1. Keith Perry
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    Keith Perry New Member

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    Leo Jackson - My Development

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Keith Perry, Jun 29, 2011.

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    I'm working on a character for an online wrestling fed I'm apart of with the name of Leonard "Leo" Terrance Jackson. The pic base is of Shemar Moore (who plays Derek Morgan on Criminal Minds).

    The parts I'm working on have nothing to do with wrestling as we approach this fed as writers, developing a person, not a caricature. We work on their backstories and try to develop them to be as real as possible, focusing more on their real lives than the wrestling aspect of the whole thing.

    My character is a 35 year old Bi-racial (African American) sort of anti-hero individual. He has very little regard for human life unless it involves those he cares about, or those who he views as totally innocent in nature.

    He has a dark past of child abuse, which ended with him snapping and disfiguring and murdering his father when he was 16 years old while his mother was away at work. That was the first time he killed, which his mother tried her hardest to cover up in order to protect her son who she loved very much. He saw his mother in an angelic light although she was powerless to stop the abuse.

    Life sort of went on as normal after that and he finished school, graduated, and ended up falling in love and had a son.

    One night, while he was out with his girlfriend and newborn baby, they were attacked and in order to protect his family, he killed all three of the attackers and ended up being put in prison for murder (sort of like Nicholas Cage's character in Con Air).

    During that time, his girlfriend (who was his fiance at the time) ended up distancing herself from him and got together with another guy. They both ended up purging Leo's identity from their son's mind, leaving the kid with no recollection of who his father is.

    Leo is finally released from prison, and sets out to start a new life, but not one that follows the law. Angry at society, he decides to join an underground fighting ring where the only way to win is to beat your opponent...to death! All of this is kept hidden from his outer real world facade.

    While killing people for a living, he sets out on a mission to track down his girlfriend and try to re-unite himself with his child, who he views as possibly his last bastion of hope to save him from himself and what he knew deep down to be morally corrupt. His son is the one person that makes him human - the one thing the world starts and stops on to him and he craves a relationship - to try and make up for all that precious missed time and to say he actually did something virtuous.

    When he finally finds his son and ex-girlfriend, he finds out the truth, and is enraged at her and her new boyfriend, which begins a whole new obstacle for him and that relationship he wants with his son...who has absolutely NO IDEA who this man is, and what he wants from him.

    Leo's ex-girlfriend tries to keep Leo from their son, but she fails as he starts secretly meeting with him and they start to bond.

    That's what I have so far, as I'm still trying to develop this story, this character, and these scenarios, so I was maybe looking for some feedback here.

    I'm trying to figure out how to develop things like the character's strengths, weaknesses, fears, masks, what he would want to be remembered for, what they learned.

    This is the green part I was talking about as I know I have alot to learn yet about where this all comes from, and how it fits into the story, whether you have to come up with it first or vice-versa.

    Any feedback or insight is GREATLY appreciated. :D
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's good that you have a handle on your character's nature, but don't go overboard. Select characteristics that are essential to the story to begin with, and let the rest develop as your character reacts and interacts throughout the piece of writing.
     
  3. FictionAddict
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    FictionAddict Senior Member

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    You thread is too long. Maybe that's why you're not having many answers.

    I suggest you shorten the description of your character (which I didn't have time to read) and just go for the question that motivated you to start the thread. Then, I'm sure many people will be happy to help you.
     
  4. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    From what I gathered about your character, he definately has his faults. Severe faults.

    Mostly I'm wondering why you chose to base your character off Shemar Moore. Is there an actual reason for it? Does your character share something with Shemar Moore that you thought could relate the two? Or was it just that Shemar Moore inspired you to bring up this troubled character?

    These questions of course, is something only you can answer for me at the moment.

    As for your character, he certainly seems to have had a hard life. He faced a lot of conflicts that I can tell of from reading the description. Child abuse, killing his father, killing three men in self defense, being left by the woman he loved, being forgotten by his son. These are all conflicts and struggles your character faces. And he'll have a reaction to each one. Possibly the reason why he's grown so offensive and hateful towards society.

    But to me, it seems like your focusing mostly on the bad traits of your character, which will throw the reader off. To me, it seems like your trying to paint us a villain like in a TV show. We want to know your character is human, and that he isn't all bad. What are some of his good traits? Is he a great cook? Is he great at sports? Does he try to act like a gentlemen around the ladies? Maybe he has a really soft spot for his mother and visits her every Sunday?
    There's a lot of good traits your character can have, so try to give us some of those traits as well. So far all we got is he can love, and he finished school. But by the sounds of it, your focusing mostly on the bad. And every "bad" person has their good traits also, even if they don't show it.

    But that's just my tid-bit for now.
     
  5. Keith Perry
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    Keith Perry New Member

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    @ FictionAddict...this is a writing forum. -_- Writing involves details, and the more details that are there, the more clearer picture you get of the question being asked. I don't want to be vague, and then have somebody go "please elaborate."

    @ SilverWolf0101

    Thank you for that awesome response! =D

    Why Shemar Moore? That's the part I forgot and left out. Aside from him portraying my favorite character on my favorite TV show, Shemar's got a tattoo on his right shoulder as you can see that interested me. Leo's nickname is "The Lionheart," because I wanted that tattoo to stand for something. I wanted him to have some of the similar qualities that the lion represents, being as the lion has my absolute favorite animal since my childhood after first seeing "The Lion King." I also want to show him as possessing that fierce raw power that a lion has that makes him a force to be reckoned with.

    You're absolutely right, and that's a major flaw for me right there as he sounds more like a villain than an anti-hero. That's absolutely not what I was going for. I want him to be the guy whose actions you don't necessarily agree with, but you don't hate him because he does what he feels he has to do in the moment, and he isn't an all the way bad guy, as he does have some good in him and does good things when it calls for it, like maybe saving a kid whose being attacked by a rabid pit bull, or stops a group of bullies from jumping a high schooler.

    I want to reflect that he can be cold and warm at the snap of a finger. I need to try and find that balance.
     
  6. Leonardo Pisano
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    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

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    She has a point, Keith. It's your job to be concise yet precise.

    I like using enneagrams for my characters. I start with a rough idea, then make them consistent w/ good/bad traits according to the most relevant characteristics for the story. The best part is that interaction between enneagram types is also more or less predictable, both in like/not like and in what they say. Of course I am always free to twist it a bit.

    HTH.
     
  7. Keith Perry
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    Keith Perry New Member

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    Conciseness is one skill I lack, unfortunately. lol.
     
  8. Keith Perry
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    Keith Perry New Member

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    So is the actual reason that this thread has barely received any attention because what I have so far is too detailed?
     
  9. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    Personally, I don't think it's too long, I just don't really understand what exactly you're looking for. Stuff like developing a character's strengths and all that just comes from doing your work as a writer...what kind of feedback are you looking for, exactly?
     
  10. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    As I see it, the "beating people to death" part really doesn't leave any room to like this guy, even if those people did walk into the fighting ring voluntarily. I think that you need to change his profession.

    ChickenFreak
     
  11. Keith Perry
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    Keith Perry New Member

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    I guess moreso the answer to whether or not a character is developed before the writing or during in order to fit the story.

    @ ChickenFreak

    It's not just him. It's how the ring operates. I wanted a different twist on it than the average fight circuit. Yeah, it's something that gives his character that dark undesirable light, but every human being has to have their flaws. Many characters have the pros all lined up in a row, while this one, you have to search for them, and make up your mind about this person based on the entire view of who they are, not just on an action.
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I understand that it's not his idea, but a character can join any criminal organization and do things that are "how the ring operates" - it doesn't change the actions. To me, it's beyond a flaw; it turns your character into essentially a psychopath, irredeemable. Killing once in a rage is "an action"; making a living from it is an ongoing choice.

    He could be fascinating, in the way that Hannibal Lector or the murderous characters in The Sopranos are fascinating, but I don't think that you imagine him keeping company with those characters, in terms of his character category.

    ChickenFreak
     
  13. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    It is indeed important to find that balance, unless of course you purposely want your character to appear that way. My only suggestion to you for finding that balance is maybe reading some books on criminals, or a lot of books with villains. Criminal Minds is a good source too honestly, considering the show usually shows the suspect in a good light, but the profilers show his darker side. These are just some suggestions of course.

    As for the lion bit, I find it interesting (I myself have a character based off a wolf because she's a werewolf). Anyways, what qualities of the lion do you plan on modeling him after? These qualities could paint more of a dark picture for your character or a more welcoming light on your character.
    Perhaps you should do some research on lions (if you don't know that much about them) and see what they're traits are. Then perhaps you can make a pro/con list about them and decide what traits or attributes you want your character to have.
    Also, the "lionheart" nickname can also bring two different kinds of light onto your character. If it is like Mel Gibson's character in Braveheart, then yes perhaps it is a good thing. Or it can be like some of these characters who have nicknames, i.e "Barry the Butcher", which aren't such a good light, but in fact are a title towards their darker side.

    Again these are just some of my suggestions to you.
     
  14. Keith Perry
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    Keith Perry New Member

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    And just like your first post, your suggestions are excellent and have given me food for thought.

    You're awesome! :cool:
     

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