1. MrPizzle
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    MrPizzle Member

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    How to make similar characters be unique?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MrPizzle, Sep 22, 2013.

    My goal is to get the reader into the characters shoes, aka from TV Tropes: audience surrogate. You always see on TV how a normal guy/gal is thrown into a survival situation where they have to adapt, overcome and survive, essentially becoming badass, get the dream girl/boy etc and come out as heroes.

    But in my story, I want them to become villains or very close to it. If a normal person was thrown into a life/death situation aka an apocalypse, they would undergo a severe transformation. Self serving, cold and the ever man for himself mindset. You are going to eventually become detached and disassociate with the environment and with those around you and I want to convey this with my two protagonists.

    They both are the average guy and girl. The sort you see everyday and I want them to go through what I just explained but I want them both to be unique in their own way?

    First protagonist: I want this person to be a young women, student, rubbish part time job, single, working class etc.

    Second protagonist: Young man, student, perhaps not exactly the brightest of students but not exactly someone who requires a permanent carer, jobless, girlfriend less and perhaps a virgin?

    They both go through the transformation from dependent to independent, gain confidence but also make this a double edge blade for both. Deeply hidden personal issues start to come out and start seeing another side of them which is more uglier. Such as they may start to enjoy the violence and get exciteddvdavd2gH

    The best I can describe this would be Walter White from Breaking Bad. He was a meek emasculated man who becomes a meth lord but as he undergoes his transformation, his nasty side comes out and you see the real Walter White. Prideful, egotistical, maniacal, greedy, bitter and a very jealous man.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    What you need to do is imagine why they turn into the end product you are after. There is absolutely nothing certain about the end result. Many, if not most, regular Joes/Janes thrown into a survival situation will fail. They will fail because of ignorance, because of emotion winning over pragmatism, because of a million things that give them a broken or missing set of skills to turn into the person you indicate. If these kinds of people survive, it's because they are betas willing to follow/support an alpha who is better equipped. That's not a judgement, it's a just a cold fact. There's nothing wrong with being a good beta in a survival situation. There is every chance for a smarter beta to graduate into an alpha (Breaking Bad), but you need to guide that graduation, not take it for granted.
     
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  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    The characters go back and forth from good guys/gals to bad guy/gals and sometimes back again in the Vampire Diaries. It makes some of the characters unpredictable. You never know when they are actually nice or pretending. You don't know when they are going to give up being one thing and switch back.

    It's interesting, but it can be just as cliché as any other story. I think the best characters are ones that are more rounded, not all good, not all bad. My protagonist is all good, but she's sometimes weak, sometimes strong, her self esteem is all over the map. Her boyfriend is all good, but he has a life of his own, he doesn't dedicate his every moment to her. He's not there when she really needs him, but it's both their faults.

    Like Wrey says, get in your characters' heads. Make them real people. Let your characters take the plot where it goes rather than trying to force it.
     
  4. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    It's interesting to me that you describe your characters without mentioning their personalities. I can't imagine describing any of my characters without focusing on that.

    She's socially confident with a good sense of humour, tends to take people at their own valuation until proved otherwise, is kindly and diplomatic, but will become maternally formidable if anyone she loves is threatened. He lets other people talk while he listens and evaluates, isn't afraid of his own emotions or of showing them, but doesn't like explaining himself, he has talent in several areas, both creative and practical, but he doesn't think as highly of himself as other people think of him, etc...

    People can come from the backgrounds you mention and yet have all sorts of differing personalities and attitudes towards themselves and towards others. How they work into the story will have to do with what kind of people they are, not where they come from or what kind of job they have, etc. You need to step away from the clinical description and tags, and as both of the other posters said, get into their heads. Give them complex personalities. They'll write themselves, once you do that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013
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