1. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    Distinguishing similar characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Protar, Apr 15, 2012.

    In my WIP, I've currently got two different femme fatale type characters (and a planned third) which all fill similar roles in separate subplots. However I don't want to have three identical characters, so I was wondering how I might go about distinguishing them. The obvious thing is to give them different personality traits I realise, but it's harder than it seems because femme fatales have specific traits. You can hardly have a shy, prudish seductress. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A writer has to be able to make his or her characters distinct, regardless of surface similarities. So they are all seductresses - do you mean you've only seen one kind of seduction? One might be a wildcat, aggressively sexual with a dangerously playful and adventurous personality. Another might be the slinky sophisticate, confident and purposeful and slithery. And why not the shy prude? The repressed librarian, seemingly shy and in need of rescue, and oh so grateful. But it;s all an act.

    Forget the stereotypes. The best femme fatale is the one you don't see clearly until she has her envenomed claws deep into you.
     
  3. molly16
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    molly16 Member

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    Agreeing with Cog, you need to be able to make a character distinctive from all the other ones.

    Also, do you need all three characters? One thing I'm guilty of is adding characters that do nothing for the plot. When I remove them, the entire book seems to be written easier! :)
     
  4. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    That was my first thought - can one or two of these be combined in some way? Of course, if there are three different sub-plots, perhaps not, but it's something to consider. I myself would get a bit wary if I came across two (and especially) three such ladies in the same book.
     
  5. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    They can't really be gotten rid of or merged without affecting the plot. The first one is more of a political manipulator, and I have some ideas about her schemes, though they don't come into the forefront in this book. She takes advantage of her beauty to meet her own ends. I feel of the three she is best distinguished.

    The second is specifically designated as a seductress by the cult she's a part of and works for the big bad. She's got magic powers. The third is like part of a group of villains that's one step below the main villain, and she isn't so much a seductress as a nymphomaniac. She doesn't do over much so far so I suppose she'd be the one to go if any.
     
  6. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    I'm concerned by this for some reason. I assume this is fantasy, and women in fantasy stories tend to be either virgin princesses, tom boy warriors or evil/slutty sorceress types. Don't fall into the stereotype, or even worse, have a pure plot device character. Anyway, WHY do they all have to be feme fatales? Do all three subplots involve the same scenario, i.e. female seducing male(s) to get ahead? It doesn't strike me as very wise to have 3 subplots that all centre around the same theme (unless that theme is the point of your novel, i.e. the novel is about powerful women and what they'll do to get what they want).

    If you have 3 very similar characters, maybe you shouldn't be looking at ways to differentiate your characters, but ways to vary your subplots?
     
  7. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I could definitely see cutting back on the 'femme fatale' vision for either of the first two - particularly the magic one. I would think her magic would be seen as more important than her seductive powers, particularly to a cult. And that would allow the first one to reign in the seductress category. The third character is definitely not in there - but I would actually have more 'fun' with her than the other two, from a characterization view (and not for comedic relief, either).
     
  8. Gonissa
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    Gonissa Contributing Member

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    Why not try? It'd be different, if nothing else. Or you could just have her be coy. I agree with Nahkti that your character should not be a stereotype, so why not play with ill-fitting characteristics? If nothing else, it's an experiment.
     
  9. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    Never fear, I have plenty of strong female characters, and I plan on making these ones developed as well. They don't just revolve around seducing people, that's just a feature I noticed they had in common. Although the second is specifically a seductress. So I guess I could change the 1st and 3rd most easily.
     

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