1. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    Main Character Hurdles

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by sprirj, Feb 23, 2010.

    I want to give my MC some depth by giving him an extra hurdle to over come. This will tie in with the main plot.
    I was thinking of a fear or phobia, as my MC is pretty much totally fearless.
    Does anyone have any ideas what this could be?
    I just need a rough guide, as I can develop and bend the idea to my own devices.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Neoaptt
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    Neoaptt Banned

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    Fear of failure. Makes even the strongest man bend under pressure.
     
  3. pinelopikappa
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    pinelopikappa Senior Member

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    Indiana Jones had snakes

    Your MC can hate heights, insects, dogs, public speaking, red lipstic, guns or roses, thorns, white blouses. He could have an allergy to dust or Penicillin.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Obstacles can be internal or external, long term or temporary.

    Self-doubt.
    An inability to commit.
    Fear of success.
    Hypochondria.

    A back sprain.
    A twisted ankle.
    A developing case of the flu.
    An arm lost in an accident or a battle.

    A fear of reprisal, against himself/herself or someone he/she cares about.
     
  5. jacklondonsghost
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    jacklondonsghost Contributing Member

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    Also, think about what he is striving for in the story, and make people stand in his way. For example, if you have a guy who wants more than anything to join the military, make the people he loves stand in his way as much as the people he hates. Maybe his mother is afraid for him. His best friend doesn't want him to because it will leave him alone to have to grow up and face life. His father wants him to take over the family business. Doing this has helped me put more pressure on the characters in my writing. Just a thought.

    If you are looking for more internal conflicts, take a look at the people around you. What gets in the way of them doing what they love? What gets in the way of you doing what you want? Real life is often full of good ideas to use in your writing.
     
  6. EileenG
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    EileenG Member

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    Whatever he's afraid of, do it to him in your story. So look at the overall story and see what torture you can inflict, and make him afraid of it.
     
  7. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    You could use this to add some humor if you wanted. Since he's pretty much fearless, his phobia or fear could be something quirky. Or his obstacle could he a case of OCD. That could be brought up through the whole story. Say he needs to flip a light switch five times before leaving a room. It wouldn't make him weak or fearful but it would definatly be a hurdle.
     
  8. MsMyth71
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    MsMyth71 Senior Member

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    Fearlessness doesn't phase me when I read a character. Now, if that fearlessness really got him in a heap of trouble, that's something else. Maybe it's more foolhardy? :) Still interesting to read.
     
  9. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    MsMyth's suggestion is nice - overplay his strength so it becomes a weakness - fearlessness can definitely get you into trouble!

    Without knowing any details of your plot it's difficult to suggest anything that ties in with that...

    Neuroses: OCD, ADHD, Autism or Asperger's, Paranoia, Hates/Oversensitive about his appearance.

    Phobias: Spiders, Heights, Failure (or Success), Fire, etc ... wikipedia has a list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_phobias

    Skills he never learnt: Literacy, Driving, Swimming

    Person he cares about "too much" - if this person was a hostage he'd be overcareful they didn't come to harm, if they were sick he'd rush back to be with them abandoning what he was in the middle of.

    Guilt about something he did in the past that he will avoid the mention of and overreact in the face of (e.g. I've seen a couple of movies where a cop wouldn't use a gun because he'd once shot an innocent guy by mistake).

    Any personality trait taken to extreme - introversion, extroversion, overanalytical or too spontaneous, too eager to make confrontations or avoid them, judgemental of others or too "laissez-faire".

    Dependence on external guidance (tarot cards, Two-face from Batman's coin, astrology, advice from friends or parent)

    A medical condition: diabetes, migraines, cancer, high blood pressure, asthma, myopia, dyslexia, ... the list is probably endless.

    Hmm, I should build on this list of "faults" and keep it somewhere for future reference
     
  10. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    He's hiding a dark secret that will destroy him if it's discovered by anyone else...
     
  11. Verso
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    Verso New Member

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    Agreed. The best flaws are usually inverted virtues. Fearlessness could cause a character to overestimate their abilities and put themselves and others in harms way, it could lead to them saying foolish things when it would be better to say silent and many other problems can likely originate from it, given enough knowledge about the context of the story.
     
  12. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    the MC i'm currently working with is scared of getting grounded by his parents, so don't forget it can be something completely down to earth and still work.
     

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