1. Victoria Andersen
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    Victoria Andersen New Member

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    Something Different

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Victoria Andersen, Sep 16, 2013.

    Hi people! This is my first thread here, so if I break some sort of secret rule, please have mercy.
    So, I'm writing a story with 13 main characters (yes, thirteen), and I've got a firm grip on every character except one. I want him to be different from the others, but everything that I come up with seems stale and overused. Here are the other twelve characters (highly generalized):
    1. The Leader (guy)
    2. The Clutz (girl)
    3. The Playboy (guy)
    4. The Shy Girl (girl)
    5. The Nerd (guy)
    6. The Mother (metaphorically. She's the same age as everyone else) (girl)
    7. The Whore (girl)
    8. The Poet (guy)
    9. The Philosopher (guy)
    10. The Fighter (girl)
    11. The Dumb Blond (girl)
    12. The Farm Boy (guy)

    So, I think I want this last character to be self-centered, because later in the story, he loses a leg and injures his other one and that ends up making him a better person. Also, he is good looking, and the brother of the dumb blond. He ends up marrying the fighter girl.
    So, hit me with your best shot! Thanks.
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Wow. You're describing all of your dozen main characters with one or two words, and you're worried that this thirteenth one will seem "stale and overused"? It seems to me that "stale and overused" can describe the Nerd, the Dumb Blonde, the Whore, the Playboy ... I think you see where I'm going with this. How old are these characters, and what kind of situation are they in? Are they all together or are they opposed to each other? Give us a little something to go on here ...

    Are you sure you're not getting too ambitious with this? It's better to have one good, unique, complex character than a dozen stock characters. I don't want to come across as harsh, but I think you should take a step back and look as objectively as you can at what you're doing.

    Of course, if you're committed to this story, then by all means write it. When you meet the requirements for posting work for review, we'd love to see a chapter or two to see what you're doing. Then we'll be able to give you specific help.
     
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  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I was basically going to say what minstrel said. Labels aren't what make your characters different from one another. You could have thirteen characters who are all poets, and they would, if written correctly, all be different. Focus on what makes them unique (personality, experiences, etc.), and build off of that.

    I also agree that you may be too ambitious here. Maybe it would be better to have one or two main characters and have the other characters be minor characters. I'm guessing this is what will end up happening because it's very hard to have thirteen main characters in a novel.
     
  4. Victoria Andersen
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    Victoria Andersen New Member

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    While this may be my first thread on this website, I'm not a complete novice when it comes to fiction writing. I know that it's crazy to have thirteen main characters, but I've got a plan for them, and the descriptions that I've put up are just the basics. I have two solid pages of notes on each character's personality, history, romantic connections, friends, enemies, and other important details. I just didn't think that it would be necessary to add to this post.
    The background for this is basically a third-world society where people believe in magic and elemental power, and these characters are the representatives of each individual element. They live together in a compound type residence, and the men (and the fighter girl) defend the people.
    I'm really trying to not sound arrogant, and I very much appreciate your advice and where it's coming from, but I do have a pretty good idea of what I'm doing. Of course, there's always the chance that it could go horribly wrong, but I think I might be able to pull this off.
     
  5. Victoria Andersen
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    Victoria Andersen New Member

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    Oh, and their ages range from 15-18 years old. In their world, 16 is the age of adulthood.
     
  6. TessaT
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    TessaT Contributing Member

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    I hope your characters are more unique than you've currently described. If I could describe my main character by a stereotype, I'd scrape him/her. Personally, I hate reading books where the characters are cookie mold cutouts of previously done stories. Not saying that's what yours are, but with what you've given us, that's what they sound like.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2013
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  7. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    I'm not sure what archetype The Farm Boy is. BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT YOU ASKED!

    switching analogies for a second, you're missing Raphael and Michelangelo. I don't know how young you are, but I assume you are too young to understand that. Watch this video

    No that you've watched the video you seem to have bits of the turtles split up into 13 people. So to make it relatable we have to find the attribute from the turtles that is missing here.

    I think you have space for Party Girl/Guy, Angry Guy, Righteous Judge, and Narcissist.

    At times like this I think of my circle of friends in college. There was one guy that nobody really liked. He was racist, sexist, generally offensive and didn't bath frequently. He behaved as if he was our leader, trying to boss people around or control them. No one put up with it. Looking at it, he was probably Autistic. But we put up with him because he was our friend. That might be an interesting character to write.
     
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  8. Victoria Andersen
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    Victoria Andersen New Member

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    I l
    I know! That's my pet peeve, when characters are stereotypical and boring, but everyone likes them anyway.
    Trust me, I've got a good plan for every character. For example, the shy girl is really mute, but she has strong opinions. She doesn't share them, both because she physically can't and because her sub-culture discouraged women participating in manly conversations. She is gifted in embroidery and harp-playing, and she falls for the Playboy, even though she knows that he will not reciprocate her feelings. She does not share her feelings with anyone, meditates with the Philosopher, and is almost raped by the Leader when he is infected by a magical virus that brings out his dark side.
    All of that is in the first half of the story.
    And what about him being a dreamer? He wants to get away from his old life, do something big, be famous. He doesn't think of anyone else, or of how he could end up hurting them, but he's not going to go out of his way to be mean. He's just going to do things his way, to get what he wants.
     
  9. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It's not, and it's good that you didn't. Detailed descriptions wouldn't really have helped because it's your story, so only you know how each character fits. Thinking about what types of jobs need to be done in the compound might be a place to start. You might have a character who's good at engineering or medicine or agriculture. The Nerd can't do all the work. ;)
     
  10. Victoria Andersen
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    Victoria Andersen New Member

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    Sorry, I used to live in a farming community. I wanted to pay an homage of sorts to the people I used to know.
    I like the idea of the narcissist, as long as he can still be a likable character.
    That does sound like an interesting character. It reminds me of Mark Zuckerberg from the Social Network, or Daniel Atlas from Now You See Me (they're both played by Jesse Eisenberg).
    Thanks for your input!
     
  11. Victoria Andersen
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    Victoria Andersen New Member

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    Thank goodness. I really did not want to type all of that out.
    Actually, I was thinking that the Playboy (who turns out to be a complete coward) would be a tinkerer/blacksmith who makes weapons for the group, and the Whore would be good with healing herbs and medicines. Do you think that that could be believable?
     
  12. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes, but it depends on how good of a writer you are (i.e., how good you are of convincing readers).
     
  13. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Knowing nothing about the character I don't like the playboy being a technical type. I don't think it really meshes. I'd like to see the Clutz, or the Philosopher/Nerd do it. The Philosopher/Nerd because building weapons requires a great deal of thinking. The Clutz because I just think that's funny.

    That's doesn't clear. Why does he have to be likeable? Is every character you're writing supposed to be likeable?
     
  14. Victoria Andersen
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    Victoria Andersen New Member

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    Maybe Playboy isn't the best term to use. It's more like he acts like he'a God's gift to women, and he's fine with casual sex.
    The blacksmith thing isn't something he's proud of; it's more like he makes te things for others and then leaves them where they'll find them, and pretends that he doesn't know anything about it, even though the others know that he made them.
    He has to have good aspects to his character because he's going to turn out good in the end.
     
  15. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    My brother is apprenticing to be a blacksmith, and it's not like...sketching or some shit. It's not a hobby. It's exhaustive, sweaty, backbreaking work, the product of several hours of concentrated effort. Not the kind of thing you successfully hide from your friends.

    And making weapons? Like a sword? That's really about a month of work, 14 hours a day, for two people.

    I don't think he needs to be a good person to turn out good in the end, in fact I think it's better if he's not a good person at all, and yet still manages to do a good thing.
     
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  16. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You say these are not stock characters or stereotypes? Why is the man "Playboy" and the woman "Whore"? How about a manwhore? Why does the woman act nurturing with her herbs and stuff? She could be the technical type. She could be the blacksmith. The poet could be the techie. Not sure how a dumb blond can be a multi-dimensional, non-stereotypical character if that defines her; being a blond and dumb to boot. She could be the dumb redhead (let me guess, the fighter girl is a redhead)!

    I like the idea of an Asshole type as the, well, 'different' character, though. But maybe he has a thing with, like, training dogs or something, and sometimes you see this dickwad playing around with his puppies. Also, perhaps make sure that he does remain as their friend instead of being the 'new guy,' introduced to a tightly knit group, cos it might difficult to break in if he's a dick. Unless he's real good-looking, and all the straight/bi women and gay/bi guys really want him in for eyecandy.

    In any case, sounds interesting, so good luck!

    EDIT: I almost forgot, welcome to the forums :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
  17. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    A "manwhore" is called a rake.
     
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  18. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Lol, yeah, or a roué. Perhaps we should call womanwhores 'ladies who frequently engage in twilight discourses.'
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
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  19. Victoria Andersen
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    Victoria Andersen New Member

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    Ok, thanks everyone! I have a firm grip on the character now.
     
  20. TessaT
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    TessaT Contributing Member

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    So now I'm curious, did you go with dreamer? lol.
     
  21. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    This has been... interesting. I hope we've all learned at least one thing (whatever it is) from reading this. B)
     
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  22. Victoria Andersen
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    Victoria Andersen New Member

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    Y
    Yes, I did.
     
  23. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    What do you mean "Y"? Is that supposed to be "Why?" Let's not abbreviate that much on a writing forum. It messed with my inconsistent OCD...
    And why what? Why learn something? Because it's good to learn things. :p "Knowledge is power," they say.
     
  24. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    I would put some money down that she started writing "yes" got one letter in, realized she should quote you, put the quote in the middle of "yes" and kept writing.

    li
    ke this
     
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  25. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    That is a good point... but my compartmentalized mind missed that possibility with text-speech being so prevalent these days. :p
     

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