1. TheClintHennesy
    Offline

    TheClintHennesy Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2015
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    19

    When you really hate your main character...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by TheClintHennesy, Jul 28, 2015.

    This is kinda funny... actually- but I really hate my main character...
    And I really need some advice or some help from you guys with it.

    (I don't want to put in too much words plot wise cuz I feel like I'd be selling out my story- but I just really want some help. xD)

    So my story revolves around a very one sided war between Angels and Demons (with the angels winning.) Both sides are trying to get a hold of "Earth". The only way for the demons to actually win is if they could find this "Secret Weapon" to beat angels. This secret weapon can only be used by humans. So...

    In the end, I am somewhat pushed to use a human character for a main story, right?
    Picking a Human for a main character in a story with lots different elements that one has to introduce is usually a good idea because readers would automatically be able to relate to that human. They don't have superpowers or whatever like Demons or Angels (in my story).

    I know a lot of stories do this like Agents of Shield- where Skye is your non-agent character who gets into Shield where everyone is are agents and she is just... a hacker who isn't trained at all. Or when Emma (Once Upon A Time) grew up as the non-fairy-tale character and goes into a town where everyone else are Fairy-tale characters.

    The problem right now i have is... My main character feels like a plot device. It's like... he's the main character because he's human and he's following what the plot needs him to do. The other characters have a purpose- to end the war and everything. Yeah- sure, the main guy wants to end the war as well. He lost "everything" because of the war- but I somehow am still not convinced. It just feels like he could be replaced with any other human being in the world willing to do the tasks and the story wouldn't change at all... Where as in contrast to my characters who are a bit more fleshed out, things would definitely change if they thought any different.

    That's all... and just a note in case you're curious why I'm on the demon's side-
    It only seems that way in the Summary- but there's a lot more about it but I don't want to put up cuz I'd feel like I'm selling out. :-x But if you guys need to know more about the premise, I'd be happy to share. :)

    Thanks for the reading! :D
     
  2. Lyrical
    Offline

    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2015
    Messages:
    376
    Likes Received:
    257
    Hmm...perhaps he isn't your main character then, and he's trying to tell you so.

    I can't remember precisely, but I believe Herman Melville intended for the story to revolve around Ishmael and Queequeg, but Captain Ahab intruded and demanded Melville's attention, so the story shifted to be about Ahab first, and Ishmael second, even though we stayed with Ishmael for narration.
    Perhaps this character isn't your main. Perhaps he's integral to the plot, and maybe your device for perspective, but he isn't who your readers are meant to bond with most. Maybe your Ahab is a demon, or an angel.

    Don't feel forced to use a human either, if you find that uninspiring. I think readers would be just as interested in a supernatural MC as well.
     
    Renee J likes this.
  3. theoriginalmonsterman
    Offline

    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2014
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    251
    Location:
    [REDACTED]
    You could always kill him off >:3

    On a serious note however I would suggest giving him some more unique personality traits and quirks if you want him to stand out more from other people. Giving him more of a back-story (preferably a tragic one) helps as well.
     
  4. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard
    Can you write him doing the opposite? Make it a twist?
     
  5. theoriginalmonsterman
    Offline

    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2014
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    251
    Location:
    [REDACTED]
     
    Aaron DC likes this.
  6. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard
    Always amazed when people can pull videos like that out. Nice!
     
  7. Sack-a-Doo!
    Offline

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,231
    Likes Received:
    1,511
    Location:
    [unspecified]
    You might ask yourself:
    What would I do if I were in this character's place?
    Why would this struggle be important to me?
    How would I screw it up? How would I make it work?
     
    jannert likes this.
  8. A.J. Samuels
    Offline

    A.J. Samuels New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    You might want to think about what Lyrical pointed out, you could have your MC/narrator as the angel or demon you desire, and alter the plot to have this character in connection with the human (say, guardian, guide, etc) it means the human character is stil an integral part but you open yourself to narrative in which the outer struggle becomes much more poignant with the bias of the narrator.
     
  9. Chewie
    Offline

    Chewie Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    London, England
    How about actually using the main character as a tool, something the demons are pushing around, putting him in dangerous scenarios. His desire to end the war could be manipulated by them to potentially do stuff against his character (killing an innocent to get the weapon or something), this keeps him as a plot device but might add some extra weight behind his story and create some empathy for the character.

    Perhaps add something to the whole 'only humans can use the weapon' like only humans of a certain bloodline. Thus making the character more unique and important to the demon cause.
     
    JadeX likes this.
  10. Ivana
    Offline

    Ivana Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    126
    Location:
    Far side of Unatsu
    Wow, been there! But I wasn't really hating my MC; he annoyed me a lot, because he was so whiny and insecure etc. (the projection of myself in that point of life, I guess).
    But I noticed I have a tendency to make my main characters a device, a tool through which the reader can experience my other character, which turns out to be something like the main character, but not quite... :D if this makes any sense.
    When my fiance was reading my first book, he said that he didn't really have the feeling that my MC is really the main character in the story, but more of the narrator, while my other major character was actually the center of the story.
    I'd suggest you either change your MC's backstory (someone mentioned tragical development), because he needs to have a motive to do whatever he's supposed to do (in case he doesn't have a choice, but at some point he'll need to decide whether he cares or not), OR you can make him have a companion, a guardian angel (he needs some help, right?), who could be the real MC, even though we're not seeing things through the angel's eyes.
     
  11. Void
    Offline

    Void Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2014
    Messages:
    303
    Likes Received:
    229
    If your protagonist feels like a vestigial element of the story then I think you are approaching it the wrong way. The protagonist really ought to be an interesting and necessary part of the story and themes, but it sounds like you've come up with too much setting and not enough plot. I'm not sure of the stage you are at with the story, but if you've already planned most of the story and left the main character as an after thought then I would recommend you re-think the story you have so far and rework the character and plot so that the main character has enough depth and connection to the themes and plot that they aren't completely interchangeable with any other person.
    If you really don't like the character, then just make one of the angels or demons the protagonist, and the human can be a secondary character or a macguffin.
     
  12. AspiringNovelist
    Offline

    AspiringNovelist Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2015
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    139
    Location:
    Gulf Coast
    It's a bit of a cliché, but could the human character be the "secret weapon" the demons need?

    There are two movies that come to mind that you may want to view; The Seventh Seal with Demi Moore and Constatine with Kenau Reeves. (spelling)

    Ultimately, from the gist of your post - it sounds like you haven't given the human the most important role, that is: without him (for some reason), the demons would win. So, what does the human have or know, that saves Earth?
     
  13. TheClintHennesy
    Offline

    TheClintHennesy Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2015
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    19
    Hey Guys! Thanks a lot for the replies. These are all really helping and making me think more of my main character. I think I will continue developing him and finding better, more legit reasons to keep him! :D

    Oh... haha... I do plan to kill him off in the end.
    The other main characters all are very established and confident (in some way or another). They all believe in themselves.

    This main character is very beaten down about his past- and I'm trying to find ways for him to actually feel accepted by the rest of the cast.
    I put in his "Greatest Fear/Vulnerability": "Afraid of being alone- over and over again.

    He's

    Do the opposite?? o_o
    Make the Main Character a the guy who wants the war to go on? xD It would be interesting- but I don't think he's a main character I would like. :p

    If I were in this character's place- I probably would have given up already...
    Let's say a war was going on- and this random guy who's neither part of the war would tell you "Hey- I'm gonna stop the war." I wouldn't believe him- especially right after I just ran away from home and lost my pet dog (just some info on the character)

    I think that's another issue. I haven't exactly thought out how to create the trust between te MC and the first character he encounters. This made me think. Thanks a lot. :)


    Pushed around is such a strong word... xD But I'd prefer not making my character a pushover of any kind (Cuz that's exactliy is what's happening right now- and he feels really weak. D:)

    On the note about the bloodline thing- Yes, I have considered it.
    I have considered making this MC sort of like the son of one of the character's "old friend"- and all that. I presented the brother with the idea. He said it was so cliche- and I thought so as well.
    The whole Chosen thing can sometimes be really corny- and I'm steering away from a character being "Special" in a sense that he was born with whatever.

    I want this character to start out with a crap life, a crap viewpoint in life, and just broken- but I want him to come out a hero at the end of the story.
    Like I mentioned above, among the cast of characters, this guy is the youngest and the most inexperienced. Not only that- but I would imagine him having the back story of being someone that no one just believed in.
    He meets these group of other people who believe in him- unlocking his true potential as a person and as a hero. But ugh- I'm gonna think of ways to make him not generic. lol.

    That's exactly what it feels like right now. There are other ways around it like what people above said. I can make him "special", I can make him not a main character but as a "sideline" character, or I can find ways to fix him.
    But I can definitely relate to what you're saying.

    About the Tragic Background- He already does sort of have a Tragic Background- but I'm still thinking how to make it convincing to have someone who's already pretty broken down to accept a quest to end a frickin' war. Isn't that too much to eat? What makes you think you can be of some use if you don't see yourself useful at all? You've let everyone around you down already... Might as well die. :-x

    Well... That's what I would think if I were in my MC's shoes... xD

    Yes- I've definitely come up with a lot of settings- backgrounds, and etc. Plot is still like... I don't know- 1/10ths there.

    I'm gonna work on this character a bit more and find ways to make him convincingly necessary and important to the plot.
    I think the posts of other people up here helped tons.

    Also- about this whole MC thing-
    I don't know if it makes it harder or easier when it comes to story telling- but this entire "Piece" that I'm writing will have 4-5 parts. I've plotted out some of the events and have started writing Summaries for like 2 chapters.
    Each part will be told from the PoV of a different character. (Part 1 will be told from the Human's PoV, Part 2 will be told from the Demon's.... etc.)

    I'm sure it's been done before. Just not sure if it makes my life easier when it comes to storytelling. :p

    Well- the Human Character is sort of "needed"- but well.. hmm...
    Hmmm... Waaaittt.... Waiiiittt...

    I might have just cooked up an idea while replying.
    This human character- what makes him different is he's human. Humans- demons- They don't mix- they'd hate each other. It's like... a racism thing.

    But I feel like both my Human MC and Demon MC have similar qualities... maybe I can draft up events that forces the Human MC and the Demon MC to just relate and trust each other- eventually building a relationship.
    That way- both of the two characters aren't forced to be with each other because of the plot- but because they both want to end the war and they both trust each other.

    Again. Thanks so much everyone for the replies! :D

    Just to share with you all- I have a Progress Journal thing about this story. You can check it here: http://www.writingforums.org/threads/theclinthennesys-project-edun-journal.140653/

    UGHH> HOW DO I THANK ALL OF YOU!!! xD
    I'm extremely grateful with the replies!!!

    I feel like i should all invite you all out and treat you all for tea or coffee OR SOMETHING.
    Thank you sooooo much. :D
     
  14. Robert_S
    Offline

    Robert_S Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    163
    "
    That probably means you haven't developed the character well enough. He has no reason beyond the superficial.

    It's okay if the main character is not the one that drives the story. This is the division between protagonist and main character that the Dramatica theory postulates, but the main character still needs to be significant. He/she needs to see and change. They need to look within and question who they are.
     
  15. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
    Offline

    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2013
    Messages:
    2,319
    Likes Received:
    743
    Location:
    Music Room #3
    Hey!
    Here's the thing:
    All your character needs to be is to be human, young, and want the war to end, right? But you can have any number of people who want a war to end, are human, and young, and you can have any number of personalities to fit.
    Heck, maybe instead of being a shrinking violet, he's actually quite brash and loud. He has a "look at me!" personality on the outside. On the inside, he has low self esteem, so he compensates by doing stunts, being the best at school, flirting with every girl who comes his way, etc.

    Maybe...he hasn't let everyone down? Maybe he has a buddy, not that they're emotionally close, but they like to build airplane models together. Maybe he has a distant big sis that payed his room and food through high school. Maybe his mom died when he was five, but she was very sweet and he remembers that kindness. People with really, really, overly-tragic backstories are hard to relate to, in my opinion.
     
  16. tanstaafl74
    Offline

    tanstaafl74 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2015
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    24
    I don't really see why you have to have the human be a main or even a primary character. Sure, a human has to use the thing, but that doesn't mean he has to be primary in anyway. Make him a tool in and of himself. Make a demon (or angel) the main character who uses the tool (human).
     
  17. Daemon Wolf
    Offline

    Daemon Wolf Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2015
    Messages:
    395
    Likes Received:
    134
    Just have your main character as a daemon if you feel that way. He does sound like a plot device and I would rather see how a daemon would twist somebodies mind to get him to use the weapon than some guy who is replaceable.
     
  18. Ivana
    Offline

    Ivana Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    126
    Location:
    Far side of Unatsu
    And there's your main conflict. :write:
     

Share This Page