1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    How do you redeem a dead character?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Link the Writer, Jun 22, 2010.

    I'm not talking about the character in question is actually dead and the others have to tell the world that he/she was a good person. I mean like a character that just seems dead to you, but you want to bring him/her back.

    The issue is with my first character ever, Heridon Lewis Copper. I made him up back in August 2003 as a character of my first mystery story. He's been everything. I've made him an adult, a child, an elf (a fantasy mystery series) and a captain of a starship (a sci-fi mystery). He was essentially me as I wanted to be.

    Now I finally have the setting perfect. He's a college student solving murders in modern times with the help of five friends. Not wanting to make him a Gary-Stu, I made him everything not me. He loves math, he's a football player, extremely extroverted, watches college sports every Friday night, and he doesn't enjoy history at all.

    But...something weird happened. After I made him into that person, I just stopped liking him. I couldn't relate to him at all. He came across to me as a rude, loud, abrasive person. I've got the setting perfect, the characters I need, but now I can't stand Heridon anymore. I almost want to kill him off in the first chapter and continue the series with one of his friends.

    Maybe I've outgrown him? Maybe he's had too much of my own personality that's he's become a major Gary Stu.

    I just don't know what to do with this character. I love the setting and the other characters, its just him I don't like, and even worst, he's central to the events in the story. Take him out and everything falls apart.

    What should I do? Is there a way I can 'redeem' him still?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    You redeem him by checking the expiration date that should be on the backside, then call the number to get redemption instructions. They may ask you for a receipt as proof of purchase.

    Kidding :D

    You ask yourself how this person fits into a story. You may well never find a story for this character to fit into. You may have to chalk him up as a writing exercise, a means to end that really doesn't include him. A catalyst of sorts.

    Don't fall in love with the actor. Fall in love with the story.
     
  3. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't force it.

    He not dead, he sleeping. Sounds like he havens got any rest in you head in a while.

    Since he a basically a character based on you, chances are that i you just drop him for a few months or years and new things happen to you and your life, you got new emotional issues and experiences to deal with you will breath new life into him.

    Or you could have outgrown him. That might be possible. But for gods sake put him aside for now.

    In any way. Trust that you developed as a writer that you can come up with new, better characters now than you did when you were younger. And do it. They will feel strange, wont have as much to them in the beginning as characters you developed for months and years, etc.
    But their basic concepts and conflicts will generally be better.
     
  4. izanobu
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    izanobu Senior Member

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    Sure, take the name, if you like it that much, and make a new character, someone who fits the story better and that is easier to relate to. You're in control here. The guy can be whoever you want him to be, that's the nice thing about writing. You get to just make stuff up :)
     
  5. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sounds strangely like one of my characters named John Blackwood. In my mind he has been everything from a teen trying to survive the Zombie Apocalypse to a CIA Agent and even a Captain of a starship in the distant future. I have even mentioned a possible sibling in passing in different stories. While they are not exactly the same character they still hold a general concept.


    I think your problem is that you changed him to much. Is it really necessary for him to be so anti-you?

    What bugs people about Mary Su and Gary Stus are that they seem to perfect. They always get what they want and they really have no problems. Which is usually where the whole idea of the author living through the character.

    I think maybe you should worry less about the whole Gary Stu thing and give him back some of what you loved about him. Don't make him all perfect and give him some real challenges in his life he can't solve so easily or be able to pick up a sword and master it within a short time frame. Well you know if he were ever to need to learn it. lol
     
  6. squire848
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    squire848 Member

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    Of course you don't like him anymore. He's not the same character, how could he possibly be? He may have the same name, looks etc but a character is all about personality. His has been completely distorted, he's someone new.

    Take a stap back, have a look at him again and think about who you really want him to be.
     
  7. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    That may be the problem, Unit. I've made him totally anti-me.

    As usual, I go from one degree of severeness straight to another degree of severeness, in this case Heridon was once all-me, and now he's anti-me. I don't look at the middle.

    Heridcan CAN share some of my interests and flaws without being totally me. Maybe he likes a certian aspect of history like WWII onwards as he has relatives that actually fought in the Second World War, but he doesn't like the events previous as he's not good at retaining information.

    Videogames is a good example. Maybe he likes videogames as much as I do? But perhaps he's strictly one company and doesn't like anyone else (Like he's a Microsoft fan and doesn't play Nintendo or Sony games, although he does respect those who do).*

    I should stop going to the extremes like that and just...let Heridon be who he wants to be. If he shares some of me, that's totally cool.

    *I play both Nintendo and Microsoft games. :)
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Writ the the character the story needs. If you randomly haul him out, reengineer him, and drop him back in, chances are he will no longer fit.

    So ask yourself wht that character needs toi be for that story to work, and build that character. His name is not important - call him Slartibartfarst for now.
     
  9. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    lol, Cogito! XD

    But yeah, good points.

    @ Izanobu- Very true. I could instead make Heridon a member of his college's baseball team (since I...don't...really....like football that much....)

    But yes, I should just take him aside and rethink his character for now. And I love the name Heridon Copper.

    Would it be Gary Stu or lazy if I had him be a descendant from my blind main character from my Colonial mystery story? Heridon's not blind, btw.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The Mary Sue/Gary Stu label is the most misused bit of pseudointellectual garbage since people started flinging the word cliche around like poison confetti.

    Just write the character.
     
  11. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    Usually when a character dies, its because the author killed them without meaning to. And by the sounds of it, this is what you did, without meaning to. At some point and time you liked your character, but then you had to make him perfect. Which was the worse thing a person can do.

    Characters are suppose to seem as real as possible, not as perfect as they can be. Plus you've completely turned your character around from what you originally had planned for him by the sounds of it. Basically your character got his three strikes.

    I'd take everyone's advice and step back from him now, put him at the back of your mind and shut him out completely for a little bit. Once you've pretty much forgotten about him bring him back and rework him so that he fits the story and fits what you want him to be.
     
  12. Switch
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    Switch Member

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    Ok, you may not want to give up on him, I'd understand if that is the case, if so, either change the settings again, as though you like this story, it may not be HIS story, and he is the problem. However, if you are willing to step away from him, then either leave him for a while, and see if you can work the story again, though I don't think this would work, or just change the personality. Make him so that he fits in with the story and make him suit YOUR writing style, which may have developed differently in the past 7 years. And try not to become as attached to the new character, we all love our characters, but sometimes its important to leave them and start afresh.
     
  13. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Thanks for the tips everyone.

    Heridon is the lead role of the story (Which is about him) and I honestly think the problem lies with him being a football player. I really, really do not like football nor football players due to a personal experience in high school of which I won't speak of further. Why did I want him to be a football player in the first place, then? Because I wanted to give it a chance, y'know? Like the old saying goes: Don't clump everything together. Guess it's still too early...

    I think if I had him be a player in another sport (like baseball), it'll make him much more appealing. (To be honest, I do like baseball.)
     
  14. Diablo Robotico
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    Diablo Robotico Member

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    It sounds like your opinion of football players (or specific football players you know) is leaking into your writing. I wouldn't just change the sport, because that wouldn't fix the problem of you only writing characters who you know in real life.

    Write the football player, but make him a mostly good person. If you need to bring some experience into the situation, give him a football-playing friend (a bad influence) who is obnoxious and encourages Heridon to be the same way. That way you can accept your view on football players, while also accepting that maybe they don't all fit into your perception of them.
     
  15. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    I'll go with this. There are so many characters I don't like in my stories, yet I still write about them because the story requires them and the story is much richer because of such characters.
     

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