1. ProwerGirl
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    ProwerGirl Member

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    Characters with health issues

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by ProwerGirl, Apr 5, 2011.

    What do you think of characters with health issues? Are they a flaw? An annoyance? At what point would it be too much?
     
  2. Cheshare
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    Cheshare New Member

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    It all depends on how much of a variable the issue is and the most important question of all: Does it fit with the story

    it's one one thing to have a character be sick because it goes with the plot and theres a reason behind it or the illness serves some sort of motive in your story

    it's another just because you want some one whose sick or you need to give a character a random flaw.

    It can be a hard line to tread, I have a character who went from spirited and a healthy fighter to poised and weak and cant even run a mile anymore, the illness fits in with the story and theres motive behind it and it more or less shows how she's fallen.

    I dont think these sorts of characters are flaws in the storys, the sickness is a flaw to the character yes but all realistic characters have some sort of flaw (physical or mental (ie weakness, fear, their own issues not happy go lucky rainbows 24/7)

    I think the point where it cross's the line is if the sick characters story and fight with that illness completely takes over the rest of your story (unless the story is about said character and dealing with their illness) and it becomes a constant thing that gets brought up way to much, sort of like the "oh but remember so and so is sick so this and this has to go this way" over and over again.

    conclusion, just make sure having this character being sick fits in with the rest of your story and it has a purpose in the over all story telling : ) I cant say everything for sure since this is a broad topic but I do sort of like the sick character at times, it can give a bit of a new depth if handled correctly.
     
  3. Dandroid
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    Dandroid Senior Member

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    i suppose it would depend n the isuue...however...it would be refreshing to read a character that is challenegd from something other than an affliction that has a cult following...ie. melancholy, wicked scars, tragic past, etc...
     
  4. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    Again, it depends. Generally speaking, you can make it as annoying or as un-annoying as want to, really, depending on how you write.

    However, one thing that you should be careful about is when you have something like the the soap opera kind of disease, or any kind of similarly vaguely defined ailment that does nothing but add needless melodrama into the story - or, well, when health issues are added to the story just for melodrama. Yes, a cute little girl suffering from some vaguely defined incurable disease is pretty depressing, but you can't expect a reader to feel sympathy for her just because of that.

    I think it's important that if a certain health issue is going to be an important part of a character's story and life, then you should actually do some research on whatever ailment they have, and see how real people in real life react to it.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well some of the characters that stood out for me growing up were Helen Burns (Jane Eyre), Aunt Helen and Katy herself (What Katy Did), and Beth March (Little Women)

    Written well a character with health issues either good or evil can be one of the most memorable.
     
  6. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Secret Garden - springs to mind and who could forget Tiny Tim in a Christmas Carol.
    If it is part of the plot, then it's fine, if not - then forget it.
     
  7. MidnightPhoenix
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    MidnightPhoenix Contributing Member

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    It really depends on the story, you are tried to tell. But it can be something that the character can have it good and bad moment, really depends on the illness that you are planning on giving your character. You could see your character over come, your character could also push people away but it could also bring them closed. Or your Character could hide his illness, trying his/her best to tried and now show it to his family or friends, because your character doesn’t want to put them down or feel sorry for them.
    Hope this helps:)
     
  8. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    As long as the illness doesn't go into remission every time it would cause an inconvenience.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Have you ever read Stephen R. Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever? The main character has leprosy.
     
  10. Louis Farizee
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    Louis Farizee Member

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    Characters with a health issue can be very interesting- Dr House, for example. It all depends on how you write it.

    If a chronic health issue makes following The Hero's Journey difficult, it can make for a compelling story.
     
  11. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    I think the illness or condition can be a minor annoyance or a plot changer.

    Like in the panic room, a simple condition, diabetes, starts the clock, pushing the suspense, and making the occupants leave their safety.
     
  12. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    The progressive element of the disease , the symptons and the potential side effects that may/do accure from medication , should loom large in picking the illness that would fit best.

    An example: Crohn's disease is treated with steriods, the steriods could explain a massive weight gain and the charater's subsquent depression that accompanies a negative self body image.
     
  13. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    A char who has health issues think differently from a healthy person, or from when the same char was healthy. So, health issues can be a major char development tool
     
  14. Bran
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    Bran Senior Member

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    such flaws and annoyances lead to good plot twists

    i usually give my main characters some sort of insanity, i love insanity. but for more "medical" issues, i suggest and allergy or addiction. Read Stephen King's "firestarter" for a good addiction example
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    nothing, in general... i don't see it as an issue...

    if you mean a character flaw, how could a health issue be one?... if you mean a writing flaw, why would it be?... if the writing is good enough, any part of a character's persona/physical state can work well...

    only if it seems to have been tossed for no good reason, or hasn't been handled well...

    anytime it gets in the way of the story and/or has no good reason to be mentioned...
     

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