1. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Love-hate relationships to your characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by w176, Nov 3, 2010.

    I'm opening up an open topic on something I been thinking about a few week. I'm not looking for an answer, but for a discussion on how disliking you characters can make you more invested in them.

    When I write characters I found that I get more invested into the character concept if there is some aspect I really hate and don't respect about the character. No. I don't mean if the character has a flaw. No, I dont mean that characters of couse shouldn't be perfect. No, I don't either say that you shouldn't love your characters.

    I'm saying that I get a broader emotional investment into my character if something about them really gets on my nerves. The same way you get a more emotional stormy and intense relationship with the lovers that you also hate at times. I would prefer peaceful relationships, but in my writing I found that love/hate relationships between me and my characters wields a better result creativly.

    Things I done so far as an example to archive this is to have a character with worldviews I couldn't respect, character handling emotional issues in ways I found annoying or despicable, and have characters in sub-cultures I don't like.

    Character with loads of other good sides and weaknesses that I could love, but a few things about them I actively disliked as a person. Of course all sides, no matter if I liked them or not were put into good use in the stories. And of course, I tried to keep what I personally didn't like about the character invisible to the reader so they could dislike the characters for their own reasons if they felt like it.

    For me, having a love-hate relationship to them takes my writing to an extra level, and adds a lovely extra creative cruelty in the way I handle the character.

    Have anyone else had this experience?
     
  2. Zombie_Chinchilla
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    Zombie_Chinchilla Member

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    Yes, I'm starting to get this with the MC in NaNo book. I love her because she's strong, unafraid in many points, and she fights. But I hate her because she's kind of whiny, self-pitying, and sullen.

    And I didn't know this until I started writing, either. Oh, how I love how characters can surprise even the author. XP
     
  3. eden baylee
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    eden baylee Member

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    I'm not sure I am more invested in my characters if I have a love-hate relationship with them. My main objective for character development is that they need to be real. That is, they need to have emotional depth. More importantly—my audience needs to be able to relate to them.
    I think it's the spectrum of emotions you feel for characters that make them interesting, whether it be love, hate, or indifference.
     
  4. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    What?
     
  5. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh. Probably rewrote that sentence partially without fixing it completely.

    "No, I don't either say that you shouldn't love your characters."
     
  6. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Heh, I'm like this a lot with the "villains" in my romance novels, because they aren't villains, just people who happen to act in a way that annoys the main characters. I often don't even find them personally annoying - like, I'd get on with them if they were my friend aside from their interaction with the main plot, but when they are interacting with the main characters they become total jerks. Heck, one of the characters who I deeply dislike as well as really enjoy writing, is based off me and my recent actions. :p
     
  7. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've never tried it, w176, but it sounds like a very interesting technique. It would take some courage for me to try out.
     
  8. Aeschylus
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    Aeschylus Contributing Member

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    I have definitely had that experience. It seems that the more complex my characters' faults and the more I dislike something about them, the more attached to the character I become. The majority of my characters have traits that I really don't like, and oftentimes don't respect, but I'm far more attached to them than to the characters that don't have traits like that. Interesting how that works, isn't it?
     
  9. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't hate any of my main characters but I do row with them lol They have their own minds.
     
  10. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    I don't understand how hating your characters is a good thing.
     
  11. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Because its a strong feeling. You should feel strongly about what you write, what stories you tell and the character you tell it with.

    I think you will tell a richer story, and a better one if you emotionality invested in it more ways then if you are just happy, proud and love it all. Think you should still love you story and characters but is a good thing if you have more and conflicting feeling about it as well.
     
  12. Zombie_Chinchilla
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    Zombie_Chinchilla Member

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    I think it makes them seem realistic and believable. Everyone I know has something I love about them and something I hate about them. If I get that with my characters, I feel that I've achieved realism with them.
     
  13. Nalix
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    Nalix Member

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    This is absolutely true, and something I'm still working on. I think all characters at some level have a bit of their author in them. There are characters you love to love, and others you love to hate. Even better if there are others still that evoke an even wider variety of emotions from you.

    And besides, one of my favorite ways to generate conflict is to ask myself: What is the worst possible thing that could happen to this person? What would make it even more painful? The relationship between character and author should be something like victim struggling against an unknown and omnipotent demonic tormentor.

    Ever read a story where you really want X character to succeed? Ever read a story where you just want Z character to die as slowly and painfully as possible? Emotional involvement, of whatever sort, is key for both authors and readers.
     
  14. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I try to make a character loveable, I will usually end up hating them. Then I let them be themselves and do whatever wrong stuff that seems natural to them, and they usually turn out better for it. It's mostly a process that happens with protagonists.
     
  15. lumivalko
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    lumivalko Member

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    I tried to make a wolf character of mine a bad guy, not evil, but bad. In the end I ended up liking it so much I had to take it back to the story after it had been killed, even though I hadn't planned to do that.
    I also both like and hate my two female characters: the other one is a strong female, smart, but she is violent and short tempered. The other one is naive to a fault, but she is sweet and caring, and rather wise - just naive.

    I think it is important to give all characters, good and bad, both annoying and likable traits. That gives the reader the chance to choose whether or not they like the characters, and it gives depth to them.
     
  16. Top Cat
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    Depends on genre.

    If I was James Bond, I would not be able to flaw my character - he's simply the man who cannot be kept down, kind of story. Bang, bang, bang.

    However, if I'm writing a social drama, then I need to detach myself from the characters. In that sense, I'm writing an essay - exploring an issue. If I liked the character too much, I may become lenient, and overly sympathetic. Real life is not sympathetic to me. :D

    The problem is we often think that we have to sympathise with the characters, but this wrong. Lots of great characters have been loathable.

    What is important is they can be empathised with. So in that sense, you could despise a character, but understand their behaviour. Makes for rather complex fiction :rolleyes:
     

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