1. Rwle27
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    Rwle27 New Member

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    Keeping your characters in check

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Rwle27, Sep 2, 2006.

    Recently I've noticed that when I get into my "writing mode" I sometimes take it a bit too far, as in making my characters a bit too good at what they do. Examples of this would be putting them in impossible situations and having them come out almost unscathed. People have been commenting on how unrealistic some of my scenes are, but I was under the impression that fiction should take the reader to a world where things like this happen, not to mention that many other of the people who read my stories think the action is very entertaining. Does anyone else have this problem, or any advice about it? I know it sounds weird, but when I get a ton of ideas all at once I tend to make utter chaos erupt on my characters and the chapter almost turns into a "Mission Impossible" type thing.:eek:
     
  2. Verto
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    Verto Member

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    Its a difficult one, it is fair to say that you can go slightly over the top and the readers imagination will compensate for it. However if you go to far then it can look silly. The difficulty is making your story interesting and something people will want to read whilst keeping it realistic.

    If it makes you feel any better I to have this problem. All I can say is, keep writing and the balance which will be differant because of your writing style will come to you.(with time and effort)
     
  3. Spherical Time
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    Spherical Time Contributing Member

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    Vonnegut has 8 rules for writing fiction, which you can see here.

    6 is the relavent one here. If your characters never get hurt, how are those of us that live in a world where we are constantly hurt supposed to empathize?

    Sometimes it's okay for the characters to win, but if they win everytime, why should I even bother cheering for them.

    Of course, I'm a little twisted. When I read a Superman comic, I root for the villain now.
     
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  4. WhispWillow
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    WhispWillow Contributing Member

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    But in saying this, a lot of books have become predictable and god-like charachters are the main criteria.

    Personally, there is nothing worse than a preidctable story where the character cannot lose and there is no doubht in his mind he can lose.

    You will see this growing trend in the movie industry especially, and I think its a shame because lets face it, no one wants too much predicatability.

    Ah, hope that is how you spell that.
     
  5. gavtheevilgenius
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    gavtheevilgenius Member

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    you see I have the exact opposite problem I make such diabolical situations they can't escape, I used to have a character that could survive anything but I think as I matured writing he became a bit more normal :) because I don't think I could take a car driving a 5,000 MPH any more... I'm rambling. Basically if you dont think its a problem and you can exaplain why he can get out of situations don't worry about it can't please everyone
     
  6. dominic peters
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    dominic peters New Member

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    My problem is not so much making characters unbelievable in their situations, but in making them unbelievable in their language and the philosophies they put forth.

    A concept I recently learned the hard way is that sometimes you can develop a character more by having him say nothing at all.

    I need to visit reality now and then... I might learn some things.
     
  7. M.Kirk
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    M.Kirk Member

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    I agree with Spherical Time.

    How can you empathize for somebody who never gets hurt? If the protagonist never gets hurt, then why is the story even being written? We all know how it's going to end up, so why bother reading?
     
  8. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Interesting problem - and I empathize. I have the opposite problem in that my villain gets labelled as too mean/violent/unstable to be successful enough to become a villain. Oh well.

    As for your actual issue - have you considered purposefully hurting one of your characters and then seeing what happens in your own mind? If it's Mission Impossible type stuff, just have someone get shot or break a leg or something that slows them down. If you know them well, they may react to that stimulus in your head in ways that you didn't think of before you subjected them to stress.
     
  9. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Woah, thread-necromancer much? ;)

    Yeah, I always like it when bad things happen to characters, especially permanent things. Those impress readers, I think, because it shows you've got guts as a story-teller. Also, more antagonizing factors = more interest.
     
  10. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    oops I didn't see how old this one was - I signed up really late last night and was playing with the sort functions. I must have sorted the oldest threads by clicking the "latest replies" button twice. Now that I've had sleep I can't believe I didn't look at the date stamp.
     
  11. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Two things - 1) Now that you've realized it, be aware of it in your writing. 2) Edit vigorously. :write:
     

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