1. Laurah
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    Laurah New Member

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    Do I love my character too much?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Laurah, May 4, 2011.

    I've had this woman Imogen in my head for almost 3 years now, writing now and again but never really committing to her story. Now that I finally have got around to writing an overview of it all, I'm getting really concerned about where it seems to be going.

    To keep it brief, Imogen is engaged to an older guy, Tony, and leaves behind her family to be with him because they dissapprove of him, mainly because of his age. They have a brilliant relationship (despite infidelity on his part early on that they get through) helping eachother deal with their flaws and pasts but he is killed in a car accident. The story centres around her overcoming her grief.

    Towards the end (I hope, maybe not if Imogen gets her way!) she meets another guy who shows her she can love again, but now I'm getting dragged into THEIR story.

    It's starting to seem like she's just desperate for any kind of love, not that she doesnt miss Tony, but she is just so determined to be happy again but I can't help thinking it's too soon to move on... especially in the same book.


    This girl's emotions are giving me a migraine, I've got to know her over such a long period of time that I don't want her to come across as some heartless harlot who is turning her back on her first true love for something I know just isn't going to work out for her.

    Should I let her have her own way, or put my foot down and end it before she gets to meet this new fella?

    x
     
  2. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    Go with what your character wants. They know best.

    I wouldn't consider it "heartless". Lots of people date and re-marry after their first partner dies - it's a fact of life. In fact, I consider it selfish if someone thinks their partner will never look at anyone else again after they're gone - especially if it's a premature death. My politics teacher in high school lost her first husband in an accident (not sure what) but she re-married and had another son a few years later. Life goes on~ If your character wants to start seeing someone else then let them.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Hurt your characters. Burn them. Depress them. Frustrate, maim, and kill them. If you coddle them, the serve little purpose, and you thereby dishonor them.

    They aren't real. They exist for one purpose - to move your story along. Adversity is their food and drink.
     
  4. Lord Malum
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    Lord Malum Senior Member

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    I agree with Cogito. I held a character in my head for years on end and really liked him. He started to become a liability to the story, however, and I wrote a scene in which his best friend was forced to kill him. Then I rewrote the scene where he suffered immensely before having to kill his best friend. Eventually, I had written several dozen scenes of the characters killing and being killed in various ways.

    By the end of it I was able to see that they are tools, but can still hold sway over your writing should you let them. It can be fun to let them run with the story, but punish them with death after they do. :D
     
  5. Chachi Bobinks
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    Chachi Bobinks Senior Member

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    Cogito, is it too soon to declare you my hero? Is there a waiting period?




    The Cog is right. You can't let these characters run your story. I know, I know. Its hard. You want them to be terribly and endlessly happy. Well, screw 'em. One of the joys of being a writer is that we hold them in our wee little hands and make our demands. "Dance, monkey, dance!" You've got to do what fits into your story. Sure, they don't like it. But if you just go all over the board your story will go the same way.
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with Cogito. And because the character isn't "real," as Cogito points out, the only real question is the degree of discipline you choose to exercise over your story. There are times to let your mind run free, which can allow you to develop your characters in interesting ways, or allow you to tap into your own creativity in a way that is different from when you are writing in a more disciplined, planned out manner. But at some point you have to keep the reigns on the story or you'll have a mess on your hands.

    With many writers I know (though not all of them of course), "letting the characters decide" turns out to be shorthand for a lack of focus or vision of where the story is going. Often, going back and consciously imposing the restraints of the story you are telling helps with the problem.
     
  7. Froggy
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    Froggy Member

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    You didn't let her have her way when you killed off her first husband, so why now?
    But if the ultimate goal of the story is, that she comes to terms with the loss and moves on, then her at least having hope of a new relationship at the end, would be a good thing, no? ( or even just being open to the possibility)
    Maybe the other guy wooing her might be a tool to make her see that life goes on...
    so she could have her way after all, just on your terms.
     
  8. phonk
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    phonk New Member

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    Funny, it makes me think of a quote of a friend of mine (i'm not sure if it's his, because i think it's sorta genius haha);

    "Everybody has got dents, scratches, rusty spots. But if you're able to appreciate these imperfections then that's true love!"

    Also reminds me of wabi-sabi; the Japanese philosophy of beauty in imperfection. I hope this makes sense in this context :)
     
  9. Jessica_312
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    Jessica_312 Contributing Member

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    Personally, I'm a sucker for happy endings but I make my main character suffer a lot along the way :D
     

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