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  1. CommonGoods
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    CommonGoods Senior Member

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    Small Q on characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by CommonGoods, Sep 12, 2008.

    Personally I'm a huge fan of original and flawed characters. Makes them more real for me. Yet in creating the characters for my own story, I stumbled on the fact that somehow all my characters seem to be rough copies of characters from other books/manga's/movies.

    (To me) my proteganist sounds to much like Annakin Skywalker, my mentor sounds to much like Obi-Wan, I have a little girl with special powers who is turning out to be Alvin from Last Exile, my female counterpart sounds more and more like Starling from Hobbs books, I could go on.

    I see two possibilities; either I'm subconciously picking cool characters and try to recreate them, or I's just read/seen to much books/managas/movies.

    Now for the actual question; should I actively try to differ my characters from their already famous alter-ego's, or should I just keep on writing, and risk that eventually my proteganist has a son named Luke and the wanna be-Alvin starts up a huge spaceship.

    Your two cents are apreciated
     
  2. Kylie
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    Kylie Contributing Member

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    I try to make my characters different just because I personally don't like reading books that have similar characters that another book has. I think it's when the plot of the book is similar we tend to think that the character should be too (it's the 'easiest pick'). That's not true; characters are a big part of what makes one book differ from another one.

    I don't know any of the books or characters you named, but I'll say this- try adding some twists (keeping some similarities is fine) that will make your character unique (the reader'll appreciate it).
     
  3. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Don't worrt about it. There are tons of stories out there, your character(s) is/are bound to resemble some other character.
     
  4. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    You might want to take a harder look at your characters and their "real-life" equivalents. Are your characters JUST LIKE these other characters? Or do they just resemble them in a few key ways, but are much different in others?

    I ask because every character is going to resemble some other character in some way, at some time. Nothing is 100% original. You might be worrying yourself over nothing.

    If, however, you do find that your characters seem to be exact carbon copies of other characters, then you might need to work on developing them a bit more. This doesn't mean avoiding reading other people's work. :D It just means working more on YOUR characters, to keep them YOUR characters. If you made them the same as somebody else's, then surely you can develop them to make them different. Get to know them better and you'll probably find that they're a lot more different than you thought.

    And don't worry if they end up still somewhat resembling the other characters because like I said, nothing is 100% original. I bet all my characters resemble other people's characters in books I've never even read!
     
  5. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    I agree, and even if they do share some characteristics, there is little chance that a reader will connect the different characters from different media.

    Besides its always fun to think about how famous characters would have done in different settingsā€¦. Anikin as a 12th century knight or Captin Nemo as a NYC cop.
     
  6. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    There is no way that your characters are going to somehow resemble characters in your favorite books/movies/ect. You can clearly detect the characters that directly influenced my MC.
     
  7. Last1Left
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    Last1Left Active Member

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    I think a reason your characters may resemble others in popular media is just by the nature of their roles. Of course a headstrong student taught by a wise mentor is reminiscent of Anniken and Obi-Wan, but it's also the same for millions of other characters. I really don't think it's a problem in the end.

    Besides, if a character is always interacting with your plot and other characters, there's no way (unless you blatantly plagiarize one work) to come up with a character who is exactly the same.
     
  8. Fiction52
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    Fiction52 New Member

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    IMO, as long as your parallels to star wars are not as close as (cougheragon) it shouldn't be perceived as one.
     
  9. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    You think Obi Wan was an original character? He can be traced back to The Odyssey.
     
  10. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    That's true. The classical western mythological references of Star Wars are legendary.

    Luke and Leia = Artemis and Apollo
    Obi Wan is very similar to Odysseus while Anakin is a lot like Achilles
    Yoda can be compared to the centaur that trained hercules

    I say don't worry about it. People will relate your characters to others they are familiar with no matter what you do. I know I do it. Write the best story you can and worry about other things later. There's no real point in writing if you cna't have fun with it and trust someone who knows, worrying about these things = very unfun :(.
     
  11. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    yer over thinking it. Just go with what you got. If it sucks or looks much like a copy cat, trust me, people will let you know.
     
  12. Honeybun
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    Honeybun Active Member

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    I absolutely agree with you that characters eventually 'look' alike... but the thing that makes you stand out as a distinguished writer is your capacity to add twists and unusual environment to your story that affects the protagonist and leads him/her to change.
     
  13. ecanusia16
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    ecanusia16 Member

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    There's nothing wrong with your characters looking like some other characters you've come across. Actually, it's subconsciously linked that the best stories are made that way. It's funny you mentioned Star Wars because its one of the best examples in the market.

    Joseph Campbell's "Hero with a Thousand Faces" (it's quite a bible for writers everywhere. I'd suggest studying it to get a grasp at comparative mythology/blah) discusses that the best stories follow a formula that makes it appeal to the public. And guess what! Your hero, Anakin Skywalker, Neo (from The Matrix), Frodo, are the staple heroes in every story.

    If you really think about it, dont most story have a formulaic touch? At first the hero might be somebody who doesnt fit in, or wants 'something else' beyond conformity. The call for adventure comes and he has to leave his usual world. Then a mentor appears (Obi Wan Kenobi, Morpheus, Gandalf, Dumbledore) who guides the hero more or less while he's coming into terms with his new world.

    Simply speaking, it's not a big deal if your story contains similar elements with other stories. It might mean you're on the right track! I guess the trick is shedding new light into the characters, maybe adding something a reader haven't seen before. (e.g. your mentor might be portrayed as terribly critical on your main character because he secretly wishes he had the main character's quest for himself hehe).

    Here's a link for further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monomyth

    Hope it helps!
     

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