1. Pyraeus
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    Pyraeus Member

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    I feel stuck with this character and his story...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Pyraeus, Feb 13, 2013.

    The main problem being that I've been working over this guy and his story for so long that I feel it would be a shame if I just threw him away without making some use out of him. I started writing when I was like 11-12 or something and my first few characters were generally terrible. I ended up with this guy, usual generic fantasy hero, warrior, totally great, eventually became half dragon with magic and all that.
    Overtime I learned to remove much of these traits, so that he was not a generic OP character*

    Eventually I began moving away from him, making two different characters of a father and son, now I've got two brothers and a father.
    One of the brothers is called William, and he is the character I can't stop inserting him into my story whenever I think about writing.

    I'm talking about him jumping into settings ranging from a King's throne room in the High Middle Ages to Victorian London. I've considered splitting this man up into a bunch of different people and writing them in all of these different settings - maybe connecting them all as ancestors/descendants, but telling the story in this way makes me feel as though I'm taking ideas from Assassin's Creed.

    I've thought about moving him over into a different setting completely and having the character that was originally his brother (Robert) act out the story in the Middle Ages while William lives out life in the 1800's.

    What advice can you give me on this subject? Have you ever made a character that you can't let go of? I'm worried I'll begin recreating him everyone with a few changes to his character to veil the fact that it is the same person. I want to be able to go off and write about other stories and situations without thinking about placing him within the story.

    * I added this line to clear up confusion; the character used to be like that, but is no longer possessed of these traits. Its an offshoot of this character that is causing the problem.
     
  2. ΣΕΙΡΙΟΣ
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    ΣΕΙΡΙΟΣ New Member

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    Hi
    Could you please help me to understand what do you mean?
    Do you mean that you have this character but you actually have never finished his story and you keep recreating him in your new novels/stories? Or that your story about this character has been completed but when you start a different story your new protagonist tends to look alike your "William"?
    I am asking because the solution depends on your answer. :)
     
  3. Pyraeus
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    Pyraeus Member

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    It is the first one; I've not finished his story and I keep putting him in places whenever I go to have a think of doing anything else. One of the main problems is that I can't seem to decide which setting I want him to be in; like I said above, I have anything ranging from High Middle Ages to the English Civil War, to the American Revolutionary War (mainly thanks to Assassin's Creed 3 giving me an interest in that subject) to modern day.

    Think I should just make a bunch of different characters and pin them to a certain setting till I have one left for him?
     
  4. BlueJay27
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    BlueJay27 New Member

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    Heya. I'm a little confused about what you mean here, but by the sounds of it you may want to step away from this character for a while to think about your project as a whole. If you take the character you've got in your head and arbitrarily throw him into a setting, for the sake of finally putting him to some use, then you probably won't achieve much.

    If you're really keen on developing him into an all-powerful badass, then perhaps the process of how he gets there is the story to write? For example I'd like to hear how one becomes half-dragon, and why would he want to do that? If you're steering away from that, it's still the same principle: Does he want to be a high in the military? Run his own organisation? His motives are important. If he aspires to power then is it because he wants to protect something? Is it because he wants revenge?

    Sorry if this hasn't been useful, I'm not exactly a professional, but I've had similar problems before and find the best thing is work out whether or not your character is even relevant. Then - if he is - figure out what it is he wants, where he comes from and how he helps push the plot forwards. You'll be placing him in a setting, but from his perspective it should all be part of the timeline that is his whole life.
     
  5. ΣΕΙΡΙΟΣ
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    ΣΕΙΡΙΟΣ New Member

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    I have faced a similar problem with my first character...
    If you analyze the situation you may find that the answer lies on the time you've first created him (11-12 years old), that means that this particular character "ages" with you. The fact that you keep fitting him any any of your new stories indicates firstly that you want to finish a story about him and secondly that you "love" him as your best creation. Well.. that's not bad at all..!! Let me give you a depiction of what I believe is your situation. You have created your character in your teenage years, probably you gave him characteristics of your own self, as you have continued to age, learning new things and acquiring new characteristics for your self, you have evolved your beloved character too, giving him your newly acquired knowledge about the world!! If for example you've changed your point of view about morality in your 20s you gave the same trait to your character too, or if you became more cunning and more cautious towards other people you didn't miss to update "William" with the same characteristics...
    You may also had your character given some traits that allowed him to perform things that you would like to do in your real life, for example let's say that you've always wanted to sing good but unfortunately you don't have a good voice thus you gave that trait to your character in order for him to be an excellent singer.

    My proposal is to filter him down, get rid of his current "inventory" ( magic swards, rings, dragons) and his unreal abilities (dragon-born and spell casting) give him a small portion of bad traits and characteristics in order to avoid making him the "author's darling" and throw him in the American Revolution scenery, which by the way is a very good idea of yours and fascinated me, and finally complete one story about him. It would be a pity not to give him a chance to stand in one story of yours, because as far as I understand he is one of your most completed characters in depth and personality. Proposal number 2, keep his current inventory and abilities (dragons magic etc..) but alter the scenery a bit, you seem to like gunpowder, matchlock rifles and the 18th century setting but also magic and mystery so try to combine them in a Warhammer setting and time.. something like the Empire faction would probably do.
    If you are not familiar with Warhammer, it is a strategy game with miniatures. If you want me I'll post a link to it.

    Hope that helped! :)
     
  6. Bimber
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    Bimber Contributing Member

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    did you think about the alternative history setting? since you like historical events and magic you could pick an event and explain it how it happened with magic and stuff and how no one at the end found out about it but remember how it was written in history...

    But the bottom line is its your life's work and no one can tell you how to put it or how to use your MC, your the one whose telling the story, if your not sure than your not ready to tell his story yet, try to write some other stuff for sometime...
     
  7. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I had the same situation with my character Kate. I'd written with her since middle school and eventually the character and I grew apart. Since all writing comes from within the author, my stories became disjointed, with poor chemistry and then ended up being a 'patchwork quilt' as Maia would say. As she told me, things like this occur when a writer's been working on a project so long that their voice changes. When that happens, the chemistry between character and writer breaks down.

    I just killed off Kate in a genius sort of way and brought in my new character. It ended up working like a play, exit Kate stage left, enter Talia stage right. The transition was made fairly smoothly and now that character's gone. In fact, I killed five chapters and twenty thousand words because I didn't want but a very small part of Kate left.

    So, you can change characters and not feel stuck.
     
  8. Pyraeus
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    Pyraeus Member

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    You are right about this; this is what is causing the situation - I've become sort of attached to him and I've been mulling over him for some time; I feel like I am neglecting other characters.

    This is also true; as I've grown up - not as much as you think, actually; I am 16 currently - I've changed his character according to what I have learned and what I now want him to be like. He isn't actually like me overly much personality wise; he's not as nice as me, for one thing.

    I mulled - am mulling? - over things like that. I've actually got to the point where I've given him a bit of a range of skills - magic, sword-fighting, archery, climbing - but he's not necessarily the best at these things. His brother is meant to be better with a sword, there's probably someone out there that is a better climber; he's very good with a bow, but whether or not he is the best isn't cut and clear. <--- is that that right saying?

    I must have worded my OP oddly; much of these things have been stripped away over the 4 years or so that I have been shaping this character. I still have a lot to learn in the way of writing, but I feel I have come a long way already.

    Thanks; the background of the War seems really interesting to me; I'm Scottish so of course I am a bit sore about my country getting defeated - but still, I give kudos to the Americans for their achievements. Every Empire has to fall eventually (Rome, Mongolian Empire etc.) but I think it is always interesting if you take an event that started off a downward spiral and change certain things and see what would happen; Britain retained hold of the colonies - large amount of income retained - more resources from this large continent - more power for the fight in WW1? - war ended sooner - fewer people killed - British public not as vengeful - treaty of Versaille less harsh - Hitler couldn't drum up as much support, so did not fully rise to complete power in Germany? - no WW2, or different events during that time.

    That is the way my brain can work at times when I change little things like that.

    Yeah, I think he probably is simply due to having spent a fair number of hours working over him; it's one of the reasons - as I said above - that I want to make sure to use him for something.

    THIS.
    I have been wondering greatly if I should go into something similar, with the 17-18th century feel with rifles and the like. One thing that bothers me about writing things based at different times in history is the shape of the continents; I feel like I want to have a certain place here, and another there, but of course I can't have things magically floating over the sea - well, I technically I could, but it would seem a bit weird because I don't want magic to be overly common.
    I have really been considering the setting because it provides me with most of what I have been looking for; there is a feeling of the Renaissance among it with knights and such, but at the same time its got the industrialized feel too.

    Yes, it helped very much. The cogs of my brain are working away right now.


    Yeah, I had thought about historical fiction, though I don't think I had thought of it in that way - at least not overly much. The main reason I am reluctant to write alternative history is because of the shape of the landscape; I'd feel confined to having a certain number of factions. I had an idea recently though about Humans in the future extending the mass of the continents (barriers to hold water off - drain water inside the barrier, fill the area with earth taken from somewhere else (maybe taken from ocean floor, since taking it from the land would just mean having a patch of land somewhere with less earth.

    I've been thinking off placing him within his own story time-frame, maybe in a post-apocalyptic Europe that has reverted to the Middle Ages (like in Mark Lawrence's Prince/King/Emperor of Thrones - I've read the second book and it was good. You should check it out) and having perhaps a mix of ancestor/family friends etc. placed within different periods. I thought maybe his family had left England because of the Civil War during the 1600's hundreds. I'm thinking they were living in America and so they were caught in the War of Independence. If history were to go the route of British defeat the family might return to England due to having supported the British and not being welcome in the colonies, which would allow me to place a family member / group of family members within the British isles during the 1800's.
    I'm not sure about it though; it might seem like I'm just moving them all over the place so that they can be involved in as many things as possible. Still, I'm sure some people here have ancestors that moved about a fair amount, though it would be more noticeable with my characters because it would be written down somewhere and wouldn't have to be researched too deeply.

    I'm not entirely certain what you mean by the "chemistry"; I'm assuming it means the way in which you wrote the character, thought out her storyline etc. I can see what you mean about things ending being a patchwork quilt; I've resisted the urge to have immortal characters that go around involving themselves in a ton of different conflicts. I'm thinking that maybe through the use of some magic/technology you might extend your life a bit, but the figure in my head is around 300 years, so they wouldn't be immortal, just long-lived.

    Yeah, I can see that working. I've thought about writing him into a story that involves another character, putting midway through, and not having things focus entirely on him. It might work, or it might not - I'll have to write it and see.
     
  9. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I'm going to answer your two comments, but it a slightly backwards order:

    "Chemistry" means just that. The connection between you and your writing. In a sports analogy, from my long ago coaching days, 'chemistry' meant how well the five players on a basketball court meshed with each other and performed as a team. As you can logically surmise, if the do work well then there's 'chemistry' and if they don't then the latter's true.

    The same thing happens in writing. Everything comes from YOU the writer, so there needs to be a connection, some sort of chemistry with the character. So, if that connection changes, or your personality and morals/values change, then the connection to that character, and what you want out of him or her, changes. Sometimes you can change a character to fit as you change, and other times it's just better to 86 them and move on.

    I'm just saying you may want to look and see if you still have that "connection" you had before. Kate was my baby, one I'd lived with for 20+ years and it became time to 'kill my darling' and move on.

    I'm not going to give away and plot or story ideas I've done, but Kate DOESN'T exist beyond the third chapter of this new novel. She's gone and the new character takes over, who's a nice, more compassionate and far less volatile person.

    A "patchwork quilt" as Maia would say, comes when a writer grows and his or her voice changes. Your voice is how you write, what your particular formation of thoughts are when on paper, screen, etc etc. As that changes, so does the type of writing you do, so you can have a book where whole sections end up written different due to that and instead of being a flowing story, it ends up being a patchwork quilt of sections that are very jarring to read.

    Hope that helps. Now, back to editing on my novel.
     
  10. Pyraeus
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    Pyraeus Member

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    Yeah, I get what you mean about chemistry now; It's just not something that I have seen cropping up when I'm browsing around places like this, so I just wanted to make sure I had the meaning down. I also get what you mean about things becoming a patchwork quilt, but I still have a lot more to do on this story and what I have is fairly consistent in quality - as far as I can tell, of course.
     

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