1. Anarchist_Apple84
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    Anarchist_Apple84 Senior Member

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    Need help fleshing out characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Anarchist_Apple84, Jan 3, 2012.

    Hi guys, basically these are four of the main characters I'm writing for my WIP, which is a British gangster short.
    The main character and his twin brother, and his two sons, or are also twins. The main problems I'm having are distinguishing the four men to really be different than eachother, they're all coming across a little flat.

    If I give you all a brief breakdown of the characters, basically any pointers would be majorly appreciated :)

    Aiden Weeks
    Aiden is an old school charmer and self confessed hedonist. He has a great business mind and work ethic, but lives firmly in the "work hard, play hard" mentality, believing there's no point working for money if you're not going to enjoy it. Aiden is the thinker, a generally collected individual who thinks before he acts, he's long given up "second guessing" himself and prides himself on his gut instinct - as he belives if you get into trouble enough sooner or later you'll be able to see it coming!

    He has recently been released from prison after a six year sentence for GBH following a serious assault on a driver who knocked down his daughter, Stacy. This still irks him as he sees himself as a man who keeps his cool, who doesn't fly off the handle and this sentence could have jeopardised his entire operation, as one of the biggest cocaine suppliers in Greater London.

    Kenny Weeks
    Kenny is Ethan's big brother, as in, the twin who emerged two minutes earlier. He's never been as bright as Aiden and has been happy to play the role of enforcer, always making sure his "little bro" stays out of trouble. He has run the London marathon successfully for the past 15 years and is a competitive Aikido pariticpant. He doesn't have the extent of Aiden's vices but enjoys a good pint or 12. Nicknamed "Loggins" due to his beefy build and as a jokey reference to the 70's singer.

    Cody Weeks
    Cody is a straight-edge Hardstyle DJ. He doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, has never touched drugs, he's a devout vegan and comes across as a bit of a hippie to his brother, dad and uncle. Has a great number of tattoos, ranging from his arms, back of his hands, around and behind his neck. Enjoys music and being an entertainer, not seeing the point of clubbing til 4am if you can never remember it! Is very sexually promiscuous, though keeps the fact he is bi-sexual a secret from everyone, all his family ever see is him stringing along dozens of girls that never make a repeat appearance. He's a rock and roll star without the drugs but with all the sex.

    Liam Weeks
    Liam is a head bouncer at their local Reflex. He has a no-nonsense mentality and is a bit of a "geezer." Likes to drink and get into fights both on and off the rugby pitch. Sees himself as a bit of a romantic on the side and is the only Weeks male apparently to believe in monogamy.

    Okay, there we go so far, my problems are Kenny and Liam are basically the same person! Having a lot of time distinguishing those two, otherwise Cody stands out a lot as the "black sheep."

    So yeah, any pointers, tips, gripes, advice, etc - let's go! :D
     
  2. seelifein69
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    seelifein69 Active Member

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    Yeah Cody seems to be an interesting character. I wouldn't think someone in that environment wouldn't partake in something?

    Why not make Liam have an addictive personality, with women (making him extremely monogamous, loving but controlling and possessive), alcohol, and drugs? With an uncle as a major cocaine dealer, I'm sure it's not hard to get his hands on anything he wanted.

    That way they have a yin-yang factor and he is different from the older character.
     
  3. Anarchist_Apple84
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    Anarchist_Apple84 Senior Member

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    I like it Seelifein. I could definitely imagine a controlling, possessive side to him, and while he'd never be violent towards women, he has a short fuse and might be nasty to their ex's or anyone else who looks at them, etc. Good stuff.

    I kind of want to have it that Aiden has tried to keep drugs away from his sons, business is business and despite his seedy occupation he has tried to be a good dad. Cody's straight edge demeanor is largely as a rebellion of the environment he grew up in and a need to distinguish himself from his brother, which I imagine can be an issue with twins (if anybody on this site has a twin and would like to discuss this, please go ahead!)
     
  4. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ethan? Who's that?
     
  5. Anarchist_Apple84
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    Anarchist_Apple84 Senior Member

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    Its a mistake. Ethan was the working name which I changed to Aiden, apparently didn't get them all. Fixed now.
     
  6. hoggyboy
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    hoggyboy Senior Member

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    I think it would be cool if Liam had some sort of past where he was quite a good football/rugby player who was renowned for his strength until his general lack of care about the team, turning up late etc eventually forced him into an early retirement. hence why a lot of the time he speaks of his past saying that he couldve been so and so, getting annoyed at people ignoring him and actually fighting them for the reason of his own pride, being more of a liability sometimes despite how good a bouncer he is.

    i also think with cody weeks you should perhaps have a girl/boy that he's really into. perhaps a boy that most people think is a close friend but is actually in fact his boyfriend and his parents/brothers dont discover this till the end.
     
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  7. hoggyboy
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    hoggyboy Senior Member

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    i also personally believe that having liam very similar to kenny doesnt have to be a bad thing, you can run with them being so similar having a father and son thing, you know like father like son...this will also exacerbate the whole idea of cody being the black sheep in the family if liam is so similar to his dad
     
  8. Anarchist_Apple84
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    Anarchist_Apple84 Senior Member

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    Thanks Hoggyboy. Actually, Kenny is their uncle, Aiden is the dad, I was prob unclear.

    You're right, the fact they're similar is not really a problem, men in families tend to have similar attributes, but I wanted a few things to differentiate them.
    I like the idea that Cody is seeing a guy on the side, someone he might have more of a connection with than the girls he sleeps with, but that he wants to keep a secret considering how old fashioned his family's views are.

    Maybe there could be a faintly paternal relationship between Kenny and Liam as they're the more atheletic guys, which doesn't always go down well with Aiden.
    What I'm trying to do is open up more dynamics like that and I'm getting some good ideas guys, thank you, its giving me some things to think about :D
     
  9. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    Well, from your brief descriptions I have a few ideas. It seems like Kenny is kind of the "protector" of the family. Very loyal and usually deferring big decisions to others. Maybe he isn't as clever and instinctive as his brother, but perhaps he can be the voice of reason of the family as well. It seems like you describe Aiden as a very instinctive but somewhat impatient person that thinks with his heart more than his head. So while you say that Kenny isn't as smart, perhaps he's the one that usually convinces his brother not to do stupid things at times.

    Liam on the other hand. You can keep him as a muscular guy, and it kind of sounds like maybe he has the "voice of reason" thing going for him too like Kenny. However, if Kenny is going to be the guy that is strictly loyal to his family; loves his brother and nephews and loves the business... maybe Liam looks at his father and brother (the hippie guy) and sees that they like to do what they want with no responsibility for their actions. Maybe he doesn't like the way they do business, or worse, maybe he wants out? In any case, that would be the huge difference between Liam and Kenny is how they view the family business.

    Cody I'm having a hard time buying as a character. Because usually someone that likes clubbing and is very sexually promiscuous... that kind of attitude is usually associated with risk taking and "selfish"/funloving attitude so it's hard for me to understand why he isn't into some kind of drugs. He doesn't have to be like a hard core addict or anything but like when I picture someone at the club having fun all the time I picture someone that probably took something or has had a drink just before. I don't know... maybe he had a really bad experience with drugs and it completely turned him off from it? Or maybe he's only into it a little but just not enough for it to describe him.

    It sounds like you have a lot of it covered though. Good luck.
     
  10. SunnyDays
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    SunnyDays Member

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    You could always look in to their birth order personalities
     
  11. Anarchist_Apple84
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    Anarchist_Apple84 Senior Member

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    I can understand your reservations with Cody. I actually based his beliefs on a punk movement called "Straight Edge" - I have a friend who swears by it..... yet I don't understand it at all. (No drinking, no smoking, no meat, no dairy! I'd miss between 2-3 of them constantly!)

    I've padded out the characters a little more thanks to everyones great advice.

    Aiden - Likes to consider himself level headed but is more controlled by his emotions than he realises, his arrogance generally stops him accepting advice, even though deep down he knows it's right and he trusts the source. This I could see getting him into trouble!

    Kenny - Has no doubts he's ruled by his emotions, he has a short temper and is quick to act on any feeling, but tends to see things other people miss because they sometimes don't see the obvious being too wrapped up in the "bigger picture."

    Cody - Is using this string of "relationships" to cover up his homosexuality, something he knows will never be accepted by his old fashioned and often homophobic family. (If too Hollyoaks, speak now or forever hold your peace!) Looks down on the lifestyles of his friends and family which segregates him more as the black sheep. Is actually immensely loyal to his father and brother despite his attitude, a fact that will come into play later in the story.

    Lee (Formerly Liam, I have a habit of changing names!!) - Has a father-son relationship with Kenny, and often drinks him and his buddies, a group of aging bouncers who laugh and joke about remembering him as a toddler. I think I can include some heartfelt and comedic relationships here. Is somewhat jealous of Cody's promiscuity, though he seems himself as more of a romantic, but he tends to become overbearing and possessive, lacking the cool indifference of his brother which often pushes women away. Kenny sees him as a younger version of himself, young and brash, someone who will get himself in trouble often - so he never leaves him too far out of sight.

    They're a dysfunctional family, no doubt, and thats even before I add the lovely ladies! haha
     
  12. hoggyboy
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    hoggyboy Senior Member

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    are we gonna meet these lovely ladies lol? ;)
     
  13. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    The idea of a thinker who acts instinctively is contradictory. You could introduce the idea that he's not as cool-headed as he thinks he is, leading to trouble, given his impulsive and self-serving nature.

    Nothing you've mentioned has anything to do with character except the relationship he has with his brother. From there it's trivia, hobby, pastime, nickname. What does he live for and how does he try to get it? If he's only living for his brother, that's unhealthy and a psychological flaw, literally making him obsessively protective, so mention it.

    Cody is a hipster DJ minus drugs and turbo vegan. Physical description(bad), hobby(bad), a little bit of life philosophy (good), possible source of tension because of sexuality (good) cliche summary (bad).

    Job (weak), manner (weak), nickname? (inconsequential), source of conflict (good), moral values (good). Lacks drive - no goals or greater source of conflict with his environment.

    Okay.

    There's a difference between characteristics that describe a character and illuminate them (I love that word).
    What follows is a character template without the template.
    MC was born in the USA. Went to his ancestral homeland of Africa as a humanitarian aid, joined a military outfit and became experienced in modern combat. Has a handful of tattoos and a shaved head. Likes to drink, smoke and flirt. Fights with guns, knives and fists. Christian in creed, though not by the letter.

    This is probably a little more insightful.
    MC is a veteran of the Southern Cross army, a freelance military group of devout Christians devoted to defending the isolated African villages targeted by wandering bandits. Originally a casual missionary from the USA, was caught in his ancestral homeland of Africa when the local government was overthrown and chaos ensued. A strong believer in the "no man left behind" approach and would rather defend those that couldn't escape than flee with those that could, even if this was in direct defiance of his orders. Flirtatious and excessive, MC gets along well with his low-ranking comrades but is something of a thorn in the side of his stricter superiors. Strongly believes in the existence and greatness of God, though not necessarily the dogma.

    Which one of the two do you feel closer to? Because you shouldn't need me to tell you they're the same guy.
     
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  14. Anarchist_Apple84
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    Anarchist_Apple84 Senior Member

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    Tcol, thanks for the input. I'm a fair bit further along into the story now and the characters have grown in leaps and bounds, but it's good to see some honest, no shit feedback.

    To be honest I don't need anything else from this thread. I got some good input, but my characters are a lot more developed now and I don't need any more help fleshing them out.

    Thanks for all the input guys :)
     
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