1. creative_nothings
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    creative_nothings Member

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    That one stubborn character...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by creative_nothings, Feb 21, 2013.

    So, I'm wondering if anyone else has this problem and what you do to solve it. I'm working on a novel with three necessary main characters: one a male dwarf, one a male half-elf, and the last is a female full-blood elf. All three will be integral to the story I have in my mind and I've done extensive background and profiles on the two male characters, but... The female is still just a thought to the story with the only real substance being that she was once fighting to protect her home and is now a captured slave. Beyond that, I have no idea how or why I can't develop her. So, when you are stuck for ideas developing a character, what kinds of things do you do to spark some creativity?
     
  2. GhostWolfe
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    GhostWolfe Member

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    Perhaps try an identify certain 'landmarks' in the backgrounds for the first two characters that you could use to create a sort of template? What kind of information do you know about the "filled out" characters that you don't about the last one?

    Personally, I'm a very disorganised writer. I tend not to bother about that sort of stuff until it comes up in the story >_>
     
  3. creative_nothings
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    creative_nothings Member

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    Normally it wouldn't bother me too much about not having a character at least somewhat developed before starting a novel because sometimes a character will just develop itself, but I can't even settle on a name for this one yet (currently, I call her elf-chic) :D I guess I'm just having trouble even visualizing her and am close to scrapping her from the story idea and reworking but I really feel like she could contribute (but only if she ever decides to get her own voice and identity!!).
     
  4. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    You can make her have an obscure background at first that contradicts the more detailed and apparent backgrounds of the other two characters. Then in the course of the story you can give it away bit by bit, giving her opportunities to talk about her past, or having her meet with someone that knows about it and reveals part of it for whatever reason.
    You can also give it as a subtext from the interactions between the three (i suppose they will be forming a party at some point if not from the get-go). Pure-blood elves despise half-elves and call them "half-men", which is a demeaning term that refers to a cripple instead of "half-elf" which refers to their lineage. They generally don't like dwarves much, but they have respect for skilled artisans so if your dwarf is one then the difference in treatment between the two would be apparent if she had grown up among elves. If she had lived apart from elvish settlements though and among humans or dwarves before being a slave, then her behavior towards the half-elf would be much better.

    You can just start writing about her and discover more of her as you go. I do it with most of my secondary characters.
     
  5. Phoenix Hikari
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    Phoenix Hikari Contributing Member

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    What I do, and that might not necessarily work for you, is I try to be the character- sounds silly. One way for me to get close to my characters is to sit down and close my eyes and try to imagine I am them, it might feel stupid, but sometimes it works. Another way for me is to write and not worry about that character's background, as the story progresses, the character becomes a fully-built person with dreams, emotions and background.

    Somethings are better left unforced because they become more logical and appealing when they come naturally. But as always, whatever works for you.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    First, your character will go through an arc during the course of the story, so she doesn't have to be fully developed at the beginning.

    That said, you might start by writing a scene or two about her. Not a scene that will be part of the finished novel (at least, it doesn't have to be), but a scene just for you, so that you get to know her better. I do this all the time - it's how I figure out what my stories will be about. Maybe you could write about her daily grind as a slave - is there anything about it that reminds her of her life before her home was threatened and before she was captured? (This isn't as crazy as it may sound.) Was her life wonderful and idyllic before her capture, or did she have it tough then, too? There's plenty of stuff you could write about her that isn't part of your story. The simple act of writing this material will trigger all kinds of new ideas in your mind, and you'll find her growing and firming up right before your eyes.
     
  7. Bimber
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    Bimber Contributing Member

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    On a personal note i dont see a point why each story has to follow those rules, why each dwarf has to hate elves and vice versa, that ends us in most stories that each dwarf has to be a Gimli


    @creative_nothings: Think of her struggles how was she before and how she became, did slavery break, how much did it effect her, what are her personal issues... like others said work around and test her and see and she will show herself and than keep testing her some more the more you do the more you get to know her
     
  8. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Since he asked in a forum for information, i assumed he was asking about the accepted practice. In the fantasy world 90% of the times elves and dwarves don't get along with each other. Since elves usually love forests and animals and are vegetarians and stuff, and dwarves love rocks and caves and beer and fun and eat half a horse for breakfast, these two races are polar opposites of each other and as such don't get along very well. If he is creating a completely new background for dwarves and elves unrelated to any world of fantasy then asking for advice would be mute.
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Not to be too nit-picky, but that's "moot", not "mute." "Moot" means subject to debate; "mute" means silent or muffled.

    Sorry. It's just that this is one of my pet peeves, language-wise.
     
  10. Bimber
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    Bimber Contributing Member

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    Why would it be? his not asking for history but character development, sure history can bring out some tension between races if there is any but each character is defined by his/her own personality and characteristics...

    And as far as dwarfs and elves go according to their creator Tolkien in the Silmarillion it was said they actually liked each other and worked together till one elven king Thingol ask the dwarfs to forge him a necklace and place the simlarillion in it, dwarfs made it but were so much in love with their work and the jewel refused to give it back and killed Thingol, and after it the two races never trusted each other
     
  11. creative_nothings
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    creative_nothings Member

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    Thank you all for the great responses to help get me focused on this character. I'll be trying these ideas out over the next few days :)

    @Bimber I agree and have read many stories with mixed race MC's. I understand the norms though and as such must shine with the writing so my readers don't wonder why these characters don't instinctively hate each other.

    Whats really cool is after reading everyone's posts here, ideas are already flowing! Thanks everyone!
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I see from your profile that you are male. Do you have difficulty getting into the heads of female characters in general? If so, you may need to pay more attention to women, with the goal of understanding them as individual people. Observe them, again as people.
     
  13. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Tolkien didn't create either the elves or the dwarves. Mythologically they are first created in the Norse and then appear in the Germanic mythology. Tolkien is just the most famous representative of the fantasy genre of the 20th century.
     
  14. creative_nothings
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    creative_nothings Member

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    I don't generally have too much difficulty writing female characters but this one particular MC just seems to be fighting me for some reason. :D Still a great suggestion! Thanks!
     

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