1. ADreamer
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    ADreamer Banned Sock-Puppet

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    Getting "attracted" to characters?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by ADreamer, Oct 19, 2015.

    Okay this is awkward enough. Nevermind the title - it was the only thing that came to mind.

    Anyways last weekend - being a long weekend - I scribbled out some chapters to a fiction that has been in the back of my mind for a while. Instead of me editing them - as I almost always end up over thinking my fiction on edits, blame my non-fiction background - I tossed them to my sister who just finished this summer her university with a major in Dramatic Arts [acting] and a minor in English Lit/Creative Writing.

    When we met up for coffees this morning her first words are do you realize you just wrote [let's call him K] K into this? Now in real life K is older than me and also a long term family friend, and I'll admit I've had a crush on him for years - aside from his cheeky / fun-loving nature the man, does, after all have a killer voice when he speaks his mother tongue [he's European] even if his English sounds odd to those that know him.

    But right now I am starring at a story with a savvy Casanova - that I am enjoying the character of, like with Tobias [who is based off a friend] I find making my MCs off of my friends easier cause then I know what sort of personality I am using rather than clumping things together - and thinking dang it. See I've always been taught not to get too attached to the MC because then you're going to turn them into Mary Sues. They are "perfect" with no way of making problems and no faults.


    So has anyone had this "problem" and any tips. Cause given a choice I'd rather not toss Casanova K - he works well with the story - but I am afraid of making him too Mary Sue(ish). Or that my thoughts to the real K will turn the female MC - just touched upon right now - into some simmering school-girl goofball.
     
  2. Masterspeler
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    Masterspeler Active Member

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    Hello ADreamer,

    I have to say, I've done this many times, in many forms. I draw a woman, and she's that one. I write and somewhere along the lines, she pops in. I even designed cars named after her and starships christened with her name. Unresolved issues? probably. Weird, not at all.

    I'm new here and not much of a writer, but we do draw on our experiences and emotions to write, and what better what to make a character believable and three dimensional than using aspects of a real live person. I have done this in my work, (granted, that means nada, squat). In fact, I have done more, or weirder, where I've fallen in love with a character that doesn't exist, that I never met.

    Ok, maybe that was too much. I should retreat now before I say something really embarrassing

    AB
     
  3. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    My MC is largely based on me and I do find him quite ravishing with exquisite dress sense.
     
  4. Masterspeler
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    Masterspeler Active Member

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    My MC tends to ravish all the woman-folk...ok fine, just one of them, and the other is in his mind! But I stand by what I said! The girl in my book, she is the epitome of perfection, for me...

    What does it say about me, the writer, that finds perfection but still can't have it, because she's pixels in a font or ink on a page? Damn you Descartes! Why cant it be I'm typed, therefor I am.
     
  5. Aerisfullofwhimsy
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    Aerisfullofwhimsy Member

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    I based a character off two people I am very fond of. I would say I have romantic feelings for them but not in the sense most people would find so. However, for whatever reasons, I tend to focus on their negative traits and experiences, instead of the things about them that are attractive. If I do not include the bad and ugly, then I would eventually end up going easy on the MC and become guilty of Mary Sue-ism as well. Including the not so nice parts into my MC makes them more human, and that is what I really love about the two who inspired me to begin with.
     
  6. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    Never had the issue of "Mary Sues" - though many of my characters are powerful in certain ways they are not be-all-end-all anything. Though I think I have a total love affair going on with an entire race or two in my setting - both sexes are by far so interesting and different that I am culture shock. I would be afraid to write people around me into the text - or even allude to their natures.
     
  7. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay. So, if I got this straight, You are worried your MC, Mr. K. Is a Mary Sue?

    This is a tricky question. I have seen many people argue different points on what exactly a Mary Sue is. So at this point. I just come to the conclusion, that a Mary Sue is bad character design, usually through lack of depth.

    Because of that, I think you are missing a step. You love, your characters? So do I. I don't think this makes them a Mary Sue. Personally. I don't think concepts are Mary Sue. I think that comes to executiion. Let me use an example from a kids show I love.

    A character named Jaden. He is a Mary Sue. I like him, and I hate to admit it, but he is. The whole fandom, as far as I can tell admits it. Jaden is from a world, where a childrens card game is like an olympic sport. Why is Jaden a Mary Sue?

    Because in spite of his design having balance. The show never really reflects this. Jaden, is a very impulsive, free spirited, lack of drive, kid. He always goes off instincts. Which is a fun design. And the media even recognizes this. See, Jaden is like the best. But it isn't the best that makes hm a Mary Sue in my opinion. Though, it certainly doesn't help.

    Jaden is shown to have bad test scores. He can't stay awake in class, he overall just sucks at school. But on the field? He is a monster! This concept? Sounds good right? He is the best on the field because of his instinct.

    Yet, the lack of school, the lack of disciple. It should bite him in the butt, but it just doesn't. Regardless of how bad he does. Or how often he falls asleep in class. He is never scene confronting the tragedy that facing his lack of talent at school work has.

    So on paper, they paint the weakness and strength very well. Impulsve but as such lacks direction. This is good, but by never going into depths of this weakness is sort the same as not having it.

    Funny enough, there are options too. See, the show makes a point of him trying to take it seriously and failing. The message being, that he needs to accept his strengths and weaknesses. Which is a bit different than probably the more standard, effort and overcoming his weakness. Both are good stories but again. Him coming to terms and accepting his weakness is a worthless plot point if we never see the tragedy which is his weakness.


    You didn't give much on your guy. Which is one reason I gave my own example. So my question for you is this.

    Does he have a weakness? Does your story explore that weakness?

    Love or hate him I don't think matters. I think the mistep is that if you love him you might try and make him so good that he doesn't have a weakness. Which can be a problem, but certainly doesn't have to be.

    Which is bad, because a story is about someone facing a conflict. Such as Jaden facing the conflict that he sucks at school. The resolution can be him becoming better at school or accepting he just sucks at school. But that conflict is the center stage of the plot. And it is a strong character getting hit in the weakness that it so interesting to watch. To see them pull through, or to try to. But if they have no weakness they can't be hit in it. But if they have a weakness but you never hit them in it. Both are problems that I think make a character feel like a Mary Sue.

    I hope that helps.
     
  8. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You idolize a guy and now worry the character you're writing is him, hence idealized instead of realistic?

    I think your real life Mr K has flaws too. You might not see them if he appears perfect in your eyes, but when you're writing a character, you delve deeper into them and sooner or later run into flaws and weaknesses. At least that has always happened to me, which, I know, is no guarantee it's going to happen to everyone else.

    If your friend knows the real Mr K, maybe she can list all the flaws she sees in him? :D
     
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  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    It's perfectly okay to write a flawless character from another character's point of view. We all know people who are besotted (we might be one ourselves) and refuse to see flaws in the people they love. This reflects on the person who loves, though, not on the object of affection.

    The best way I know of to give a 'flawless' characters some real flaws is to get inside his or her head. Make him (or her) a POV character for at least part of the time. Let him talk to himself about the people around him, how he feels about what is going on. I guarantee this character won't remain flawless for long. Nobody is a Mary Sue inside their own head. I pretty much guarantee that as well.

    Many of us put our best foot forward when it comes to our public image, and some of us are better at that than others. So your character may appear flawless to others. However, I can guarantee there is a devil inside all of us, even if it doesn't show on the surface. Give your character a chance to show how he thinks and feels, what comes into play when he makes decisions, how he regards the people around him. What does he think his own flaws are?

    I think the deeper you go, the more you look past the superficial, the more flaws you'll find. I stress, though, that this doesn't make the character less loveable. In fact, he may become more so, once you (the writer and reader both) become party to the struggles he faces inside his own heart and mind. They may surprise you, and make him/her even more attractive. But not flawless.
     
  10. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm a brunette guy, myself, but I only write blondes.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
  11. ADreamer
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    ADreamer Banned Sock-Puppet

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    Thanks. This is actually quite a bit of my worry.

    The thing is, I know he has flaws - in real life K used to smoke like a train [though he's cut down considerably these last years] and he is a shameless womanizer. However, he is also a very skilled charmer [that boyish charm aspect of who me, I didn't do nothing].

    These flaws actually work with the character I want to build, however, I am a tad worried I will overshadow them ... he's a womanizer but the female MC becomes something of a doormat "girlfriend" who knows but turns a blind eye that sort of thing.


    So there's the idolizing of the male MC --- and I am subconsciously shouting in my mind don't turn the female MC into another Steele [50 Shades of Grey] because by idolizing I am worried my feelings / mindset will carry over to her.
     
  12. AlcoholicWolf
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    AlcoholicWolf Contributing Member

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    I'd mix and match characteristics from other people you know. You don't want him reading it in the future and realising it's based off of him. That brings in legal issues too.

    Find someone you really hate, add some of their characteristics into the pot - maybe someone at work loves the sound of their own voice and it irritates you, maybe he wears his jeans too low showing off his pants, maybe he always makes annoying jokes right after sex. Either way, just have something in there which pisses you off.
     
  13. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    I created a female MC that I really loved, but I did make her enough of an emotional basket-case that I'd never have gone for her in real life. In fact, I may have based her somewhat on a failed girlfriend that I'd have married if not for her emotional baggage from being abused as a child. Some things we just can't get past. The character can be perfectly likable but they can have flaws that would prevent you from 'coupling' with them.

    Another female lead I created I love because of who she is but probably wouldn't be attracted to her in real life. She's fun to play with but not to marry. Giving her the ability and fortitude to kill me in my sleep is a good distancing tool. :p
     
  14. ADreamer
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    ADreamer Banned Sock-Puppet

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    Good idea for the "pissing me off" aspect. As for the legal issues - the real life K is a long time family friend & just narcissistic enough to take using it [him / his character] as a compliment.
     
  15. Lemon flavoured
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    Lemon flavoured Active Member

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    A fair few of my characters are at the very least loosely based on people I know, and I am attracted to some of them, so this is bound to happen. I'm too cynical to write myself as a "Mary Sue" though.
     

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