1. MeganHeld
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    MeganHeld Senior Member

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    Characters you are drawn to

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MeganHeld, Feb 13, 2012.

    I have noticed through my writing over the years that my main characters all have similar qualities. It helps me write the story knowing that some qualities exist, but there are large enough differences to make them their own.

    Do you, as a writer, like to write with similar characters, or are you able to have diverse characters?

    Also, what qualities are important to you in a character?
     
  2. tristan.n
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    tristan.n Active Member

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    Usually the character I think of and the character I actually write end up being totally different. In one story I try to make them as diverse as the setting and plot allows. If they're brought together by a force besides their will, for instance, chances are they're all going to be pretty different people. If they're all friends, they probably have similar interests and compatible personalities. It all depends.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I was about to answer this question by saying yeah, my characters are all pretty similar. But then I thought about the stories I've written, and that's not true. I'm kind of obsessed with one character I have, the lead in my novel, and that was what confused me. He's a grizzled guy, about sixty years old, outdoorsy, and has had a pretty tough life so far. The kind of guy you could imagine Clint Eastwood playing about twenty years ago, only without the guns. As I say, I wrote about him in my novel, and I've written a similar character in a short story.

    But when I looked back at all my stories, I find that my characters are all pretty different. I've had a young bar owner, a rebellious teenager in a science fiction story, a drunk who's forced to become an executioner, a little boy obsessed with the space program in the 1960s, a female folksinger in a post-apocalyptic world, and on and on. They're very diverse. But for some reason, the Clint guy looms large in my mind, even though, as it turns out, I really haven't written about him that much.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The characters I have written are not much alike at all. I think I've written nearly as many female as male lead characters. Some have been strong, some weak; a vicious, emotionless killer, a suicidal bully, a lonely widower, an obese spaceman, a grad student researching her doctoral thesis, ...
     
  5. Toph Bei Fong
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    Toph Bei Fong New Member

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    I have the problem of not being able to make my characters too different from myself. If I try to make a main character that's too far off from how I think and act it'll turn out sloppy and inconsistent. Therefore most of my leads end up being similar.
     
  6. JPGriffin
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    JPGriffin Senior Member

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    I've had that problem for a while now, and it's been such a pain, since I've only just noticed it within the last month. I had to basically scrap everything I had, start at page one all over again, and pretty much rewrite the entire thing. They both had personal connections to me, so similarities are bound to happen, but I'm talking about a near carbon-copy of each other. Yeah, I've had that problem, but it's being resolved even now. Note to self: Forget about just one character. Remember the rest of the world.
     
  7. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I wouldn't say I base my characters off of people but I do use people as jumping points for more interesting characters.
    I'll pick and choose interesting, annoying, endearing... character traits from one or more people to create a single character. Having seen the trait in a real person makes it much easier to incorporate it into a character, making the characters unique. Plus if I start feeling like my character is flat, I can go hang out with the people who I based my character on and it helps me get into the characters' head better.
     
  8. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    A lot of my character are cut from a similar cloth. But at the same time, a lot of them are quite different as well. I don't choose it to be this way. It is what it is.
     
  9. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    I'm drawn to reading and writing about characters who struggle to do the right thing, or just wilfully do the wrong thing. The few MCs I've written so far have been all different shapes and sizes, but they've had that in common. They tend to be vain and proud, too. Unfortunately this may well be me writing about the elements of myself I don't like to admit to :p
     
  10. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know, it's hard to say. I certainly conceptualise all my characters as unique and different from each other, but I am sure there are some themes that persist in my writing.
    I like female protagonists. I like them to be a bit antisocial, lonely, rebellious, complicated and in complicated relationships. I like to explore woman's lot through my stories, but also I am interested in future technologies and many age-old questions. So I explore all that through my stories. But my female characters are dearest to my heart, I must admit, and often they end up with the best lines.
     
  11. MeganHeld
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    MeganHeld Senior Member

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    I write with a female protagonist and agree that they mine end up with the best lines as well. I am jealous of all the people who are able to write so many different characters. I wish I had the ability to do that all the time. My protagonists tend to have a few qualities that remain the same like jazzabel said about hers. Mine all need to be strong, independant, intellectual and able to love. Other than that I try to differ them.
     
  12. 1000screams
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    1000screams Member

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    I like to make my characters real. Genuine authentic people who have emotions, worries, thoughts, and failures. I like real people. I like reading about realistic characters. Wishy-washy, whining characters turn me off, just as much as those types of people in person turn me off.
     
  13. jg22
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    jg22 Member

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    The three most prominent characters in my story are quite different from one another in terms of their personalities and the ideas they embody, but they compliment each other well and have a kinship. My protagonist, for example, is a free spirit, lacking social etiquette and worldly concerns and is basically very vibrant and unpredictable in his behaviour. Contrasting this with the main character with whom he develops a close friendship, the main character is very well mannered and inexperienced with regards to the world and lacks the spontaneity of the protagonist. The two characters, though different from one another, serve as opposites to create a dynamism that propels the narrative forward.

    I think that if both characters were similar, on the other hand, such a character focused story wouldn't be very interesting, since there would be little tension between the characters forcing or developing into interesting arcs.

    The third prominent character of my story serves as the love interest for the main character, and yet again she is very different from him. She has a fiery, independent spirit and doesn't fancy herself being under the thumb of a higher authority; rather, she has aspirations of leadership herself, even though the society of the story is patriarchal.

    I don't think one needs a whole plethora of characters to give the impression of diversity; one needs only to contrast the personalities of the few who are the main focus of the story.

    :)
     

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