1. drayelya
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    drayelya Member

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    OK, so now what should I do?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by drayelya, Jan 1, 2011.

    Hello everyone and thank for the time you may or may not put into reading this, lol. Recently I asked how to develop characters more easily and I got some seriously good tips. Now I am back seeking more advice and help because this place is just awesome, amazing and so informative!

    OK so now I have this HUGE, well maybe not that huge, list of characters...all of my mains/most commonly seen and minors/rarely seen.

    I can give the list if that might help out any...

    Now, "The Questions" dun dun dun!

    1. Should I have more minor characters than major?
    2. How many characters that can live forever is it OK to have? I have A LOT!
    3. Can I just give you the list and get your take on the whole thing?
    4. What is an effective way to get to "Know" my characters?
     
  2. MsLee123
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    MsLee123 Member

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    You can have as many characters as you need to tell the story. Spend a little bit of time developing each character individually. Each character, major and minor, has their own story to tell. Each has a background of some kind. You're the author. You breathe life into these characters so you must know the most about them. When it comes time to actually write a story you may only give the reader bits and pieces of information and that's perfectly acceptable.
     
  3. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    By saying 'live with them' I mean, think about your characters night and day. Imagine your characters acting out their roles on a movie screen in front of you. Do this until you know and understand your characters every move and motive. If the author does not know or understand his own characters, then he has no chance of making his readers relate to or understand the characters.
    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    1. Should I have more minor characters than major? - Write your story include the ones you need, you will probably create others and axe some.

    2. How many characters that can live forever is it OK to have? I have A LOT! - depends if they reproduce or not? Being immortal in my books is fairly normal however once they reproduce they become mortal otherwise there would be over population issues. Does the immortal gene pass on? You need to think through complications and issues in context of your own world and setting.

    3. Can I just give you the list and get your take on the whole thing?
    Feel free to send it but be prepared they may not all make it into your book.

    4. What is an effective way to get to "Know" my characters?
    Mine talk to me, I keep a blog with my main character, have scrapbooks of related images, word boxes with words from their speech. Ultimately nothing works as well as writing their story over time they gain depth and you steer them the right way.
     
  5. Irontrousers
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    Irontrousers Member

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    Is it okay if I just offer my two cents on #2? Everything has been pretty well covered, I think, so I'll just go ahead.
    It seems like it would be very hard to make readers identify with just one immortal character, let alone many. What makes human life meaningful is its brevity. If your characters' lives never end, what does it really matter what happens to them?
     
  6. Mister Cheech
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    Mister Cheech Member

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    I think this is absurd. People read primarily to escape. It is a very nice thought to be immortal. If readers relate to your characters, this creates an intrinsic theme in itself. Even if a genie emerged from a bottle and granted you immortality, and the fear of death was no longer a problem, you'd still have to deal with the same ****. If you can do it right (i.e., not like "Highlander"), there is no problem with this at all. It's ambitious, you better ****ing be a good writer, but it's not a bad idea.

    EDIT: Cursing is asterisked? Crazy.
     
  7. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    I agree with this.

    There's plenty of drama in immortality and I can think of many writers who use the idea, especially in science fiction.
     
  8. Irontrousers
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    Irontrousers Member

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    Oh, yeah, no, I wasn't saying that it couldn't work, but from the sound of it, the OP wasn't exactly making it a central theme, which in my opinion, it would need to be. If it's dealt with too lightly, it just seems like the writer couldn't deal with the thought of their beloved characters getting ugly and old and un****able. Basically, it needs to be addressed, otherwise it just seems like a cop-out.
    But hey, maybe I'm just a moron.
     
  9. Irontrousers
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    Irontrousers Member

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    Also, are you telling me that cursing is automatically asterisked? I asterisked mine myself just to be polite. Now I feel silly.
     
  10. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    I do the same corny thing.

    I assume there's lots of very young people on here, so I agree with the policy.
     
  11. nacht
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    nacht Member

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    First, to Mister Cheech... yes, cursing is asterisked, and quite frankly it's frowned upon. There's no real need for it here unless it's part of a character's dialogue, really... please try to find another way to emphasize the main points of you statements.

    Now, for the actual topic. There are several things to think about when it comes to the number of characters you should have, and the ratio between major and minor characters. Some will say use only those that are needed, only the most relevant, but to be honest that makes things feel a little boring -- like you're filling out a quota instead of expressing what your imagination can truly conjure.
    My suggestion would be to keep the number of major characters lower than the minor characters, but also to keep in mind that the "minor" characters can reappear however often -- or scarcely -- you desire. If concocted correctly, their role in your story will be just as important as the main character of the book itself, be it some cosmic power leading your hero on toward the path they need to travel, or simple comic relief.

    Living forever may seem glamorous, but in reality it's a pain in the neck to be bothered with. First of all, the person living forever runs many bodily risks -- though they never die of natural causes, their bodies will surely deteriorate, although this depends on whether or not eternal youth came with their gift of immortality. Then there's the idea that they may not live forever, but that they will not die of natural causes. Can they still be killed by unnatural causes, such as disease, hemorrhage of blood, or a bullet to the noggin? Or, by "live forever", do you mean that they survive through the entirety of the first volume, and will eventually make a reappearance in a sequel to your story? To be honest, you could have every character in your story live throughout eternity; Heck, you could have an entire civilization of eternal beings that never die, and seldom if ever reproduce for the sole reason that is the threat of populous, as previously mentioned by Elgaisma.
    To summarize, although you could completely fill your story with immortal characters, it would be a good idea to limit this to whatever feels best. I know this isn't very helpful, but it is your story, and your choice. You do not have to fill a quota! That's the beauty of writing! It is YOUR creation! Do what you like, not what will sell! ^.^

    If you need help with anything, I'd be more than happy to look at things for you. Just email me at brandon@enderia.net, or send me a PM on this site.

    There are a hundred different ways to get to know your characters. Some people like to use character sheets, and you can view one I used for an old RP character.
    Another is to role play as your character. There are a slew of websites you can visit to role play on, if you don't think anyone here will. Enderia , Valucre , Elliquiy , or you can use a MUD such as Furcadia.
    If neither of these suit you, here's an exercise you could try. When you have some off time and you're bored of or for some other reason are not writing the story in question, take yourself on a field trip through one of your characters' days. Pick the ones you know least about, and have him/her go to the mall, go grocery shopping, clothes shopping, go to the park, go for a walk, spend a day at home, watch some television and interact with the program, whether it be something that makes them think, or something that makes them act, like a workout show or a game show he or she calls in to. Remember not to really include many other characters unless they're necessary. The clerk, the bar tender, a dog in the park, a homeless person on the street, a school of minnows at a creek, or a teenager they go to school with. Pretty much anything, just so long as it's something that the character would do. If they do something you don't know a lot about, it will also be a good chance for you to research something new! ^.^;
     
  12. drayelya
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    drayelya Member

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    Alright, I can certainly say I have learned a VERY great deal from everything I have read from everyone. Especially this. I suppose it is time to open up a little more and expand my self as writer.

    Oh one thing I forgot though...my main is based on the Dragon Ball Z style. He does of the flying, energy and super abilities like they do. He does have others to oppose him, but is this a bad thing?
     
  13. ellebell16
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    ellebell16 Member

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    My story features creatures with incredibly long lives, but they do not live forever. They have an expiration date - it's just in the distant, distant future. I feel like that keeps them on their toes a bit, knowing that they are not invincible. I think what people most worry about in immortal characters is that it's an instant Mary-Sue; this is not the case. In fact, most immortal characters I've seen in fiction tend to hold on to a misery throughout their life because of the things they've seen and endured.

    It's okay for characters to have powers and such - one thing I would warn you against is comparing your work to someone else's. Make it your own. Don't draw things out from other works, switch it around a bit, and claim it as your own. It will never sit right with you if you do. It's okay to be influenced and gain inspiration, but don't try to mimic an idea just because you thought it worked elsewhere. There seems to be a lot of that going around these days, especially in fantasy writing.
     
  14. nacht
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    nacht Member

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    I couldn't agree with ellebell16 more, although I don't know what a Mary-Sue is.
    If your characters are derived off the mechanics of DBZ, then I would probably call this a fan-fiction, because I don't know any better.
    If it is a fan-fiction, more than half of your work is done for you -- the abilities, the limitations, the scenery and setting. The only thing you have left is the plot, which is fine for some people.

    When writing a fan-fiction, your characters and their experiences are really all you can claim. If this isn't a fan-fic, then I would suggest you do as Elle suggests and make it your own.
     
  15. drayelya
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    drayelya Member

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    OK, I can understand how it could easily be seen as a fan-fiction piece now that you mention it all. I will work diligently to redevelop my work to be less of a copy cat. Now a days it is just so hard to fully develop an idea so unique that it has never been seen. As for his eternal youth (my character's that is) that speaks mostly for itself. While he remains every young he can be slain just as simply as you or I. A bullet to the head, drowning, being run through with a sword and so on and so forth. The only thing that can't kill him is illness and disease. The other part I should likely mention is the fact that my character is immune to sickness because he is neither physical nor spiritual but both at the exact same time. He is literally the soul AND the body as one. Hence if he were to die his 'body' would fade away rather than just become stiff like ours... Thanks for the advice by though, I'll take that into deep thought with me next time I stop to think...
     
  16. TricksterDizzy
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    1. Depends on the story, and how much focus you have on said characters. Really, this is something that comes out in drafts. Write every character and every scene idea you have down, and then later look over it and cut which characters are A) Unnecessary to the plot and overall themes, or B) Whose roles can be taken on by another character, so try to merge them.


    2. Depends on what you want the living forever to express. Is it supposed to be a rare thing? Not a good idea then. Is it supposed to be 'another side of society' where there are many, but unseen? Can be done well. Depends on your world.

    3. Sure! :)

    4. Write. Write like crazy. Write a ton of crazy scenes with them. Throw them together with other characters. Try present active tense in the first person.

    Also, one thing that works with me, is plugging in songs that you think fits the character, however slightly, and going for a long walk. While doing so, just start imagining stories and images of that character that goes along with the song. It's a fun thought exercise, even if you end up not using 90% of it, the remaining 10% can be very useful.
     
  17. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    A DBZ inspired piece, oh boy.

    I'm going to skip most of the in-depth discussion - this doesn't warrant delving into subtle differences between genres and styles.

    1. Yes. The hero needs a large pool of people that rely on him and that he relies on, these "side-kick" characters also need dynamic relationships with each other. Drawing on DBZ, the only good main characters are Goku, Piccolo, later on Vegeta and their kids. Everyone else is a minor character and exists solely to support the main character.

    2. I'm assuming "living forever" means "not dying of old age" as opposed to "invincible". Eternal youth isn't a big deal and it's good if you want to have characters that have been around for ages. On the other hand, "Invincible" characters are really boring because they've got nothing to worry about. Why would they? They're invincible.

    3. Depends on how many there are. PM me the number and I'll let you know.

    4. Throw them into different situations and write how they react. Individually or in groups, it doesn't matter. Think back to every instance in the show where the characters did nothing but train - these are always character building exercises, so make the most of them.

    I just hope that when you say "inspired by" you don't mean a "fanfic of".
     

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