1. That Secret Ninja
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    That Secret Ninja Member

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    Is an Idea for One Character Enough?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by That Secret Ninja, Apr 15, 2010.

    Here's my kind of stupid question, along with what I have in mind for establishing my writing, eventually of course, I have no delusions that I will be on the NY Times BS List any time soon.

    I've got a basic time frame/narrative outline all in my head for what I think could evolve into a very deep and gripping character.

    So is that enough for me to possibly pursue a career in writing? Is one idea enough to springboard literature?

    Does this happen with established authors? do they just get one idea they think has merit, and then run with it and evolve their writing over time?

    I have recently gotten really into reading for leisure (within the last year). I've made my way through several authors, series, stand alone novels and a few genres between all of them. And I've discovered my love for literature.

    As soon as I started, I began to toy around with a simple idea for what I thought could become a very interesting character. As I read more genres, series and authors, I began to incorporate key elements of setting and even genre to this character.

    Due to the nature of the character, that I instilled from the start, he has the ability to see and firsthand experience the evolution of humanity, morally, religiously, artistically, and spiritually over the many millenia.

    This lead me to the realization, that due to his nature, he could live for thousands of years, and through that, the main character could play a major role in several series within a larger series. e.g. 1st trilogy would be horror or something of the like,,2nd trilogy could be more theological and dealing with mankind's morality and spirituality. 3rd trilogy would be sci-fi-humanity's future and junk. here I'm just throwing the idea out there, nothing is set in stone in my mind yet.

    Now I know I've really gotten ahead of myself here. I know. I still consider myself a pretty terrible literary writer, but I have a penchant for identifying another authors literary faults, and then identifying and embracing what they do correctly in narrative prose, and character development.

    I plan on revving up my reading over the next few years, reading any series and genres that could possibly improve and alter the basis I have for my main character.

    I also plan on really investing time into developing my own writing style. Working on my descriptive ability, my dialogue, my basis for character creation. In hopes that one day, 5-10 years from now, I will have the writing skills to bring to life a character, that in my mind is already as real as any of you.

    I've realized by the end of this post that I came up with the answer to this stupid question already. If an idea truly sparks your imagination, and has you constantly thinking about it and adding to it and further developing it, then one sole idea can springboard ones self into being a writer. But I realized that after I wrote all that ^ up there, and I don't feel like wiping out ten minutes worth of typing just b/c I uncovered my own answer to a pretty silly question. So if you're still reading, and I really doubt that, I apologize, I get really long winded in what I have to say, even when I have little to actually say, lol.

    But still I'd like to hear what others think.

    Can one literary idea change your life?

    I'm in college, am not pursuing any carer path and have never applied myself fully. Could one great Idea be my outlet for realizing the true nature of my own character and my own future?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    One idea, or one character, is no more than a springboard. It won't get you very far. You're still in the backyard pool, and the ocean is still miles away/
     
  3. That Secret Ninja
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    That Secret Ninja Member

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    Lol, I know, to be honest, I'm still in the inflatable Kiddy Pool. But I can smell the ocean's strong salt breeze and will take first baby steps towards what I think could be my true purpose in life. I was going nowhere before this. this could remake me as an individual completely. which definitely sounds good right about now.

    but then again, it can work as a springboard for further literary development, no?

    I haven't even begun detailing any of the-rough estimate here-25 characters at the very least, if I'm really lazy, which I won't be, because I'm so excited about the possibilities of it all.

    and at most 75-100 fully realized companions, adversaries, neutrals, any other character types possible. All of them experiencing life, death, love, growth, hate, ascension within the 10 millennia lifespan of the main character.

    I've been only daydreaming about this stuff as I sit through my lectures in class. Nothing is written down besides a brief summary of origin story of the character and the reasons as to why he became who he became.

    The possibilities for this Protagonists narrative are absolutely endless in my mind.

    If I read and accumulate an endless swarm of book series and books. Ranging to all interesting genres I believe I could take something vital from. each of them could incorporate something new and then I would methodically work and redraft and rewrite until I feel it is truly done.

    I have no delusions! I know I won't be able to write any of this for another 5/10/15 years. But I can use all those years to read as much as possible, and work on my writing style.

    Is that the secret to being a success as an author?

    Methodically reworking and always gaining a better understanding of how to write and read great literature, while running with novel/character/plot device ideas and engrossing themselves in something that comes entirely from their heads?

    That sounds cool. I can be good at that with training.
     
  4. NewBee
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    NewBee Senior Member

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    Wow you remind me a LOT of myself when I first started writing. I have always been a dreamer, and it's always 'go big or go home' IMO. Then I sat down and tried to write a sentence. Nothing came out. And then to try and put together a whole paragraph I was happy with? No way.

    Have you tried writing yet or are you still planning?
     
  5. rainy
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    rainy Senior Member

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    Possibilities are endless.

    The hard part is picking one and making it work.

    Best luck,

    //R
     
  6. Nobeler Than Lettuce
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    Nobeler Than Lettuce Contributing Member

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    I hate saying anything about myself, because I'm a bad influence on me. But all I can give you is experience.

    Once I decided I wanted to write at a young age I realistically sought out authors that interested me. Since WW2 was my biggest concern when I was little I read Norman Mailer's "The Naked and the Dead" in the seventh grade.

    A little while later a lot of magic happened and I started to enjoy writing about things. Not just any things, but things that required a lot of study. For example I would love to write you an essay on the great meters of poetry, or the nature of doves in the Mojave Desert of California, or time travelers, the ultimate purpose in life. Like Icarus my dreams were built of waning things and fell in the light of others. While reading the great Russian authors I lapsed into a sorry state. I turned to philosophy to root me. Hesse described a trail of people, cloaked and following a person blindly through the endless scape of hell. I felt like that. People who'd come before had come up with a mechanical solution to solve this problem. Life, even in ancient Greece was understood as a function of the mechanisms of a chaotic but intelligent being. I felt that. Later I would feel different and later even the same.

    Now, I believe in mankind.

    So there's your answer. Do you believe in mankind? Isn't it beautiful? Look at it. Do you love it or hate it? Why?

    PS: I hope your story isn't about a man who lives to see the end of all stars, because that would be cool. Just sayin'.
     
  7. That Secret Ninja
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    That Secret Ninja Member

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    what I have planned is a massive series that could possibly have upwards of ten novels, depicting the 'life' of a man as he learns of his true role in the whole grand scheme of things.

    I can't even possibly try to tackle that narrative pool until I practice much short story writing after reading much more, of course.

    Should I go to my local College this summer and take a creative writing course? I took one is HS, great teacher, funny guy, but I found it too rigid and not conducive enough to my creative abilities.

    and oh my god, Nobeler Than Lettuce, I cant even begin to describe how much I agree with you.

    I have this grand idea for a daunting epic tale that explores the moral/immoral/social/anti-social-and many other concepts associated with the most important of questions mankind has thought of and will think of in the horrifying future, past our days on Earth,- theology based on the prevalence of many of my main themes in middle age/crusade religious concepts and scripture that teach the true word of god, like say Jesus or Mohammad or Buddha or whatever in the concepts of faith, love, hate, fear, horror.

    IF I can actually pull this off, it'll be when my time comes and I'm old and gray.

    I'm a junior in College and I've been wasting this entire year looking for some major to catch my eye, e.g this semester, anthro social and biological. and various History courses based on regions. But I can barely stay awake in classes. and when I do, I daydream about neat ideas for stories, because I think about what I read even when I'm away from the book. I try to notice the grand literary designs of narrative prose and character detail/evolution.

    It's absolutely so fascinating and limitless to me, and I'm an Atheist, I hate organized religion, but still plan to prove the true intentions of god's theological word and wrap everything together into something that could appeal to anyone, anywhere.

    But I'm getting way tooooooooo ahead of myself. This is my life's goal, right here and now!!!! I want to do something really superb here that would appeal (wishing here* possibly to unite humanity once and for all. lmao jeesus I sound pretentious and pathetic. lol)to all races, all genders, all creeds based on some of the most basic concepts of humanity and cognitive sentience.

    I'm now thinking about majoring in Theology and Minoring in English. Just to aid me in my research heavy, theological thematic portion that drives my narrative for ten thousand years.

    But again, baby steps. I'm going to try my hand at writing some short story Horror. As I think my wild imagination can create some really disturbing narrative and horrifyingly tense plot.

    like Cogito mentioned in his automated welcome post for my posting and thread saying hello, I'll redraft and rewrite some short story Horror plots I have in mind, and submit them to the the Reviewer section of these forums. of course after I prove my self capable to constructively criticizing some one else's work. which I might actually enjoy, because it will aid in my own writing by helping me constructively criticize my own work, and improving. it all makes so much sense now. so obvious that I should have been doing this since early adolescence, jeez I just wasted my teenage years doing nothing. NEVER AGAIN

    Feel free to recommend me horror short stories that can help me get a grip of this genre and it's trully horrific/suspenseful narrative basics.
     
  8. Phantasmal Reality
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    Phantasmal Reality Contributing Member

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    Hey, Ninja. Welcome to the forums.

    It sounds like you have a lot of enthusiasm. That's good! Draw on that and write as much as you can. Like, now. Go do it. Doesn't matter if it's good or complete or anything; just start getting some experience under your belt. And keep reading. (This process never ends, by the way. Just keep chasing perfection.)

    The idea for your novel sounds interesting, but beware of biting off more than you can chew. Writing one good novel is hard enough; get that done before you start thinking about writing ten. Consider starting with short stories to get your feet wet.

    My last piece of advice: Don't let discouragement stop you! I would have told you not to get discouraged at all, but you will get discouraged at some point. All us unpublished, unheard-of authors do. (And probably some of the successful ones too.) Just keep believing and working towards a concrete goal. Get that next short story written, that next chapter of your novel, etc. Being a writer, when you take it seriously, is not easy. Hopefully you feel it's worth it. :-D

    Best of luck to you.
     
  9. Azihayya
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    Azihayya Banned

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    the most important thing into the future for you to have now is a conduit through which to speak about or to your work
     
  10. nettkkr
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    nettkkr Member

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    Ninja,

    It's great you have enthusiasm and all. However I find your thoughts a little generic. I understand your anger and hostility toward a world filled with religious zealots. but when you say...

    ...this is the basis for every book written. From the bible to even the Twilight Series. A concept that a man can live for thousands of years teeters on the concept of God. A man who can live outside of time without the repercussion of the effects. This book has already been made. The bible, the quoran, the torah, etc.

    I honestly find your theory unoriginal as almost every book is based on the same idea. It's the story that makes the books different. That's where the cliches are sorted out. It sounds more like a book based off Lestat's life which has been broken out between two movies, Queen of the Damned and Interview with the Vampire.
     
  11. Mila
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    Mila Member

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    If you're serious, start small. Take your one character, write one story set within a short time-frame, in one location - two at the most. A short story.
    Writing is as much about hard work, practice, and study, as it is about creativity and talent. Like art. However good you are, you can always benefit from instruction. Have you thought about writing fan fiction ? I found it a very good starting point because you have the characters and their world already set up for you - all you have to do is put them in a story. You can get reviews for your work if you post it on a fanfic site, too, and this will help you improve. I honestly would not sign up for any creative writing courses until you've written a few pieces and decided whether it really is what you enjoy, and that you want to study it - because it is a course of STUDY you'll be signing up for.
    If you write a few little pieces and decide you like to write, then I'd recommend you find yourself an informal amateur writer's group if you can - ask at your library.
    As for recommendations, if you haven't read Lovecraft, then GET ON WITH IT ! Seriously. Best. Horror. Writer. Ever. And you might even find there is Cthuhlu fanfic. Other good ones are Poe, and MR James ( ghost stories but awesomely chilling. ) I would also recommend classics such as Wuthering Heights and anything by Ann Radcliffe - gothic romantic horror rather than 'beast from the swamp' horror, but still valid reading - be careful of making your reading list too narrow.
    Also read around this site, especially the reviews. A-Level English ( or equivalent, depending on where you are ) will teach you to read critically - I wouldn't take on a massive Uni-level 3 year course just yet. Baby steps in everything.
    And good luck. Often the most daunting thing is that blank sheet of paper - start filling it. Describe your day in the most creative way you can, try out different styles even, for the same events. Even a seemingly boring subject like 'I have a cold and feel like crap' can be turned into an amusing and descriptive little piece....
     
  12. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    Man you sure do write a lot on this forum here. I have advice: If you spent less time writing up forum posts, you could use that time developing your story. Any writer can dream or plan, but the successful authors are the ones that get **** done. Seeing a completed manuscript in front of you is a lot better feeling than just imagining your story...
     
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    To me, a character that "big" can't be a protagonist. Unless he has some major, major flaw to offset that ability - like, say, being insane or having amnesia and only occasionally being able to 'see' what he can see - he's just too big. It's almost impossible to identify with really big characters.

    As an example, I think that there's a reason why Gandalf is just a character and the protagonist is Bilbo. Gandalf is just too big, too powerful, too all-knowing, to be a protagonist. He can appear, repeatedly, just as your character could keep appearing. But I think that you'd have to have someone else as the protagonist, presumably a number of someone elses, since you'd be portraying such a long period of time.

    ChickenFreak
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    as noted above, characters alone do not a story make... characters can't go anywhere or do anything, till you come up with a story for them to inhabit and a plot that can make anyone other than yourself want to read your concoction...
     
  15. That Secret Ninja
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    That Secret Ninja Member

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    well like everyone has said since the beginning of time, every original theory or plot has already been done already. I know that. A lot of my Proto-story epic is just a collection of settings, time periods, and themes I've already encountered in other powerful books/series, based around a loose plot. So it should sound familiar. I have a lot of work to do before I can even sit down and tackle that story and this character.

    Yes, I agree completely. That IS the largest flaw that has come into play when I have thought about this character and his long evolution. What he is to become eventually, IS too BIG. In the first half of my epic, he struggles violently with what he was as a normal human and what he is supposed to become, he still acts too human, divided, unsure of himself, alienated, that, I think, is something not that big yet, and identifiable. BUT, when he finds out what his true purpose is, he turns into something much, much bigger.

    That's why I have thought about making the later stories of his life and accomplishments being shown from the viewpoints of those around him, experiencing time normally, while he is beyond the mere concepts of time.

    But I should really shut up already. Talking about something I can't write about for a decade is more frustrating than anything, because I want to get this down right now, but know I'm not close to being ready. As others have commented, I will try my hand at short story writing, while increasing and expanding my reading load.

    and thank you Mila for your recommendation for Lovecraft. I was definitely going to check out his writing, to help me with my short story horror composition. I've already got a base concept going for one, just need to get at the style, and see what good horror truly is.

    How is At the Mountains of Madness? is that a good one to begin with?
     
  16. Mila
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    Mila Member

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    Yes, that was the first one I read. It should have Herbert West: Reanimator in it, and Black Planet, and White Ship. Three different types of horror story. I think you'll enjoy them.
     

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