1. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    The character pool loves to throw you a wild card...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by lordofhats, Apr 12, 2009.

    Right so I've been writing the character and I just got done with a scene where he essentially tortures a man for information, promising not to kill him, and then kills him anyway when he gets what he wants. Without even realizing it I think my character's become a mini-sociopath. It's pretty far of from what I originally intended for him to be. originally he was suppose to be an ultra too serious guy obsessed with a black and white view of justice, but now he's more lackadaisical, far more self-righteous than I originally intended, and a wee bit sadistic (imagine Batman + Blade via the Joker and that's about right XD).

    This is the first time one of my characters has ever gone off and done his own thing. It's sort of exciting in one way, but in another I'm a wee bit disturbed Josiah's turned out darker than I originally wanted him to be. I wouldn't call him a villain cause he's not so bad on the inside (more misguided) but that may of been one of the darkest things I've ever written. Other characters in the story have been doing similar things since the last two or three chapters. Not necessarily sadistic, but going off on tangents from what I'd originally intended from them.

    So I want to ask. Has the character pool ever thrown you a wild card? I know lots of people say characters take lives of their own, but have they ever done a U-turn on you and run off like a mad rabbit? If so what happened?
     
  2. OneMoreNameless
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    OneMoreNameless Contributing Member

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    Normally I plan heavily, so this doesn't really happen to me, but I can think of exactly one example where it has; an important female character was supposed to end up fairly desperate by the end of the story, giving up her former alliances just to try and survive herself. She had done some bad things, but was still one of the most sympathetic characters by this point. Originally I'd intended her to help the protagonist then flee the scene, but due to a few dark events and some convoluted trust and betrayal, she ended up slowly breaking down far more than I'd planned, fallen (obsessively and unrequited) for the protagonist and was all but suicidal by the climax. o_O

    Her actions stayed virtually as planned, but her motivations during the last few chapters were ... yeah. It was kind of sad, but in an awesome way.
     
  3. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    The villian in my first novel did. She was supposed to be a heartless evil vampire trying to become world dictator. Instead, her heart was in the right place, but she went about things the wrong way. I had to change the ending, but it turned out better than I planned. It also made her character deeper.
     
  4. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Characters don't usually get away from me that much cause I know them so well and these tangents are expected if they happen.

    My characters are pretty consistent but they have their episodes. But they are not surprising to me, but I hope they are surprising to the viewers.
     
  5. dagda24
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    dagda24 Member

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    I have a character that was a large support character in my first novel, who has now gone on to become the main character across three more stories. I never intended for him to become so prominant but as I was writing him he just became more and more interesting.
     
  6. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    Every time I write I actually hope for this kind of thing to happen. Even though the character is still technically under your control, that's how you know they've finally become real enough. You could force them back into what you wanted, but why would you want to do that when you've finally gotten a creature that has motivations real enough that they are it's driving force instead of the requirements of the story? Sure, it's a new and unintended story, but a "real" character is by definition more interesting anyway, and you can always go back and write the one you were planning to in the first place. There's an infinite number of potential stories out there.
     
  7. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    I say if he's chosen a path different than what you wanted, let him go through with it and see where it leads you. I don't like making outlines because I feel they choke a story and end up making things harder for the writer rather than helping them.

    Sometimes giving your character the reins can lead a story down an interesting path that usually ends up being better than someone planned.
     
  8. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    I can't keep a rein on my characters for the life of me. I just give them a vague goal and then write down the chaos that ensues. I've given up trying to actually plan everything- I just have a general idea of where things are going and hope the characters end up there.
     
  9. Cazaric
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    Cazaric New Member

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    I have had this happen only recently in my writing, with my main character. He was originally intended as a naive, nice guy. But about a year ago, I changed the plan on the story, and tore all he knew in the world violently away. I intended him to get revenge on the people who did it, but I never expected it would transform him completely.

    He's gone from a shy, naive, friendly character to one who is brooding more often than not, and who is exceedingly unforgiving. And to add to this, he has developed an alarming taste for violence. He will kill anyone to further what he sees are good causes, and is merciless when commanding a battalion in a war. So he's done a complete U-turn from being the naive, trusting hero to being a dark, brooding anti-hero. He's much more interesting this way.

    So I know exactly what you mean.
     
  10. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    I don't generally have this thing come up - as I usually spend a lot of time developing my characters - but I do have the characters go off on their own tangent sometimes when it comes to the relationships they have with each other, which, I think, is similar enough, and also quite wild in its own right.

    For example, in my current project, I already knew that the main character's father, the Emperor, was always somewhat aloof towards the main character, the Crown Prince. A little after I concocted this Emperor character, I realized part of this aloofness was because of the Emperor's tendency to be indecisive and overly cautious. But then the big bang came in when I learned that the Emperor was jealous of his own son - which did contrast from the more majestic, distant yet helpful and understanding character I first conceived.

    So my characters never (usually) do complete U-turns, but I always find out more interesting and sinister motives than from my original conception of them - same people on the outside, but they become different on the inside.
     
  11. wiggons
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    wiggons Member

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    Im not sure if this is a valid point but people in general are unpredictable soooo really anyone could suddenly do ANYTHING given the circumstances. You could have your character justify his killing of the guy- funnily enough i have a scene in my own story similar to what youve described.
    Tip of the hat lord of hats
     
  12. Jackalyn
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    Jackalyn New Member

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    I've experienced this. One of my characters whos supposed to be a grim but elegant fighter, decided that she's alot sillier and more Ivory Tower intellectual. I find it hard to get them back on the path, so it's easier just to go with it.
     
  13. Kacoshi Ajewl
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    Kacoshi Ajewl Member

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    Well lets see yes I have...Meet Keran...She started out as everything I hated in a person she was the popular beautiful leader of the cheer squad and happy about all that...then I put her into her story an odd tale of dimensions and keepers of the peace. She went from loving to be shallow to being a very confusing and deep young woman hiding behind her shallowness in order to feel accepted by her peers...thus leading me to become very annoyed with her to this day. XD then again I don't mind her really to much because she is probably one of my deepest characters to the point where sometimes I don't even really understand her.

    On the flip side I also had a young man who was very weak willed who suddenly decided to get into a verbal free-for-all with someone he would have normally ran and hid from. so in short...Characters do strange things for unknown reasons.
     
  14. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    A few of my characters have done this. But the only significant time it has happened besides a few good quotes and insults they've came up with (not my sense of humour) is when I, completely by accident, ended up with two of the most contrasting characters together.

    One of them is male, about thirty, and regarded the other as a problem, although she's necessary to his military campaign. The other is female, about fourteen, and regarded the other as a possible ally. It's strongly implied during the story that she's abused by her father, but whatever the reason she's probably one of the most disillusioned characters I've ever created.

    The two of them were alone after everyone else decided to leave the war council after her father and her 'guardian,' a mercenary gallowglasses in her father's employ, had one of their many arguments. Seonaidh, the male character, was desperate for their advice, and told her everything about why and how he was fighting the campaign, and what had happened to make him take it personally.
    The conversation between them is one of the most powerful things I've ever written, and drama is my speciality. It was nothing I could have thought of; I'm fifteen, I don't know really about this emotional stuff, although I suppose I know more than most people my age. It was as if my characters gave me knowledge of what those things really meant, which was pretty weird...
     
  15. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, he can be both. It's not unusual that people with very clear-cut black and white views of the world also are the greatest self-serving hypocrites.
     
  16. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    The only times this happens to me, I think, is with roleplaying characters. One in particular was supposed to be this happy-go-lucky optimistic airhead type person but quickly turned into a more traditionally heroic and often kinda serious character. I think the original one was just too far from my own personality, so I couldn't keep it up for long.

    I can't recall this ever happening in my stories, though.
     

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