1. Sulla
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    Sulla Member

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    Merging Characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Sulla, Sep 23, 2012.

    I often find that I start off with too many characters in my head. As I go on with a work I start to realize that it's too much.

    I try to merge them together, if possible.

    Sometimes if you have two kind of simple main characters a merge can do the twist. As one person, instead of two, they start to become something real.

    I'm sure others do it. What's your experience with merging characters?

    My experience has been positive.
     
  2. Geri
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    Geri Member

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    interesting idea...I have never done this but it is something I would be willing to try even if it simply for experience! sorry I'm not more of a help with this!
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you mean merging their roles in the story into one of the characters, yes. If you mean fusing the characteristics of both characters into one, no, I would avoid doing this because it blurs the character like a double struck coin.
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think I could ever do that. I could merge the purposes of characters, or attribute some idea or general statement to one character and eliminate another (although the way they'd express the idea would differ, as may the reasons for them holding that idea), but I couldn't actually "merge" them, because as I write, the characters reveal themselves to me as distinct entities. I could no more "merge" my characters than I could merge the idea of two actual people I know.
     
  5. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe in the very early stages when I don't have them developed yet, I can do this. (As Cogito said, this would be more just merging roles.) But once I got a character distinctly in my mind, I don't think I'll be able to merge him with another one.
     
  6. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    It's certainly reasonable, in my opinion, to do it if the two characters have extremely similar and or exact personalities, and especially more so if they serve the same function in a story. I've done it before.

    Other times, it's more like instead of merging two characters, I scrap one but place a few of the scrapped characters' traits or background in another (but not the entire character per se).
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with Cogito. I can't merge personalities, but I can merge roles. And I don't even think I'd do that unless the characters involved are pretty minor. Generally, major characters don't form in my imagination unless they have their own purposes and belong in the story.
     
  8. Sulla
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    Sulla Member

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    I mean both.

    By merging characters I don't mean hitting Replace All, changing the name of one character to the other, and just leaving it. Sometimes you have a character whose role and basic character traits are similar. If they don't need to be separate people then why do it? When I merge characters I don't just throw all their traits into one stew. You have to refine the character to make it work otherwise it will be a blurry character. What characteristics you use from one character or another depends entirely on what kind of character you are making. Of course it has to make sense to the story.

    This happens more when I have major characters who are acting more like minor characters. I find by making a version, based on the two, I have a richer character. It also works when you have two characters who are weak on their own.

    Look at how literary characters are dealt with in movies. Characters are combined and merged all the time. Sometimes the effect is positive (a movie doesn't have the time to go into both characters) and other times it's disastrous. The results depend on the quality of writer.
     
  9. Orion113
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    Orion113 New Member

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    Contrary to what most people here have been saying, I find it very possible to merge characters who aren't even that similar. If they are literally exact opposites, it may not be possible, or at least not easy, but I've seen writing friends of mine pick personality traits of real people and merge them into characters. The trick is that you can't merge everything, some traits must be discarded, and what you do merge must mesh well.

    Personally, in my book I've done the exact opposite. My main characters are all based off of people I know, but each is paired with a magical companion that is just another part of their soul (this is a fantasy story, of course.) So I split the personalities of all of these people between their character and their companion, in such a way that each stands and functions as a complete character, even in the absence of the other, but that, when the two are together, they compliment each other perfectly.
     

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