1. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    Creating plot points simply to develop characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Rumwriter, Oct 29, 2011.

    I'm working on a short story (no more than 25 pages), and it revolves around specific character traits of my 4 main characters.

    To really show these characters for what they really are, I'm introducing each one in a scene that doesn't necessarily push the plot forward. In some regards these scenes are trivial, but in others they are essential simply because I am using them to show my characters. Is this a good way of doing things? I can't help but feel like a reader would say "what's the point of everything that happened in this scene?"

    For instance, I need the audience to know very quickly, within the span of a page or two, that one of my characters is very powerful and manipulative, so I wrote a dinner party scene that introduces him and puts him in that capacity. Characterization aside, the dinner party scene has no relevance to the plot whatsoever.

    Is this a good way of fleshing out characters?
     
  2. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    Yes, but don't have nonsense. That's a bore. Make it relate to the plot. And only you can do that my man.
     
  3. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    Yes.

    If a reader would say "what's the point of everything that has happened in this scene". The response would be "I'm developing my characters."

    There are "BS" scenes in a lot of stories for essentially these purposes (or maybe comic relief as well). Go ahead and do it.
     
  4. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    Nice word for it to: Sub-plot.

    And I don't really think 25 pages is a short story :D more a novella.
     
  5. AxleMAshcraft
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    AxleMAshcraft Member

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    I like the idea of doing this, even though it doesn't do anything for the plot. You could almost try to add something in the very end of each of these scenes that lead back to the plot, something that is one of those random, pointless details that comes up later and if you go back and read it, it vaguely applies to the plot. (That probably didn't make sense).
    But then again, I'm kind of strange and think that reading things that don't have the steriotypical plot (you know the little mountain that they make you draw in 9th grade english?) is fun to read.
    My one thing to say (feel free to veto) is that you have to follow structure. I wouldn't just drop these down wherever you want. Maybe it's at the beginning of each chapter (if you have chapters) so the reader starts putting together that a new chapter means a new character means something new going on. Or after a certain point in the action: something subliminal that will give your writing flow. No one will really notice it, technically, but it will give it a solid pattern that readers will catch on to.
    Hopefully this is...helpful?
     
  6. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Funny, I thought about the exact same thing for my story last night.
    To me this seems like the basics of the expression "show, don't tell": instead of just stating their characteristics you show them in action, which to me sound just right, and probably more convincing to the reader than if you would have said it in words. so I'd say YES.
     
  7. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with this idea. You can't have characters who don't fit the plot they're in, and you can't have a plot that doesn't fit around the characters you have. It doesn't matter how you develop the story as long as the plot and characters match up.
     

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