be provided--he's over seven feet tall and muscular due to the size of the average draft horse.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    My characters have a lot of traits that people would consider Mary Sue traits, there is nothing wrong with a good looking, powerful character they are fun to read. My only true Mary Sue wish fulfillment type character is a seven year old boy.

    What i will say is get to know them - know their reactions use the story to round them out and turn them into 3D characters. I find casting characters helps - I like having handsome sexy characters they are fun to write - I choose an actor to give me a 3D image of how they move, speak, look - what quirks they have etc. And just talking to them. Use the characters now to tell their story listen to them as you are writing.
     
  6. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I just have to say, don't ever describe her bust like that in your writing. It reeks of bad internet erotica.

    The only other thing I can comment on about your dwarf is, her reasoning for fighting zombies sounds a bit naive, sort of like a person wanting to be a hero because of how heroes are looked upon in legends. Try making her reason a bit more personal. Did she see a friend eaten by zombies? Was her hometown overrun by them?

    It will be interesting to see how your world develops. Are the zombies a constant threat or do they come only when the bad guy commands?
     
  7. Rhysirl
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    Rhysirl Member

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    For your bad guy (I like the name Malachai), don’t worry about making him a sympathetic villain while trying to find a motivation for why he is evil. You don’t have to necessarily give his background (ex. When he was a kid, someone stole his lunch money, etc.) He can just be the way he is. People tend to choose how they are in spite of their circumstances, whether they hold onto events in their past or choose to let it go. You can cultivate him into what you want him to embody. Rage, cold detachment, lust for power… Any of these will allow you to run with a stream of consciousness for your badguy. He’s really mad so he would react this way, he doesn’t really give a flying rip so he would go that way, and so on. It’s best to put yourself in your character’s shoes and decide how you would be in their situation.

    Stephen King wrote about how he comes up with his stories and likens them to being fossils that he just works to uncover. Once you know what you want him to be, the character should unfold beneath your pen, so to speak. That’s how my characters usually pop up.

    Hope this helps!
     
  8. Mr. Blue Dot
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    Mr. Blue Dot Member

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    Meh, I wouldn't even mention it then. Don't get me wrong, it could be an interesting detail if maybe you also mentioned that dwarven battle armor for females is generally bulkier than males to accommodate the breasts, and maybe that effects her fighting style because of the restricted movement (this is just BS off the top of my head BTW:rolleyes:). But if your only going to just mention it once, then it doesn't sound like a hugely important detail. If it's not important, then is it really worth it?
     

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