1. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    How to make character lovable?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Duchess-Yukine-Suoh, Aug 29, 2013.

    I'm writing this book, which centers around a male MC. The main problem I'm having is with his love interest. She's a fairly quiet girl, who studies and gets good grades, and her main problem is that she has trouble making friends. However, I'm worried that due to her very kind and un-lustful nature , the people who read my book might see her as "Prudish". She wears normal clothes, and isn't all that religous, but she doesn't have the "scheming to get boys" thing that a lot of girls have. Although she's attracted to our male MC, who is quite shy himself, she's perfectly fine not having ....um..y'know....for a good long while. So, how do I make her still lovable and non-prudish?
     
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  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Hmm... There are some concepts here that seems to be getting bundled with other concepts in packages that don't necessarily go together. Her sexual restraint only makes her a prude if you paint her that way, if you paint the source for this restraint as haughty or frigid. She could as easily be holding back because she values herself and isn't just having it off with any old body. The right guy comes along with the right attributes she is looking for and she may be more than disposed to having it off nightly! :) Readers will find her "loveable" because of other qualities you give her. Kindness, compassion, charity, empathy, humor, etc.
     
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  3. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, first of all, welcome to the forums, Duchess.

    I had to chuckle at your post. You seem to be asking whether a character can be lovable if she does not want to have sex. I think that's only a part of what you're asking. Obviously we, as the readers, typically don't need a character to be willing to have sex for us to like them. I think as far as the sex goes, you're asking about the relationship between your male and female MCs, and it sounds like they're pretty young, so they don't necessarily need to have sex for us to care about their relationship.

    But, as far as readers liking the characters in general, what we want is to identify with the characters. The good news is that readers want to identify with them, and are trying to do so -- any thought that they have that we have also had will do this.
     
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  4. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    Thank you, guys! That helped a lot!
     
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  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think her not wanting to have sex makes her prudish. I think it makes her more lovable. As Liz said, it sounds like your characters are young; if she wanted to have sex, she'd probably come across as slutty, and hence not very lovable at all (at least to me).
     
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  6. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I agree with Minstrel, but I also think that even if some people did think she was prudish, there will always be some things that readers won't be able to identify with. Even the characters I relate with aren't perfect in that sense. If your character needs to be that way, then that's how they should be.

    Like humans, characters aren't perfect. Even if the reader doesn't like a certain aspect of the character, that does not mean they will not relate to them. Readers expect imperfections, so if you believe it's an imperfection, work with it. :)
     
  7. EmmaWrite
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    EmmaWrite Member

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    I think her reasons for not wanting to have sex and not seeking out a boyfriend are what makes up her character. If she is judgmental, condemning girls for their actions and avoiding relationships as to not be like them, then she will be unlovable. However, if her reasons are because of her own morals and she sticks to them, that makes her lovable.
     
  8. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    Thank you guys so much again! :)
     
  9. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Just explain to the readers why she is like that. If you only remain on the basic of your character, you readers will get piss off if they can't understand what is wrong with her. The more information your character has, the more your readers will want to learn about her in order to like her.
     
  10. NicoleAnne416
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    NicoleAnne416 New Member

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    I could still find her loveable. I don't know if you watch switched at birth or not but the one the brother is going to marry is kind of the same way but she had a wild past and decided that she was going to wait again for marriage. They had a "bachelorette" party for her and she let loose and that really showed another side of her, in my opinion, and made her even more likeable to see her fun side (which wasn't sexual just more outgoing that you normally don't see). Just a thought. Maybe have some moments where she isn't only shy and quiet, but let her break out of her shell once in awhile?
     
  11. Whedonesque
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    Whedonesque Member

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    Make her show affection in other ways. Care for a sick relative, adopt a lost cat, whatever.
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It is worrying that you seem to think the world automatically dislikes someone based on whether they want to have sex or not, and that their attitude towards sex could actually define the entire person. I'm not saying you hold those values, but it's worrying nonetheless that you're basically worried people won't like a character who's well... erm, how shall I put this? A perfectly normal human being?

    Is she kind and compassionate? Is she patient? Is she loyal? Is she loving? Is she funny? Is she attentive and detailed? Is she a good friend, a good listener, someone who fights for what she believes in? A person without any of these virtues and yet could be a raging sex machine would still be disliked.

    Focus less on whether or not she wants sex and start focusing on HER - her character, her person, her mind, her spirit, what she thinks and how she feels and why. You'll have solved your own problem then.

    Perhaps you should read The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. Laura is painfully shy and quiet and as fragile as the glass menagerie that she loves. There's no mention of sex anywhere, but it could be assumed, to be honest, if you want to read it that way. Yet she's a deep character whom you - not adore, that's not the right word, that's too simple - she's a character whom you somehow, some way, understand. Therein lies the magic.
     
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  13. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    On an interesting note - the word prude has been deformed in the English language, it used to mean excellent woman or proud
    woman but nowadays it usually means someone who is squeamish about sex. However it gets tossed around for
    just about anything - if you don't like Fifty Shades of Gray you're a prude ( Gee, and I thought it meant I had good taste - lol. )
    Avoid making her justify her behavior because that would make it seem as though she felt guilty or wrong.
    Which it's not. Just dive into it - no excuses, no apologies, no judgments.
     
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  14. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    I will forever regret having posted this thread. :oops:
    Again, I like her, she's one of my favorite characters because she DOES have depth to her. But it is a TV show mini-seires and she doesn't have the "OMG BOYZZZZZ" that a lot of girls on TV have.

    But thanks for the tips guys!
     
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  15. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That makes her different, and people often like different. You seem to have a fresh character esp for the genre you're writing in. Stick with it, don't lose heart, and post something in the workshop later if you're still unsure :) Good luck!
     
  16. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    Thank you so much! :)
     
  17. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    If she realizes she appears prudish to the outside world, and makes fun of herself or prudishness in general, that may add to her charm. "Yes, I'm a prude but proud of it, and here's a joke while we're here". What you may view as a limiting negative could, in fact, be spun into a positive. Maybe nobody sees or hears her humor; it could be in her head, or how she acts out alone in her room (I vividly recall Elisabeth Shue dancing in her room at the beginning of Adventures in Babysitting). I can't recall, but maybe study Leelee Sobieski's character in Never Been Kissed. Seems like that may be similar to what you are talking about.
     
  18. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    As a writer I wouldn't explain anything. I'd let the reader see who and how she is through her thoughts and actions.

    You may want your readers to be sympathetic if they are getting jiggy through peer pressure or even curiosity. Maybe she has a need for a physical relationship where there wasn't one before. ie: her father wasn't around and she needs that male attention and gets it confused with what the boy is after.

    It really depends on what exactly you want your reader to feel but down + dirty does not = lovable.
     
  19. tristan.n
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    tristan.n Active Member

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    The worst thing she could be is a flat character, the typical goody two-shoes who gets the guy because he sees how pure and innocent she is. That's what made me loathe "A Walk to Remember" with a passion. Is she on the shy side because she was bullied as a kid or because she feels alienated from her immature, jackass peers? Does she get good grades because her parents are controlling, or is it because she has such strong ambitions of becoming a future president? Is she just indifferent to the idea of sex, or is it something she wants but refrains from because of her strong moral code? You don't have to explain her motives to the readers, but knowing them yourself will help you avoid making her into a character that readers see as wishy-washy or prudish. Personally, I love to see characters who encounter constant struggles rather than just being naturally resistant to things that others struggle with.
     
  20. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    People tend to like characters for their well-developed personalities more so than their actions. Of course, actions are dictated by personality, so in that regard personality is key.
     
  21. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    To explain it by showing it is another good way. It helps the readers wonder what is up with that girl in order to keep them hooked.
     
  22. Abigail
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    I find I have respect for those who wait. So I don't think she will be unliked just because of that! But, as another member said, as a writer you should know the reasonings behind everything. The more you know about your characters the more real they will seem as you write your story.
     
  23. Smitty91
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    Give her quirks. Make it so that the audience can relate to her. For example, have people avoid her as they see as stuck-up due to her shyness. Don't make her geeky, but still show that she cares about getting good grades by having her do extra credit or staying after school to help others with their struggles regarding schoolwork. Characters of this type generally like reading, such as myself. Have her and the MC have something in common, like having a common interest in fantasy or have a favorite subject that they like Have them get to know each other better by working on a school project together or something like that. :)
     
  24. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    If she's shy, perhaps she's nervous about maybe not getting sex 'right' or not sure about whether the boy cares about her, or doesn't know whether she should or whether she shouldn't. A great way to get us to love a character you've created is to get us involved with their insecurites, what holds them back, etc. We'll be rooting for her, whatever she chooses to do, if you let us readers in to her feelings and thought processes behind the choices she makes.
     
  25. ladybird
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    It's amazing why everything has to revolve round sex, nowadays. I would love a character for just being herself and not what others think she ought to be. Maybe because I'm from the older generation and I do not find having sex randomly an endearing quality. Yes, if that's her character, but obviously not...unless you are go to turn her into a sex maniac, as EL James did with Anastasia
     

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