1. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Rearranging character roles and shifting the load

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Alesia, Nov 4, 2013.

    After working around my character development for my MC, I've discovered that in her age bracket (25-29) she simply can not be all of the things I wanted her to be I/E Rich girl, teenage runaway, Army medic, then ER physician with a failed marraige, miscarried baby, and so on...

    However, I noticed her love interest/my secondary protag was highly undeveloped in terms of background story. So, I started rearranging roles between the two and building something that would work and seem a little more realistic at the same time.

    Now, AJ is the soldier suffering from PTSD and Amy (age 23) is the med student who is at risk of throwing everything away for a life of drug abuse. Or vice versa. I probably wont fully decide until I start writing i earnest. The rest will be decided/changed as the narrative comes to life.

    So, how many of you have rearranged roles from one character to another in the same book because one was loaded down with far too many attributes?
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  2. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I recently had to re-arrange the romantic attachments of almost every single one of my main characters, but I was worried about cliched and stereotypical roles rather than an imbalance in the numbers of roles, does that still count?

    My main story is Doctor Who Elsewhere Fanfic (Original Characters in a copyrighted setting), and it has been established in canon that 51st Century Time Agents tend to be promiscuous bisexual-biromantics named Captain J H, so I was thinking that my main OC (June Harper) would be distinguished from the main canon Time Agents (Jack Harkness, John Hart) by being a more bloodthirsty sociopath than either of them: a vigilante serial killer who terrifies even the friends that serve under her.

    Unfortunately, she was originally the only bi character I had in mind, and I recently found out that not only is "bis are more promiscuous than anybody else" a damaging cliche, but that "perverts are more evil than 'pure' characters" was even worse, and I didn't want that to be what people got from my character. However, I also didn't think that my "Villain Protagonist comes to her senses and is traumatized by the memories of her own sociopathic violence" arc, would work for anybody but the Captain, as nobody in the crew would be able to get away with the sadistic streak I had in mind except for the one in charge.

    Instead of just making her straight, I decided to make at least one of my other characters bi while keeping them definitively less violent than the Captain, since "one of my bi characters happens to be a villain" seems nowhere near as bad to me as "all of my bi characters are villains." After looking at all of the characters I wanted to use, and which ones I wanted to kill off and when, I decided that the best way to do this would be to make two of the guys a couple: one of whom I'd previously intended to have uninvolved; the other I'd originally intended to have involved with the Captain.
     
  3. AJC
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    AJC Active Member

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    I have this problem. To make my characters more interesting or appealing I make them have problems that I don't flesh out in the story. I have come to realize that these extra problems are just fluff and should be left out. I need to focus on one character problem at a time.
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Not for being overloaded or painted as The Most Interesting Man in the World, but for not knowing well enough who the character was or for wanting him to be one thing that his back story just didn't support, yes.
     
  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've done it quite a bit in my first novel. I changed protagonists and shared back stories, but the original protagonist remained significant, and in a way, my favourite character.
     
  6. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Curious. I have characters with "back issues" too, but those issues always seem to play a role in their present lives.
    That's how I learn about them. They tell me bits and pieces while they are dealing with other matters and it helps to explain why they do some things the way they do. Perhaps your characters are trying to tell you something?

    As for overloading and subtracting facets from a character jewel? Nah. Can't say I've ever had to deal with that. Of course, I generally know my characters pretty well before I start telling their stories. My writing has something of a gestation process before I actually start putting the story down. Right now I'm doing a transcription of one ms from handwritten copy to electronic page but I have my next story synopsis down and waiting for a full treatment. The main characters are nipping at my psyche even while I work on something else... anything else! So I live with them and get to know them a bit before I begin to build the story around them. That means I am not trying to build them as I go. Now, I'm not saying I don't, from time to time, learn something new about somebody along the way, but, for the most part, I know who they are before I begin.
     
  7. AJC
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    AJC Active Member

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    Perhaps it's that, or perhaps it just says something about my writing skills. Lol.
     

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