1. Picaroon
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    Picaroon New Member

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    I'm in love with my own character, help!

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Picaroon, Nov 26, 2013.

    Seriously, is that weird? I'm fairly new to writing and have heard that characters can start to take on a life of their own, but I always thought it was rubbish. But suddenly I find myself excited and nervous about an upcoming date that my protagonist has with a shy but very pretty crêperie girl.

    I'm not kidding, I actually enjoy her company! She's sneaking into too many scenes and threatening my plot structure. Am I a narcissist? Am I crazy?

    Just wondering if anyone can relate :)

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  2. Laze
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    Laze Member

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    You're not a narcissist, you just sound insane. :rolleyes: Kidding. Not really, you're a weirdo.

    Is she based off any memories of a girl you've met or dated? That could make sense if you're digging into deep memories every time you write about this character.
  3. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    My novel was very fluid for a long time. As I got to know my characters, the story started to reveal itself. It's a very different story than the one I planned on telling. I'm really pleased but for one thing. The first character I worked on (not the protagonist but an important character nonetheless) has had to undergo a complete character assassination in order to join the dots. He couldn't just flip, I basically had to completely rewrite him. He's not the person he used to be and I miss him.

    I get where you are coming from. I would be wary of giving her more page space than she's due though, unless it is in keeping with how you want your story to play out.
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  4. Picaroon
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    Picaroon New Member

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    Hi!

    Actually no, but I suppose I did subconsciously create my ideal woman. Attractive, flirtatious, and quiet. :)

    The real issue I was trying to express was the idea of characters taking on a life of their own. After the first few chapters, it becomes surprisingly easy for the dialogue to flow. I don't have to think about it, it seems to come from another part of my mind. Like a split personality, but not in a crazy way. I still do a lot of editing as I go, so I know there is conscious involvement.

    I wonder how many writers experience something similar, where their books just seem to write themselves?
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  5. Picaroon
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    Picaroon New Member

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    Hi Obsidian,

    I know exactly what you mean. My book is a mystery with a fairly complex chain of clues, events and motives. I noticed there were too many characters, and one of my favorites who was really dead weight in the plot had to be edited out. And with him, a lot of my favorite scenes.

    It's awful to "murder your darlings", but I remind myself I can use them in another book or short story instead.

    Interesting what you say about how a story can take a life of its own too. I haven't experienced that myself since I plan every tiny detail. I have a lot of respect for writers who can start on page one and ride the wave until the end. That must come with experience. I'm afraid of having to do massive and frequent rewrites along the way!
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies iModerate Staff Member Supporter Reviewer Contributor

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    I've never had that kind of attraction to a character, but I have definitely lusted after a few of the people I've written. I've been revisiting my other erotic novel and Marco... whew! He wouldn't have to ask twice. ;)
  7. Luke Andrew
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    Luke Andrew Member

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    I think that is actually a good thing. If your character is real enough to you that feel things for them then most likely readers will too. You want the reader to feel that way (at least I do).

    Also, think about if you have ever felt the same way you do about a character in a book you have read. In almost every book I read I empathize with the characters and really get to know them as the story progresses. It's the same way when I write.
  8. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    I'm big into characterisation. My biggest flaw is planning and plotting points. I've been writing for about 14 months or so, so I'm still feeling my way. My modus operandi, if you could call it that, means I work with my characters using vignettes to explore their personalities. It seems that once I have a firm grasp, situations start to present and that is my starting point for moulding the story itself.

    The story I'm working on now, started off fairly light in tone, but something @Wreybies said to me got me thinking. When I really looked into the relationship and circumstances of my two protagonists, it took on a much darker feel. It isn't anything like I had initially envisaged, but my characters have made it so.

    I don't want to make it sound as if they are completely running the show. They are my actors, I just direct them.

    Ditto. And two of them are gay men. ;) Even if they were real, I wouldn't stand a snowballs chance in hell. :rolleyes:
  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not in love with anyone in my story, but when I'm writing it and revising scenes in my head, I live in the story. When I shift into the other world it helps me create what is happening.
  10. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Senior Member

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    Well at least the character is loveable which is what you are after. When we write we put a small piece of us in everything. Sometimes the character subconsciously fills the gap that is missing in our real life. You have created a character that you feel at present fits your needs emotionally. Its normal, a kind of projection of feelings. The only problem is (im not in anyway saying this is you) when it starts to become obsessive. And even ruining your writing as they take presidency over the plot. It happens , it's a phase and normal.
  11. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Picaroon don't worry, it's just one of those Pigmalion-things... I always considered it a weird (potentially creative) type of autoerotocism. But resolving it through masturbation (especially literary masturbation) is as useless as it sounds :D
  12. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Member

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    My main love interest for my male MC is a very enticing and challenging young woman that appeals to me greatly. I guess I do lover her, in a way, because she is central to my story and she's the kind of female I wish I had the guts to pursue in real life, lol. I don't think it's unusual that we create characters that really appeal to us.

    As for the story writing itself...yes, I've experienced that as well. My two MC's engage frequently in dialogue and their exchanges just flow through my keyboard without much thought, particularly when they are playing mental tennis with each other. It's a wonderful thing, and things will frequently go in a direction I never intended, but I've learned to let them just do what they do. I frequently find they take me to some places I wind up being wowed by. I may have to alter the story a bit as I go, but that's part of what makes writing fun for me.
  13. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with what people are saying here. Falling in love with your characters gives a fantastic boost to your writing, and to your result.

    But ...as others have also said ...make sure they don't 'take over' the story without your permission! If you find they become central to the plot, then, like @obsidian_cicatrix, you need to change the plot to accomodate them.

    If, like @Picaroon, the OP, you can't accomodate their heightened presence in the plot, you need to remove them (and use them later, in another story.)

    If they are a character your readers love, if you have the guts to kill them off, this will have a huge impact on how your other characters AND your reader deal with what happens next. Think Mercutio in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. I often wonder if Shakespeare was aware of how powerful and attractive a character he created in Mercutio, and killed him off (rather than one of the other characters) to increase the impact of his death, as well as get him out of the road.

    Or Steerforth, in David Copperfield. I think I, like David, quite fell for the guy the first time I read the book—despite his character flaws. If he'd still been alive at the end of the book, I don't know if that would have been a good thing or not. Love is a strong emotion, and it can continue to exist despite 'better judgement.'
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2013
  14. DrWhozit
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    DrWhozit Member

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    Everything is relative.

    It isn't a question of yes or no, but how much.

    Sometimes it works the other way around. We build a character around a real life person we truly love or despise. I don't think someone can effectively create a character to love if they haven't loved one in real life. It's like the song lyrics "The best love songs are written with a broken heart." When the statement is seen at the copyrights page "No characters in this writing are based upon any actual person, living or dead..." It's a lie.
  15. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Reviewer Contributor

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    I'd say the greatest danger in developing strong feelings for a character is that you would tend to make them to perfect. I did that in my first novel with the main character (although I was not "in love" with her, I cared about her greatly). I would advise writing in some character flaw, just to bring you back down to earth.
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  16. Mckk
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    Mckk Contributing Member Contributor

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    You don't have an issue, and congrats on making your characters come to life. Everything you've said seems like a good thing, so I wouldn't worry.

    As for the girl - it depends on whether she's stealing the story, or if it's actually a better story evolving from your original idea. The first needs to be monitored and perhaps halted, and the second should be allowed to flourish even if it means massive rewrites. What I've learnt is, let your story go where it wants - forcing it in the direction you'd planned brings more disasters than letting it go, I think.
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