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  1. Tegan_Blue
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    Tegan_Blue New Member

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    i would like your opintion

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Tegan_Blue, Jun 4, 2009.

    So, as you can see my name is Tegan Blue. Well, that is not really my name. This does hold some significance to me for it is the name of a charector that i am developing.
    The charecter is 15 years old with long blonde hair. She is what i like to think the alternative version of me.
    Tegan lives in Coon Rapids Minnesota (my home town) and has delt with some things that no 15 year old should ever have to deal with. For instance, her dad has been abusing her since she was a baby. No one knows except tagens best friend Nick. Tegans life also is turned upside down when her mother abandons her and her father when she was 5.
    So you can say that Tegan has alot going on.

    NOW TO THE POINT...

    How am i doing as far as having an interesting charector?
     
  2. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    To be honest, it's been done before. Quite a lot. I myself had a character much like yours, except she was fourteen and her mother died rather than left.

    But know not despair. The character's past doesn't matter nearly as much as the character herself. Focus on her, not what happened to her in the past. If it's important to the story, or if it's shaped her significantly (I would imagine that something like this would have a great impact on a person), then by all means, tell us about her abused upbringing. But don't let that be what tells you if you have a good character or not. The most important thing is to try to make her so believable that the reader will think she might really exist somewhere.
     
  3. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm hoping that the age, hair, and location are as far as the similarities go, but it sounds like you've got a pretty good start on making the character. The next, and more important step is to write the story.

    The thing is, you can make an interesting character out of a stick figure and a black hat. The trick is in the writing of the story. As long as you can get the reader to see the character as a real person, even for just a moment, you'll have them hooked.
     
  4. Tegan_Blue
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    Tegan_Blue New Member

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    Thanks alot.
    Your feedback is deaply apprechiated :)
    [​IMG]
     
  5. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, and uh, you might want to invest in a word program with a good spell checker.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A character, like a plotline, is not defined by a summary. It depends entirely on the quality of the writing.
     
  7. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    Abusive histories had better be well done. They're not fun to read about. They're not fun to write, which is why most people don't bother really writing them. They're mentioned in passing or minimised, which makes them nearly pointless to the character. That or they're treated like "just another obstacle" that the character has overcome. Or a cheap way of garnering instant sympathy, which universally backfires these days.

    If you're going to do an abuse backstory, you'd better make it well grounded and make it real for readers. Otherwise it's just a "give me sympathy" card that no-one honours.
     
  8. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Is it bad to say I don't care? :S
    Either way, I wouldn't read her story. I know there's a market for those kinds of books, but the ones that sell are non-fiction and are even more horrifying than the background you gave. Does that mean you can't use this character to create a compelling piece of writing? No! All I'm saying is that if the overcoming abuse thing is it as far as story goes, its not gonna be able to compete.
    Writing that kind of story might help some people work out issues, but since you're asking for the public's opinion, I'm gonna guess that that isn't the situation you're in, so yeah....as a character, its fine, a little stale maybe, but as a story in its entirity....needs work...

    (sorry if that was harsh XD)
     
  9. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whilst this isn't really to do with the character, this advice might be useful. I have a similar character myself, and she is, whilst she doesn't say much, a very important character in the story:

    1) Don't underestimate what years of abuse would do. It's not what you'd like to write about, but if you hold back from describing the emotional impact then it's not what readers would want to read.
    2) These characters tend to have elements to them that are hard for most readers to understand - every little habit they have that has anything to do with the abuse must have a good reason. You can't explain it as 'because she was beaten' and leave it at that.
    3) Don't change their personality for the sake of the plot - don't do this with any character, but these ones especially. They're in their comfort zone, and don't want to come out of it.
    4) Besides their personality, how has the abuse affected them? Physical disabilities? Lack of good education?
     
  10. Tegan_Blue
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    Tegan_Blue New Member

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    i think i will be able to write abuse storys from what i have been told and what i have experienced in my time.
     
  11. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    (I'm taking the kid gloves off here. I apologise in advance for any offence caused. But I mean what I say)

    "i think i will be able to write abuse storys from what i have been told and what i have experienced in my time."

    No. You won't. You're fifteen years old. That's not old enough.

    If this Tegan character is you, and your father has honestly been abusing you since you were a baby, and your mother honestly abandoned you- not divorced, not seperated, but abandoned- at five years old, no less- then maybe you can, but in that case, it'll be a journal. You are simply not old enough to really comprehend what abuse does, how it affects people, what it really does. I know this, because I'm not old enough yet.

    I wish I was old enough. I wish I could look at my life like a writer, but I simply haven't lived enough of it yet. I don't know where I'm going, I don't know what I'm doing, and I can't look back on any of it because my brain is a raging whirlwind of half-concepts and ideas and memories.

    And besides that, so far all we have is the vaguest of backstories. Major highlights of abuse are not a good way to start characters. Figure out who she is, right now, as the story is going on. Then start backtracking to figure out who she was and who turned her into who she is right now. Readers don't care about backstories. Readers don't care about who they were, about who hurt them.

    Well, they do. But unless the whole book is a backstory, they care much more about who's hurting them right now, what they're going to do about it and how they're going to do it. Backstory only shows up to enlighten us as to why Robert Langdon has panic attacks in elevators, or how our dashing Hero of the Moment learned to hold his breath for over ten minutes, or when the two lovers met for the first time beneath the apple tree in the fractured garden of dreams. Other than that, backstory- though it should be known by the author- doesn't enter into the story. That's why there's different words for it.
     
  12. Obezyanka
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    Obezyanka Member

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    I agree with B-Gas.

    Your young, if you have been through a lot like abuse then it is hard to deal with. You really can't outline sources of abuse as it depends on the victim on how they have delt with being abused.

    Myself I am 25, when I was 22 my first boyfriend started to abuse me. Mentally, Emotionally and Sexually. I am a victim that has put what happened in the past and I don't dwell on it. Sometimes flickers of what he done to me has surfaced but not anymore.

    Maybe you need to flesh out your character a bit more. Reminds me of a successful young adult author wrote was.

    Don't give out to much details, such as My name is Jane Doe, I am fourteen. I come from Sydney Australia. My mother left me when I was young and dad started to hate me. I was abused.

    I would write as an example:

    In the fourteen years of my life, I have spent it in the city of Sydney. Living in a suburb notorius for it's gangs. This isn't what I am afraid of; Sure I could be killed or attacked when I am walking the streets of Bankstown. They the gangsters do not frighten me. Instead the one I fear most is supposed to be the one to have loved and nutured me. God if only my mother had stayed or at least taken me with her instead of leaving me with the monster which is apart of me. The monster whom I refer to as my father.

    (I could continue this lol, but I have my own stories to write).
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If we are talking about how to write it, I wouldn't do so linearly. A history of abuse tends to be fragmented. Periods of trust and a feeling of normalcy, interrupted with periods of terror and trauma. There are flashes of realization that what you thought of yesterday as normalcy is anything but normal. There are times when you actually believe you brought everything on yourself, and glimpses of the truth that you didn't deserve any of it.

    I would try to convey that chaos through a nonlinear telling. Just one opinion.
     
  14. Carbon
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    Carbon Member

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    Are you saying that 15 is too young to understand what abuse is? :confused:
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't think that was the focus of that post... rather it was saying that 15 is too young to be able to write about the abuse in a way that would be marketable as a book...
     
  16. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    B-Gas kind of has a point with this part:

    ...but the OP's age should not factor in here, it is inconsequential. Yes, she has not fully matured yet and does not know everything about the world, but I don't see why she can't write about abuse if she thinks she can. It's about learning how to write, about building experience and about building sculptures with words and ideas - if she doesn't try this, how will she ever do anything else? You might as well tell her she shouldn't write about anything involving the real world at all because she's fifteen, and that's ridiculous. Don't put a damper on the mileage of potential. She can always look back on this later and realize that she was wrong about being able to write this kind of thing.
     
  17. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    Life experience changes things. I'm slowly realising just how much. In school, I thought I knew everything. Now I'm learning that I didn't, and I'm gradually accepting how little I knew. But when it was happening, I couldn't look at it and say, "Boy, I'm acting like an idiot. I need to look toward my future and think about what I need to learn and need to understand." I was arrogant and stupid and knew too much about a very small subject area, and thus I thought I knew about everything, and thus I thought my teachers were idiots and I knew what I was doing way more than they did.

    Now I'm at university and I'm realising that I was an idiot and I should have looked toward my future. But I didn't back then, because I didn't have hindsight, I didn't have what I know now, and I didn't have my perspective on life. I couldn't. Because it wasn't happening back then, it was happening right now. Back then.

    I'm not saying she shouldn't write it. I'm saying that, at 15, she won't get it right. She has what she feels now, not what (and I have no idea how to parse this) she felt now in ten years time. Perspective changes how you look at the world and how you look at other people, and lets you really understand things.

    OP, feel free to go ahead anyway. I'd love to see you prove me wrong on all of this.
     
  18. Carbon
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    Carbon Member

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    I actually would think it's very marketable. If you feel that a 15 year old cannot fully understand abuse, I'd be interested in reading about abuse through the eyes of somebody that doesn't fully understand it. I'd like to read how they see it.
     
  19. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    It'll be to family abuse stories what Eragon is to fantasy novels.
     
  20. Carbon
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    Carbon Member

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    They'll make a movie out of it?
     
  21. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    oh burn! but yeah, I can't imagine a 15 year old being able to deal with it objectively and maturely enough to make it worth reading....

    that said, I doubt I'd pick up the book at all, so maybe my opinioins dont count...
     
  22. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    That may be the best part of it, to be honest. If the character is based off of her experiences, and the story takes place during the years of abuse, then the story will need to have the perspective that would exist as it happened, not the perspective gained years down the road. Your way, it would be more similar to hearing an older person recount something that happened in her childhood, not a living story that could be happening right now.
     
  23. Obezyanka
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    A little off topic, but lately I have noticecd a huge surge of novels at bookstores dealing with child abuse in any form.

    Am I the only one to have noticed?
     
  24. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    No, they're getting pretty popular. Walking by those sections is creepy...all the covers are almost identical and just have these sad looking kids staring at you with titles like Damaged or Broken...makes you wonder about the people who read them...
     
  25. TragicJuliet
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    TragicJuliet Senior Member

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    Oh I have an idea, lets put a spin on things and make it an abused CAT telling the story ya ya? anyone with me? =D?

    In all seriousness, Abuse is something that's a touchy subject that if you really feel like you want to write, write, however most it seems like just want to write it to "make a statement" or "make people gasp" and no one is going to anymore, cause no one is surprised anymore
     

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