1. Meteor
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    Meteor Active Member

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    How should my characters act?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Meteor, Aug 13, 2012.

    Hello and thank you all for taking the time to read this.


    I'm here to ask how to make a character react to a specific situation. Its a futuristic story where my MC awakens from a state of mind control after having killed several people on board a ship very far from home. My MC is also super enhanced and from Earth, but from a time nearly two thousand years ago. This is all explained in the story as it goes along. I really haven't decided how I should have him react. The other characters are descendants from Earth when humanity fled to the stars when it was dying sixteen hundred years ago. They explain that Earth is no longer habitable and tell my MC exactly what he did when he was under mind control. I keep imagining my other characters in a state of loathing towards him whilst mourning the loss of the other crew members, but I can't seem to find a place to fit his emotions. I suppose its due to how far fetched the situation is though I keep imagining a lot of angry tears, sleepless nights and self-hatred. What do you guys think?


    I thank you all for your help!
     
  2. fwc577
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    fwc577 Member

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    Probably in shock/disbelief.
     
  3. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    If I were under mind control and murdered several people aboard a ship, and finally snapped out of it and learned what I did, I'd be upset. Upset, confused, dazed. I'd loathe myself for killing those people, plan revenge against whoever mind-controlled me. I would isolate myself from the other crewmembers to protect them from myself. I'd probably even try to leave on a smaller ship first port we go into.
     
  4. Murkie
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    Murkie Member

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    I think denial and paranoia would play a large part as well. Why should he believe these people? Were they making plans against him because of what he is supposed to have done?
     
  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    His reaction really depends on what kind of person he was before the mind-control incident. I think that describing his reaction you can give the reader a clue about what kind of person he originally was, and show how his pre-existing personality asserts itself as he is recovering.
    Depending on his personality, he can react in a variety of ways - anger, disbelief, denial, paranoia, depression, begging for forgiveness, isolating himself etc etc. The possibilities are many.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's your character and your story. It's your job to SHOW us how the character reacts to the situation. That is the heart of story creation.
     
  7. Ferdinand&Alfonso
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    Ferdinand&Alfonso Member

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    One thing I always have to tell myself when writing (often crazily) far fetched stories is that you don't have to convince the reader time and time again that the situation actually happened. I thought that to compensate for my readers apparent refusal to believe the circumstances, I should make my characters refuse to believe the story as well, so that the readers would be able to identify. I forget that other people have senses of imagination, too, and that as long as they understand what's going on, they'll be able to accept it. I would advise you not to dump the entire situation onto the MC all at once. Let him learn what's happened slowly instead of having him sit there while people explain to him in one long speech. It'll be hard on the reader and it'll be hard on the character. That being said, I don't know your MC so I can't say exactly how horrified he'd be but I'd guess pretty horrified. :) Like I said, introduce elements of the truth to him one by one instead of in one huge landslide and you'll be able to explore his seperate emotions better instead of him simply going into shock and mixing his emotions.
     
  8. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    They should act in character ;)

    I'm sorry, I just couldn't resist :p In answer to your question, what is your MC like? Does he have a sensitive conscience, how does he normally handle guilt? Could he have avoided being controlled in any way? If he wasn't under mind control, would he have killed those people? Why, or why not? Is he an emotional guy or a rational guy?

    All you need to think about is what your character is like and then base his reactions on how he would naturally handle it according to his personality. It helps if you reduce the situation to a simple concept, such as "guilt" or "responsibility" or "is killing ever right?" etc, because we can all imagine such concepts and have experienced these thoughts/emotions, making it easier to relate. Perhaps another way of exploring would be research on accounts of people who have done things under hypnosis? It's not exactly the same, but they would've done things they wouldn't normally have done under any other circumstances - what kinda emotional reactions did they have when they found out?

    I'd say disbelief would be a major one. Your MC would probably need to see proof of what he did to believe it, assuming he has no memory of it. Then probably shock/numbness. Beyond that I don't know. A silent withdrawn type might drink or do some sports and ignore what happened, an aggressive type might go after the people who made him do such horrific things and attempt to avenge the dead, the possibilities are endless - it depends on your story, doesn't it?
     
  9. Meteor
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    Meteor Active Member

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    Thanks again everyone for the help. I really enjoyed Cogito's post though because when I think about it that's absolutely correct. I also liked Mckk's post as well. It opened up a few doors for me to wander into so I can get to know my characters better. Thank you all once again for the help!
     
  10. Shayla
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    Shayla Member

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    Putting yourself in your characters position often helps. But don't imagine yourself as your character, imagine yourself as you. What would you do if you woke up and someone said you'd killed several people?

    (If your character was under mind control, does he remember it?)

    Once you figure out what you would do in his situation, you can shape those emotions to fit him.

    Personally, if I woke up and someone said those things to me I wouldn't believe it. I would laugh at the idea. I would need some serious convincing until eventually I would feel devastated with myself and frustrated that someone took advantage of my mind making me feel vulnerable and now constantly on edge.

    However, you have to ask yourself what your character is like, does he show a lot of emotion? Would he be upset he'd been taken advantage of or angry? Does he play it cool or get in a frenzy?

    Lots to think about!
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Must be Halloween. Dead threads are rising from the graveyard.
     

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