1. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    Initial draft of MC -- opinions needed.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Cassiopeia Phoenix, Mar 17, 2012.

    Ok. So now that I have finished the setting on my story, I wrote an initial draft of my MC, called Zhen. Justice, in chinese.
    The setting is a world based on the Ancient China as suggested by another member of this forum -- thank you very much, if you are reading :D -- and it's a world where some men and women have powers to manipulate the four elements: air, water, fire and earth. Though the women who have those powers are kept, ever since they are born, in a facility which is a mix between school and jail. They are slaves, and they can't use their powers for anything at all. Or they suffer. A lot. And when they complete 18, they are sold and serve as wifes.
    Anyway, my MC is a seventeen years old girl who find a way to escape from the facility mentioned above where she is kept. She's resilient, but her strength is fueled with anger and hatred towards those who support the society she lives in. She's basically disturbed... Killing a person is easy for her -- and she has to kill someone to escape -- while she pities the weak. She's doesn't want to be evil as everyone think she is, but she ends up being too extreme in her cause. The story is basically about her realizing that she was turning herself in a villain, just like the men who enslaved her.
    So... I still have to do a lot of research to see how she's really going to be, because definitely she has some deep problems... Living seventeen years somewhere where she is severely repressed and with lack of love or proper human contact must make her bonkers, and I want to portray exactly that characteristic of her.
    And I wanted to hear opinions. Should I make her more sympathetic and likeable...?
     
  2. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    The fact that she is opposes a society that oppresses women MAKES her sympathetic and likable. She can be despicable, but as long as she has at least one core value that she upholds (for example: the idea that women should be free), that is probably enough to make her redeemable in the eyes of the reader. She sounds like she's going to be an excellent antihero: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AntiHero
     
  3. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    I personally see her more like an anti-villain...
    This is from TV Trope as well. She knows what she does is wrong, but she feels justified because the end will be good. Until she faces the cold hard truth that she is becoming evil. That's why I put her on a society that enslaves women -- I'm pretty sure everyone will swallow her reasons, if I use a Limited Omniscient POV.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Let her tell you what she needs to be. As you write the story her character can deepen.

    She can't be any more unlikeable that Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, Michael Henchard, Dorian Grey, Holden Caulfield etc
     
  5. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    To answer your question: Whether she's more of an anti-hero or anti-villain, I don't think you'll need to intentionally make her more sympathetic or likable.

    You may want to experiment with how much abuse she receives growing up. You don't want to go over the top, but it sounds like the society would not only deny proper human contact/love, but also treat the women like slaves, prisoners, and subhumans.
     
  6. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    Top prisioners, more like it. The women in my society are severely repressed -- if they don't behave... And since their powers at a young age are harder to control, they will certainly suffer a bit in the beginning until they cower and supress any power they might have. But not Zhen. She knows there's something wrong in being treated like that, and she feels frustated because no one will move to do anything. She will learn to control herself after some time only to not be punished, though a bit later than the other girls.
    The women are sold as wifes, so they don't suffer too much, only enough to be obedient. Zhen is a bit more stubborn than that but it won't be over the top.
     
  7. Aramis
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    Aramis Member

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    Why should strong women need to be more sympathetic and likeable? If the character was male the question would never arise. She is a character who has been treated atrociously and should respond in kind. It's the only way she can survive and succeed. In my opinion you should not weaken her instincts to survive by toning down her behaviour.
     
  8. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    I'm going to go with funky; the reason she does it is going to make readers empathize with her.

    There will (hopefully) be situations that make a reader go "Darn right!" but, with following the character transition to realizing that there are limits, that while her cause is just, she cannot become like her oppressors, that's whats going to make sure the readers like her.
     
  9. Phoenix Hikari
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    This is very interesting. Even though she sounds like a complex person with lots of issues, I think it'll be interesting to read about her and see what she does in the end. I am personally interested in this story from now.

    Just one thing, corrupted characters are a pain. I have one and writing his thoughts makes me wanna die sometimes. So she'll need a lot of work but it'll be very fun and enjoyable.

    Good luck!
     
  10. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    However you show the oppression is irrelevant, I suppose. My suggestion is one optional direction.

    The point is, you need to make the reader upset with how the women are treated, so that they will empathize with Zhen's exploits. This is different than showing the reader how Zhen is upset with how the women are treated. It sounds like you are doing the former, but the more conscious you are of the reader's reaction, the better.
     
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  11. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    It's not TOO much, to the point of crippling or killing. It's torture, enough to cause great pain -- not enough to kill. I didn't think much about the punishments, but I wondered something with fire, since it can be controlled in my world... There's also whipping, the already hard chores are doubled, and I think that the greatest punishment a woman could receive is being raped and have her face burnt so that she wouldn't be "worthy" of being sold... In a place everyone could see. There's a scene about this particular punishment in the prologue -- because Zhen wants to escape, but she must be aware she can't fail, or else that will happen to her too.
    Also, I think that will be a punishment that reflects anorexia. Chinese women are petite and have small frame, so I guess a "thicker" prisioner would have to starve.
     
  12. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    A couple of things to note: Chinese women tend to be more petite due to what they eat. There continues to be random news stories about how Chinese and Japanese cultures are raising dramatically in overweight areas just due to the expansion of our food into theirs. It's a calorie intake thing, their traditional meals are so much less than western cultures.

    No punishment would reflect anorexia, it would reflect starvation. Maybe what you mean is that punishments may induce anorexia like symptoms, where the women starve themselves to avoid a punishment for not being pleasing to the eyes, or of weight, etc.

    I would like to note, if having my face burnt means I get to leave a prison like system, some women would be tempted to just go that route to leave. So I'm wondering if, since they can no longer be sold into a marriage, do they continue to remain at the prison like system, or are they sent somewhere else to be useful to the society you are building?

    You've stated that this is a prison like place, don't underestimate what the complete lack of freedom and choice can accomplish, sometimes more than physical punishments. Also, I'd suggest keeping in mind psychological punishments as well.
     
  13. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    I made a research about anything related to China -- that included. I have a hard time thinking of a prisioner being fat, since they work a lot, and eat very little, so they can keep the shape, but... Just in case.

    Oh, that's a much better idea, thanks! :) I think you are right -- since the point of everything is them being able to please men. In another words, keep quiet and being pretty, if possible.

    No freedom for them, of course... They would be given to whoever punished them.But no longer being very nice to look at and already raped, they would serve as down right slaves, a fate worst than being wifes... Remember when I say they wouldn't be punished as long as they behave nicely...? That's what happens to a "wife". But a wudian -- stain, in chinese -- has to be punished every day, for not being "worthy". Zhen is told that, but those women are sent somewhere else, and later she will see with her own eyes...
    Though only high-ranking military have the right of "creating" wudians. The creation of wudians is a prize.

    I won't. I still have a lot of research to do about that... What I posted here it's only a very initial idea. And yes, I have some mind punishments in my sleeve as well, though their consequences are more subtle and perhaps not as upsetting as the physical ones, so I only spoke about the physical ones...
     
  14. Kaymindless
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    Oooh, I like that.
     
  15. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    *bows* I try to do my best :D
     

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