1. stormr
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    stormr Member

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    Getting attached to your characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by stormr, Oct 28, 2013.

    Would you consider this a good or bad thing? Or both? I have noticely today when I was touching up a short story I wrote yesturday how much I really liked my MC. To the point that I started adding little extra dialogs, and small everyday scenes into the story just for my character to have someone to relate to for a moment. Nothing drastic that calls attention from the story, and nothing more than a few lines to keep it short and let the story move forward. When I went back through to re-read the story those small scenes seemed to fit right in and give more insight into her as a person. I also found that since she was someone I wrote the story around, and realized that she is also the same charcter I wrote into my collection of personal synopsis' for future stories. At least 6 of them. And I find myself now wanting to get started on some of the other stories so I can somehow tie some other stories around this charcters current storyline.

    Do you think I should detach myself more from this character? Or is it normal to want to write more so you can know more about this character and and find out what this person would do in certain circumstances?

    Or am I just reading to much into the fact that I want to build my short story more for this charcter, and want to write more stories based on her as the MC?
     
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  2. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It definitely CAN be overdone, but it doesn't sound like you're going to ;)
     
  3. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Writing other stories about your character is fine, and so is getting attached to my character. Hey, I've even cried when killing off one of mine.

    Even if people think writing new stories about your character is a waste of time, it really isn't. You may find a habit or idiosyncrasy that you can use in another story. The idea may work in itself, but it doesn't work for that character, so you switch to another.

    And even then, all writing will improve with practise. Writing these stories is practice.

    Just think about authors who are still writing books in a series. Can you imagine how attached these people are to their characters? I think it would take a great deal of obsession to care about your characters too much. You need to be attached to your characters, otherwise they wouldn't be as believable.
     
  4. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Just like is the case with everything, it can be done well or... less so. I find it necessary to really know my characters, at least all the important ones. That means I often fall in love with them but there's a trick to it, I think: I always know way more about my characters than the reader ever will because I come up with all these little and big details (things that happened to them as kids that changed them, their favorite color and food etc) that are never shown in the actual story, but what I do try to do, despite showing just the tip of the ice berg, is to make the reader care about the characters as much as possible (preferably as much as I do), for better or worse (it's possible to care about what happens to a villain too, I mean, you could want them dead, so that's a form of caring about their fate as well, right?).

    I have shot myself in the foot with this, of course. It usually happens when I've really grown too attached to a character, to the point where I know e.g. killing them would serve the story the best, but I'm reluctant to do it because I like the characters so much.

    Caring that much about a character can prompt great new stories with them in them. That's perfectly fine as long as you do let go of them when the time comes (and you'll probably know when it does, whether you admit it or not).

    It was only recently, like a month or two ago, when I had a similar situation with an older WIP. There I had a character I really liked but whose place in the story was starting to get questionable because she (a mythical creature) was starting to grow too powerful and she could be used to get the other MCs out of just about any pinch.
    Then one sleepless night I just got this idea how the story would end and although it stung, I realized there was no other way to do it except by killing her. The scene turned out pretty damn epic even if I say so myself, and while it sucks to let go of a character you've developed over a long time and with a lot of care, it also feels like it's what's best for the story. If the reader feels even half as miffed as I do about her death, the character has served her purpose and gets to go out with the bang she deserves, tugging a few heart strings on her way out.
    It's a bittersweet victory when you come up with a great death for a character you love, but denying them that death would only smear the purpose of their existence.
     
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  5. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    If you don't like and identify with your characters how can you expect the reader to?

    I once had to kill off an important supporting character midway through the novel. His death was a major turning point for the female protagonist, and absolutely necessary. But I'd spent chapters making the protagonist and the reader love the man. His death comes without warning, and in an act of calculated cruelty on the part of the antagonist. I grieved for the man for days, as though I'd lost a dear friend.

    But later, when my wife, who is my beta reader read it, she came downstairs to where I was working, pointed at me, and said, "You son of a bitch...you killed him. I hate you. " And isn't that the kind of emotional reaction we want in evoke in our readers?
     
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  6. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I often find that I like my characters even more when I realize that I (can and/or have to) give them tragic death scenes, does that make me a sociopath? ;)
     
  7. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    Getting attached to your characters is a great thing. If your characters feel as disposable as a candy wrapper then you're doing something wrong or they're Jar Jar Binks
     
  8. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    I think the simple fact that your'e asking this question is a good sign that you're not overdoing things with your character's development.

    But I think there's a huge difference between becoming attached, and divulging too much useless information in a story. Attachment is key. How can anyone become concenred with your character and their being if you don't care for them. You absolutely need to know your character and be concerned for them.

    On the flipside, yes, it can lead to giving too much information. That's what, in part, editing is for. I give way too much information about my characters that the reader doesn't need (while at the same time skipping over crucial descriptions throughout the course of the story). When I go through and edit, I can say, "This isn't necessary. No one needs to know this." I don't try to stop myself from writing these things in. It disrupts my natural thought process and throws me off course. I can circle back when I'm done with my rabbit trail and edit out the useless bits, later. In the mean time, I'm developing either/both the character or the plotline and fill in gaps I may not have realized where there.

    In short: Getting attached is a good thing, and writing more than necessary is not bad so long as you're prepared to trim your hedges, later.
     
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  9. stormr
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    stormr Member

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    Thank you for the great replies. I guess I am doing something right then. I, so far, have only been adding small scenes that I think I might flesh out later in the story, if it doesn't happen I will probably remove anything that doesn't belong, or fit well with the story. Example, I added a small scene on her way home from work, were I had her stop at the local convenience store to buy a pop, originally just to have her do more everyday things, but then added it was because she has a crush on the clerk there. And I thought at that point that I now have a basis for introducing a new character for her to interact with in the future, and perhaps even add more story in the process. Originally it was just 'She came home from work." I will definatly take all your pointers inso mind when I continue adding extra content for the sake of my character. Thanks again everyone.
     
  10. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I would add to the excellent responses on this thread by saying that you need to be careful to create a great story as well as a great character. (And of course you should love your character. It'll make them almost write themselves.)

    However, I'd caution against getting too diverted by their everyday activities. Unless these activities figure strongly into the plot, your story will stall.
     
  11. Albirich
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    Albirich Active Member

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    I feel like I'm getting attached to every PoV character I got in my book, and that is nine different characters all behaving differently etc.

    Heard the saying that writers are oft suffering multiple personalities? That might be true in most cases, at least I feel it that way. Each time I sit down to write on a character I see myself in their shoes, with their personality and their motives, what would I do? Thus I sit in my room and talk to myself, twisting the words as I write. -- Perhaps this seems too much like me to the ones who doesn't know me, but I've managed to keep a distinct difference between my 11 y/o character full of life and innocence and wonders; and the twenty year old that is as clever as even the wisest men could be..okey I probably exaggerated that one a bit, but you get the point.

    One thing that broke my heart; I wrote the death of a character before writing anything else, I wanted him to survive but I saw no logical way to make him survive. You need to not make the attachment control your writing, as you can't let being in love control your actions. /That one is up for discussion...heeh
     

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