1. Lorddread
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    Lorddread Contributing Member

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    Does this sound like a good jumping of point for two characters?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Lorddread, Apr 15, 2011.

    Okay I've got two children with magical ability. They've been raised since babyhood by their grandmother, who killed their parents (because they were on the council that bound her powers, she's quite a monstrous person) and raised them as tools to attain power, not showing them any love and affection. She forced them to do everything with magic, and her own wild ideas of magical training has left them unable to completely control their powes. They have never ventured beyond her estate which is hidden from the outside world, they have never interacted with other children. One day they kill her in self defense, venture beyond her estate. They get put into foster care and have to be part of normal society for the first time. So likely psychological effects that their upbrining might have on the two?
     
  2. Rhysirl
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    I don't know a whole lot about psychology, but I would guess that off-hand, they would (once they move on from, you know, killing someone) be very awkward in social settings, not talk a whole lot and probably only ever to each other, they would probably not trust any adults since the only adult they knew was a monster, they would have no idea when it came to social cues.... Above all, they suffered a pretty traumatic event, so I would guess that they would be in shock, have nightmares, etc.

    You could probably have them be very cold and almost indifferent to others, and only interact with each other…?

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. Lorddread
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    Lorddread Contributing Member

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    Might they have problems just trying to leave their grandmother's home after the fact?
     
  4. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    This sounds a bit odd to me: "She forced them to do everything with magic, and her own wild ideas of magical training has left them unable to completely control their powers." Wouldn't it make more sense that if they'd been trained (no matter how odd) with magic then they'd have some sense of how to control it? Maybe they'd instead have difficulties learning to live without it?

    In that kind of upbringing they might not know how to interact with other children - maybe they're kind of rough with each other because they're close, therefore think it's okay to treat strangers in the same way? They also might feel like they don't need to befriend others because they might not see a use for friends. In this way they could also be too naïve and believe everything they're told, or go to the opposite end of the spectrum and make them exceptionally wary and suspicious of others.

    It's also likely they might not know how to behave properly in society - maybe they don't understand certain signs, or because of their grandmother's behaviour they might think it's okay at first to do certain things that are in fact frowned upon.
     
  5. Lorddread
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    Lorddread Contributing Member

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    How might they react to affection and love from their foster parents?
     
  6. Rhysirl
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    Rhysirl Member

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    I'd say bewildered and suspicious still. Their grandmother abused them, giving them no reason to trust anyone, but each other. I'd say it would take awhile for them to start to trust them. You could think about it like finding a wounded bird in the wild and taking it home to heal it. Its instincts are that you are going to hurt/eat/kill it and it will most likely never come to love you no matter how softly you tread or how everything you're doing is helping it, but eventually it might get the idea that you're not trying to hurt it, but once it's healed, it will fly away and never return.
     
  7. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    You might read up on mental conditions of orphans or kids taken away from abusive parents.

    There are abandonment issues, trust issues(unable to bond with one person long enough, or losing the person they bonded with repeatedly.), they can refuse to bond with anyone or reverse try to bond with anyone(good or bad)
    PTSD if the grandmother was abusive.

    One is RAD; Reactive attachement disorder, Radkid.org
    http://www.suite101.com/content/what-is-rad-a25470

    I think this one will give a good variety of problems to include in thier personality. Even though the abuse was to both, does not mean they will respond the same or even have the same problems. They could even have opposite personalities. One trying to get love from everyone(good or bad kind) and the other avoiding love from anyone.

    Sadly, there are alot of issues in children with abuse or neglect. Your mc's sound like they fit both.

    BTW the worst thing to do to children is to put them in the traditional orphanage setting.
    Alot of kids with few adults, all needing adult attention(and affection) and none getting all they need.
    Hope this helps, I learned of these problems when I thought of adopting.
     
  8. Lorddread
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    Lorddread Contributing Member

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    So anything that might help them ease into society and their foster family, slowly?
     
  9. Rhysirl
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    Rhysirl Member

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    I guess that depends on where you want to take the story. What's going to happen to these kids?
     
  10. Lorddread
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    Lorddread Contributing Member

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    They form a magic club with their classmates, and funnel some power into them so the two can let of steam. And their grandmother's ghost try's to use their bodies to live again. Also members of the witch society their mothers (the kids are cousins, they think of themselves as siblings though) come looking for them. And how might the situation be different if they were ten versus if they were twelve?
     
  11. Rhysirl
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    Rhysirl Member

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    Well, they would probably function better if they were on a one-on-one environment with the foster parents, maybe in a small town? Or on the edge of town where they can feel safe.

    The younger they are, the more likely they might have a better chance at being able to shrug it off, so to speak, more quickly than if they were older. Don't underestimate the qualities of a child being able to still see the world in an innocent light. That could be worked into the story pretty well to account for their "healing" from such an ordeal.
     
  12. Lorddread
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    Lorddread Contributing Member

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    How might they cope with school? Or non magical means of doing things and technology? These kid's have never even seen a television or phone.
     
  13. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    It will take some good one on one attention from someone (or a couple) they can trust,
    that has a lot of patience. Every sign of frustration on the new family could cause a set back. The reinforcing of everyone is out to hurt them thinking.

    I think the shy one would be more likely to throw herself at people and the boy would be more likely to avoid all contact from what you have laid out.
    Both are really sad in their own way. (read up on RAD, I bet you thier personalities will fall into place.)

    So are they unique with their powers, part of a small minority, or does everyone have some magic?
    The magic club, is that like doing "magic shows"(watch me pull a rabbit type thing) or is it a group of kids learning to use thier powers?

    Ten years old, they would be less mature. Would act more on emotion.

    The older the abused is when they get out of the abuse, the harder it is to teach them to trust and love and allow people to love them.
    two reasons: 1-they have been abused longer 2-they think they have the world figured out the older they are.
    They expect the world to continue to treat them as they have been treated and will look for events to suport their view. Everyone wants to hurt them or trick them to gain something, no one does anything except for greed, and there is no love.
    The variable- how old were they when their mother was killed? Were they old enough to know love from their parents or were they killed when thse kids were still babies?
    Was there a basis of love in their young years and it was destroyed by the grandmother? Or was it never there? Without a bonding person in their lives babies tend to learn alot slower, are sicker, more cranky, cry more.
    It is also tougher to break through to this child. Easier to rebuild, then to construct from nothing.

    Child psych is a field of study in itself, so don't get to specific.(or it becomes a medical fiction.)

    definately got my interest in this story.
     
  14. Rhysirl
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    Try putting yourself in their shoes. If you had never seen a phone before, what would you do?

    Kids tend to adapt pretty quickly, so other than maybe putting in a funny anecdote of their first reactions to the TV or the phone, you wouldn't have to mention it again, and you can go on to concentrate on the main plot of the story.
     
  15. Lorddread
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    Lorddread Contributing Member

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    They were barely six months old when their grandmother killed their parents. And they're part of a small minority, and most people don't know about magic. The club is sort of a "let's have an unnecessary flashy magic ritual" sort of thing.
     
  16. Lorddread
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    Lorddread Contributing Member

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    So if their foster parents had kid's of their own might that affect things? Also how might things be different if they were just old enough to know love from their parents when they were killed? Also sometimes their parents ghosts appear to them.
     
  17. Rhysirl
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    Kids don't like sharing, least of all their parents, so the foster parent's own kids could be rude and unwelcoming to the two newcomers, which would add fuel to the flame.

    If they do remember their parents, they may be able to hold onto that, or be bitter that they lost that. If they appear to them as ghosts all the time, then they could hold onto their parents' absence as opposed to growing closer to the foster parents, so it depends where you want to take the story.
     
  18. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    You know, reading this makes it seem like J.K. Rowling did her research very well when she created the Voldemort character.
     
  19. Lorddread
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    Lorddread Contributing Member

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    So how might their history effect Marvok and Edelyn's relationship? They were the only human contact each over had that wasn't their grandmother, and they provided each over with the only joy and love they ever had. Also any interesting forms of abuse? Would their grandmother alternating between letting them live lives of incredible luxury one minute and a hellish, barebones existence the next have interesting affects?
     
  20. DeNile
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    DeNile Senior Member

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    We can't answer that. We're not your characters. Dive into their minds, step into their shoes. As their author, their creator, only YOU can answer these questions.
     
  21. Serieve
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    Psychology is a great tool in writing, but even psychology depends on a basic, given personality. Think of the nature vs nurture argument. Most people nowadays think that a person's character is shaped by a combination of the two, so while these kids have been nurtured poorly, their nature will determine to what extent their neglect will affect them. Thus, you have to figure out what sort of nature they have, and then how their natures blend (as in, what is their relationship like and how do they affect one another) before you can really decide how they will fair in the outside world.

    I'm not saying that they won't turn out to have RAD or PTSD, as mentioned. I think it's quite likely they will. But to what extent, and for what internal reasons? Even if the results are the same, they way they got there may not be.

    One last thing: It looks like these two children are going to be the "good guys" in your story, correct? But honestly, looking at their upbringing and considering the fact that they probably don't even remember their parents, I wonder how they could still turn into good people at this rate. Basically, how could the grandmother's plan possibly fail? (Or, even before that, what "good" motivations could lead the children to kill their grandmother? Self defense--cool, I'll take it, but then what would make them go on to be good people after having killed someone, self-defense or otherwise? Maybe they feel like killing her was the right thing to do, and that it's the only right answer to dealing with people you don't like!)

    You can argue that these children have good natures, but in this case I feel like the nurture aspect would smother their good natures, such that they would need something to keep the "good" in them alive. See what I mean?
     
  22. Lorddread
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    Might their loyalty and love for each over work?
     
  23. Serieve
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    Serieve Member

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    Well, here's the thing: while loyalty and love are virtuous in themselves, they can be twisted to evil deeds. If, for example, one child decided to protect the other by killing anyone who got close, we could consider her loyal and loving in her actions, but that doesn't make her a good person.
     
  24. Lorddread
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    Might things be affected if they were old enough to remember their parents when they were murdered?
     
  25. Serieve
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    They would definitely be affected, but how will depend. There are plenty of stories out there--Harry Potter among them--that make it work out such that the protagonist still turns out good (if flawed), but there are ways in which it might not work, too. (Like, if you've played Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth's whole plan revolved around taking the planet back for his "mother." Then again, she was evil anyway.)

    So, it all depends on you.

    This is just what I think, though--other people probably have different opinions.
     

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