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  1. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    How important is it?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Tesoro, Sep 30, 2011.

    that a character is consistent in her actions? If a young character is confident and a bit bold in some situations and scared and timid in others, A person who is mature in some ways but seem younger than her age in others. Is that something that makes a messy impression or does it just make her real, human? This character might make a contradictory impression from time to time, and I wonder, does mc have to be easy to "get", a person you can put a lable on, or can they be as contradictory as people are in real life?
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think being "consistent" is as important as being "convincing." The fact is, people are inconsistent all the time. They hold conflicting and inconsistent views, and they act in inconsistent manners. The question is whether what your character does is convincing. An inconsistent action can be convincing, and in some cases maybe an inconsistent action is unconvincing. Is the reader going to feel that what your character does or says makes sense? If the character departs from her usual behavior, does she do so convincingly? Focus on that.
     
  3. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Good point, but hard to know if it's convincing to others. i try to give my character a good reason to act the way she does, is there some other aspect to take into consideration? Is there any way I can judge for myself if it's convincing or not? As you say people in reall life act inconsistently all the time, but how do I know if my character is being convincing? Only by letting people read it?
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    First, I recommend trusting your instincts to begin with. If it feels wrong to you, then there is a good chance you've got a problem. If it feels right to you, consider that you know the character better than anyone. You're probably on the right track. Readers can be helpful, though, precisely because they don't know the character as well as you do, and so they may be lacking something that makes the character's action more convincing. I don't think it is as likely that reader comments will lead you to change an action that you already feel is convincing, as they are to cause you to go back and change some of the material leading up to the action so that the reader feels as convinced of it as you do. So, yes, I think readers can be helpful for this.
     
  5. Flashfire07
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    Flashfire07 Active Member

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    Consistency is kind of important in character actions, she can act differently in different situations as long as she acts the same in similar situations. For instance, if she's arguing with her boss and she is assertive and bold she shouldn't be timid and demure the next time she encounters him unless something changes to cause her to act differently.
     
  6. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you both. I guess I will have to look over the ms again to see for those details. Gaah, I'm practically ready to submit now and I'm starting to get all these doubts about all kinds of things... Most of all I'm worried that the beginning will seem to slow, because there isn't much dialogue for the first 6 pages (if any) and I wonder if the information I've given about the character would be considered unnecessary "back story" too... double gaah! I've already eliminated the prologue, but still I'm unsure about the start, even though I personally like it and to me it doesn't seem dull.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    That does sound like an issue - my understanding is that most submissions are rejected after reading less than a page, so they're not going to get to page six if they're not interested on page one. If you have six pages of back story(?) at the beginning, you may need to do some shuffling.

    ChickenFreak
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's not exactly back story but it's more the mc reflections since she is all alone and arrive to a new place where she is going to live and doesn't know anyone yet. And yes, there is a little bit of background too, but I'm afraid it will all read like backstory since there's no dialogue, no interaction w other people.
     
  9. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    Maybe instead of taking something off the begining you could add something to it. Add a scene where something happens, a scene that causes a significant change in the MC's life, a scene that allows the reader to feel something for the MC.
     
  10. echughtai
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    echughtai New Member

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    it really depends on the story :) but generally keep it realistic.
     
  11. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Good point, Amy. Actually I have one thing in mind that could add some action but then it doesn't involve much dialogue either :S How important IS dialogue in the very first pages?
     
  12. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Dialogue isn't important at all. The book just needs to be engaging from the start. You can accomplish that with or without dialogue.
     
  13. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks again, steerpike! I'm glad to hear that :) I'm going to do a little research in my book shelf then, and find out what exactly it is in my fav books that makes me wanna keep reading.
     
  14. tristan.n
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    tristan.n Active Member

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    I think it kind of depends on the character's age, too. Younger people (especially girls, I think) tend to be influenced pretty easily, while older people are firmer in their values and beliefs. It would make sense to me for a girl to agree with what her friend says and then hear the same story from an opposing, less dramatic point of view and also agree with that, or to be bold when sticking up for someone but timid when sticking up for herself. Now if she were a pacifist terrorist... that would take a lot of convincing to be believable, in my opinion. lol
     

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