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  1. Kwek
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    Kwek New Member

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    Main character in a fantasy novel

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Kwek, May 4, 2008.

    Hi

    I am relatively new to the writing of novels, and thus I am unclear as to the guidelines that govern such stories.

    I am planning to have a main character, who first appears as someone already reasonably famous and powerful. There would be flashbacks of certain happenings in his early life, of course, but the story would be more or less concentrated on his later growth.

    I was wondering if this is a good idea. I know there are no fixed rules with regards to writing, but nonetheless, it would still be a good idea to consult professionals on such an issue.

    Also, I am curious as to what precautions I should take when I devise such a character.

    All help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks a lot.

    Kwek
     
  2. Smithy
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    Smithy Senior Member

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    Why do you feel that you have to take precautions? Or show flashbacks for that matter. As you said there are no rules, just because you are writing fantasy doesn't mean you have to start off with an unknown hero who rises to prominence only at the end of the book. The only precaution I'd tell you to take is not to make him so famous that he can't walk down the street without being accoladed by the cheering throng. And even then, I'd let it pass if he's done something to deserve it, like saving the state or something.

    As yous said yourself, there are no rules.
     
  3. Gloom Kitty
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    Gloom Kitty Banned

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    Flash backs should only be used in a novel if they are being used to further the plot. A character has his or her own personailty so there isn't to many needs for precautions. If your character would do it or say it then go with it
     
  4. MumblingSage
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    MumblingSage Contributing Member

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    See if you can do without the flashbacks--they can be a pain to do well, and confusing to the reader--but if you need 'em you need 'em. Don't sweat it.

    Lots of characters in fantasy are already established, especially fantasy written by writers who know their craft and who understand that the odds of a farmboy saving the world are acutally quite unlikely. See George R.R. Martin for examples (you might not want to if you don't like sex and blood, though--Kate Elliot writes similar stuff but more cottony and clean).

    Precautions? Don't bother with 'em on a first draft. Except remember that characters who become insanely powerful often kill suspense and annoy the reader. Keep it real.
     
  5. Kwek
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    Kwek New Member

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    Thanks for all the guidance. Not many books I read actually have the protaganist as already fairly established and well-known. A friend of mine, upon hearing my decision to do this, discouraged me from doing so and added that I ought to do flashbacks if I was to execute this idea. That got me paranoid for quite a while and finally I decided to ask here.

    I appreciate all the suggestions given. I shall remember to take them into consideration whilst I am writing the novel. Thanks again!
     
  6. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    Flashbacks are excelent IF you have two storylines that somehow meld at the end. Anything less and it ends up destroying the story's flow.
     
  7. Kwek
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    Kwek New Member

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    I will have flashbacks for sure, as parts of the character's history are vital to the story.

    My friend still holds his viewpoint that the history of the character must be somehow adequately expressed within the story. Is that necessary? If it is not contributing to the plot in any way, do I have to still mention his detailed history somewhere to have a background for my character? Do I have to reveal every single bit of my character's past and insert them into the story somehow?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  8. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    This isn't absolutely necessary, and you can end up bogging the story down with a lot of useless information. To me, a well written and developed character presents in their current actions and dialogue, and if you are going to have flashbacks, they will probably detail all the history that you need.

    Dialogue, by the way, is an excellent way to briefly cover less important details about the characters' past, but which help shape them into more believable and complex characters. I don't mean anything like "this is just like that time when I was five and...", as that will come off as stale and clunky, but you can reference things in dialogue that need little explaining and readers are quite good at filling in the blanks. In fact, I believe most readers would prefer to be given the opportunity to do so.

    Hope that's of some help.
    :)
     
  9. Kwek
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    Kwek New Member

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    Thanks for the advice, Gone Wishing! My doubts are now cleared, thanks to all of you. Everyone has been really helpful and I truly appreciate all the guidance provided.

    Once again, thanks a lot! :)
     
  10. NJFoster
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    NJFoster New Member

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    If you are looking for an example of this being done well then take a look at Legend by David Gemmell

    It was his first book and in it he introduces us to the character Druss, he is coming towards the end of his life and is the legend that the title refers to. The character development is done by other characters... he stays pretty much the same throughout the story.

    As it was Gemmell's first book and he went on to have a very good career then you shouldn't worry too much
     
  11. Ramblling
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    Ramblling New Member

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    Something to note, {Lord I Hate Cliche's here} See if you can put them in a form other than dreams. Its used alot and becomes annouying. But If its your draft, or so on, then it may not matter.
     

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