1. AbelOutCast
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    AbelOutCast New Member

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    Main character - Strong or Godly?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by AbelOutCast, Aug 11, 2012.

    So in the current story I'm writing the main character is a descendant from an ancient powerful race. There are only a few things out there that are naturally stronger than he is. Obviously he is going to be fighting some big bad guy in some stupid epic battle to save reality - that's not my topic.
    My question is, there are plenty of other things in this story that I could incorporate into him to make him the strongest being there is in the entire story, but should I do this?
    I think the idea of him being godly is cool and all, but at the same time I feel that would be to cliche. Should I leave him vulnerable or have storylines that have him god-like status?
    Opinions and suggestions?
     
  2. fwc577
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    fwc577 Member

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    I prefer strong over god-like. However, being god-like isn't nevessarily a no-no.

    Look at other characters who are god-like in stories.

    The two that come to mind are...

    Superman - What makes him interesting? He has morals and a sense of duty/justice. He does have one weakness. His ties to humans are also another weakness.

    Dr. Manhattan - He's giant, He's blue, He's naked. He can de-moleculerize someone with his thoughts. He can teleport anywhere in the galaxy. He literally has no physical weaknesses so what makes him interesting? The fact that over time he is slowly losing touch with his humanity. The fact that despite being an all-powerful all-knowing being for some reason he can't see certain things in the future. The fact that his relationship with the beautiful Laurie aka Silk Spectre is slowly dissipating because he is losing his humanity.

    Dr. Manhattan is the greatest example of god-like character who is well written. He is essentially god and his story is tragic as he slowly begins to lose interest in the race he was once apart of. His story could be viewed as an allegory to god's fall from grace for someone who believes god doesn't care about earth anymore.
     
  3. MeganHeld
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    MeganHeld Senior Member

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    There are many ways to portray someone being strong and considered a god. Look at demi-gods in literature. Not full gods, but strong and possess some sort of power. Even gods have weaknesses, remember that. You could make the weakness a person or object important to the main character. Dabble with the idea a bit and see what ideas you come up with. We are here to help if you need us!

    P.S. It's not cliche to write about it.
     
  4. Areadrill
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    Areadrill Senior Member

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    In my opinion, the best way to go about this is to make him weaker in the beginning, and then gradually strengthen him. Make him work hard for his power. I believe this would make the readers relate to the character a bit more. People always love the underdog that reaches the top.
     
  5. Bell City Fires
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    Bell City Fires Member

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    I believe a godly protagonist is probably the villain in the story. Even if he's written as the hero, the fact that he'd carry such immense power means he probably does not have a conflict to overcome himself - more so he'd be a conflict for someone else to deal with. For what little I know of your story, I'd love to see the antagonist fighting to destroy this reality, but just to usher in a greater era. Somehow you're protagonist would be keeping in place the suffering of this world to hold on to what he knows, the power he holds over that reality. But that's just a tangent probably in no way connected to the story you are thinking.

    Batman > Superman. Rorschach > Dr. Manhattan.
     
  6. Reptile Hazard
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    Reptile Hazard Member

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    It's okay if it is done right, but there must also be conflict, be it internal or external (or better yet, both) because that's what readers will relate to.

    And don't worry about it being cliche. If you make it believable enough and good through your writing most people will not care.
     
  7. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    I think if you made him totally the strongest, right off the bat, there'd be no sympathy from the readers, nothing they could relate to. That might work for a movie or tv show, where you're basically only watching for the spectacle, but in a written work, i think it would be tough to do. If you gave him some psycological weakness that might work, then he could still be the strongest physically, but still could be related to because of whatever weakness he had mentally. Like, if he was dealing with mixed emotions about his power, desire to be normal and have a normal life, guilt over something he had done in the past (think Hercules), something to make him seem human.
     
  8. NuttyStuff
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    NuttyStuff Member

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    You have to do what you feel is the right for your particular story. Personally I like a few weaknesses or at least some problems that he can't solve alone. If you do make him an invincible god-like character you can make that a weakness in itself. Look at Vorian Atreides, Brian Herbert Dune books, he had a life extension treatment and throughout the story you could see how he felt that his humanity was taken away. I should mention that 'Vor' was not a god-like character, but was just given a leg up on others.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are few things that I find more boring in fiction than a character with godlike strength or power. If the character doesn't have a _substantial_ population of peers, I lose interest.

    Now, those peers can sometimes be split by category. In Buffy's world, say, there are a large number of critters that can kill her if they outsmart her. And she has plenty of social and intellectual peers (and intellectual superiors) among her friends. It's more or less OK that the same character rarely fills both roles.
     
  10. s33point1
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    s33point1 Member

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    Maybe have him earn it. Like with ever fight he gets stronger.
     
  11. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I'm not crazy about godlike powers either in the good guy (superman) or the villains (borg). In superman's case I keep thinking to myself, why is he vulnerable at all? Where does this damned kryptonite keep coming from? And why does it feel as though the writers are desperately trying to find a weakness for him? It feels contrived, which of course, is exactly what it is. If he didn't have a weakness there would be no struggle for our hero to overcome, and no suspense. Its one reason I far prefer batman to superman. You know that he could lose. He could die.

    In the case of the borg from Star Trek, they would have to be the most over powered enemy ever, and then the writers had to constantly come up with some implausible ways that the Federation could somehow fight them. I mean we all want to root for the little guy, but really when one borg can land on a world and a day later its borg, you're screwed.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I have to correct you, but "godly" does not mean "being strong like a god". "Godly" means to be holy like God by the way that you live. That's the Bible definition. Now even if you go for the Oxford English Dictionary definition, "godly" still means "to live religiously and/or piously".

    Now onto your question! If you made him completely invincible (which he would be if you made him the absolute strongest) then where is the tension when he's in a conflict or battle? He's gonna win, no question. This makes it boring. However, it'd be different if you explored a different idea of being "strong" - eg. sure he's got physical strength, but he can't deal with a fight with his best friend because he is not emotionally strong or mature, and over the course of the story he develops and becomes the "strongest" - but not necessarily physically. That'd be ok.

    Take Disney's version of Hercules - Hercules was physically the strongest. After the first dragon monster (I forget its name. Hydra?) he was basically invincible, and attained for himself the "hero" status. He goes to Zeus his father and asks to be accepted back into heaven because now he's a hero and Zeus tells him no. Hercules is perplexed. He finally attains his godhood again when he chooses to sacrifice his life to save his love, Meg from the river Styx, thereby expressing what true strength and heroism is.

    So, it's ok if your MC is physically the strongest, but then you're gonna have to get creative with exploring the concept of strength and what kinda struggles your MC's gonna face, because it's not gonna be the physical conflicts that will captivate the reader but other things. For Hercules, the physical fights were not a big deal - it's whether he attains his godhood and whether his romance with Meg goes well that we care about, knowing Meg is a traitor.
     
  13. Dirg
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    Dirg New Member

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    To me godlike means "Physically perfect." Mental flaws can exist. A great god-minded character is Sephiroth from Final Fantasy 7, may give you some ideas.

    Godlike is hard to do because every character needs to have a flaw to be interesting, (correct me if i'm wrong anyone) I find characters more relatable and enjoyable and tension easier to build if a character has a flaw they can't see, it allows them to grow, to see their error, or to continue to be wrong. This in turn makes the viewer/reader sympathize with the character in certain ways depending on who they are. It would be neat if you turned his godlike power against him. Highlander for example, Immortals are "godlike" physically because they can't die, but it's also a curse for the same reason. The diversity in each of them makes them human to an extent as well and It's those flaws that make the characters interesting and relatable.
     
  14. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    I have seen many, many main characters that have godlike powers pulled off very well.

    For those who have read the Magician series of books by Raymond E. Feist, Pug has a seriously high amount of power. Look at his behavior in the City Forever. He walks in, blasts open gateways to unknown dimensions, traps a deadly creature in a cage that will last forever, then turns back time until it has no meaning(ie. at the start of the universe). Yet in the Empire series of books, he makes a cameo that reveals he still has to struggle with certain things(he is pretty reluctant to interfere with Tsurani politics or betray the Assembly of Magicians).

    Opal Koboi in the Artemis Fowl series of books raises an army of undead warriors, survives her existence being torn apart and, if not for her "I want to revel in my victory" attitude, would have killed every single human on Earth. And that's just in the last book.

    Percy Jackson is also very godlike. He is half-god biologically, survives tangles and fights with virtually every god on Olympus, became virtually indestructible(until the Romans' river washed it off) and was actually invited to become a god by Zeus.

    Last but not least, we have the Skulduggery Pleasant series of books. First we have Mr. Pleasant himself, the unkillable one. Then we have Serpine, who can kill you by pointing. And Baron Vengeous, who can kill you by looking. And Lord Vile, who can kill you by thinking. And let's not forget the Faceless Ones, who take on indestructible human forms and turned the strongest person in the world inside out on a whim. Melancholia wants to kill billions of people. Darquesse is so powerful she could kill billions of people, it's just that it would be too boring to.
     

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