1. ObsidianVale
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    ObsidianVale Member

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    emotional balance

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by ObsidianVale, Apr 4, 2010.

    ok so in the beginning of my story my main character is very unhappy with her life. She feels disconnected from the world around her ( mainly because she's actually from an alternate reality but she doesn't know that yet). But she feels very unsatisfied with her life. ( i should also mention that her mother has just recently died in a mental hospital). now my main character does go back to her own reality (she gets sucked back there again her will) and from then on things happen and she eventually finds out who she is and yadda yadda yadda. but the problem i'm haveing is that when i try to write the beginning of the story i feel like it just becomes really depressing i feel like she comes off as some sort of manic depressed person. which she isn't. i want to know how you invoke a strong emotion without letting it be overpowering. what are some effective ways to introduce my character as the sad person that she is but not make her seem mentally unbalanced.
     
  2. boesjwoelie
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    boesjwoelie Member

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    If she would be really manic depressed, she would always be sad, and there would be nothing she could do about it. But as you said, that's not the case.
    If she would just be sad (wich I find normal in her situation), maybe she would not be sad all the time.
    So pretty much like a real person might deal with such a situation, find a way to get her mind off it :)
    Let her go to a party and enjoy herself for once, buy her a dog, give her a hobby or something...

    Hope this is any help ^^
     
  3. rainy
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    rainy Senior Member

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    A sense of humor can do wonders.

    If we see her taking it in stride, maybe a little sarcasm or quirkiness, she won't come out as depressive or bi polar. If she's just sitting there feeling sorry for herself, she's gonna become irritating really quick :)

    She reminds me a little of one of my chars, who is kinda "stuck" in a bad situation that's not her fault or within her control. I tried to balance her with some biting dialogue and a pragmatic view of how she can't fix anything, at all.

    Give her something she loves. Building on the previous poster's suggestion, what about a pet? Maybe her life sucks. . .but Rover always manages to lick her toes and make her laugh. If she's valiant about her dog, how can we not love her?

    Best luck,

    //R
     
  4. Loup
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    Loup Member

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    I agree with Rainy : I would rather choose the humor, which, well-employed, could bring more lightness to the character.
     
  5. rainy
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    rainy Senior Member

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    Your bane is finding the balance, so that the humor/wit/adoration doesn't overshadow the real story - she's misplaced.
     
  6. .nezzle lee
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    .nezzle lee Member

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    I've had some problems similar before -- is annoying, aye?

    I agree with all the other previous suggestions, but here's mine anyway (although it might sound the same as what has been said before[?]) :p ;;

    Maybe she could still be seen as a happy citizen, but really, she's not getting involved with society as much as she could have(?). Just imagine one of your friends still smiling, still coming to events, still having a little bit of input, but they seem really out of it, like something is always on their mind. In this case, though, it's just cause she doesn't feel 'conneted' to them.

    When some of my own friends are quite sad (not entirely depressed), they aren't just lively as much, but they can smile somewhat and joke occasionally. I mean, you can still feel a little happy but at the same time still unsatisfied, right?

    Really sorry if that doesn't help >_<
     
  7. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    Maybe impose a challenging circumstance other than/related to feeling disconnected and all. I can imagine how an inexplicably, & ineffably depressed character could come off as chemically imbalanced or something. Her mother dying is good, it lends authenticity to any depression. Stuff like that.
     
  8. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Introduce the character in a situation where the first impression is that they're depressed, and then move on. Give your character stuff to do that hasn't got anything to do with depression -- first impression already established it and will stick with the reader until you describe a shift in mood. It's a common mistake to add repetitive affirmations of a status quo.
     
  9. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    Show your character having hope for something else.

    Simple example: Character is trapped in a dungeon.

    "This sucks, I'm in a dungeon"
    "I hate being stuck in here"

    You say things like this to show your sadness / dislike for your situation but let's say character notices a ray of light then their attitude changes a bit. They say "Maybe that's an exit!" with some extra energy to show that there is a side to them being repressed by their current situation.
     
  10. jayden-woods
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    jayden-woods Member

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    Interesting (but not so uncommon dilemma). The advice people gave about giving your character a sense of humor seems nice, although I think you run the risk of making her seem even *more* manic if you push it too much (crying one minute, laughing the next).

    My advice is that yes, she may be extremely sad, but she is not helpless. In other words, she is doing something active in the attempt to overcome her sadness. This will make the audience even more involved in her struggle. Give her an objective goal that she is working for that would supposedly make her happier if she achieved it (it can be something small in the beginning) and this will line up her emotions and give them strong dramatic value.
     

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