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  1. Noya Desherbanté
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    Noya Desherbanté Senior Member

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    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Noya Desherbanté, Nov 9, 2010.

    I'm having real trouble with a protagonist who just won't reveal herself, I've never had one this stubborn before. I just can't seem to create an original character: I've tried imagining her sitting next to me on the bus, I've tried imagining her in her house going about her everyday business, I've tried mentally interviewing more rounded characters in her fictional town, I've tried looking around for real people - none scream inspiration, and now it feels like I'm running out of avenues. I have a perfectly rounded plot, but, to be honest, I want my protagonist to change it - influence the plot with how they react, to give it a ring of authenticity, and so I can't really start writing without her being just a cardboard cut-out being flung about from incident to incident.

    I'm looking for devices you use to wrestle out a difficult character - how you get that little spark that suggests a personality you can use. Some characters appear blissfully in your imagination fully-formed - mine's sat in the corner with her back to me... I can almost literally only picture the back of her head. Wrangling tips, anyone?? :confused:
     
  2. Masli
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    Masli Member

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    maybe you should just flung her about from incident to incident. That's bound to do something to her. Maybe she'll open up after things happen to her. Like something might trigger something from her own past or something.

    Characters don't always have to be rounded before they start their journey, maybe she's just like a new born baby, that needs to experience things first to help her grow into herself.

    Or listen to different kinds of music, maybe that will help you. Usually music helps my character creating process greatly. Would they like a special kind of music, and why? etc
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    My most difficult character has been one called Nathaniel Smith - he had been a major minor character in my first book. I realised in my second I didn't really know him. I had to explore my story, write short stories for him and finally I realised why:

    He is a spy in my first few books and my first book was told from POV of the seventeen year old brother of my main character. They have a fun almost brotherly relationship.

    My second book was told from the POV of his lover - he was the one of only two people to ever see what Nate really looked and acted like. It took me awhile to take the fun, exciting man who could break a neck without thinking into the caring loving partner who wears nothing brightly coloured at home. The erudite man wears slippers and a sweater lol

    My advice is find out why then you may find a way in.
     
  4. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just write her - you haven't actually, far as I can tell, actually put her name down on the page and then wrote, like, a verb after it, and seen what happened next. :p Just go for it. You might not end up using what you first write with her in, but having something *happen* with her in it will be the only way to actually get to know her. You can sit an imagine a character all you like, and it won't help.
     
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  5. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Melzaar. Just put her into action without knowing or decided much about her. As you go along let her face things and respond to them, if someone ask her a question you write the answer that comes natural for you.

    Using this process you you should not go looking for the smartest reaction, them most original, most creative or poetic or whatever. That is counterproductive, Its just a way of censoring the ideas and impulses you get before even giving them a try.
    Using this the approach chose reactions and answers that comes natural to you, that feels obvious. It might take a few pages, but after a while you will probably be picking out the obvious answers you gut or subconscious feeds you. And will be good interesting answers.

    Set up the scene in a way that forces the character to act, and through actions revel herself. Paying for the groceries isn't a scene that forces you to act in a way that tells people something about your nature, a fight with a coworker might.
     
  6. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    The problem as I see it: The fact that you're thinking of her on a bus or in her everyday situations.

    See her in the action. How does she respond to stress? To the story's main conflict? To the antagonist?

    Also, characters are supposed to grow (for the better or worse) as your story progresses. Just write, and chances are she'll evolve without you even noticing because it will be subconscious. And then when you read the novel the 2nd time you'll be like "Wait a minute..." :)
     

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