1. Bookworm452
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    Bookworm452 New Member

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    Struggling with characterisation

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Bookworm452, Jan 7, 2015.

    My main character (told in 1st person) has complex PTSD, anger issues and has trouble reading people. She has more of a strategic intelligence rather than an academic one, is bitter and cynical.
    And I'm struggling to characerise all of that in the narrative because I know my character, I don't necessarily know all of her thoughts but I know her reactions. I'm struggling with getting her thoughts down onto paper. Especially the lack of people skills because of the entire way that books tell stories...
    And I know looking up the symptoms of complex PTSD isn't enough. I've already been recommended to go to a PTSD support group.
    But I was wondering if anyone had advice or suggestions or anything really.
    Thanks.
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is it possible you're overthinking things? You want to write a story, I assume, not a psychological profile. So if you know how your character reacts to things, give her a plot and let her start reacting.
     
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  3. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    When you describe your character thus, are you not making her apparently more complicated than she is? For example, comparing strategic intelligence to academic when the term strategic intelligence is probably a euphemism for common sense.

    The strength of your character will be in her actions/reactions/motives et. al., not in some arbitrary description.
     
  4. Bookworm452
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    Bookworm452 New Member

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    BayView, yes. That's entirely possible. It's not of reacting things. It's more of the narration and how to get that down on paper.
    SwampDog, possible. Strategic intelligence is how someone said it to me. I know, which is what I'm struggling to get across on paper but that's what drafts are for, I suppose...
     
  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    How much experience do you have with writing? If you've written lots before and this is your method and it works for you, ignore me and carry on!

    But if this is your first try? It sounds like maybe you're overfocusing on the character as a way to avoid the writing itself. Writing is hard.
     
  6. Bookworm452
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    Bookworm452 New Member

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    Not necessarily lots. But I've written fanfiction, a few plays and I've had a previous manuscript which I ended up not liking.
    Probably. I know.
     
  7. Empty Bird
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    You've got her issues, it seems (poor thing, she seems to have a few).

    Remember that someone's character isn't all about flaws and struggles and what problems they suffer from. It sounds like you need to start building a world for your character to get into. It's brilliant having a gritty chracter who is solid to you, but you need to make sure (as has already been mentioned, forgive me) that she's not just a bunch of tied together words. Reading about her doesn't make me feel much for her. Work on getting her to be a little more...human.

    At the moment, she seems to be much like a wobbly amount of research and big words. Smooth her into the story, don't plonk her into one because you want to write about a complicated character. She's got quite a few jagged edges in terms of character- make her a little more realistic.

    Hope that was at least somewhat helpful.
     
  8. Bookworm452
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    Bookworm452 New Member

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    Empty Bird, originally I was going to post about my main character but I've been talking with a friend and we came to the conclusion that it's not the conveying the character that's the problem (like I thought it was). It's the narrative tone...
    I'm not sure if I should create a new thread for that though.
     

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