1. Misnomer
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    Misnomer New Member

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    How to convince with this character

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Misnomer, Sep 24, 2013.

    Hello,

    This is my first post on this forum and on internet too.

    I am writing a novel (this is my first attempt) with a protagonist who is businessman and is dedicated to his family(which includes his wife and his business partner friends). The novel is about how he faces problems while establishing and expanding his business and how he overcomes them keeping his family intact.

    Now, there is an antagonist character, say X.

    About X:

    1. Born to a wealthy businessman who lived debauched life.
    2. X never got mother's love and saw father changing women frequently so became misogynist.
    3. X is very artful in business dealings and start financing at the age of fifteen.
    4. Very soon, X becomes one of the most influential, powerful and wealthy businessman without taking any help. (He is depicted as talking to finance ministry and suggesting them good ideas to improve nations' GDP through good business)
    5. He develops a trait that he is God in business world and business cant prosper without his consent.
    6. He even wants his wife and son to call him God. He gets divorce.
    7. This triggers his feeling of being misogynist.
    8. Then he buys movie production house and starts taking 'advantage' of the newcomer girls in this field.
    9. He offer them a role in the movies produced by his house and in return he wants them to treat him like God and sacrifice their virginity to him.
    10. Protagonist's wife gets the secret will of the X which is as follows...
    If X dies a natural death, his divorced wife and estranged son will not get even a penny of his wealth.
    If X dies a due to murder/accident, his divorced wife and estranged son will not get even a penny of his wealth.
    If X self destroys, his wealth unconditionally goes to his heir that is his son.

    The reason for such strange will is that X considers himself powerful than anyone and everyone including nature. Hence, he doesnt want to die by natural cause as it would mean nature overpowered him. Further, if he is killed by someone else, he is defeated by someone else. But, if he kills himself, then he didnt let anyone defeat him.

    My questions are...

    1. How convincing is this character X? (Please remember it's very important character.)
    2. What needs to be done to make him look more real and intimidating?
    3. Is 'will' of a person secret? If yes, what are the ways by which protagonist's wife can get it, unlawfully?
    4. Are there any cliche in this character's traits?
     
  2. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    If he's misogynistic, how does he have a wife and son?
     
  3. TessaT
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    TessaT Contributing Member

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    Misogynists often have families. The women in them are just often women with low self-esteem, who think that their husbands are correct. They're also normally able to hide their true beliefs behind jokes and such, of course, until its too late. Perhaps the wife stayed after he revealed his true colors because she was pregnant or because she thought she deserved it.

    So what happens between points 4 and 5 to make him think he's God? Obviously the world functions without him. Other companies, other lives... they all function just fine without him involved. So is he mentally ill? Has he always been predisposed to thinking that he's better than EVERYONE? I think that the character is believable to a point, but I don't buy that he'd just make a random jump from rich and powerful to believing himself to be God.

    Also, I don't believe that a woman who was married to a misogynist would seek out his will. A will is personal and normally protected by a lawyer (especially with someone so rich), so I don't believe that someone with such low self esteem would 1.) ever leave her husband and 2.) would break into a lawyer's office and steal a copy of his will.
     
  4. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    I was afraid that'd be the answer. I forget the world isn't as rational as I am.
     
  5. Misnomer
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    Misnomer New Member

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    First of all thank you very much for replies!!!

    Sir, X is married to a high self esteemed girl. She initially tries to get relation going even though there are clashes but then with his increasing dominance, she files for divorce.

    Even though X is an important antagonist in the novel, I deliberately avoided the vivid details of his personal life.


    I think there was some ambiguity in understanding
    Please see this...
    X - Antagonist.
    Protagonist - A businessman whose business is financed by X with hidden motive to destroy the Protagonist.
    X's wife doesn't seek his will
    . Its Protagonist's wife who is pregnant and who comes to X for business settlement. So for settlement, X wants to bed with her (protagonist's wife)

    Sir, you mentioned very nice point...
    "So what happens between points 4 and 5 to make him think he's God? Obviously the world functions without him. Other companies, other lives... they all function just fine without him involved. So is he mentally ill? Has he always been predisposed to thinking that he's better than EVERYONE? I think that the character is believable to a point, but I don't buy that he'd just make a random jump from rich and powerful to believing himself to be God."

    Since childhood, X feigns to have mastered his own weakness. Even though he is tensed from inside in bad situations, he pretends that he is calm just to show others that nothing can bother him and he can handle worst situations with ease. He never seeks help and always ready to help others provided they take his shelter.

    I want to make him look like this...
    X is very intelligent, rich and powerful businessman. He considers himself supreme. He thinks that he is beyond this world. To prove his point he had destroyed few businessmen who refused to call him God. Using his political contact and money power he had also destroyed the careers of movie stars who refused to respect him like God. So many of the businessmen and movie stars fear him and bow down before him.
    However, he is a man with limitations.

    Now, if I portray him Godlike, I can't make readers believe that he is a man with limitations. Conversly, if I make him just a man with limitations, the strength of the character will be lost because, readers will think that he is a common man and not the powerful antagonist.

    And by the way, is there no way, that heroine of the novel can get the secret will, without letting anyone know?
     
  6. Misnomer
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    Misnomer New Member

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    No comments?
     
  7. TessaT
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    TessaT Contributing Member

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    Sorry, I still find the premise to be a little unbelievable. As someone who works in the professional world, things like this never happen. If anything, the small companies would band together or people doing business with him would just stop, and he would lose all his power and money. Especially if he's sought out businessmen to destroy in the past. Plus, what he's doing is illegal and if he's causing a monopoly with whatever business he's in, the government would eventually step in. That being said, perhaps all of that is in the works.

    It still doesn't explain WHY he thinks he's God. The fact that you say he's faking mastering his weaknesses, still doesn't show why he's jumped from I'm a good businessman to I'M GOD. I mean, that's a huge psychological jump. Mind you, these are all my personal opinions and experiences, but as a reader, these are things that I would be wondering about.

    And the only way that the wife would be able to get the will is to either break into X's house, or break into his lawyer's place of business, or have someone from the lawyer's office on her side/wanting to destroy X as well.
     
  8. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    1. Depends solely upon how well he is written. (But you've got to admit, he's one sick puppy.)
    2. God complex is not unusual but would usually land him in a mental health facility.
    3. Will may or may not be secret. An attorney cannot divulge the contents of a client's Last Will and Testament but that doesn't necessarily mean that people around X would be bound by the same ethic.
    4. Yes. But, again, whether it comes off as trite and hackneyed depends solely upon how you handle the development.

    The biggest problem you have right now, it seems to me, is one you have not addressed. In most cases, a suicide nullifies a will and, thus, the family still gets --- nothing.
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    This sounds like a very difficult character to write.

    And, I believe you are going about this wrong.
    The questions you should be asking are, what is the story you are trying to tell? What is this character's inner goal? What is his external goal?

    I don't mean goals like wanting to get rich. In this context the character's goal is where the writer is taking him. What changes for him in the story? Does he grow? Does he fail to grow?

    What is here to interest the reader? Why should they care about this guy? Or his wife and son?
     
  10. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're kind of putting the cart before the horse here. It generally doesn't work very well if you come up with character traits (especially ones you can't fully explain) before writing the character. These things should emerge naturally.

    Also, I don't understand what you mean by the protagonist's wife "gets" the will -- do you mean she finds a copy of it? It sounds like a very strange contingency that he'd put in the will -- basically stating that if he commits suicide, then his son will inherit his wealth, otherwise the son is specifically and explicitly excluded. I don't understand why he would do this. Who is the contingent beneficiary of the estate?
     
  11. Misnomer
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    Misnomer New Member

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    Guys,

    Thank you for the critique on this character.

    I now admit that these traits (considering himself God and so on) wont work with antagonist anymore since in real world these things don't happen in business. (I am too inane to foresee it :( :( )
    Actually I am half-a-way in this novel and now I have to go back rewriting this character.

    I Would love to listen to your comments to paint this character...

    1. He is antagonist
    2. He fears the protagonist but doesn't let anyone know about it.
    3. He is very rich and has business acumen.
    4. He wants to create monopoly in business and he has developed a different Ego about himself that makes him think that he can do anything and none can stop him. At the same time he is so intelligent that he makes arrangement so that neither government nor businessmen can go against him.
    5. He is a kind of misogynist who thinks that women can't progress without a man's help.
    6. He has unusual lust for women.
    7. To destroy protagonist, boding him as only potential competitor, he, the antagonist, devices a plan.
    8. With this plan, he sends the protagonist to jail and decides to murder him there itself.
    9. Unaware of his plans, Protagonist's wife, just to get her husband out of jail, wants to make a business settlement with him.
    10. Antagonist in return asks her sexual favors.
    11. She can't betray her husband so refuses his demand and then murders him.
    12. His divorced wife and son owns his wealth and then rescues protagonist and his wife from his business obligations.
    13. But, his plan has created such an impact on protagonist's life that he becomes a bit introvert and his wife who previously had too much respect for law now doesnt feel guilty for murder.


    Please share your views about,
    How do I move ahead for this character.
     
  12. TessaT
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    TessaT Contributing Member

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    I think that you should play into three big pieces of this character, which for me stand out as #1.) Why is he afraid of the protagonist?, #2.) Why is he a misogynist?, #3.) What leads him to create this plan, besides his fear?

    I think that making him a political diplomat of some sort would help with him being untouchable for the government, as its a very fine line to edge. If he's also dealing in an illegal trade, it would make sense that people wouldn't seek out the government for help (I'm thinking gun trade, weapons of mass destruction, human trafficking, drugs, etc).
    Also, how does one 'send' someone to jail? Normally a person has to commit a crime, so he's either been set up or was forced to commit a crime. Either one could be interesting.
    And what leads the wife of the antagonist to help the wife of the protagonist?

    My main issue here is with your final verdict. How can a woman who had the utmost respect for the law, suddenly have no regret for killing someone? As a reader... I would hate the fact that, essentially, the bad guy won by making the protagonist's life suck. That's a personal issue though. ;)
     
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  13. Misnomer
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    Misnomer New Member

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    @TessaT

    I really loved the way you think :) :) :)

    Yes... Antagonist won by changing the life of protagonist altogether.... its the crux of novel. :)

    Antagonist makes protagonist to commit a crime by crossing the business agreement to save his business. Eventually, this lands him in jail and so his wife comes to rescue him.

    He is misogynist because he is devoid of mother's love since childhood and his father taught him to hate women because his father has changed women more frequently.
    Also, he has colluded with a powerful business group to destroy protagonist. The protagonist started from absolute zero and became a respected name in very few years in the business world. So, the powerful business group doesnt want him to move ahead. That's why this group takes help of antagonist to destroy him. This is the other reason apart from fear.
    And, the woman who really loves and respects law finally transforms to committing murder to save her family. This transition is the soul idea. The protagonist's wife acts as a protagonist herself for some time in the novel. It's really a very very very important part of the book. If I fail here, the book is nothing but a chunk of irrelevant words. Please share your views on this.

    What I am not clear about is....
    1. Why antagonist's wife would help protagonist's wife? ...To answer this question only, I have made her divorce the antagonist and hate him (Probably that didnt work since tactic of secret will and Godlike trait is failed.)
    2. How does Antagonist maintain clean image in business even though he does many unethical things like forcing girls for sexual pleasures to give them business/job and then forcing the loan burrowers to sell their business to his friends etc.

    Any guidance?
     
  14. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I feel the need for a stronger motive--this sounds like simple jealousy, and if this business group runs around jealously destroying every respected successful businessman in the country/world, its members aren't going to have any time left for business.

    I'd want to see a reason why someone could actually profit from the protagonist's failure.

    - Maybe his business is beating a competitor partly based on his personal popularity and personality, and destruction of his reputation would let his competitor profit.
    - Maybe he has a valuable patent and the antagonists manufacture evidence that he got that patent by fraud, thus allowing whoever was next to file to get a patent. (Warning: I don't actually know patent law, so this may make no sense.)
    - Maybe the protagonist has a valuable government contract and if he's convicted of any crime he'll lose the contract and his competitors will get it.

    I'm confused. Women divorce men even when those men don't have God complexes. :) There are plenty of reasons why his wife could hate him.

    Does he have to do these things? I don't see that it's necessary for the plot that he engage in frequent, open actions of this type.
     
  15. TessaT
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    TessaT Contributing Member

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    I think that the transition from law-abiding wife to murderer is possible, it just needs to be plausible. I think that demanding sex doesn't equal death. I would see if he tried to rape her, or perhaps he shows her surveillance that he has on her & her kid (moms can be crazy!) or something a bit more extreme to coerce her into killing him.

    Let's see... the antagonist's wife could help, simply to get her out of the picture. Maybe she's just as cold-hearted as the antagonist is, but sees that she can kill two birds with one stone (getting rid of her husband (or ex-husband) and getting rid of the issue that the protagonist) by helping the protagonist's wife?
    Or perhaps it's pure and simple revenge on her husband. Sometimes people are driven by simple seeming motives.

    The Antagonist could have created an alter-ego to deal with his illegal businesses, or perhaps he's simply like the leader of the mob with him having an abundance of lackeys to clean up his messes. I don't really know that someone can maintain a 'clean' business image when being so incredibly ruthless like he is.
     
  16. Misnomer
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    Misnomer New Member

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    The antagonist's are afraid of the protagonist because
    1. He is a redoubtable competitor.
    2. If he succeeds, he wont let them do business.

    Your 2nd point is right. I need to find out any possible reason for them to divorce.
    Well about third point... I just added it to make reader hate this character. Probably, it doesn't go well with the plot. So, any suggestion as what can be done to make this character more negative yet effective?
     

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