1. AuroraJenkins
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    AuroraJenkins Member

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    How should I write this character?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by AuroraJenkins, Apr 29, 2013.

    I finally started writing that story about demons I was discussing earlier... But after finishing just one chapter, I'm already having a bit of an issue. I don't really know how to approach the character of Azazel (an older, more powerful demon) as he interacts with the narrator (who is far lower down the hierarchy.) I want to show that he sees some potential in the narrator, because he basically helps her get her first "job" on Earth, but they still have kind of a love/hate relationship.

    When I tried writing his dialogue, he came off as kinda uneven and bipolar because I wasn't sure what kind of character to make him in my story. Demons in general are nasty creatures, and I want to show that he is rude, insulting ,and downright evil. But at the same time, I think he should be more of a lover than a fighter. (He did go to the dark side because he fell in love with a human, after all.)

    The two ways I could portray him are:

    1. -Cruel, evil, and just plain mean. He regrets his earlier actions that made him fall from grace, but he knows it's far too late to go back. So he is just generally resentful toward everyone/everything. He hates humans, looks down upon weaker demons, etc. This version of him would only give the narrator the job assignment because of simple logic. He figures that a younger demon would be better at impersonating a teenage human girl (don't even ask, lol. It's complicated. :p ) He would do things like insult the narrator, condescend to her, randomly shove her away if she's in his path, etc. In this version, the narrator would simply want to keep out of his way. He would be an antagonist, simple as that, and it would leave me more free to focus on other aspects of the story.

    example: "You little Hellspawn are all the same, constantly asking questions. Exercising free will and a million other rights you never had to fucking fight for."

    (lol he sounds like an angry war veteran in this one.)

    2. -He is evil, but still has a slight element of sex appeal. Imagine a lecherous old uncle in the body of a young man... Or like a vampire in an Anne Rice novel. He is still attracted to humans in a weird twisted way, though he does consider them to be beneath him. In this version, his attitude toward the narrator would be a bit softer. She has kind of a crush on him but he obviously doesn't feel that way about her. He does feel slightly protective of her, however, and sees potential in her. For some reason, she reminds him of himself a long time ago. All of this stuff makes the interactions between the two of them a lot more complicated.

    example: "This thread is invisible to humans, but if anything from Above or Below tries to tear out the stitches… Then it’s curtains for you, my dear.”

    (the other version of him wouldn't call someone "dear," even sarcastically.)


    -----------------------------------------

    Another thing I was wondering about is... How "dated" should I make this guy? He's been around for a really long time, since before the dawn of humanity, but I think he's interacted with the modern world enough to speak pretty standard English. On the other hand, maybe time passes differently for his kind and he's still stuck with the language of like the 1800s because to him that seems like it was just recently?


    Halp, I've bitten off way more than I can chew :p I feel like I'm way too young to do justice to such an old character.

    ((also, forgive the quality of the writing in this post and/or the quotes I made up for Azazel to say. It's late at night as I write this, and the story is only an early first draft.))
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I hate to break it to you this way, but this is exactly the kind of decision that you, as the writer, have to make yourself. You are asking for help defining an important character in your story, and only you can do that. Stories come from characters; they are the motivation and meaning of the story. If you change a character, you change the story. You change the way your readers appreciate and understand the story.

    There may be many things about writing a novice can reasonably ask for help on, and we will be happy to provide that help. But your characters are the heart of your story, and I'm afraid we can't help you there.

    The best I can offer is this: Try writing Azazel both ways. See how each approach affects the story. How does each approach affect the tone of the story? That's important. If it sounds like a ton of work that will mostly be flushed down the toilet, well, welcome to writing. That's what we all have to face.
     
  3. AuroraJenkins
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    AuroraJenkins Member

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    Yeah... Actually, I think it was the act of writing this question that helped me more than people's responses probably will. After spending like 30 minutes composing this long post, I've realized that the second path sounds more appealing to me because it would make the character more interesting and multi-dimensional.

    I mean, I wouldn't exactly mind getting people's opinions on here, but I think I need them a little less than I did earlier :)

    Just out of curiosity, is there any way to fully delete a thread on these forums?
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Mods can probably do it, but we mere peasants can't. At least, I've never tried. Come to think of it, I don't really know the answer to that question.
     
  5. karajmnz
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    karajmnz Member

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    I do that all the time. Spend forever writing out a question only to realize the act of writing it has made me figure out the answer. :) It is of course something you have to decide in your story but I like version 2.
     
  6. sanco
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    sanco Contributing Member

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    Sometimes asking yourself questions is much better than looking for answers from other people. So maybe I could be of help if I asked some questions.

    1. How do you define these demons? Are they humans that get sent to hell? Are they angels that fell from grace? Are they their own race/species? Do they appear in human form because that's what they look like or do they have a 'default' demon appearance and need to shapeshift or possess a human to obtain the likeness of a human?

    2. Perhaps an off-shoot of the first question would be in regards to world-building. Are there angels? Is there a heaven or hell, or is it just Earth and some sort of spiritual realm?

    3. Have you seen the Supernatural series? Almost all the stand-out characters for me were demons: Azazel & Crowley.
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    One other thing to remember - although some people on this board know what they're talking about, lots of them really don't but will offer up opinions anyway. There are about a dozen or so whose opinions I value greatly (one of whom responded to your OP). As you read through the different discussions, not only will you learn what are good questions to ask and what are not, but also whose responses are worth reading.
     
  8. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    :eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:
     
  9. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're telling us you are having trouble writing because you don't know your character. Well, the answer is: Get to know your character. The way to do this is to spend time with him. You spend time with him by writing scenes with him, even if those scenes never appear in your story. Write a few scenes with this character at some key points in his life, before the story starts. You tell us he became evil because he fell in love with a human -- I don't know if that is portrayed in your story or not, but you sure need to write about it. Even if that part of the story is not conveyed to the readers, *you* as the author need to know all about it - how it came about, how it ended, what their interactions were like, how deep the feelings this character were for this human. You should also write some scenes from before he met this human -- from his childhood or early adult life - what were his interactions like with his parents - were they evil? Were they super-good? Were they trying to avoid everything having to do with good vs. evil? Did they die young? If they died, how, and what was his reaction? If they're still alive, does he ever interact with them or have they lost all contact?

    Write as many scenes as you can, and he'll tell you what his personality and history are. That will help you immensely when you're writing scenes and dialogue now. Especially if you need to know how he'll see this new mentor or potential love relationship.
     
  10. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    Just wanted to say that if your demons act like a bureaucracy, then a high level demon wouldnt spend the time to talk to a lower level demon. at least thats what i think.
     
  11. AuroraJenkins
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    AuroraJenkins Member

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    See, I thought of that too just recently, and that's why I like my second idea for Azazel better. If he's a more complicated character, he might have his own reasons for talking to her and paying attention to her. I wouldn't say romance, because he's definitely "above" that, but he is interested in her for different reasons.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Your character, your decision. My only recommendation is to write him WELL. :)
     
  13. Sunny1000
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    Sunny1000 Member

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    You might want to actually research the demon of your story too. Azazel is an interesting demon (one of 200 fallen angels) who is claimed to have actually had interaction with humans. I recommend researching the Book of Enoch for the Hebrew version of the story or if you are looking for a more christian edge the Catholic Catechism. Of course creative license allows you to use the character in any way you want and you do not have to follow scripture cannon, but it might help you with your character development or give you some ideas ^____^
     
  14. YugiohPro01
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    Other than doing an abundance of research as suggested above, think of the consequences of writing any of the two versions:

    - V1 might make it so that the reader learns to despise the character. Perhaps you might want this for this specific character, however, do not overdo it. You might end up with more than an anti-hero, but rather with a downright antagonist. I can't tell you how to write the character - that is fully up to you as a writer. Just be careful not to present him as the bad guy, because, well, from the description he doesn't seem to be that much evil as he is misunderstood, so to say.

    - V2, on the other hand, must be treaded much more meticulously. Understand this - though you need to find a balance between the two, both can eventually lead to one of the two options: either he becomes really nice and you are critiqued for it, or worse yet, he becomes the next sparkling Edward.

    So, I would suggest to find some sort of blend between the two: make him mean and harsh and make him nice and kind. If, though revision, you find this perfect blend, then you would have nailed the character that you attempted to describe. Just, put layers to the character, each successful character owes his success to that.
     
  15. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Despite the posts here saying people can't help you, there's no need to delete the thread. Some people have ideas to offer, here's mine:

    Writing out my problem helps me identify and clarify the issues. Even if not one person has a suggestion (and a couple people did have them), or if not one person answered, writing the problem itself can lead you the answers. Thinking out loud and thinking with my keyboard helps me bounce ideas off myself, so to speak.
     

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