1. TheDarkWriter
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    TheDarkWriter Active Member

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    Is this too complicated for a main character?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by TheDarkWriter, Feb 22, 2016.

    So I'm writing a supernatural/fantasy story. The twist is that one of the main protagonists is hiding something that gives him an advantage in a fight. I won't go into details but it involves switching out with a twin in a fight. The secret is something only the main character knows but I can't really figure out how to go about hiding it without making it out of the blue.

    I don't want to make it too obvious but if I give no hints the twist is going to probably seem out of the blue. For example how would you react if a main character was in a fight was about to die and then his twin showed up stabbing the bad guy from behind? I feel like I should give hints like the bad guy saying things like "How did he get from here to there so fast?" or would that be too subtle?

    Essentially the twins mostly function as one character or is this too complicated? Any advice on how the main character should interact would also be appreciated.
     
  2. HistoricalScience
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    HistoricalScience Active Member

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    It doesn't sound too complicated to me but I wouldn't write them as one person. I would think/hope their personalities differ to some degree. Why he is switching in the middle of a fight? Do the opponents not notice? Is he not a good fighter but his twin is? Does his twin just follow him around to be tagged in at any given time? Right off the bat, I can see a few problems that would need explanation but complexity is not one of them.
     
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  3. Caterwaulings
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    Caterwaulings Member

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    Is your protagonist the POV character? That doesn't always have to be the case (like The Great Gatsby).
     
  4. TheDarkWriter
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    TheDarkWriter Active Member

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    It's like a Sakon and Ukon (From Naruto) type deal they pretend to be one person to throw their enemy. They do have different personalities however like one is better at close range fighting while the other is a long range fighter.
     
  5. TheDarkWriter
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    TheDarkWriter Active Member

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    The story is told from different points of view but mostly from the main protagonist.
     
  6. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    "too complicated for a main character?' I know you did not just that to me. For shame! Seriously though, the main character often suffers from tendency to be too boring. I call it main character syndrome; were they just end up this semi-every-man character who's better at being non-specifically relatable than they are at being a human. Teen heroes like Percy Jackson are good examples, no matter what Riordan does with him he somehow manages to be make it more boring because he's just a bit fake. It's the opposite problem to simplistically designed antagonists, you know these, the Bond villain types who are just so "evil" as to be practically inhuman, they're not relatable. In short, absolutely 100% go ahead. The only concern would be the concept's own validity, not the fact it's "too complex" for a main character (as if complex characters are the problem!).
     
  7. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with some of the other posts. I think the premise is interesting, but it's all about execution. Where is the other twin while one is fighting? How does no one know they both exist? How do they switch out in a fight without their opponent seeing?

    I think to really give the reader a hint, you should write from both twins perspectives. If they have very different personalities, it'll show. And the reader will likely be confused until it's revealed. Or show a fight from another characters perspective. Say the long range fighter was training or something and was able to do this awesome trick perfectly time and time again. Well when the short range fighter tries to do the trick, he's never able to accomplish it. If you tell that from someone else's POV, they can think something like, "Why can't he do the trick? He did it a hundred times yesterday. He must be having an off day..." Or something less silly sounding. :)
     
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  8. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hey, speak for yourself. Percy Jackson is my favorite series, and I don't find them even a little boring or fake. :p
     
  9. Caterwaulings
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    Caterwaulings Member

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    I would suggest that you try to pick up novels with lying/unreliable narrators to help you see how it's done there and then, of course, do it BETTER ;)

    I can only really think of one example. In this book, which has dual POV, there is a mystery about something having happened at the beginning. One of the POVs admits to it in the last chapter. The writer just avoided the issue while in his POV. So it's possible to do, but you're going to have to be very creative and look at each fight scene from all angles.
     
  10. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    They're good for teen stuff but the main character is boring. And the Roman guy that comes is also boring, Leo and Nico are better. They're more interesting real people. Plus I share things with them. Leo has my ADHD and Nico is gay.
     
  11. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess we'll just agree to disagree then. :p
     
  12. DarkusTerror
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    DarkusTerror Member

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    You could make the main protagonist whisper or talk to himself, and then seemingly respond to an unheard answer if not writing from his perspective. If you are writing from his POV, then maybe you could mask his twin's responses as his own thoughts. I've had a similar issue with this as well with one of my characters, having an ability that gives him an advantage in combat. It's a 'curse' on his left arm that can help him, but it also has a constant desire to spill blood. To make it less 'out of the blue', I've made it clear that something is wrong with his arm beforehand, having it twitch and convulse occasionally when faced with any enemies. By inserting these 'hints' at the right locations, you can definitely downplay the 'ass-pull' nature of something like that.
     
  13. TheDarkWriter
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    TheDarkWriter Active Member

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    He's not the main character he's a main character though. It's like a five man band type situation the main character is the leader but his partner is the guy with the twin and they are the only one's in the group aware of it.
     
  14. JDavidB
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    JDavidB Member

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    Watch the movie "The Prestige". It has a character with a secret twin and handles it rather well.
     
  15. HistoricalScience
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    HistoricalScience Active Member

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    ^ Why bother when you ruined it?
     
  16. JDavidB
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    JDavidB Member

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    Well how else am I going to tell him about it without mentioning how it's relevant to what he's asking? Plus I only spoiled like 1/5 of the movies twists. There's a lot more craziness in it.
     
  17. BoddaGetta
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    BoddaGetta Active Member

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    Sounds like you need some Gene Wolfe in your life.

    Pick up Book of the New Sun when you have the chance if you want one of the best examples of unreliable narrator in literature, Severian.
     

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