1. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    Characters Similarities and Differences

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Cacian, Dec 11, 2011.

    should all characters in a story have one thing in common then one thing different?

    For example in one story all characters should all be humans/or intellectuals/then they would equally be different in say their backgrounds/aspirations?
     
  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Characters should be unique individuals. You can't make up a 'formula' for that.
     
  3. Cacian
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    what does unique means?
    and
    How does one achieve it in one story?
     
  4. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    what does unique means?
    and
    How does one achieve it in one story?
     
  5. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    what does unique means and how does one achieve it in one given story?
     
  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Look up 'unique' in the dictionary. One achieves it by writing realistic characters, not caricatures.
     
  7. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    Characters should be as similar or different as it suits your story to be. They shouldn't all have the same personality unless they're mind-melded clones or something. But it's not like you need to force diversity if it doesn't make sense for your setting. For example, if your main characters are a team of scientists, it makes sense for them all to be extremely smart - though they'll probably have different specialties.

    If you're posting this because you're worried that two of your characters are too similar to each other, then read over the scenes they're in, and see if any possible differences show up in the scenes - or could if you swapped who said what for a few lines. For example, if one of them asks a question and the other doesn't, maybe you could have that one always be the one who asks questions. Either being less knowledgable, or just liking to ask questions to clarify what others understand or whatever.
     
  8. Cacian
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    Thank you for your lenghty interesting reply Ettina.
    I am trying to find a way to make my story consistant all the way through and so the only way to maintain consistancy is to have my characters carry it through.
    As you said if all my characters were a team of scientist then that would too dull a bit like CSI where all the characters are a crime research team and the outside/side characters are the one that commit the crime.
    I think my characters will all have a different background for diversity and different personalities but the only thing the link them together would be that they are looking to discover something for example.
    A bit like having a focus through the story.
    With CSI one commits the crime and the other try and solve it. I would say that one too many in one story.
    My story would have one theme only, which would be the link between all the characters. I am thinking as I am writing sorry.
     
  9. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't have a problem with the main charactes being a bunch of scientists working as a team. That's just their job. All the main charactes in the movie Top Gun was fighter pilots, and all the main characters in a war movie are soldiers. It's just the setting for the story. The important is that they all have a different background, different personality, different opinions about things, different goals and so on. To go to the scientist-example, they can all be scientists working on the same case. But in that case, the case should only be a small part of the story. Technically they are working on it through the whole story, but the interesting part isn't really how they work. I think the interesting part is all the stuff that goes on between work sessions. No one can focus on work 100% of the time. There's all the interviews with the suspects and witnesses (and thus learning about their background etc), dealing with their own personal lives (even if you work on a case for six months, you are still married and have a kid or two at home, for instance), there's the other stuff that goes on in the world and so on. The entire case they are working on are just the thing that keeps the plot moving forward, but the interesting part is the rest. :)
     
  10. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    I never said that would be dull. I said that would be better than plunking in some non-scientists who don't have a good reason to be there. There's nothing wrong with having all your characters share a certain trait in common, if that trait is necessary to bring them together. It's when they're all carbon copies of each other that you'd have a problem - and it's quite possible to have a whole team of scientists who are all unique characters.
     
  11. Pink-Angel-1992
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    Pink-Angel-1992 Active Member

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    If you look at other stories, be they a book, movie, cartoon, game etc all characters are different. They have different levels or intelligence and differen personalities that make them, them. Different genres of stories will call for different things, for example, the main characters in a love story won't really have to have anything in common, just a chance meeting that brought the pertential couple together. However, an adventure type story would need something that brought the travellers together, it could be the search for an idem, but their reasons different; a tresure hunter would have different motives to find an item to say a scholer reason. In other stories it may be a society/community/gild that is the common grand for your characters.

    This is all just my opinion, but I'd say if a common ground is needed between characters, then it would be an event, goal, person or place that does that, but as individuals they are all differnet and don't neccassarily need a common trait or skill (depending on your idea and the type of story).
     
  12. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    Your characters should all be different. Even if they're clones, it would be drab even if realistic (in the "clone" context) to read a story where everyone acted the same. Characters can have similarities, but if they're all carbon copies, something's wrong. It's easier to see visually, so take these movie examples:

    In Shaun of the Dead, the two main characters are slackers and drink beer at the same local dive. They have similarities and both fill the role of zombie slayer, kicking off the story by getting the escape plan in motion. If that was it, they'd be boring. But you have Shaun (slender, red haired, has leadership qualities, is trying to organize his life and save his mother) and Ed (fat, stoner, has no social grace, is okay with being a go-nowhere, attracted to the other's mother in a creepy way). Sure, they're both serving the same purpose of kcikstarting the story instead of staying sheltered at home, but they do it in different ways.

    Take Beavis and Butt-head. They're 90% similar--both are incomprehensibly stupid and love heavy metal, television, women, and tacos--and could be considered to both fill the role of high school idiot. However, Butt-head is the alpha male of the pair and Beavis is the quirky one. If I were to choose, Beavis would be more laid back and Butt-head would be more of a control freak.

    Take the new Mission Impossible movie. I know it's not out yet, so I'm going totally on the ads and th eprevious movies. But there are probably five or six members of the team: Ethan Hunt, Luther Stickell, Benji, and a few others. Hunt is the leader, Stickell is the hacker, and Benji is the gadget guy. They all share the same goal and probably wear the same outfits in several scenes, but imagine if they were all Hunts. Bland and more than a little unrealistic. No one could fill the hacker role or be the comic relief.

    Even The Avengers involves a team where all the characters play the same role: superhero. But here you have Captain America (leader, moral compass), Iron Man (brains, gadgets, sense of humour, ladies's man), Thor (fish out of water, talks like a god because he is one, can lift buildings over his head), Hulk (anger, Jeckyll and Hyde character, limited vocabulary). They're all different.

    Toy Story. They're all toys and have the toy mentality, but I think the differences here are self-explanatory. Woody's the leader, Buzz is the space man/brawn, Hamm is the sense of humour, T-Rex is the one that frets about minutae, Mr. Potato Head is sarcastic.

    You can see this in countless pieces of fiction: The Stand, The Great Gatsby, name anything... They all have casts that have similar backgrounds, but they're all different. If you're having trouble, find one emotion for each character to capitalize on. One sceintist misses his family because he's isolated from them. One is a womanizer. One is a worrywart. One is racist. Branch out from there.
     

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