1. ClumsyPheasant
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    ClumsyPheasant New Member

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    Looking for Critique on Protagonists' Personalities and 'Emotional Backstories'

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by ClumsyPheasant, Apr 27, 2016.

    Short intro: This is a fantasy story about two teenagers who must protect the land they live in from monsters that can destroy it.

    Male Protagonist:

    As the adopted child of color to an interracial lesbian couple, his parents especially have faced a lot of prejudice in their lives. There's a current of fear running through the house all the time. His mothers know more cruelty and injustice than anyone deserves to, and aren't ones to sugarcoat. They family knows they're under society's scrutiny twenty-four seven, and thus have an outside and also self pressure to do everything right, so there's no excuses for others to hurt and terrorize.
    However, he has come to realize (Partially from defending his world) that he has the power to fight back. He also believes that everybody deserves some justice. Therefore, he has strong opinions about moral issues and the confidence to say them in comfortable environments. He doesn't always think before he speaks, which can cause issues. He has not suffered nearly as much as his parents have.
    He's a smart kid with a lot of friends. He's popular, really, and he's worked hard to get there. However, this also means there's stress (From both teachers and students) to keep it that way. He is also on the unspoken mission to prove somebody like him can be a good, upstanding person, and this forces him to be a goody two-shoes. His friends expect a certain amount of risk taking from him, too, so he has to balance it. He knows his status is important, so that he can have the chance to be a fighter when he's not too scared to.
    The fear and the stress and the everything are a huge drain of energy and cause further stress, so he's found a coping mechanism as the years went on: laughter. Other people like it, he likes it. The seriousness of life stares him in the face so often that it feels good to get away and forget for a bit. For the same reasons, he doesn't like conversations to get too 'deep' or close to home.

    Female Protagonist:


    Her home life used to be quite enjoyable, until slightly after she got her world-protecting powers (Five years before the beginning of the story). Her mother became pregnant and soon gave birth to twins. The family invited her grandfather to live with them to help out.
    Once the twins were born, her parents expected her to help, with no mistakes. They expected her to be an adult. Once it became evident to her they wouldn't listen to her or take her seriously if she acted like a kid, her fun-loving innocence evaporated. She was serious now, and always had to be.
    However, criticism is what got her there, and her natural clumsiness didn't help. Her self-confidence plummeted. Her 'ugly' looks didn't help her self-esteem either.
    She gained an intense though narrow focus: one goal at a time. That one goal was whatever was most important, the one that would take longest to complete, and once she locked on to it other, less important goals stood no chance. Her constant goal? Avoid slipping up. Whenever she did that, embarrassment at herself set in. How could she fail? She shook her head at herself.
    She seemed on the path to a negative teenagehood when she discovered the joys of being open-minded and the unkillable hope of quiet positive thinking. Her open-minded new attitude and relentless determination helped her gain a new friend or two. They motivated her to keep on trying or at least hope that some criticism was constructive.
    The fact that her role as a world protector supports such traits - especially the seriousness - has only served to strengthen them.
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    You say that this is a fantasy world, but everything that points to the world sounds like our world--the same prejudices, teens go to school, and so on. Is the world essentially the same as our world?
     
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  3. ClumsyPheasant
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    ClumsyPheasant New Member

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    Yep.
     
  4. Pauline
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    Pauline Member

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    They both seem to have the world on their shoulders, and a strong sense of responsibility. Which is good, less likely to come off as whining teenagers. Yay. I don't know the story, if they're friends, enemies, or a couple, but it might help if they are polar opposites. Right now they're reading very similar. You mention one as finding some humour, maybe develop that more and the other more serious, it will help with the conflict.
     
  5. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    Usually, families facing a lot of prejudice from 'outside' wouldn't have it affect their home life quite that much. When it's just them having family time, they'd tend to forget about prejudice most of the time, and only be 'on guard' when interacting with someone outside the family. They'd likely end up being somewhat private and defensive around others, but when it's just them around the dinner table, their orientation and races are a non-issue.

    A constant tension in the family suggests an internal, rather than merely external, problem for the family. If you want to still tie it to prejudice, have one or both parents have prejudices that affect their relationship with themselves or other family members. Eg one of them could have internalized homophobia, or internalized racism, or they might be racist against their partner. Or they could be radical feminists who have prejudice against men, such as thinking all men are potential rapists. (I have actually heard some radical feminists say this, by the way. This isn't anti-feminist stereotyping - I'm a feminist myself - but every movement has their extremists.)

    Of course, the internal prejudice issue would be more tricky to characterize - eg why would a racist get involved with a partner of the other race? Why would an anti-male radical feminist adopt a boy? How would a lesbian with internalized homophobia get and live with a partner? But if done well, it could be very interesting.
     

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