1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Making a useless character useful.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Link the Writer, Aug 29, 2011.

    I want to talk about a certain character from my Santarnica stories, a blind Devonian mage named Kenthew Rennald.

    Well, to be honest, I feel he’s just…there. Maybe as some tacked on comedy effect or whatnot, but I feel he’s just…there. The series would go along fine without him.

    I fear he’ll quickly descend into a character readers hate because he’s so damned annoying and he’s a walking-talking deux ex machina. Need something destroyed? Have Kenthew shoot a fireball at it. Need a serious injury mended, have Kenthew hover his hands over the afflicted extremity for a minute. Need a mind read? Have Kenthew put his hands on the person’s temple and meditate for a few seconds.

    He has the emotional and mental maturity of a fifteen-year-old. He has his moments when he charges into battle and helps the other soldiers save the day, but when he’s not doing that, he’s a kid.

    Yet somehow…he’s supposed to be in the story. It doesn’t feel the same if I kick him out, yet I don’t know what to do with him!


    I thought of adventure being his prime motivation. We first meet him on his homeplanet, there's the adventure and Kenthew decides to run off with Helen and crew to explore the galaxy.

    Now the question is...what does he do then? He was useful then when Helen and crew were on his homeplanet, but what now?
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    What if you made him even more useless? That is, what if you took away all those magical powers (they vanish for some mysterious reason) and watched him to see what he does then? If nothing else, he'd be motivated to get his powers back, and he'd need help from his friends instead of being arrogantly aware of how much he can help them. He might grow up. Maybe that would help to deepen his character - or, alternatively, make you finally conclude that the story is better off without him.

    ChickenFreak
     
  3. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I think that's the issue: He's too damned arrogant. He believes he can trounce through any problem, no matter how huge. The fact that he's blind also gives him an air of "I'm the best at anything and everything! Watch what I can do!"

    I need to think of something big...something so monsterously powerful that he cannot stop it.

    Like..a planetary invasion? Maybe the Devonian homeworld is invaded and Kenthew, thinking he can save his own people, goes there to try and wipe out the enemy forces...only to end up completely thrashed and captured?
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    But why not take away his powers? Do the rules of this fictional world make that impossible? If his powers are gone, then he has the experience not of being unable to defeat the most powerful thing in the universe -- which is really not all that humbling -- but instead the experience of being _ordinary_. To me, that would be far more interesting to read.

    ChickenFreak
     
  5. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Hmmm...

    So, he'll just be an ordinary blind Devonian? No fancy special powers or anything. Just ordinary blind alien child.

    That's very interesting.

    I'll see what I can do in regards of power removal. =) Or I can simply not let him have the powers in the first place.
     
  6. Spynal
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    Spynal New Member

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    Have you considered the possibility of adding a sense of mystery to his persona through his arrogance? I think it would be a rather interesting character trait which could add another dimension to the story. The mage could be the variable. Which side is he going to join? Will he fight for "good", will he fight for "evil"? Will he fight for his own interest, or will he fight at all?

    I think it has a lot of potential if the concept is developed. Not only will it make him a viable concept to you and the reader, it can also allow for some interesting plot twists and such.
     
  7. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I haven't considered that, to be honest.

    I did think of limiting some of his powers. He's got a handle on some abilities, yet struggles with others.
     
  8. Spynal
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    Spynal New Member

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    Perhaps that is the best method to pursue? There are some pretty neat plot devices you could use to make that happen, also you would have to devote some time telling it, so that would give him some spotlight in the story.

    Seems like a win-win :)
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yep, yep, exactly. Instead of leaning on his powers and ignoring every other aspect of human mental/emotional development, he'll have to develop. Grow emotionally and intellectually Learn to interact with others. Essentially, do the work of being a child rather than being relieved of that work as he has been so far.

    And someday somehow maybe he gets his powers back, but if and when that happens, he'll be a very different person.

    ChickenFreak
     

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