1. S.R Kenrickson
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    S.R Kenrickson New Member

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    Need help to make the impact

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by S.R Kenrickson, Nov 1, 2013.

    A few days ago my friend who has been reading what I have done of my novel so far, read parts of a chapter where quite a few of the characters are killed off. He told me how he was so shocked by it, and really liked it, but told me the deaths of those characters would have an even greater impact if they were more developed and had more time given to them in the story, which I was aware about, the problem is that I have been struggling to make those characters have the impact. My friend was not shocked so much by the fact that the characters died, because he had skipped chapters and knew little to nothing of those characters, it was more to do with how they died and the plot twists of the chapter that made him react the way he did. So I am looking for advice how to make this characters have some kind of impact on the reader, not just when they die, but in the chapters prior to their deaths. I have developed other characters in the story much better, but I seem to struggle with these characters. Two of them are dukes, Harrer'mont and Vormard, Harrer'mont being the best friend of the king who is deceived into killing him. Vormard knows the king but not so closely as Harrer'mont. Vormard has a daughter who is in her early twenties, called Rohbey. She is being forced into a marriage she is strongly opposed to, and feels she has no freedom in her life. Vormard also has a five year old son, and a wife, who both die as well. Harrer'mont has a son called Fillian who is in his twenties, and is in a loving relationship with Isaryn who is the son of the king. Both Fillian and Isaryn die as well. The last of the characters who die in this chapter is Liangela who is Harrer'mont's wife.

    Please know that I also know sometimes killing off characters who people have built a great bond with can sometimes make the reader give up if their character is killed. But what I am asking is what can I do with these characters to make the reader actually care about them? So far I have gone into more depth with Vormard's family. I cant figure what to really do with Rohbey other than her being a big whiner most of the time because she is not happy about her life, which I really want to change, whilst she remains in her circumstances, because the wedding never happens because she is killed before it. I have tried to show her expressing how much she loves her little brother. With Vormard I have written about him going on a diet because he is too fat, so he goes jogging with Rohbey and cant keep up, eventually getting a stitch before he passes out. He also tries dancing. That is pretty much all I have got so far, except that Rohbey might have found herself a man she actually loves, who is a farmer, but would this be too clich├ęd, being that she is a noble?
    With Harrer'mont I have got barely anything other than that him and the king hang out for a bit. What sort of activities or other forms of interaction could I write to make people care about Harrer'mont? And then there's Fillian and Isaryn, who all I have got so far is that the king and Harrer'mont don't like their sons spending time together, but neither of them are homophobic, and also that Fillian and Isaryn spend time out in the country side because they have not seen each other for quite some time, and come across a bunch of homophobic outlaws who begin to insult them both.
    Apart from all I have written above I have nothing else and have been stuck in this position for a long time. What could I do to improve and expand on the relationships between these character that will make the reader actually care about them?
    If you want to know more about the characters please ask :)
    Sorry I am not sure if this belongs in character development? Probably does though.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    One way to increase the impact is to have their lives heading for major gains at around the time of the tragedy. Assuming you already have the reader identifying with and liking your characters, the abrupt change in tone drives home the loss.
     
  3. AlcoholicWolf
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    AlcoholicWolf Contributing Member

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    I find it is important to establish an emotional link between the character and the reader.

    First of all, the character needs to be believable. So, you are making a good effort by giving them goals and lives. Now they need to be layered, like an onion. What would you find if you peeled away their skin? (not literally, silly!)

    Perhaps they have had hardships that have left them with certain traits, or maybe they are embittered. Maybe they hate certain people (for good reason).

    Delve into their emotions.. try to imagine being in their position, and empathise with them. Understand their motivation and you will sympathise with them... then, so will the reader!
     
  4. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't get, how did he know they were not developed if he skipped pages and knew nothing about them?
     
  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Ditto what Burlbird said. Your friend skipped chapters and therefore knew little about the characters - so how on earth could he know if the characters were well developed or not? He SKIPPED chapters. That's not the author's fault, but the reader's.

    Unless, of course, he skipped because your chapters were boring. That's a possibility. But then your question shouldn't be impact, but how to write better :rolleyes:
     
  6. S.R Kenrickson
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    S.R Kenrickson New Member

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    No he skipped the chapters because they were the ones I am stuck on trying to develop the characters further, so I am actually glad he did not read those ones because they are a huge incomplete mess at the moment, those are the ones I am trying to get done right now lol, but I do not want to rush them, or fill them with anything that sounds pointless. He only likes to read the chapters I have completed, which I can fully understand. He knew about the characters I mentioned with what I have written about them so far because of chapter 6, where they are all introduced, and spends some time getting to know them, but like I said, unlike many of my other characters, I have so little done about these ones.
    Pretty much the only two chapters they are in is chapter 6 and chapter 17. He has read both of those chapters. The characters I mentioned are also meant to be in eight other incomplete chapters in between, which were the ones he skipped for the reasons I mentioned above.
     
  7. Peter J Story
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    Peter J Story New Member

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    Love is spelled T - I - M - E. Cliches aside, just focus time on each character like he / she is your baby. The more time you spend pouring out words about them, the more human they'll feel. You can always go back and cut down anything that really doesn't work, but you'll appreciate having given them so much screen time. The more human they feel, the more people will feel the loss when their humanity is brutally and tragically ripped from them.
     
  8. HollowWorld
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    HollowWorld New Member

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    A good way to develop your characters is to make them lovable. This works even in the most grim books, make them stand out from the rest make them have a quirky lifestyle or a pet peeve people can relate to. Make the reader want this character to survive, if you make your character really good while everyone around them is bad. This is a good way to get them to stand out and for people to begin to relate to them, all people want to be the heroic character (not always the main character).

    If you give your character special treatment and give them lots of time on the pages, once they are gone have them mentioned every now and then and it will remind the reader of the missing factor. The bigger there role and the abruptness and ill timing of their death also play large factors into making a reaction.


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