1. MsMaffia
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    MsMaffia Member

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    How to make a character realistic in a very short frame

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MsMaffia, Jul 29, 2013.

    I have this character in my mind and he kind of came out of no where. But when I added him into my story, he suddenly felt like a godsent. I have so many exciting ideas for him. But he gets introduced at such a crucial and fast-paced time that no one else really gets to know him and understand him quite like I do.

    In other words, I need to make this character stand out in about a chapter. I need to give him a reason for the other characters to want him to stick around and I have no idea how to do this. Any advice on how to go about this?
     
  2. UnrealCity
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    UnrealCity Active Member

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    If you know a lot about the character you've introduced, perhaps decide what the other characters know about him and with this you can decide a motive/reason for the other characters to keep him around.
     
  3. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Make him do something really standout. Something unexpected, or pivotal, within the scene itself. Don't worry about introducing backstory about him till later on. It's hard for me to be more specific, because I don't know what you're story's about—but you do.
     
  4. MsMaffia
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    MsMaffia Member

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    That's the thing, I can't see my character's wanting him to stick around. I was hoping he could have this big reveal much later in the novel, but that would be only information convincing them to let him stay. Without it, he's pretty much a nuisance to them. Would it be worth it just make the reveal earlier?

    I did actually try this, but the motive sucked. I guess if I develop the motive a little more, that could work. Thanks!
     
  5. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    If he's someone you other chars know, maybe slowly introduce him. Begin with a phone conversation regarding an unrelated topic towards the beginning of the story, then make occasional references to him as the story goes along.
    "At least Charlie isn't here," Sam said. "You can just imagine what he'd say if he saw this."
    "Have you heard anything from Charlie?" Sarah asked. "Not since yesterday," Sam reassured her.
    Then, at least, the reader isn't thinking "Who the bonk is this guy? What makes him so awesome?"
     
  6. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Motive alone can only get you so far. You may have to make a need for him. He may not be the man they want, but he's the man they need if they want to survive/succeed. This also introduces tension and conflict, and that's never a bad thing.

    I went through a similar situation in a novel I recently finished. In chapter 8, my protags suffer a major defeat. A surprise attack from the "bad guys" leaves one member of their team dead, another is basically a vegetable, and a third calls it quits. Two chapters later, their boss (the guy running things from behind the scenes, whom they don't really trust at all,) sends them to pick up a new ally. This new person is dangerous --so dangerous they're actually afraid of her at first-- but the situation has escalated to such a degree that they know they have to fight fire with fire. I think that initial friction and the things it revealed about her, as well as about the other protagonists, has made her one of my favorite characters to write and she seems to be a fan favorite among my tests readers as well.

    Also, I'd like to add that introducing him at a "crucial and fast-paced" part of the story doesn't mean there's no room for character development. In the example I just gave, this character's introductory chapter leads into one of the longest, most grueling battles of the entire book. Not only does this underline why the protags need her, but it also speaks volumes about the type of person she is. The way she conducts herself under fire says a lot about who she is, while simultaneously silencing some of the naysayers amongst the protagonists. I'm not sure how much of this applies to your situation, but I hope it helps.
     
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  7. MsMaffia
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    MsMaffia Member

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    That example actually really helped. I don't know too much about this guy yet, I have a few ideas still floating around, but once I find him a fitting personality and background I'm sure I'll be able to think of a need.
     

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