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  1. Colonel Marksman
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    Colonel Marksman Member

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    Romancing Character Issues

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Colonel Marksman, Sep 18, 2009.

    I'm at that point where you're re-writing as you examine (for the third time) your story to make sure it's in tip-top shape. The reason was because I've had a few test-writers give me some problems. Even though some of them didn't say anything, it was evident that all readers stopped at the exact same point.

    The story isn't primarily a Romance, but it is a Fantasy with romance... sort of. ... a little ... ok, maybe not.

    The key is that I understand what makes a good Romance, and what the clich├ęd points are, but as I try to avoid them, I run into my own problems. Now that I've explained myself, the romantic sub-plot.

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    In this world, most of the ruling class of people are made up of a race that is generally selfish and corrupted, at least the younger generation. So the Princess is being pushed to find a husband by her next birthday, or her father will choose his successor. Typical Fantasy romance, I know it's been done. The Princess has been brought up by a peasant class on the lower-end of the hierarchy and has kept their traditions. So, there's a strange social conflict with those of her same race.

    However, there is a hunter who defies the social norm by also associating with the peasant class. He does unusual things that aren't normal by his race's standards such as "cowardly" hunting with a bow, not wearing shoes, and not being a tyrant to the peasant class like others.

    Ironically enough, neither the hunter or the princess knew of each other's existence until the hunter's squire discovered that the princess didn't wear shoes either. After trying to get the two together, they are both convinced that it is impossible that the other actually exists.

    In a desperate attempt at escaping her birthday party's ball, the princess leaves and actually meets this hunter. They find out that they have several similar characteristics. Unfortunately, both of them believe that falling in love doesn't actually exist, and go the friendship route.

    From then on, there isn't a single relationship problem, and they finally become lovers. The hero hunter eventually works up a rescue of his fair princess when they discover their love for each other and actually become a couple.

    ------------------​

    I found out that this wasn't working for me. I understand that strong characters in their action life (in this case, war and politics) have a weak side or problems in social or relationship life. (Example: the Kim Possible series. Don't laugh.)

    However, my characters have every area covered. My princess doesn't really have a passion or worry in the world until almost a third through the story. The hunter has some of his social issues come out, but he's totally cool about it all. They are, what we might call "Mary Sue" meets "Marty Stu".

    I think that there are some elements I'm missing or something because their personalities really shine at the moment after she runs for her birthday. At that point, a nation is invaded, the king approved a rude and selfish officer to marry the princess, and an entire peasant village is in danger of starvation.

    I'd love to start the story at her birthday, but that's closing in on a third way through the novel, and misses some events that are necessary that lead up to it. There's another problem/question I'm running into, but I'm posting that in another discussion.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    What is the question?
     
  3. Colonel Marksman
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    Colonel Marksman Member

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    Did you ever just sit around with other creative persons and toss ideas back and forth to help stimulate the mind?

    Is that not clear enough detail for you? I'm not a beginner here just trotting along trying to get a simple question across. I can assure you that I'm much more complex than that. If I wanted a question answered, I'll research it myself or ask it directly.

    What I'm asking for here is ideas. I'm obviously in a state of peril from writer's block.
     
  4. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    It sounds like the problem is that the beginning of the story lacks tension. So think of scenes that are tense, have conflict, and introduce us to their daily lives.

    Don't be afraid of scrapping the beginning and starting over.

    The conflict doesn't have to be much, just enough so we want to read on. In my fantasy novel, I know what my MC's daily life is like, but I had to think of a scene that draws the reader into her life. I needed some tension.

    She's a lightening elf. She's filling lightning capacitors, which she's not good at, when her best friend tries to convince her to forget her work for the day and go out with her. Right away, I bring in tension. The next scene she is training with the other kids, but she sucks at using her lightning powers and they don't. They make fun of her ears that stick out and her "suckiness."

    So think of parts of their daily lives that have tension. Slowly build that tension to the point where the real story begins. However 1/3 of the way through is a long ways to go before the story starts. Perhaps you should cut that way down. Just add more story to the middle.
     
  5. Colonel Marksman
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    Colonel Marksman Member

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    If you read my other topic, you'll know my problem. I start the story off with a battle zone.
     
  6. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    So the problem still sounds like you didn't start with the MC's normal life and tension. A battle will not really count for tension because we don't yet care about anyone.

    I think this is one of the worst reasons to start a novel out in the middle of a battle. It can work for a movie, at least for those that like movies like Terminator 4, ugh.
     
  7. Colonel Marksman
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    Colonel Marksman Member

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    Well, the battle sets up the entire foundation of the story, so it is fairly important. When you can write gripping thrill into an action scene, it's fine. You create tension, and when you make passing mention about what's at stake, it helps intensify the read.

    My writing style is almost the book format of a movie script. I try to stay away from getting in people's heads or portraying the future. Everything is in present tense. I forgot what you call that style, I have a list of them somewhere...


    The problem with starting a book like this with a battle is trying to incorporate and describe the different races while you do it. I can't start off with the MCs because they're time is set 700 years after the battle. ... Ah yes, that makes the battle a prologue.


    Wait, that gives me an idea...
     
  8. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    This looks like a slightly more complex version of the "What Do You Think of This Idea?" thread.

    There comes a point where you need to stop throwing ideas around and just write. My past experience with you and this issue is still the same. I'll say again: an idea is only as good as what you actually do with it. Sitting around and analyzing every single detail of your character sketches and plot lines until you get bored, and having five of these going on at all times so you can shelve the current one to move on to the other when it loses steam and you lose inspiration will never get you any closer to publication.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Indeed. Even brainstorming needs a focus.

    This forum is for writing issues. That means specific questions, preferably ones that lead to general learning for all.

    This thread is completely self-serving, and lacks focus.
     
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