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  1. Nami Willow
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    Nami Willow New Member

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    People not characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Nami Willow, May 23, 2010.

    I've been working on this one story for a while now, writing every now and then, but only lately have I really been getting serious about writing and figuring out the characters.

    So my main character, and my narrator, has always been one of my favorite characters. I've been dealing with her for a long time, so I am really attached to her, but now I'm realizing that she needs a little more... Ness. She's always been an introvert, trying not to get involved in conflict. Throughout the story she changes but it's at the beginning, when she doesn't defend herself and is just sort of there, that I have the issue. I want her to be likable, but she comes off as very unfeeling, without much in the way of personality.

    So I'm just wondering if there's anyone that can give me an idea on how to make a likable character that is at the same time submissive and soft spoken and sort of quirky and surprising. (by the way, I'm not saying that submissive and soft spoken people have no personalities, just that she really doesn't.)
     
  2. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    Since she sounds like someone who has gotten caught up in a large conflict and isn't sure how to get out of it, you can probably go with one of four solutions.

    1) Give her a goal that she is managing to work toward, despite the larger conflict. If she's trying to find someone, or fix an ongoing problem, or gather resources, she can still do that while trying not to offend people or burn bridges.

    2) Give explanations for her personality. If she is unwilling to defend herself, why is that? Is she a new student at school who doesn't want to make a bad impression, or a foster daughter who doesn't want to tick off the adults supporting her, or is she just plain shy?

    3) Let her have her own opinions, even if she only expresses them to the reader. I'm thinking something along the lines of Inquisitor Glokta's snark in The Blade Itself, where Glokta is essentially a political pawn who would be killed if he voiced his real opinions. Your narrator might have strong likes and dislikes, but might be afraid to show them because she thinks her opinions are unpopular, or because she is optimistic enough to be willing to give people second chances.

    4) Bring in a second, smaller conflict and show her dealing with it indirectly. If your main plot centers around a conflict later in the story, write in something small that she can handle. Or maybe she can't handle it, and fails, and has to consider what she might have done wrong. Set up properly, you could show her wondering whether her submissive, quiet demeanor might have been the problem (whether or not she's right), which might have serious repercussions later.
     
  3. ilocar
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    ilocar Member

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    I think you aren't a very introverted person. You think she has no personality because that's how you view introversion.
    The real way to reveal her personality is not in her interactions with other people, because, ultimately those interactions, though part of hder character, represent a mask she has put on for the benefit of others. Her true self is inside. which is why the real struggle for personality is with extroverted characters who are hollow. introverted characters are easy to characterize because their thoughts are the main way they interact with the reader, and their thoughts don't lie about their personality.
     
  4. Falconjudge
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    Falconjudge Member

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    Spoken like a true introvert, ilocar. Introverts have lying thoughts like anyone else, I think, mostly.

    It seems to me the best way to have her develop a personality is put her in strange situations and see how she reacts, even if you don't wright the situations and reactions down. Does she get mad, stay quiet, what, under certain circumstances? Develop her in your mind, first. If all else fails, having a personality that's stoic and cold is, in fact, a valid personality too.
     

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