1. Boom Bach
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    Boom Bach Member

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    The introduction is..difficult.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Boom Bach, Jun 8, 2010.

    Okay my introduction is becoming very difficult. There are seven characters which the opening introduces the main character. It is told in third person but follows Dallas(the main character). The other seven are his only classmates. But my introductions usually take long times and you learn of them maybe far into the story. But this one is a survival story. And once they are stuck in the wilderness they are out from any contact. Can anyone give me tips on how I can make the introduction of these characters? Thank you.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Try to focus on one character at a time. Show that character doing something that helps the reader understand that character, and also as a mnemonic ("Oh, right, Shannon was the one who was trapped under the fallen tree branch and had to dig with a jagged rock to free herself.")
     
  3. Sophie-Jane94
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    Sophie-Jane94 New Member

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    You could try and introduce them all in dialogue, with brief details e.g.

    (Alex frowned at Dallas, running his hand through his shaggy black hair. "Where's Lisa?")

    This probably isn't that helpful, but I'm trying >.< :)
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't recommend bending over backwards to give physical descriptions. Alex is thinking about Lisa, not about what his hair looks like. The shaggy black hair yanks the reader out of the moment to show him or her a snapshot.
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It's hard to introduce several characters at once. The reader can get confused when there are too many characters introduced or present in a scene. Introduce them in small groups. That makes it a lot easier on the reader, and it might even be easier for the writer.
     
  6. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    That's what I was thinking..

    Thirdwind has the idea. If you introduce so many people at once it will be hard to keep them all straight. Do it gradually.
     
  7. Smelnick
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    Smelnick Member

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    I'd say go with the gradual introduction method. So if Dallas is your main character, just follow him through the start of the story. Introduce the characters in the order that he'd encounter them. Maybe one of them is his best friend who meets him at his bus, since he gets to school before Dallas due to him living closer to the school... and through explaining why he got there earlier than Dallas, you can give details about his home life, himself maybe.

    Then maybe Dallas and his friend encounter Susan in the hall way. Maybe she brushes past them because she's in a hurry to get to class. Using that scene, you can describe a little about Susan, and it can also be a tool to reveal a bit more of Dallas and his friend's characters. Maybe they don't get why she's rushing since it's still 5 minutes to class or something. Revealing laidbackness or something.

    Naturally, those are just some examples. If you use your imagination though, you can come up with some pretty creative ways of introducing and portraying your characters, without breaking up the flow of your story intro too much.
     
  8. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Introduction through dialogue is not a good idea. Names, without some backgrounds, talking to each other will only make the readers confuse. May be it will work for 2 or 3 chars... but 7 people talking at a single time will be too loud to hear anything ;)


    It'll be advantages to give a glimpse of what kind of individuals they are and also give us some conflicts before they embark on the journey. Who is the jolly/goofy one? who is the serious one? Who is the macho type? Who is in love with whom? Are there conflicts between two guys/two girls over a girl/guy? One, this will help paint a mental picture of the chars in the readers mind. Two, you can later show how their characters changes once they are lost in the wilderness..... the goofy char can emerge as a leader once pushed to the extreme, the macho char can become the weakling... and lots of other possibilities.
     
  9. rainy
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    rainy Senior Member

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    We don't really need to know everything about each char right up front. First, we want to know the MC. He's our guide through your world, so set him up first and foremost. Let the others develop as the story goes on. Give us a little bit here and there to anchor the scene, but we really don't need to know every detail in the first chapter. As the story unfolds, so should the facets of the chars.

    Think about when you first meet someone in real life. You learn little things about them. They always keep their hair the same way, or they dress up their dogs in clothes and take them to the zoo. But as time goes on, you learn more about them and they become more multi dimensional people. Treat your story chars the same way.

    Since there are so many chars to start out, you probably should prioritize them based on plot and their over all use in the story. For example, whichever girl is the love interest should be given more time and space, earlier on, than the girl that winds up separated from the party for days.

    You could also consider giving them each a POV, but that would be trickier.

    Best luck,

    //R
     
  10. valdein lawnstin
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    valdein lawnstin Member

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    first are these characters the best of friends, or did they just meet?
    if they just met then you can have a pan around the room if your character is methodical. but if your charecter iswell known to these people create a sililaque.
    "hay jack,"
    Jack took this survival class with me after i begged him to come along. I really wanted him here because he makes me feel secure. secretly i really wanted to get to know him better but didn't want to let him know i was romantically interested.

    if there is no prior knowlege of each other maybe try something like this

    jane sat at the back of the class because she didn't really want to be called on, she didn't know the subject that well and didn't have her book yet. she looked at the class, it seemed rather small(big) being a (whatever subject) class, right away she noticed a handsome young man in the desk infront of her, he was her type broad sholders comfadent look on his face, a glance at jane , so on so on.

    that is typically how i would introduce a lot of characters. in my book my character meets his tribe only four characters matter, it is in first person so a sililaque is easier to put in but it is doable in third person
     

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