1. gabriellockhart
    Offline

    gabriellockhart Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Somewhere between fantasy and reality

    unconventional lead characters?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by gabriellockhart, Apr 6, 2010.

    I remember back in the days of yore when i first put pen to paper (literally) my lead characters where always men, great warriors and fighters, heroes of legend.

    But now my tastes have altered so much that my current view point characters are three sisters, with one being a cautious but intelligent wimp, a nervous shy lesbian and a overly curious bi-sexual.

    My question is do you find your lead characters have switched dramatically on you to things you didn't think you had the skill to write when you first started?
     
  2. Rechar
    Offline

    Rechar Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Same here.

    Its more to do with our own experiences. We start out as kids with the world at our feet and anything possible...our characters are those idealistic, perfect images.

    Then we grow up and get jaded, realise the world is generally crap and work that in.

    My old fantasy MC stereotype used to be the young hansome guy who finds himself pulled into the story. My current MC is a 90 year old alcoholic widower. :D
     
  3. gabriellockhart
    Offline

    gabriellockhart Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Somewhere between fantasy and reality
    I also find myself obsessed with the most convoluted relationships as well, stuff i wold steer my self well away from when i started, these days i deliberately ram my characters into it.

    Just the three mains alone have about 8 or 9 sexual and romantic relationships with a whole skew of baggage chucked into it s well just for kicks, my secondary and tertiary characterss are not immune to this complex web of political, personal, romantic and sexual relationships either.

    Ah back in the day when there where just friendships and enemies.:rolleyes:

    Now i could war and peace a run for its complexity of politics and character relationships:eek:.
     
  4. madhoca
    Offline

    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    the shadow of the velvet fortress
    I tend to write about ordinary people in unusual circumstances these days, and explore how they change. If they are heroic in the first place, it bores me. Likewise, writing about a nervous, shy lesbian would be less interesting to me than finding out what made her that way, or thinking about how she becomes more outgoing etc as a result of something. Just my personal perspective, of course.
     
  5. gabriellockhart
    Offline

    gabriellockhart Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Somewhere between fantasy and reality
    That madhoca is what happens at the start of the story she is just a shy farm girl aged 17 or 18, presumed to be straight, she talks about marriage, kids etc and owning an orchard but as the story progresses she grows in character, finding out she's gay etc.

    They continually evolve as people in a real away as possible given the fantastic and odd nature of the universe i've created, so the characters have to constantly re-evaluate who they are, what they stand for and who they choose to fight for.

    So the shy farm girl eventaully finds out she is attracted to women, etc. rather then just stating out and out and trying to run with it as a predisposed character trait, likewise the shyness will eventually go as the character develops.
     
  6. Link the Writer
    Online

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,221
    Likes Received:
    4,227
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    Oh yes, I have.

    I remember my first character, Heridon Copper. He was your typical dashing American male kicking arse and taking names at the tender age of twelve-years-old. Heck, I even wrote a scene where he was captured by German thugs and held in a warehouse and he single handily fought back and escaped using everything he could get his hands on. This was one Yankee you didn't want to mess with. I wrote it becuase I was twelve, and at the time bullied by a woman I thought was from Germany.

    Now, as an older man, I'm finding myself leaning more and more to writing about characters of the opposite sex as I am and/or from another country such as the UK, France, Russia, Germany, Mexico, Japan. Those are the actual countries my characters come from. That or I like to explore an unconventional aspect.

    Not that I'm anti-American or anything, it's just that I've seen too many Hollywood stories where the character is a dashing young American man. Of course, there's nothing wrong with having an American male for the lead, it's just that I like diversity.

    What I'm trying to say is that, yes, I've seen my characters evolve just as my views on the world have evolved.
     
  7. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Most writers begin by making their lead characters echoes of themselves, or projections of what they want to be. Part of the maturation of a writer is making that leap from vicarious participant to insightful observer.

    I think it's one of the more enjoyable shifts of perspective you experience through writing.
     
  8. NewBee
    Offline

    NewBee Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2010
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    3
    When I first began, every one of my characters were just like me. I found myself pretty boring after a while. Now I much prefer daydreaming up random people with random issues, and really enjoy the research part of it all.
     
  9. Unit7
    Offline

    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,151
    Likes Received:
    59
    One of my early stories was based in a game I played. Just for the fun of it, I have him badarse parents who had all the items that were the best(at that time) and he inherited it all. My characters were perfect and the very definition of the Mary Sue. The story didn't get beyond a few chapters. Thank God for small favors. :p

    But when I picture this character now, he is no longer human, no longer rich, and is vastly different. He is still a great warrior, but only through hard work and determination. His anger problems, his love of challenges, will put him through hell and will leave him a changed man.

    But my characters are never that ideal. Whether its my bisexual Assassin who nearly gets killed by her former female student/lover. Ok that sounds really really lame. Like... the making of a bad porn flick. They are real characters. Even my most upright character has his demons.

    I started off with what might be considered perfect characters and have evolved beyond that. Before I would never have written a character basicly tell God to screw off. Now a recent story has a criminal, a guy who you really wouldn't want to get involved with, stop a rapist, and then gets stabbed. While dying he has a 'conversation' with God and says if he expects him to be a changed man, he can go screw himself.

    So I think my characters have shifted.

    I try my best to make them as real as possible.
     
  10. SilverWolf0101
    Offline

    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    Messages:
    333
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    New York State
    My first character was a golden brown wolf with beautiful blue eyes and the power to save the world... FROM HIS BROTHER.
    But yeah, when I first started it was just little sub stories about this wolf and his adventures. Then it became a short story about him dealing with his past until finally I turned it into a full fledged novel that had epic battles, the true meaning of friendship, finding your place in the world and saving it from your own brother.

    After that it went from my golden brown wolf to things that aren't human but has it shape. I.E werewolves, demons and such, and a few other things that I made up. Really though I've stayed with the whole "finding out who they really are" concept.
    Besides, I notice that when you write a story about a character whose not so perfect and develops over the story, it makes a better tale then if you have them remain as stiff as stone throughout the entire story.
     
  11. PurpleCao
    Offline

    PurpleCao Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0
    I tend not to define characters to a role. I write a brief description of looks, personality and perhaps a few examples of how they've acted in the past.
    They do the rest.
    In this way, you can have multiple 'lead's at the start, and then select the ONE you feel the most interesting.
     
  12. black-radish
    Offline

    black-radish Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    I have it the other way around..

    I 'used to' (talking about 6 years ago) write about shy little girls who get bullied etc etc, but now I write a fantasy novel about this anti-hero character who at the end of the book is definatly a hero-character, great warrior and succesfull.
     
  13. fruitdruifje
    Offline

    fruitdruifje New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2010
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    I guess everyone evolves at certain points.. I had my share of flat characters, totaly unrealistic interactions between characters. followed by archetypical hero(ïnes) followed by total wimps and antihero's.. that's when I found out I love anti-hero's (you dastardly Victor Hugo what have you done to my brain!!!^^)
    Totaly non conventional protagonists, bad guy's whom I love to convert to beïng good (or not because I understand their point of view...), the you least expect antagonists and the you even lesser expected hero's. in situations they really have to struggle to get out of. I guess building your story is based on your own personal growth, evolution and changing vision on the world.
     
  14. Tobi
    Offline

    Tobi Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Cairns, Australia
    I've only written one character who was meant to be a hero, arrogant, handsome, a great warrior. Within two chapters he leads his men into a devastating massacre and is captured by the enemy. Soon after his sword arm is cut off. Everything that he defined himself by is destroyed. Not really sure what he is now, but it wasn't what was intended. It's better. I can't actually write hero's they all end up dead or something else.
     
  15. Nilfiry
    Offline

    Nilfiry Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    81
    Location:
    Eternal Stream
    Actually, I've never had that experience. Though I usually write about strong, smart, stolid, lead characters, I've never had trouble writing about completely different characters with different and possibly conflicting views.

    For example, in one case, I have a main character who is very childish, outgoing, carefree, and brash, and is always struggling to be the top one among his peers. In another, I have a lead character who is shy and timid, but is always trying to find a way to make things better for everyone even though he lacks the courage to do so.

    Most recent of my projects (still in the planning stage) involves a lead character who is a talented thief brimming with confidence without conceit, and is often rash, but delicately caring when protecting someone.

    Though, all my lead characters have been male. I just like to is all. ^^

    If they have changed on me in some way, I certainly haven't noticed.
     
  16. jwatson
    Offline

    jwatson Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    canada
    My main characters tend to be based on what I want myself to be. It didn't start off that way. I had arrogant macho characters. Your description of the three sisters reminds of Gowdy's Falling Angels. Great novel.
     
  17. gabriellockhart
    Offline

    gabriellockhart Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Somewhere between fantasy and reality
    Thank's Jwatson, i'm flattered with being compared to a great novelist and poet like Barbara Gowdy.

    Now if i can get the final product that good:p
     

Share This Page