1. Curupira22
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    Curupira22 Member

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    Hating a character

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Curupira22, Jun 9, 2014.

    I don't usually ask these sort of questions since I usually know exactly where i want to do with a story however in this instance, I've come to a conclusion that I'm not totally happy with how I've started things. Allow me to elaborate....

    So, I've started as you would expect - introducing places, people, building a back story and starting innocuous story threads, laying the foundation for progression. However, key to it all is the main characters. The first character I have introduced, whilst one of the central characters, needs to be utterly despised. It's a slow growing hatred but after a few chapters, the hope is that the reader is sold that there is nothing about him that is pleasant. He's rich with a violet criminal background and although he's on the straight and narrow now, he's never far from some semi-criminal scheme. He does have talents, though, which have gotten him into a position of power within a large company. Later, his past catches up with him, revealing that he is the product of a hostile environment and is more than just a little vulnerable. I plan to de-construct his world around him and force him to learn humility with the second central character right in the middle of it.

    Inversely, my other central character is essentially a child/teenager (probably around 15/16 just so that she can hold an adult conversation and still have some innocence about her) who has lived on the periphery of society for a very long time with next to no contact with another person. She's sweet but very naive and what's more, she knows nothing about herself. I want the reader to be rooting for her even though she's not got much going for her. The critical thing is that she is very different, the details of which I am leaving out at this point. For what it's worth, though, we're not talking super powers or a mutant or anything like that.

    So here's my conundrum; I've initially started writing, telling the story from the perspective of the arsehole character, how he's living it up, boozing away his time whilst not working as CEO of his morally bankrupt company. The problem with that is to begin with, there isn't a great deal to bring you into his story, as it were. He's drinking, flirting and dreaming about buying expensive things. I introduce some conflict and build to some greater interest later but until then, it all serves to only build upon the fact that he is, well, an arse. The thing is that it wasn't until I started writing from the other perspective that I realised that beginning the story this way might not engage the reader quite so well.

    The alternative is that rewrite and introduce my other character first. The problem is that her story and her appearance are key points in the story and therefore, I can't reveal them in any great detail until the two main characters have met. This means her 'beginning' is more interesting but also much more...mysterious/vague. Mysterious is good, in theory, I just worry that the whole 'discovery' process needs to happen after I've introduced both characters. To me, this means that if I open with the young female character, it may be a few chapters before the reader knows anything about her, including her name and her appearance. Whereas, if I introduce her after the other primary character, the gap between introduction and reveal is (much) smaller. But, would a reader want to continue reading about an arsehole, albeit a talented one.

    So, anyone care to have an opinion? I, for one, am still umming and ahhing about it so would like to hear some opinions.
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, I think you've got a more fundamental problem:

    How about starting with a crisis, and fill in the 10% of backstory that the reader actually needs when its needed? You don't just need to introduce the character, you need to give the reader a reason to care about her. Just because you conceive of a story in a certain order doesn't necessarily mean that's the order in which you should present it to the reader.

    BTW, the notion of changing the POV on a scene after you've written it is not uncommon. I've changed whole chapters around after the fact.

    Best of luck with it.
     
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  3. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I agree with @EdFromNY . It's not uncommon to change things around, I do that a lot which is why I write in segments then jigsaw the segments together and make changes then.

    You say you don't want to introduce the female first but you could do that to hook the reader. You don't need to give everything away in that first section, just enough to make the reader ask questions, then change to the introduction of the male asshole. By this point, the reader will be hooked (hopefully) they will begin to learn all about the asshole and will then begin to ask, what has he got to do with her? Which will make the reader continue reading in order to find out the answer!
     
  4. Curupira22
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    Curupira22 Member

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    It's an excellent thought and I suppose the detail in my initial post wasn't great, however, the reason I didn't give much more detail was because it wasn't the conundrum i was initially interested in. However, allow me to elaborate; I do touch on the crisis and the effects of it come into fruition quite quickly- it's one of the reasons he is who he is and why she is who she is, too. That said, I don't plan to ever really go into the details of the crisis. The cause is a great unknown to everyone - it's one of the mysteries both characters have to deal with - I want to focus on the effects, how the world has changed for these two characters with one capitalising on it, the other suffering because of it.

    However, from what you have suggested, I have suddenly realise there is a way to build the introduction around one of the effects, keeping the (limited) detail I have begun with while providing that all important draw.

    So, in conclusion; thank you - I'm glad i got some outside input!
     
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  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Glad I was able to help.
     

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