1. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    Need Help With a Character Problem

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Kirvee, Jun 29, 2009.

    I honestly didn't know where this goes, I'm sorry!

    Anyway, I'm running into a problem with my demon story.

    So far with the plot in my head I have almost everything planned out. For the moment I know who the characters that will be appearing are and some other things, but I'm having an issue with one of my two MCs.

    At some point in the story, my female MC has a dream where she meets the deceased mother of my male MC. The mother talks to my female MC and tells her a few things. My female MC meets and talks to her like that several times throughout the story.

    My issue is, WHY?! I want it to happen, because it gives a good source of development and allows me to go more in depth on an event that happened earlier in the story. But I can't come up with any reason why the deceased mother would be talking to her son's best friend whom she wouldn't have known.

    Now, the thought came to me that it would be EPICALLY cool if the mother, in response to my female MC asking her what she is at the end of the last dream meeting (as in is she a ghost, or what?), said that she's "a distant memory".

    Cool as that may be, this would mean that my female MC is, in a way, a reincarnation of my male MC's mom. But that causes problems because my female MC is the love interest of my male MC and vice versa.

    Yeah. Do you see my dilemma? I don't know any other way to explain my problem...help me.....>_<.
     
  2. DocDoom187
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    DocDoom187 Member

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    Well... you could go Freudian and have this strong subconscious feelings for his mother be a part of the development of the male MC.
     
  3. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    Yeah, but that makes it awkward!

    The male MC and the female MC are each other's love interest and at the end they're supposed to be together (romantically). The one thing I don't want someone to ask me if I'm ever at a Book Q&A when/if my book gets published is "So....did the male MC (by his name) technically hook up with his mom's reincarnation at the end?" GAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  4. Miswrite
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    Miswrite Member

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    Make them just friends. It would send a message that you don't need love for completion.
     
  5. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    Don't have to have a reason you know. A lot of thing in a lot of works are left open to interpretation.
     
  6. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    @Miswrite: They already go through being friends. Also, one of the main themes is "love". And if I don't include them in that theme, then a lot of other things in the plot fall flat.

    @Acgla: True. It'd be nicer and easier if I did that, it's just....I don't know.....the thought that a perceptive reader might ask me a question about it scares me a little.....
     
  7. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    I doubt someone would do that, they risk looking stupid if they assume it's obvious to everyone else. Trust me, I've been there : /
     
  8. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    @Acgla: Indeed, but I'm part of the anime fandom. Believe me, if there is a question, people will ask it, whether they think it's obvious to others or not....but if you say so....

    I should also point out that my female MC (if I stick with the idea of her being a reincarnation) is pretty much her own person. She only shares a few traits with the male MCs mom.
     
  9. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    Heh, you know, this happens to me too sometimes. I think of things I want to put into the story just because it's cool or I had a sudden whim.

    One of my stories, which I actually started just improvising as I went, had this prince who was very afraid of his estranged brother. At the time I wrote this, it made no sense at all. Non. The way I imagined these two, there was just no reason they wouldn't get along and there was definitely no reason for the prince to fear his brother. I wondered if I had written myself into a corner.

    Then I sat down and wrote their histories. I wrote how one brother felt about the other and vice versa, and what happened to them after they parted ways. And suddenly, to my great surprise, it all made perfect sense. It even tied into the main plot and explained some other things I hadn't even considered.

    The subconscious in a funny thing. Even if you don't know the reasons it doesn't mean they're not there. At a basic level the human mind is geared towards seeing connections and meaning everywhere, so when you get right down to it, most things do make sense. You just need to figure it out; find the hows and why and the actions and reactions, and you'll see it all lines up into one great clockwork.

    And, let me tell you, that is awesome. There's no feeling quite like it, and it's by far my favorite thing about writing.

    Relax for a moment and take a good look at these characters. Look at the mother, look at the female main, and examine their pasts, their roles, their abilities and motivations. What is the link? What is the reasoning? What is the meaning of the dreams, and the word "memory"? Somewhere there's a connection between these two characters, you just need to find it. If something is missing, create it. If something doesn't fit, change it so it does. Just don't take anything back, don't compromise, and don't give up.

    Oh, and one more thing; if something does seem really odd or out of place, don't try to hide it. Have the characters notice it and point it out; let them wonder about it as well. Your readers sure as heck will, so you might as well put them and your characters on the same wave-length. ;)
     
  10. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    That was very encouraging, Anders, thank you! I think I'll do just as you suggested :-D.

    The only thing is, my female MC never speaks of the dreams to my male MC, or anyone, because near the end of the first dream his mom tell my female MC not to tell him about any of this, not even what she tells my female MC and reveals to her.

    I'd thought that a possible way to connect them is that they both love and deeply care for my male MC: one as a mother and the other as a friend/romantic. But then after thinking about it I thought "That's too cliche!". Plus I can't draw any kind of explination for the "memory" line from that reasoning.
     
  11. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    Ah, but why would she say that? Why is that important? Figure that out as well.

    Never stop asking why.

    I wouldn't call it cliché, so to speak, but it is very vague. I'm assuming this isn't a common phenomena in your story, correct? If it was just a matter of a strong mutual love it would happen all the time. But if it's very special, it probably has a very special reason. You need to get into the details here.

    Here's a counter question: Why can the mother not appear in the dreams of her son? You'd think that would make a whole lot more sense, right?

    In fact, it sounds kinda like she can only appear in the female MC's dreams. That suggests it's not something the mother does, but something the female main does. (Or something that was done to her.) Whatever this is, it's special to her.
     
  12. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    Kirvee,

    In the grand scheme of reincarnated souls, it wouldn't be disgusting if she was a reincarnated soul of his mother, but the fact that it is so close, may be the issue. Now if it was his grandmother, the skipping of the generation would put enough distance between the soul of his soul mate and his current incarnation of his soul mate.

    I don't think I am being clear enough, let me try it this way.

    You'd have to answer the question: Did his mother die at the moment of his girlfriends birthor conception depending on your stories belief systems? If so, how does that correlate with the male MC own birth? How can you explain such a quick jump into another soul to justify the soul mates appearing so quickly...and why would this happen, since soul mates can sometimes appear as siblings or parents...since all souls tend to travel in the same packs of people. Like close souls will always find us as friends and relatives, co-workers, and other people who come into our lives. They would be the same souls who are always in our immortal soul's incarnations.

    So, you would have to look at this from the metaphysical stand point of explaining the reason for his soul mates death and reincarnation. Why wouldn't his mother (soul mate) remain with him in that form throughout this life time? What is the grand scheme of subplot in the story? Is there a message about soul mates in this story? If so, you should really do a lot of research into the belief system of reincarnation to have a good grasp on this subplot.
     
  13. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    Bluebell80 makes a good point: reincarnation only works if the mother dies before the female main character is born.

    I personally don't like the reincarnation idea, though. Aside from the complications already brought up, well, somehow it seems like the very obvious solution.

    Well, maybe not technically, but I'd still expect it to result in a so-called "squick"; an instinctive negative emotional response to something that seems inappropriate, if only superficially.

    Sure, there's nothing actually incestuous about it, but that's still the first thing the reader is going to think, and that's going to linger every time the two main characters get romantic no matter how you justify it.
     
  14. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    I can't think of anything that would be more fabulously interesting than exactly that kind of a quandary! I say go with it--it could be well worth the struggle.:)
     
  15. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    @Anders: No, it's not common at all.

    I guess you could say the mother doesn't appear to the male MC because my male MC doesn't possess enough mental clarity to allow her in like my female MC does.

    And yes, that's exactly why I fear going with it. I'm dreading that someday at a Q&A panel a perceptive reader is going to ask me that exact question and I won't know a straight answer to give them.

    @Blue: I'm aware of of how reincarnation works. Half of my belief system encompasses metaphysics therefore I believe in eternal souls and cycles. To answer your questions:

    My male MC was already born at the time of his mom's death (I'd say he was about 2 weeks old at the most). My female MC was born about the time he became 8 weeks old.

    The reincarnation occured because she had the strong need to protect him at the time of her death and wanted to continue to protect him and so she was reincarnated into a new life that would allow her to do that. Parents can't protect their kids in all places, only people around the same age can protect each other where parents can not always go.
     
  16. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    So then if it is your F MC's past life talking to her, then it isn't weird. I'm not sure exactly how you plan to portray the analogy you gave me, about at her time of death vowing to protect him. I would think because they are soul mates, even though currently in his life she was is mother, then her premature death would have separated their souls. Thus she is reincarnated in your current F MC's character, to continue on the path with her soul mate. I'm guessing the two MC's have known each other since early childhood, thus strengthening the idea that it isn't so much about protection, as destiny for these two souls to be together, no matter the love relationship.

    This kind of scenario makes me think of the movie What Dreams May Come. The whole exploration of reincarnation and soul mates.

    I think maybe the first dream you should have the girl talking to herself, her current image. Then during the sequence, have her shift into the image of his mother, to show who she was in her past life. You could do it like flashback images of her life, showing herself how she has known her soul mate through the years.

    You might even want to think about extending a little more backstory, into their history...maybe a small scene from an even father back past life, being shown by the mother in the dreams. It gives your F MC a deeper understanding of their current relationship.

    I'm not sure, of course, where you were planning on going with it story wise...so this is all hypothetical as far as application to your story.
     
  17. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    That's interesting. In other words, the mother can appear to other people, but it requires a specific mental state or ability?

    Have you considered that the mother reincarnating into the female main doesn't necessarily have to mean that the female main is the reincarnation of the mother? That you can have your cake and eat it, so to speak.

    To clarify, what if the MC has two souls; one that's the mother and one that is herself? (IIRC, Clive Barker did something like that in his Abarat books.) Maybe this is an anomaly within the reincarnation cycle that isn't supposed to happen? That would explain why it's very rare.

    Also, something to consider: You mentioned revelations earlier. I'm not sure how reincarnation works in your story, but it seems to me that if the mother is reincarnated in the female main, the only information she'd possess is what she knew in her past life and what the female main knows in the present. (As opposed to the mother being a spiritual-type being with a "higher perspective.") This is probably good to keep in mind.
     
  18. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    Ander's that's an interesting twist idea, that the mother is in a way possessing the F MC's character, sharing her body with her soul.

    As you point out, if it is past life, and not ghostly type possession, then the mother character wouldn't know anything since her death, only what the girl knows now and how that correlates with what the mother already knows.

    Another question, is if the mother has access to father back past life knowledge. Maybe she doesn't. Or maybe she does.

    You could also abandon the whole reincarnation stuff and make it a ghost too, haunting the woman who loves her son. She would probably have full knowledge of all that has happened since her death and dream communications are plausible.
     
  19. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    Of course, if you wanna get really into the whole metaphysical aspect you might start asking what constitutes a soul in the first place.

    I recall reading that the Japanese think of the soul as consisting of two parts, the kon and the paku. The kon is the mental soul, which goes to heaven upon death, and the paku is the physical soul, which remains in the body a few days after death and then returns to the Earth.

    Suppose we have two parts of a soul, one being the part that contains information (memories, emotions, etc) and one that is the spirit/life force of a living being. What if when a human dies the "life force" part reincarnates into a another being, while the "mind" goes somewhere else? Except in this case, the mind followed the spirit into the new incarnation for some reason.
     
  20. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    Those are very good suggestions...

    The first dream actually occurs when my female MC is unconcious after being attacked and taken hostage. And the dream itself takes place in a place between worlds where the only way to speak is through the mind. My female MC even wonders if she's dead the first time this happens since the mother appears before her out of a door of light.

    @Anders:

    My only fictional experience with reincarnation was in the manga Inuyasha. Kagome, the heroine, was the reincarnation of the main character's deceased love interest from 50 years prior to the start of the story (and then there's this whole betrayal fiasco between them set up by the main villain). After the story starts and somewhat early into it, the main character's dead love interest is brought back to life with the looks of her previous body and half of Kagome's soul (originally it was supposed to be her entire soul, but she got saved before it was all gone).

    @Blue and Anders: The mother doesn't know what all happened to her son after she died, but she does know events that took place just before she died (which later becomes relevent plot/background info). Similarly, my female MC knows a lot of my male MC's life since they grew up together but she doesn't know anything about what the mother tells her. That's why the mother is telling her in the first place, so she'll have a deeper understanding of the situation and later be able to properly help my male MC through some challenges he'll face later in the story.
     
  21. Anders Backlund
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    It's been a while since I watched Inuyasha (I usually prefer manga to anime, but Inuyasha was an exception) but I recall liking the whole Kagome/Kikiyo thing. It was an interesting take on the reincarnation theme.

    However, do notice that Kagome and Kikiyo aren't really that similar. One of the things I liked about the romance aspect was the implication that Inuyasha actually loved Kagome for who she was, and not just because she reminded him of Kikiyo.

    Be that as it may, I think that what you need to do is to really nail down the message that your MC and the dead mother are not the same person; that the female main is still an individual being. This is a big deal, probably so big that it deserves to be a plot point.
     
  22. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    @Anders:

    Ah, a fellow fan? XD. I was anime-only for the series too, but now I'm reading the whole manga because it ended and the anime was a premature end. I never like my favorite stories by other people being left half done.

    Yes, that love triangle was a nice plot point in the story, XD.

    Hmm....

    Well, I'm thinking about adding in another female character that my two MC's meet while they're with the rebel group. I was thinking that I could use the other female character so that my female MC has another girl to talk to about it and possibly tells her about the dreams (and swears her to secrecy). Maybe I could turn it into another sub-plot, but then that makes it feel like Inuyasha and it's already a lot like it anyway because I've employed a similar take on demons (but not completely the same). Attempting to shove any Inuyasha-like plot elements out of my mind when thinking about my story.
     
  23. Anders Backlund
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    Fan might be a strong word to use... It's more that I like that particular genre. (Shinto-Fantasy? Japanese Folklore Fantasy?) I do like Takahashi in general, though.

    Nothing wrong with more characters. After all, your protagonists need people to act against and relate to, otherwise they won't stay interesting. Just make sure this new character has a story of her own. Work her into the plot and make her important somehow. Squeeze the lemon!

    I wouldn't worry about it being too Inuyasha-like. Rather then skipping ideas because they seem too familiar, try to finding ways of making them as original as you can. Think of it as a challenge.
     
  24. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    Ah, I see, lol.

    I know there's nothing wrong with more characters, I'm just trying to make sure I don't start adding in characters for the heck of it. Some people do tend to do that.

    I do have an idea for how she can fit into the story, though. A very nice idea, too, I believe.

    I guess...at least for now I don't have any rivalry going on between brothers, so that's something I can say my story doesn't have that Inuyasha does.

    But, would having my female MC talking to another character about it be a good and realistic solution?
     
  25. Anders Backlund
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    That's a sober attitude.

    Sqeeze the lemon! Make as much use of what you have as possible.

    I'd rather look at it the other way around. Trick is to find a good and realistic situation where they would start talking about it.
     

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