1. RosieTy
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    RosieTy New Member

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    Getting characters out of my head

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by RosieTy, Feb 22, 2013.

    So I´ve had these two characters ( the mc and the villain) in my head for about 3 years, and one day I just simply felt that the story I was writing about them, simply didn´t fit them anymore. I´ve tried different ideas, but somehow they all end up in a plot hole or something unbelievable or cliched. Now I´m stuck in this really sticky writers block and I feel like I have to shelve this story, but not the characters! Even if I did shelf them, they just won´t leave me alone. I have to give them a story, but I just can´t find a story for them.

    What can I do to come up with ideas?
     
  2. frydham
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    frydham New Member

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    Hi there,

    Start with your main character. What does he/she want? Why? What is he/she willing to do get it? Why is your villain trying to stop them? Or maybe it's other way around.

    Don't grab your characters and throw them into story.

    One of the main reasons some of my earlier ideas never panned out was because the conflict felt forced/artificial. Let your characters dictate what happens.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Write a story in which they do something you could not imagine them doing, and see where it takes you. They're the hero and the villain? Try having them get married in Chapter 1. (Why they would do such a thing is up to you, but one suggestion is that when they get married, they don't yet know they hate each other.) Or put them in a situation in which they're forced by circumstances to cooperate. Or maybe have one of them fall in love with the sister (or brother) of the other one, without knowing the loved one is related to their mortal enemy.

    Just change things up. Force the characters to grow and change until they don't have such a strong hold on you anymore.
     
  4. JennyM
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    JennyM Member

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    Maybe colour them with a few more character traights? I'm sure I have seen a link here for a website with a large amount of character prompts.

    It's great they won't go away, there is a reason for this.
     
  5. JennyM
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    JennyM Member

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    Here's the link I mentioned http://www.seventhsanctum.com/index-char.php

    The link is a great find - thank you whoever introduced it.
     
  6. Bimber
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    Bimber Contributing Member

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    look at the plot hole and think what would make it work what is missing, how can i make it more believable, than go back and rewrite some of the chapters.
    for example: in order for the MC to get out of a situation all he needs is to have with him...a knife(or anything that will help him) than go back and add the knife to his inventory or someone gave it to him or he found it on a table or something
     
  7. Phoenix Hikari
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    Phoenix Hikari Contributing Member

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    The reason for this could be is that you don't yet fully understand these 2 characters. Maybe you haven't completely fleshed them out to know them deep down. Plots and stories, conflicts and problems usually result from the desires, dreams, actions and choices of the main characters; usually the Protagonist and Antagonist.

    If you can find out what each of these 2 want, what they are willing to do, why they want to do it and how far can they go to get what they want/protect what they have, then you will have a plot. It is actually much better to have characters without a plot than a plot without characters, because it's the characters that drive the plot and not the other way around. So, don't come up with what you want to happen but rather what your characters would make happen.
     
  8. RosieTy
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    RosieTy New Member

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    You think? That actually makes me feel better. Seriously.
     
  9. RosieTy
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    RosieTy New Member

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    I think I might have that problem, of not knowing them well enough. Because so far my main character and the villain have the same goal. I need to make the villain disagree perhaps, or can they agree in different ways maybe like one for good and one for evil?

    My main character is a young prince and the villain is a carpenter who wants to teach the prince his skill. And the prince who has no skills wants to learn from the villain. But so far they agree.
     
  10. Phoenix Hikari
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    Phoenix Hikari Contributing Member

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    Just because they have the same goal doesn't mean that you don't understand them. It's quiet possible for them to have the same goal just maybe go about achieving it in different ways, ways they disagree on. The villain doesn't always have to be the bad side, sometimes he is just a good person put in bad circumstances or misunderstands the situation.

    If your antagonist and protagonist are close in relation and then disagree on something, this will create an interesting conflict. You say the antagonist wants to teach the protagonist, they might get close and then are faced with a fatal decision which both feel differently about. It's your story, make it unique, interesting and above all not forced.

    I'd suggest you sitting down and writing more about these two characters, for example: their fears, goals, desires, weaknesses, strengths and maybe hobbies. The more you interact with them the more you'll come to understand them and thus know what they want.

    In my current write, I had the protagonist complete but I was confused about my villain. However, when I worked on him individually and discovered his triats, I realized why he does what he does. Remember, I am only suggesting, the rest is up to you.
     
  11. RosieTy
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    RosieTy New Member

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    I had done some writing about my characters, but I think I will do one again, more in depth like you´re saying, to see what I catch.
    Thanks for the help. :)
     
  12. Phoenix Hikari
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    Phoenix Hikari Contributing Member

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    Okay, then I'll give you my chart for my story.

    - What are two words to describe your character?
    - What are the main traits of this character? are they angry, peaceful, kind? List at least 6.
    - What are their hobbies and interests?
    - What do they fear?
    - What are their thoughts/desires?
    - What do they look like?
    - What do other characters see when they look at them?
    - What do they try to look like to others?
    - How does their voice sound like? aggressive, soft, gentle, dreamy?
    - What kind of food do they like?
    - What are their motivations? What moves them and make them fight?
    - What are their choices, decisions, feelings?
    - Describe with one word their relationship with each character in the story.
    - What are they trying to protect?
    - What are their weaknesses?
    - How do their decisions and actions move the story?
    - Do they influence others? Do they have strong charisma that might lead another to trouble?
    - Do they listen to others or do others listen to them? How?
    - What is their age? Education? Abilities?
    - Do they have unique talents?

    These are some of the questions I ask my character. Hope it helps.
     
  13. RosieTy
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    RosieTy New Member

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    Hope it helps? This list is beyond helpful! And I was having trouble with how to start, so you pretty much hit the spot there. thanks! :)
     
  14. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    I feel inclined to ask, what makes your antagonist a villain? What makes your protagonist a hero?
     
  15. RosieTy
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    RosieTy New Member

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    Actually that is one of the other problems I´ve had. I´ve thought the villain is the villain all along, but when I think of him, he´s not killing people, or bombing buildings, or cursing the hero´s family. I´ve been thinking long and hard of what is it really, that makes him "the bad guy".

    Maybe he isn´t the villain after all. Maybe he´s just a questionable guy. But when I think long about it, it still seems that he´s up to no good, even if his initial motivations seem harmless. I just don´t know what that is yet. And my river of ideas has been quite dry lately...
     
  16. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    The point I was trying to make is that your antagonist doesn't have to be a villain, and your protagonist doesn't have to be a hero. They just have to be two guys struggling to achieve goals that conflict. Two bakers trying to win first place in a baking contest. A student that wants an A without actually learning anything and a teacher that wants the student to learn.
    Your problem is that these two have no conflict between them. What they need is a woman to get between them.
     

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