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  1. EvilGreenNess
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    EvilGreenNess New Member

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    Efari

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by EvilGreenNess, Aug 22, 2010.

    I am having a little trouble with my main character and developing her.

    She is young and feisty and has to come to terms with being entered in an arranged marriage with a very powerful and influential man.

    It's the typical cheesy (Every man wants to be him and every woman wants to be with him scenario)

    But of course she doesn't like him (although her parents are adamant that she will marry him.)

    she has to go travelling with him for two years and I am hoping that in these two years that things change between them and she gets to understand the man for who he really is, instead of the man she thought he was through rumors and misinformed meetings.

    (and eventually fall in love with him)

    Any ideas or tips on how I can make this work would be greatly appreciated. Let me know if you need more back ground.
     
  2. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Hey Evil-Green-Ness,

    I'll help you any way I can. But before I do, can I ask a few questions? Your answers might get the ball rolling for me.

    So at first she despises him, right? She doesn't have any compromising feelings on him?

    Why do they have to travel for two years?

    Do you have down pat the reason why she comes to understand him and how she changes her views of him?
     
  3. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Also, it seems a bit too passive how she conveniently falls in love and is content with the arranged marraige she's forced into.

    Have you considered something like...she runs away or fights to stop the arranged marraige (or fights to leave it after first being in it), gets other people involved, a huge conflict arises, and THEN she learns about his good character and she decides to fall for him: but voluntarily?? This would make your MC more of a dynamic person.

    Or, if your character is supposed to be on the passive side, never mind. You say she's "young and fiesty," though.

    I also really like seeing independent, strong female characters, unless the story needs to be told from the POV of someone who's not. Just because the guy is powerful and influential, doesn't mean that the girl should give up all her fiestiness and independence to let him "take care of her" or something after she's married.

    I"m not trying to tell you how to write your story or anything, but be careful not to make it too "Stockholm-Syndrome"-esque, you know?

    Good luck writing! :)
     
  4. Aeschylus
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    Aeschylus Contributing Member

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    There needs to be a good reason why she doesn't like him at the start. It has to be a pretty good reason, if he's as powerful and admirable as you say--you suggested that most women would be happy to have an arranged marriage with him. So the reason is a big one, not just a bit of conflicted feelings.

    That also means that it's going to take a pretty big event to turn around this very big reason. Do you see where I'm going? If she just thought he was a bit of a jerk sometimes it wouldn't take much to make her see him differently. But if she despises him, something has to happen during those two years that's very significant. Otherwise it's cheesy.

    You probably have something in mind, but you need to include things like that in your post. You haven't really given us much to work with. Why are they going away for two years together before their arranged marriage (arranged marriages usually don't have a long waiting period)? Why does she hate him so much?

    And Mallory, that's exactly the sort of post I would have expected of you, Stockholme Syndrome and all. ;)
     
  5. Aeschylus
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    Aeschylus Contributing Member

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    I'll have to think on that. But see, I didn't realize that this was a fantasy novel. I had this image of some foreign woman (hence the unusual name) being married off my her rich family to a powerful European businessman or something. That's the image I had, because you didn't explain any of the backstory. That's why you need to include all the facts: if I had given you extensive advice based on the concept in my head, it wouldn't have been helpful at all!
     
  6. EvilGreenNess
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    EvilGreenNess New Member

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    Eeek, sorry about that.
     
  7. Aeschylus
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    Aeschylus Contributing Member

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    It's ok. :) But I still think there has to be something really significant to reverse her view of him. Seeing him as a good person is obviously something, but it doesn't really strike a blow.
     
  8. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    The main thing that I see as a flaw in the plot is that why would such a man who can get any girl he wants, if you will, agrees to be married to a girl who doesn't seem to like him.

    And excerpt should be posted in the review room after you did the mandatory two reviews. So, I didn't read the excerpt.
     
  9. Honorius
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    Honorius Active Member

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    I was going to say, something like watch as many romantic comedies as you can for some ideas (and cliches to avoid) but that helps much less if this is fantasy based.

    The way I see it, the best way to get the guy to seem friendly and like a good husband would to put the two in a situation of danger. It's a little known fact that action brings people together. Who did you know better, the kid on the otherside of the classroom or the kid you were always got paired to do projects with? Your "insert sport/club here" team/club mates/members, or the kids from the other ones?

    Whether the guys saving the girl, the girls looking after the guy, they work together or whatever, action brings characters together. Sitting them next to each other is fine, even if for two years, but sitting them together in a dangerous/serious/urgent/distressing situation works wonders.
     
  10. EvilGreenNess
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    EvilGreenNess New Member

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    Thanks Honorius, I was thinking along the same lines. Everybodies help has been greatly appreciated, and much to my Husbands distress I am back on my laptop again.
     
  11. John Horace
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    John Horace Member

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    Perhaps some research into marital relationships and the politics of control would be in order, ¿no es verdad?
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    ¡Si, es verdad!

    Also, think of the direction you wish your character to grow, and consider what life lessons would push her in that direction. Set up situations to bring about those life lessons, and place them in her path, whether or not they involve her companion.
     
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm bothered by the word "feisty". It feels like a single-word stereotype. It gives me an image of a pretty little thing who disagrees with everyone for no good reason and shakes her tiny ineffectual fists. There's an "awwww, how cute" feel about it, like you're looking at a hissing kitten. And none of that sounds like a main character that would interest me.

    What do _you_ mean when you say "feisty"? Is she a strong woman in a society that encourages women to be passive, and is it the condescending men in the society that laughingly call her "feisty" so that they can easily refuse to take her seriously? Or is she a spoiled brat who wants what she wants but refuses to earn it?

    Why doesn't she want to marry the guy? Is it just about marriage in general? Is her parents' marriage lousy, and she doesn't want to turn into her mother? Does she have life goals that are totally incompatible with marriage? Or is it him? Does _he_ condescendingly call her feisty? Did he do something in his youth that she can't forgive? Is he still doing something that she can't forgive?

    Did he kill her puppy? Did he drive his previous wife to suicide? Is he frivolous and nonsensical and apparently unable to take anything seriously? Is he serious and self-important and apparently unable to take anything lightly? Does he keep slaves? Was he responsible for freeing slaves and thereby bankrupting her family or country? Did he support the wrong side in the War of Succession? Did his side murder her favorite cousin?

    I suppose these add up to three major categories:

    - Her attitude about marriage and the role that one takes on in marriage, irrespective of who the man is.

    - A fundamental conflict between her personality and principles and goals, and his personality and principles and goals.

    - A way that the details of her past life and his past life produce a conflict.

    Also, does _she_ have to change? Can't he change? I don't like the idea of the feisty misguided fist-shaking kitten who learns to bow to her superior husband. I do like the idea of two equals who learn that they have to act like two equals, if they want a true marriage.

    ChickenFreak
     
  14. EvilGreenNess
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    EvilGreenNess New Member

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    this is exactly what I am striving to achieve.

    thanks for the pointer.

    Xx
     

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