1. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    MC as lesser/a sidekick of sorts

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Anonym, May 10, 2010.

    In the book I'm working on the POV MC (L) - although not slow or inept in his own right - is frequently overshadowed by the sometimes seemingly superhuman intellect and abilities of his comrade, the other MC (F).
    Although much of the action and events of the story are observed and percieved from L's POV, the direction of the story is influenced by F vastly more than L. Similarly, many of the larger philosophical themes and interpretations of the overall situation are filtered through F before L is aware of them.
    As an example, more than once L thinks F is betraying him, only to find out that F had saved his and other peoples' lives through his subterfuge. Conversely, L inadvertantly botches F's plans by trying to retaliate against F's percieved betrayal, making the situation much worse. L is later told what was really going on, but only after the fact and from F's mouth.
    Hard to understand I know...

    Basically F is smarter, stronger-willed, more charismatic, handsome, ect, and generally the greater driving force in the story. I've taken care to be subtle in demonstrating that (such as how F is covertly promoted while L languishes as a grunt), but it really does play a large interpersonnal role in their later adversarialism, and I'm really mainly wondering what you think of an MC who is, in many ways, outright inferior to his partner, though not a relatively passive observant as the example of Holmes & Watson brings to mind.

    I could've worded this better but i'm outta time. I'll try to clarfiy anything anyone wants to know. I'd appreciate any feedback possible despite my vague description.

    Thank you
     
  2. linden
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    linden Member

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    I think, if I understand, that you have sort of an underdog scenario here? Personally, I like it when the MC is flawed, it makes for a better story. Also, it gets boring hearing about somebody's perfection (even if said perfection leads to dismay).

    Go with what you feel. Seems to me you're going in the right direction.
     
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  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    So you are, in essence, writing a story about Robin, in which Batman plays an crucial role. But the story is still about Robin.

    I see no problem with this. Do you?
     
  4. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    I agree with Linden. A perfect MC makes a boring read. L sounds interesting, a realistic character. Go for it!
     
  5. Friday Redding
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    Friday Redding New Member

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    The only thing that I would have to say (even if you already know and plan to do it, as ALL writers should), make sure you make your character undergo some sort of self-betterment, not necessarily some great event, but just little changes over the course of your story.

    He doesn't have to be better than F, but it would be excellent to see his progress. As long as L has crucial roles and in the end has the major say in the plot of the story, it's all good.
     
  6. Mantha Hendrix
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    Mantha Hendrix Contributing Member

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    I agree with Friday Redding, the whole sidekick thing is a good idea and could make an interesting read, you need some sort of change to come into the sidekicks life...

    Actually I just thought of my own idea along these lines... but it's pretty different to yours so I won't mention it here.
     
  7. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm going to put on my nerd hat here but it sounds almost exactly like the Gotrek and Felix novels from Black Library's Warhammer line of books.

    Basically, the main character is Felix, a poet and part-time adventurer who (after a night of endless drinking) pledges to write the death-song of a semi-suicidal Dwarf berserker named Gotrek. Unfortunately for Felix, Gotrek is a tool of his Gods to be used against their enemies in the Warhammer world and by guilt of association, Felix becomes a tool of the Gods as well. Gotrek is the hero of the stories, Felix tagging along basically to help kill the weaker enemies and provide a drinking companion for Gotrek. However, the story is focused mainly on Felix, who is undoubtedly Gotrek's sidekick yet remainds the main focus of the story.

    The novels aren't high literature but they sound similar to what you want to do.
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    There are any number of takes on this idea. M.Z. Bradley's The Mists of Avalon retells the Aurthorian tale from the POV of the women in the story. It made for an immensely fecund opportunity to show that everything is not always at it seems and that often what happens behind the scenes can be more interesting and more intriguing than the what is normally in the foreground.
     
  9. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    It's not a particularly unique idea, but depending on the way you run it you could do really well with it.

    I mean, Tom Stoppard wrote a play about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and they died according to canon (Will Shakespeare).

    Just remember to keep the flavour consistent. Sometimes it's comedy because of the MC's ineptitude, other times it can be a really dramatic overcoming-personal-weakness story.

    It's got potential, and potential is goooooood.
     
  10. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    Thank you for your advice & examples everyone. I appreciate your collective wisdom :)

    To be fair, 'side-kick' really isn't quite the best word, nor is lesser really; it just seemed a convenient caricaturization at the time, but I didn't intend to generalize my guys so much in retrospect. my apologies.
    I more so meant that insofar as conventional "heroic" qualities go, F is 'better' than L in many ways. Despite that, F is by no means remotely 'perfect' - rather, I've purposely constructed him as an overtly morally-ambiguous character through his ruthless actions & unorthodox political & philosophical convictions. but yeah, not perfect at least, no, not at all.

    L isn't as passive & purposeless as I portrayed him either, but at any rate, I've gotten a good amount of feedback on what I was originally wondering, so I'll call this a win.

    Thanks again, everyone :)
     

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