1. khat
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    khat New Member

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    Trouble with boring character

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by khat, Mar 27, 2008.

    In my book/story, my character starts out as a slightly superficial teenager who lives a very ordinary life. She has a few things that are a little different about her (she is a different religion than the other members of her immediate family-though for her it is more of a circumstance of birth- she is not very religious, or interested in religion) but otherwise she goes to school, is pretty and popular, hangs out with friends, etc. She then has an outside circumstance that turns her world and the world around her upside down and puts her in a situation where she has to do a very scary thing to save a person she loves from suffering and possibly death. I don't want to give any other details bc I don't want that to skew anyone's ideas about how this person should be. Anyway, I am really having trouble establishing this character at the beginning of the book, when her world is normal. I am bascially having trouble with the plot at the beginning, too. The rest of the book I have down, just not the beginning. I don't want to paint her as totally superficial, just your normal teenager who has never really been challenged yet. Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Pentip
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    Pentip Member

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    So what do you want help with?
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The problem, as I see it, is you already have her labelled as boring and superficial in your mind. If that was your first impression when you met someone, did you bother to get to know them? Did you want to?

    When you begin writing about a character, you are getting to know or her, and your readers are along for the same ride. Start with a character who is already interesting to you, and let her grow from there through the obstacles you set before her.

    You may end up having to do some major revision of the parts you have already written, but hopefully you have already planned on several revision passes anyway.
     
  4. pegasi_quill
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    pegasi_quill Member

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    Give her an interesting personality, deep. Write about her ordinary life in an extraordinary way so that it appeals to readers. The characters themselves are not boring, you know, unless portrayed in a boring way.

    So make sure you use your writing skills to make her a live person coming off the pages of your book/novel.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if the change in her is the basis for the book's premise, then why not start out with a bang, later in the story when she's interesting, then go back to the boring person she was before her metamorphosis and tell us what happened to change her?...

    thing is, if you start out with a boring character, you'll bore the readers and lose them before they get to the third page...
     
  6. khat
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    khat New Member

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    Thanks for your input! You are right- if I start out thinking she is boring- she will be. I need to do a little more reflection before I start writing the beginning of this book. The problem is that I have the rest of the plot ready to go- just not the beginning. Maybe if I explore the main character's personality in more depth, the beginning will reveal itself to me. Thanks again!
     
  7. Vayda
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    Vayda Senior Member

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    I have a technique I've used for situations like this. I give my characters an extremely quirky classmate (or co-worker, in one case) and try to see my character through the classmate's eyes. The classmate is always a stock character, generally a wildly different worldview than the average person. So my stock character, Vayda, meets new character XYZ on their first day in the high school. Vayda may assume they're boring and superficial at first, but then she attends a class where they have to talk about what they did over the summer. What does Vayda think of this new girl? How she dresses, acts, talks? I take one character whom I know better than I know myself and have her and my newbie "meet"...just to see how it works out.
     
  8. mikespread1988
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    mikespread1988 Member

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    Yeah I kinda come across this type of thing once in a while, especially when writing for comedy.

    Generally what I do when a character isn't interesting enough I try and consider what their likes are in terms of food, transport, whatever, and get down to the nitty gritty of their personality. I generally think of my own likes and dislikes and how this can be compared to the character. Maybe you'll come across something that's interesting and intriguing for the reader to delve into, such as an incident in the past they were responsible for or a part of their life which was generally upsetting and depressing.

    I know this may sound a bit depressing in itself and bring it down but I always find that a character with bad points about their personality has a more intriguing effect on the book.

    I think bad characteristics are better for character development.

    Works for me anyway :)
     
  9. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    Have you considered the possibility that you already have your beginning? It might simply need to be developed. If you've begun your story in the middle of the action, where your character's personality is there for all to see, why claw back to a time when nothing happens? After your character has overcome her initial dilemma, there'll be plenty of time to let us see how she acts in everyday time. Don't worry about what might be in the past - carry on developing what you have. Good luck with it.
     
  10. Master Hand
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    Master Hand New Member

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    Starting en media res looks like the best idea for this particular character. Either that, or construct a "day in the life" of this character. Try and see everything from this character's perspective as she goes about a typical day. If you can be someone, you can make someone interesting. Better yet, combine the previous two techniques.
     
  11. Honorius
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    Honorius Active Member

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    to make her more interesting you could add something odd like her favorite food is raw kangaroo over burnt onion fries (that may be a little over the top)

    or you could just change her situation so fast there isnt a chance to make her seem boring

    or you could do just that... make her boring... i happen to be a mild anime fan and have noticed that often enough a character doesn't have to be all that special... something as simple as using a lot of sarcassam or thinking to themselves tends to be enough... though there is often an odd character like i mentioned
     

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