1. TheJerminator15
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    TheJerminator15 New Member

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    Does this character have potential?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by TheJerminator15, Oct 7, 2015.

    To begin with, the character is all I have settled on for my story. He is the protagonist, and comes from a wealthy family. The family is one of the few bloodlines in the modern world still able to use magic. The family is influential and wealthy. The protagonist as a young child witnessed the death of a close friend, and as such decided to undertake magic in order to protect his friends and family in the style of a typical anime hero or superhero. However his talent is almost non existent, he can only manipulate the mana, but cannot conduct spells and such. His inability to gain any significant increase in strength, along with constant comparisons to a talented younger sister, begins to cause him to develop psychological problems and an inferiority complex. After a while it causes him to snap and attack at his somewhat unsupportive father, who retaliates and severely injures him with magic. This causes him to be hospitalised for around a year and a half. After leaving the hospital the protagonist's psyche and personality has become twisted, leaving him emotionally distant from everyone with a very cynical attitude and negative outlook on life. He also becomes introverted and due to the magic fight his body is severely weakened. I wanted to start the story off with the characters acceptance that his weakness and inability to achieve his goal constantly affects his mentality, as well as constant communication with his family affecting him as well.

    I decided o make a character like this after getting tired of the typical "get strong to protect everyone" trope used in a lot of anime. This made me think about what would happen if they didn't achieve that goal, and how I would affect them not just physically but mentally. As this will be my first story any feedback is appreciated.
     
  2. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    As far as I can tell there seems to be enough for an interesting character but then backstory is only a minor part of an interesting character. What is more important is How you write him. IMO almost any character can be interesting if you just write them well enough. It's not so much their back ground as their way of reacting to what happens to them and around them.
     
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  3. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's certainly enough flaws in your character to allow significant development. I'm a bit concerned about the way you describe his lack of talent to do magic. Is this permanent? I'm not sure about an untalented protagonist, perhaps it should be a lack of application, lack of knowledge, untapped unused potential. But, where there is innate talent that gives the potential for your protagonist to develop significantly during your book. Skill can be learned, but talent is innate, no?
     
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  4. TheJerminator15
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    TheJerminator15 New Member

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    He has no talent in the sense that he cannot cast spells despite being skilled at manipulating the mana. Its more that his version of magic is something never done before, but due to that all he could do was try and use spells already created. Due to the many times he failed to use them and actually gain any useable magic, his mental state deteriorated as his goal seemed to go further and further out of reach, since that's what he had essentially dedicated himself to pursuing for at least a decade at this point. Its more he has the potential to create a new branch of magic, but due to his past experience and fragile mental state he doesn't see the potential there in himself, as does nobody else since its something currently unknown about.

    Personally, I'm not sure whether to have him discover the magic, or have his mental state become too much for him to handle, causing him to fall off he path of redemption and the strength he seeks. Both have potential in terms of development, one being a possible path of a broken person fixing themself, whilst the other has a more psychological development for the character as he slips further and further away from himself.
     
  5. ShalaylaW
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    ShalaylaW Member

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    I think the character is worth pursuing, but I also think that the whole list of events can't constantly be him failing, or being disappointed. Sure, it's used a lot to portray a character that betters himself and discovers his talents, but it's the details within that idea that make the difference. Because I find the reader needs something to look forward to in a book, and if the character just goes constantly downhill, what else is there to make sure you keep grabbing our attention? Maybe a good side character would help, someone who carries on the MC's beliefs after he has lost hope?
     
  6. TheJerminator15
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    TheJerminator15 New Member

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    I intend to have an overarching plot including a war with side characters who are all fighting in it. Because he does have some form of relationship with many of the side characters fighting, I also wanted to make his inability to help another factor for his mental decline. I intend this character to just be forced to sit on the sidelines due to his uselessness in combat. My biggest problem right now is whether developing him downhill as the war escalates, or fixing himself and discovering the power as he becomes able to help.
     
  7. Aerisfullofwhimsy
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    Aerisfullofwhimsy Member

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    This seems like it would work for a really dark comedy. A useless hero is hilarious. But if you want to him to be a little more reader friendly, I would give him some talent, even if it is just a little bit. Or have him discover or build a talent/power that can be used, quickly after introducing him. I think it is worthwhile to pursue this character.
     
  8. NobodySpecial
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    NobodySpecial Active Member

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    I don't know, the idea of fighting magic without magic could be interesting. The 'bringing a knife to a gun fight', severely over matched battle kind of story always brings out those who root for the under dog.
     
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  9. Bocere
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    Bocere Member

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    I like this idea too, for a dark comedy especially. I think that pretty much any character can be worth pursuing, but that being said if the character becomes too caustic or pessimistic it may alienate certain audiences.

    With the right balance, though, I think this definitely has potential. :)
     
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  10. TheJerminator15
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    TheJerminator15 New Member

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    I never thought of it as a dark comedy, but that's a very good idea. I didn't want to give him talent with existing magic, but the ability to create a new magic, so that he would have to struggle immensely to cast a basic spell whilst his opponents are kicking his ass with high level spells. Think as Goku powering to Super Saiyan 3 just punch Majin Buu, who then just Kamehamehas him with ease.
     
  11. TheJerminator15
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    TheJerminator15 New Member

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    In the fights I was going to aim for this when he gets involved, though I didn't intend to give him any plot armour so that in te few instances he is forced to fight he either gets hospitalised or loses something.
     
  12. NobodySpecial
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    NobodySpecial Active Member

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    And that's where they get the say about how you can't win 'em all.
     
  13. Aerisfullofwhimsy
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    Aerisfullofwhimsy Member

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    Oh okay, I get it.
     
  14. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    I mean I don't see why this can't be a good character. But I'm a tad worried as to which direction he'll go as far as growth is concerned and more importantly how he intends on overcoming his hurdles.
     
  15. TheJerminator15
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    TheJerminator15 New Member

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    Sorry just saw your reply. I agree, my biggest problem right now is choosing which way he develops. I have narrowed it down to two main choices; him regaining some rom of mental stability, finding his strength and somewhat redeeming himself. Its generic, but it has potential in terms of development.

    My second choice was veering him off the path of redemption. Essentially he doesn't recover from his problems, instead falling deeper into a downward spiral within himself. This path would also have a heavier focus on the psychological element of the character and I honestly prefer this path. Currently the only thing shopping me from choosing the latter is my inexperience at writing (this would be my first full blown story) and so I'm still heavily considering the first choice, until at least I'm better at writing and could revisit it.
     

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