1. aqua_lens
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    aqua_lens New Member

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    Character's Job?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by aqua_lens, Jul 31, 2013.

    How much of a character's job need to be in the story? Like, does their life have to revolve around it? One of my main characters is a photographer and the other one is a model. It's supposed to be a romance. I know a bit about photography but not the modeling industry.

    Is it true you're supposed to write what you know?

    How much research do you do on a character's occupation?
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    You should understand what it is like to do whatever job your character does, but you don't have to make the character's job an integral part of the story if it's not really relevant. Surely, you've heard the criticisms of various television shows, where people say, "Those people never work! Don't they have jobs?" Well, of course they do, but they're not relevant to the story or to their interactions with each other.

    As far as how much research you need to do, as much as you need to understand it and to make the character's actions that are related to it realistic.
     
  3. MsMaffia
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    MsMaffia Member

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    The job doesn't have to be the focus of the story, obviously. But I think it would be nice to show that your characters are actually rounded and real using scenes revolving around the job. I read a book where many of the scenes happened at this character's work place. It wasn't the focus of the scene, but it gave a sense of realism, you know? Little details were added in about the place. And it became a central hub where the characters all had reason to interact.
    So in short, it isn't necessary, but it doesn't hurt.

    And about writing on what you know: write what you are comfortable with. If I don't know too much about something, but I'm super interested, I tend to research it A LOT. Once I get to a point where I feel that I am comfortable with that topic, then I start. Along the way make sure you're keeping on the right track, that you aren't making too many factual errors. If you have questions, ask them. Research them. I don't worry too much if I don't know about something. I have faith that the internet and people will fill me in on the things I'm missing. I guess it's sort of a personal preference.

    And it's funny that you chose a photographer and a model. I guess it might be more common than I'm thinking, but there is this YouTube channel called Wigs, and they do a webseries with different stories pertaining to women. One of them happens to be about a photographer who gets this chance to work with a model and there's this whole love triangle ordeal. But that might be a good place to do some research on how to go about your story. It's called Jan if you want to check it out.
     
  4. Southpaw2380
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    Southpaw2380 Member

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    I think, like most of Fiction writing, it is completely relative to how important it is to the story. If they meet at a photo shoot or exhibit of some sort, you'd want dialogue and setting that suggests they work in the industry, so I would at least familiarize myself with a few common terms. There are plenty of blogs and websites that can help, or you could do what I commonly do and purchase a magazine or publication related to the field.

    If, however, their professions have little or nothing to do with the actual story, just mentioning then could suffice. It will all depend on how involved their actual jobs are in the plot. Much like you won't likely discuss each of the meals they eat and their trips to the bathroom every day, you may not have to mention everything that happens at work, if you decide to mention anything at all.

    ~~SP
     
  5. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I would imagine that in your case the jobs may play an important part in your characterization because they seem like jobs that require a lot of commitment to become successful at, so in essence, your job becomes your life, your life becomes your job, and when you leave the work place, you don't really leave it, you take the work home with you. I would do a lot of research and preferably find people who have the same occupation as your characters and interview them, ask questions relevant to your story. Internet is helpful with that.

    When I think of a romance between a model and a photographer, I of course see a lot of glamor, but on the other hand, the model, especially if female, probably has a lot of stress to deal with considering all the competition in her field which could affect her behavior, the way s/he interacts with her/his lover vs. employers. The photographer, if sccessful and works in fashion, gets to shoot a lot of scantily clad men and women, which might put stress on the relationship, and vice versa, maybe the photographer doesn't like how their model-lover's tits are for all to see on the cover of V, etc.

    Considering the jobs you chose, they really can play a big part in characterization in comparison to e.g. two office workers.
     
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  6. Steve Day
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    Steve Day Senior Member

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    Considering the jobs you chose, they really can play a big part in characterization in comparison to e.g. two office workers.-KaTrian.

    Nothing can kill a reader's interest faster than a clunky line.
    I saw, on another site, a flash piece about Little League. "He pitched the ball from outer right field to the catcher."

    If photography and modeling are integral to the story, then ya better know the lingo!
     
  7. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't get it, why'd you quote me? :confused:
     
  8. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it's perfectly normal for a model and photographer to 'interact intimately' but I'd imagine the snapper a real player and the model just another conquest. Anyway, that's not the point, I'm sure the OP has the relationship down.

    How much the OP needs to know about a model's job/career depends how much the reader needs to know. I read a crime thriller a month ago and the writer spent a whole page telling me what would usually happen in this sort of case but Det Ins Kelly just did this - I was like, why the fk are you wasting my time telling me all this crap that I don't need to know? Your filling pages, boring me. Just say, not one for protocol, the detective bypassed A, went straight to B and demanded C.

    I would add though that I love the research part of writing and would learn for myself, a whole lot more than the reader will learn from me. Have all angles covered OP and don't get caught out. A lot of models or photographers might read your book and you don't want to look a tool by getting the basics wrong.
     

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