1. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    Do You Recycle Your Characters?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Cacian, Nov 23, 2011.

    ) Do you reuse your characters once you have finished with them in one story?
    meaning
    Do you bring them back again in another story?
    and
    2) Do you sometimes think about wether you should keep your main character alive , a happy ending, or get rid of your main character, a not so happy ending.
     
  2. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't understand the question. I found the post a little bit incomprehensible to be honest.
     
  3. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    sorry.
    1) Do you reuse your characters once you have finished with them in one story?
    meaning
    Do you bring them back again in another story?
    and
    2) Do you sometimes think about wether you should keep your main character alive , a happy ending, or get rid of your main character, a not so happy ending.
     
  4. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    They usually don't die in my stories because that is not the kind of stories that I write. I think it depends on genre among other things. If I write romance or chicklit and the mc dies in the end it would really be a little weird, don't you think? Those genres are often s.c feel good books and that would really take the feel good element away from it. You don't just let a character die just because you don't know how to end the story or for the sake of surprising the reader. It must have a purpose of some kind. I don't 'reuse' them in different stories either, to me they're as real as real people and not a piece of recycleable (oops, is that a word?) material. if I write another story about them it would have a connection to the first story, probably it would be a sequel and not an independent one. I think that would be a little odd.
     
  5. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    I think the term is rather brash I agree, but I could not find another for it just now.
    So your kind of stories are all happy ending which I like, however I was thinking more along the line of bringing them back to another story totally unrelated, it does not have to be a series.
    If say you like that one character you created in one story because it turned to be cheeky, clever, witty,interesting, then you could propably bring him/her to another story under a new name, or a new gender, and write the story using that same character.
    the twist here is that only you know that, and if you readers are really that clever might suspect but in a more fascinating way that the main character in one story is appearing in another totally unrelated story and that would be in my eyes most exhilarating.
    I do that in my stories and I call cross genders/cross characters.
     
  6. FoxPaw
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    FoxPaw Senior Member

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    I'm not fond of main characters dying, so I don't like writing it. I might kill them in another sense, like erasing their memory (what makes them who they are) or send them to an afterlife, but I probably wouldn't physically kill them and have them written out of the story.

    As for recycling, I'm use to it, seeing as how my writing origins are from RPing. I don't use characters from those times in my stories, but maybe I'll like a certain trait from one of them and use it in a new character.
     
  7. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm probably a little weird, but I have a whole cast of characters that I reuse in several unrelated stories. This happened because before I used to start a lot of stories that I never finished, but I really cared for the characters I had created and decided to put them somewhere else. Their names and backstories might change depending on the story they are in, but their appearance and "start-up" personality is always the same. I also think it's interesting to see how they start out the same, but change depending on what I put them through.

    I have one story where all the characters are reuses, and I'm desperatly trying to finish it because I really want them to have a complete story, but I can't think of an ending.

    As for the final question, I am so evil to my characters it literally hurts my soul to write about it, but that pain is what creates a good story imo. If it didn't hurt, it didn't matter. It depends on the story of course. If I write chick-lit, as I do now and again even if it's totally different from what I usually write, happy endings is what I go for. Same when I'm writing fantasy short stories for my cousin (who is eight). I try to keep them "realistic" though.
     
  8. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I re-use characters to a point - typically I want to take them in a different direction, maybe darker, maybe more heroic - something that I found 'tempting' in another story but knew it wouldn't work there. But they do have somewhat different backgrounds, among other things - enough to justify their new persona.
     
  9. Cacian
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    interesting stuff there spklvr..I am the total opposite , I can only be to my characters what I am, meaning my personality comes through my characters. I will treat them in the same way that I want to be treated and everyone wants to be treated like a king.
    I have also come up with the idea that my character will develop as the story goes on in the nice way, meaning the story that my characters are involved with will only make them out even bettter to when they started.
    Meaning if they started poor they will comeout rich, if they started miserable they will come out on top of the worldso my characters are 'never used to be abused ' but will be 'used' to gain something out of it.
    I don't expect to use characters take them for granted.]
    I ensure my charatcters get the best out of the story in the sense that there is that feelingof rewards for everyone involved, in other words, no messing about.
    I also take one same character, tarnsport it to another story and reward it with different concepts, in other words the more I reuse that character the more benefits that character gets.
    My charcaters can have different persoanlities and get to exprience different prospects and change accordingly but for the better.
     
  10. Kimi-chan
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    Kimi-chan Member

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    I usually don't recycle them but sometimes I end up writing them as having autistic or ADHD traits. It's usually because its what I have and my characters end up being based on me or my friends. I write based on the ones that have always supported me and inspired me to keep writing and working hard. So anyone who has usually read my stories might say a lot of my characters are the same in some way. XD
     
  11. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I reuse characters quite a bit. I have a series, for one. But even outside of that series, I am starting to reuse some characters. It helps to build a bigger world, IMO. It allows me to revisit them. And it gives me less new characters to develop. I try to make each story mostly stand-alone, but I still like reusing characters from time to time.
     
  12. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I often use characters in more than one story, but that's not recycling. It's just that the characters have more than one story in them, and it needs to be told.

    For several of my characters, I have an idea of what large parts of their lives look like, and the stories I write about them are just little windows into the interesting parts.
     
  13. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    Sort of I guess. Its all part of the same science fiction universe but I feel that all the characters, including minor ones, have their own lives, allegiances, and objectives. Unfortunately I cant concentrate on writing one thing all at once in chronological order so I have stuff written all over the time line form different characters perspectives. I started with one main character and a side kick, now there seems to be five MC’s.
     
  14. James Berkley
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    i dont need to say it twice
     
  15. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    I would say that this a very good realistic start.
    I tend to move on or away from reality to make sense of my surrounding.
    I like to pretend that all my characters from another universe and that I am their maker.
    A bit like a puppeteer if you like.
    They are from a different world but they speak my voice if you like.
     
  16. Cacian
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    Five only?
    You are doing very well.
    My characters are all MCs.:p
     
  17. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    Eahh can’t have a entire Regiment of MC’s, also I don’t like having it be the same squadron with them the entire time.
    Also warfare and drug conflicts are a good background to shed characters in very realistic ways. Also I try to do something like the Illiad, I try to show how great the opponents some of the MC’s defeat are by having them be a secondary character.
     
  18. Ocean Seven
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    Oh I'm a pretty bad recycle case. I've used essentially the same cast for eight years now, and very few have died. (The plan is that very late in the story- beyond even what I've on paper/file so far- for most of them to have died off, leaving only the original cast (Snpr, Don G., Blaze, Demon, Rckt, FLKN, plus Ocean Seven/Red Eye.) or even a few less for some final confrontation with whatever rises up and replaces the shattered United Universal Government. Before long, everyone should be dead with some twist ending passing the whole thing off like we pass off modern day humanity as the last few seconds if the entire run of humanity was compressed into 24 hours. But in a way that does honour everyone, because I'm such a bad case of loving my own characters more than real people. xD)

    Kidding me? As long as the story is interesting, the plot or setting changes to a degree, and other characters join to stay or move around you could, in my opinion, stick with at least almost an entire regiment of main characters. It would be a huge undertaking to manage all that, and you would likely have to make the story very long to account for all the character development, turning throngs of them into secondary characters for stretches of time, but it could be doable if you've got the time, will, and guts to do it. (I've got something around forty MC's in total, and for long stretches of time, the story follows an organization created by the original MC, comprised entirely of the others. Granted, it grows slowly over time, but up until the main story gets underway, it's just the main characters in a growing cabal, bowling over the other characters, aka everyone else, ever. In a sense I'm writing Halo: Reach with a squad like six, seven times larger, with deaths occurring over a much, much longer span of time.)

    Just saying, it's possible, but it would be hard, and you would have to hope for a die-hard reader. (Unless you don't really care if you appeal to as many people as possible. Personally, I just care about writing the story. if two people love it, that's great. Career critics? Unless they offer some concrete ideas that are possible, they're lost in the background noise. On that note, if someone were to call my series 'really confusing', that wouldn't really have any effect. I know it's confusing, because it takes concepts from several other series and mashes them together with original concepts to invent a whole new universe. Just like anyone else, but in a genre where I find it can be difficult to shift to new technology and terms. I know it's confusing, it's supposed to be a little confusing at least, and it probably will stay confusing. Economics or no, I'm not going to dumb things down so the average teen- not statistically, but from actual, personal, "I'm-a-teen-I-know-what-it's-really-like" data- can read it. (No offense to teens here, but really, I listen to people read paragraphs and read words that aren't there, skip over a lot of words that are there, and it just irritates me. You don't have to love reading, just learn that speeding through it just so you can get back to texting in class is just really bad. I hate to preach the 'it's your life, you loss' thing, but it is true to a degree. That being said don't flip with everything falls down, take it in stride and try again.)
     
  19. Devrokon
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    Devrokon Senior Member

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    I don't bring anyone back, that's not my style. I should, however, give it a shot now that you've mentioned it.
     
  20. Ettina
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    I actually find it extremely difficult to write any more to a character once I've finished their story. Usually my sequels involve different characters living in the same world, who never even meet the characters from the first book. At most I end up with the previous protagonist being a minor character, or with a previous minor character becoming the protagonist (for example in one story the protagonist, a boy possessed by a magic-eating spirit, uses mind-control to drive a vampire insane; a later story is from the perspective of that vampire's best friend, who has now become his caregiver).

    I'm hopeful that one of my current stories will be an exception, however. It's a sequel to a story where a screwed up religious fundamentalist vampire detective seeking redemption accidentally turns a foster kid into a vampire. In the new book she's working on a different case and is going to sort out some of the emotional issues that came to the forefront in the previous book. I'm not sure how far she'll get, but hopefully I can get her to be a bit more sane.
     
  21. WriterDude
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    1. It happens. I had one character in a story who was supposed to be a minor character, but she refused and insisted she'd become some sort of main character. She has later appeared in two other stories, again as a side character.

    2. Every time. The readers usually want a happy ending, and I love my characters. But that doesn't mean a happy ending is always going to happen. If no one dies, where's the sense of danger for the rest of them?
     
  22. WriterDude
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    (gah...! "Sure you want to leave this page?" YES! "No problem, let me just double post first." *groan* I sometimes hate this forum.)
     
  23. blandmanblind
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    I am very fond of having minor characters in one story be given their own story afterwards, or even have a minor character appear in two different stories briefly to establish a continuity between the two. I enjoy doing this even across genres (General Fiction to Horror to Mystery to Supernatural even). I guess I have feared that this might cheapen the seriousness of previous stories, but I still keep doing it, and hope that that's not the case.

    Also, I like to change characters' roles across the stories. Protagonists come and go, but minor characters get to evolve (say a minor character into an antagonist into a anti-hero/protagonist). I of course am always afraid of character fatigue. That what once made a character interesting would become stale the more it is expounded upon. I just finished writing a response in another post about the very same thing, but I still attempt it all the time, myself.

    I think this comes from the fact that I do a large amount of work on characters, even minor ones, that does not come across in their original stories. That, and perhaps because I have always been a big fan of cameos in movies. :)
     
  24. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    I am really intrigued.
    I don't understand how characters can suddenly take over?
    Maybe it is me.
    I write something then itis all forgotten about.
    I start again with new characters.
     

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