1. mattattack007
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    mattattack007 Member

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    Feels like I ripped off...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by mattattack007, Nov 4, 2010.

    So i'm working on creating a character whose a from a huge race of very strong magic users. As I kept working on him, i noticed that he was becoming too much like a cross between harry dresden and the doctor from Dr. who. I want to continue making him, but i just want to make him different. Any ideas would be helpful.
     
  2. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    Any charachter with too much power and no weakness or flaw comes across as boring and uninteresting nowadays. That's what you need, flawed people.
     
  3. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Write down a bullet point list on how you see Dr Who and Harry Dresden. Their motivation, their background, their strengths, their weaknesses, their defining relationships.

    Do the same for you character.

    Compare. Decide on what likenesses you can tolerate and what likenesses you want to move away from.
     
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  4. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree, except for one thing: characters should be human at their best and at their weakest. I'm not sure "flawed" is the right word here. Probably just "human." Flawed is meant as a negative adjective, but "human" means that there is probably aspects about the character that you don't necessarily agree with, but you can maybe understand their personal sentiment?

    Creating a character too strong and almost invincible is a definite no. You can make that person as strong as you like, but there must be another factor to their personality that balances out the person to become a more believable character. Does that help?
     
  5. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    I don't know Harry Dresden, but since there have been a dozen Doctors, give or take, each with differing qualities (None of which were powerful magic users) you're probably on safe ground unless your character sports a 25' long scarf, or drives around in an old car named Bessie, or some other obvious rip off. The earlier post about needing flawed characters in correct, (I love Heinlein, but every protagonist is a superman or superwoman, makes it tough.) but the Doctors were all flawed in their ways. While I am not advocating outright character theft, I see nothing wrong with pulling qualities that you enjoy in other characters and mixing them into an original character of your own creation.
     
  6. lilix morgan
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    lilix morgan Contributing Member

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    Exactly what she said.

    If you truly think you've robbed the creators of Dr. Who blind, make sure you see it with your own eyes first. Remember that just a few similarities doesn't make it the end of the world; just look at everyone's heroes in novels today. All of them hold flaws and on some level, hold enough to sound the same at face value.

    But unless your character is running around calling himself Dr. Who, dressing like him, coming from the same background and holding the same job, future, love life, etc. you're probably just a little paranoid.
     
  7. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    And remember that 3/4 of what you see in a fictional character is what you project onto them yourself. Other people project different things, and they may never see the similarities that are so apparent to you.
     
  8. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    If you're fan enough of Dr. Who that you are finding your character to be too much like him, then you might find that your writing and genre might be too closely aligned too. Are you in some way writing a Dr. Who-type of episode with a different set of circumstances?

    I think the issue could be greater than the character. I'm guessing and probably overthinking it but much of what I read from many writer becomes very genre derivative. I'm not saying and don't know your writing so I could be wildly off base but...I get frustrated with what I read so much of the time because I see less of the inside of the readers head and more of what they want to show me.

    Inspiration and influence exists in any of the creative arts. It's not to cast that aside in as much as understand why you like something of a genre, character or style.

    As an example, one of my favorite and well written (movie) characters was Jack Nicholson's character in a few good men. Yes he delivered the money line and people would focus on want to write the money line/monologue. Fair enough but those lines would not have delivered the effect they had were the character not developed to the extent that we believed him to be a character that could deliver such a line. He had precedent in saying what he thinks and a sharp tongue to boot.

    The point being is understanding the structure underlying the character. Traits that makes the character live. If it is much like Dr. Who, that's not such an issue if you have the personality built around the character the make him come alive.

    Ok, lots jibberish but there may a few nuggets up there worth something.
     

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