1. semolinaro
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    semolinaro New Member

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    Trouble with character goals

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by semolinaro, Mar 25, 2016.

    The only character I'm having difficulties with is my main protagonist. All my other supporting characters have clear cut goals, quirks, and personality traits and they're a breeze to write, but my main character isn't, and it's really putting a stunt on my progress.

    The main issue is that I can't seem to find a goal that makes him tick, makes him relatable. If it helps, here's a little background.

    -He grew up in a poverty-stricken city
    -His father was lazy and his mother was sick, so he had to look after the family from a young age
    -He had to take up violence to survive and even committed murder just to get what he needed
    -His town is destroyed, and his mother dies as well
    -He becomes a target for hate speech and murder after it's discovered he's a monster
    -He has no idea how he became said monster
    -His father kept vital secrets

    Some goals I had in mind were finding out how he became a monster, uncovering his father's secrets, gaining his freedom (his society is closed off) and avenging his mother's death, but nothing seems to be moving it forward and I've been wracking my brain. He doesn't feel real enough with what I have right now, and I don't know how to go about developing his character.
     
  2. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    If he doesn't want to be a monster, he could look for some sort of "cure." If he does want to be a monster, he might look for other monsters to be with.
     
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  3. I Am Vague
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    I Am Vague Active Member

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    Hear me out for a second... This sounds like attack on titan. So much so, I can't ignore it. I mean, if you ignore bullet point saying his father was lazy and his mother was sick. It's amusing to me.

    Anyway... It's unclear what the plot is, and hard for me to give much helpful advice, so I could say maybe your character could be thrown into the mix of something bigger, and his motive is to get out of it/roll with it/ whatever. That would progress his story further, and maybe he'll find something along the way that will finally give him something to strive for.
     
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  4. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Seems like he should either get involved in some revolution or something, or else focus solely on fixing his own life issues. Something along those kind of lines. What's your overall plot? For me at least, a character's goals are significantly more easy to decide when you have a plot. Normally it's reasonably obvious at that point, if it's not already part of their initial character concept. If there's - doing - that this character won't like; maybe he stops them? If - tries to do - to him, he'll try to avoid it. So on.
     
  5. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Given all the happenstance you've listed, what does your character want? Now?

    Does he want to find something out, or change his life back to what it was before, or become better at what he does, or find other people in the same boat ...nail what he wants and you'll be on your way. (He could actually want all of those things, which would give you a complicated and interesting plot to follow.)

    What you don't want is for him to just drift through the story, making things happen, allowing stuff to happen to him, etc.
     
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  6. Elven Candy
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    Elven Candy Contributing Member

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    I had a serious issue with my main character not feeling "real" to me. In fact, it was so bad I started hating her and *almost* killed her off. Once I sat down and thought about it, I was able to figure out just what I hated about her: I was trying to make her too happy-go-lucky, and that ended up making her unrealistic with my writing skill. So, I decided instead to dig deep and figure out what trait or traits I really wanted to keep in her. These are:

    - She's loving and forgiving, though she struggles to forgive the people who were mean to her as she was growing up.
    - She craves being loved, and struggles with believing it's possible.
    Those are the driving forces of her personality which really helped me kick-start my story and make her believable (I already had a basic plot). That said, I also included these fun traits:

    - She's emotional, a bit of a drama queen, actually. Her emotions and thoughts shift quickly.
    - She really doesn't have a good sense of humor. If you make fun of her, she tends to take it seriously and get offended.
    - She tends to be oblivious to romance, though she knows when she finds a man attractive.

    I see a lot of background for your character, but no personality. Do you have a grip on his personality? Who he is and what really drives him?
     
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  7. GracieMalling
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    GracieMalling New Member

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    Could the fact that he *doesn't* have clear goals make him relatable? It sounds like his life has been full of dramatic - and traumatic - events and so maybe it would be natural for him to feel lost and confused: I think people could definitely relate to that.

    Rather than his goals, could you perhaps focus on other aspects of his character? For instance, how does he speak? How does he hold himself? What is he most afraid of? If he was in a room with you right now, how would you feel? Perhaps by really getting under his skin in this way, you might find that his goals sort of materialise on their own.

    Or I might just be rambling ;-).

    Hope this helps a bit :).
     
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  8. Sidetrack
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    Sidetrack Member

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    He grew up in a poverty-stricken city
    Does he want to be in another city that reminds him of this one?

    -His father was lazy and his mother was sick, so he had to look after the family from a young age
    Does he want to help someone now in the story that really needs it too?

    I would go down your list thinking that way.
     
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  9. Clairity36
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    Clairity36 New Member

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    Oh my gosh you are right, so close to Attack on Titan... such a good anime!
     

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