1. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    When your MC is boring...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Mckk, Jul 27, 2011.

    My supporting character (and not even my main supporting character) is WAY more interesting than my MC :( I wanna see more of him, write more of him, I even want him to be the hero of the story - and he's NOT my MC!!!!

    Oh the other hand, my MC is, well, kinda boring... :rolleyes: I mean, I like him. He has a personality. But he's hardly fascinating.

    What do I do!!? Help!

    I mean, is that ok to have? Has this happened to you? What did you do? :(
     
  2. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    It might be an interesting experiment. Write about your "boring" MC and make more reference to the supporting character.

    It could be an interesting character study. Why is your MC boring, what about him or her is boring? How does the supporting character contrast and does this help the MC's development.
     
  3. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Write two stories.
     
  4. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    Have you checked out the charater development clinic?
    I found that it helped me tons!

    heres the link.
    http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=38469
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have the exact same problem. My "second" mc is a lot more fascinating than the "first" one, and I don't know what to do to make her more interesting. Help! is there any fool-proof solution? :D ;)

    Sorry, maybe I misunderstood your intentions, but if there is already an interesting supporting character it seems she already know how to develope them. I know too, (at least I think I do ;) ) but somehow it doesn't apply to my mc, maybe it's because the role she is playing in the novel, the characteristics she needs to be the mc, I don't know.
    Ps I'm going to check out that link anyway.
     
  6. pyrosama
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    pyrosama Member

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    I think it's okay to have more interesting secondary characters than your main. I've read plenty of books where the antagonist was more memorable than the protagonist. It's the story that should be interesting if you have a balance within.
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe you picked the wrong character to be the MC.
     
  8. Cain
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    Cain Member

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    Like Nick in the Great Gatsby? The MC doesn't have to be the most prominent character, if you see what I mean?

    Edit: although I should add, that can't really happen by accident though. If your interesting supporting character is really the MC but the story is portrayed by the boring character (not necessarily narrated like Nick does), then you have to work to make that happen. Just because your designated MC has no personality doesn't mean the interesting guy is really the real MC.

    Edit again! And The Magus. Yet another Nicholas who was the MC yet made drying paint exciting. We're far more interested in Conchis (had to wiki that though as couldn't remember his name).
     
  9. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    People seem to worry about this a lot. Main characters can be quite bland if they're at least partially tied to the viewpoint. If it was a quite distant third person, then you'd want to make the main character more lively, but the closer you get to first person, the less you really have to work to make the main character exciting, since they and the narration blur together. For example, while he gets a few smart lines, 99% of what Harry Potter does is just wander around being worried and confused, while friends do all the hard work of being interesting characters. Generic main character personality traits like bravery and tenacity and luck don't really translate into something that makes them shine in conversation. Supporting characters pretty much exist to bring some sparkle to the story. Think Jack Sparrow. :p
     
  10. Dr Guillotine
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    Dr Guillotine Member

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    Someone above mentioned to write two stories with the different ideas you have. I agree with that.

    That way you get everything you want out of this topic from two different points of view.

    I'm going through a similar thing, I guess. I figure it's always better to have plenty of things to write about than nothing, so seize the opportunity.
     
  11. Cain
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    Cain Member

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    I don't get the 'think Jack Sparrow'. Surely he blew every character away not only with actions but also dialogue. If there's one case of an interesting MC (over all else) it's him. Or are you saying he's not the main character? (which is possible, if you put Mr Bloom consider as the MC)
     
  12. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    The romantic plot is between Will and Elizabeth, along with him being designated as the hero just by his actions (all "We must save Miss Swan!" every five minutes), and, you know, actually having morals, apparently. He was meant to be the main character... It just turned into a story about Jack versus Barbossa fighting over the ship. Which is why the second and third movies sucked: they tried to make Jack's troubles the main plot point and Will's thing with his father a bare subplot. The new Pirates film was good because while it relied on Jack being mad and awesome, the other characters had all the emotional subplots and he was just trundling along being mad again (the father/daughter plot with Blackbeard and Angelica, and the romance subplot with the mermaid and missionary). I've been watching and learning from these films for years since I write mad fantasy treasure hunt stories a lot of the time and they're an invaluable resource if you analyse them correctly. :p I really hope they bring another out soon - good or bad.

    In any case, it's no bad thing Jack Sparrow is the best thing in Curse of the Black Pearl... Taking him out and letting Will carry it on his own would make it an awful movie. My point is that interesting side characters are still side characters for a reason and should not be given the main role. Jack works well because he has his own motives, and you could imagine him being a main character in his own right... yet he isn't. People always say "oh, this character should have lived" or "they should have just told his story" or "why don't they make the movie about all this backstory instead of what we're looking at now, if it's so interesting?" but they don't get the writer's using it for a specific purpose, and as cool as it may be, it's there to enrich the story they want to tell, and to make you think - speculate about what may have been - and that's it.
     
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  13. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I hope you're right and the mc doesn't have to be the most fascinating character. I also have a hard time making her acting more and not think too much. She is way too reflective, I think, but I don't know if that makes for a good read or not. In one way it could make the reader get closer to her and in another it could come off as she is being a little too passive. The secondary mc, being a guy, he don't dwell as much but his feeling are shown through action and speech. ugh, it really IS easier to write about men, lol. they are such simple creatures ;)
     
  14. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is this first person narration? Because so much more dwelling is allowed. :p Literally the moment a third person narrator starts dwelling you have to be wary, but a first person one can dwell for half a scene as long as the other half is a little more exciting. :p
     
  15. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know if dwelling is the correct translation for it, maybe she is just reflecting on things that happen, but it is in third person, yes.... Uh-oh... Am I in trouble here? :eek:
     
  16. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    It feels as if her POV would be less convincing if I let her behave as a man and act more than think. I don't know why, it works wonderfully with the other guy...should I do some serious rewriting?
     
  17. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nope, the main character doesn't have to be the most fascinating.

    But if you've identified areas of improvement, and can think of ways to make him more interesting, go for it. I guess it's only a problem if he's entirely overshadowed by any of the other characters around him.

    I tried to make my current mc charasmatic so that he is likeable. He's also a stubborn ass, so that kinda counter-balances.
     
  18. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmm. Dwelling is a lot more passive than reflecting - it means you're spending a lot of time on a subject compared to just thinking back in general.

    With third person you want to keep things moving because unless it's in dialogue large blocks of text are all narrator-written, and the writer shouldn't be a character in the story. :p Third person is a lot more a victim of "show don't tell" thing because it can quickly look clunky. Since all the narration in first person can be explained away as character development and being in character, then it's not such a big deal.

    However, since it's personal thoughts in third person narration, I'd say it's on the line... And really depends on what your character is reflecting on. If it's plot or emotionally important things, then there's no reason not to do it, as long as you don't let the writing sink into a deep pit of thinking that can't be clawed out of again. Narrative flow becomes a big issue, and making jumps in logic just to escape from the thoughts, like, "Okay suddenly they decided to go over here" is your only escape. :p In first person it's fine to be like, "I was distracted by the idea of going over there and stopped mid-dwell to go have a look."
     
  19. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmm. Dwelling is a lot more passive than reflecting - it means you're spending a lot of time on a subject compared to just thinking back in general.

    With third person you want to keep things moving because unless it's in dialogue large blocks of text are all narrator-written, and the writer shouldn't be a character in the story. :p Third person is a lot more a victim of "show don't tell" thing because it can quickly look clunky. Since all the narration in first person can be explained away as character development and being in character, then it's not such a big deal.

    However, since it's personal thoughts in third person narration, I'd say it's on the line... And really depends on what your character is reflecting on. If it's plot or emotionally important things, then there's no reason not to do it, as long as you don't let the writing sink into a deep pit of thinking that can't be clawed out of again. Narrative flow becomes a big issue, and making jumps in logic just to escape from the thoughts, like, "Okay suddenly they decided to go over here" is your only escape. :p In first person it's fine to be like, "I was distracted by the idea of going over there and stopped mid-dwell to go have a look."
     
  20. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you for the advice. I guess dwelling was the wrong word then. It's more thoughts on the plot, people in the "cast" and events that happen, so I hope it's ok. It's not as if she is reflecting on every single thing anyone says or does, but she is a thoughtful person (her upbringing is a clue to why that is) that doesn't act impulsively very often, and when she does it is often out of naiveness, or because she is too caught up emotionally in the issue to reason on the long term effects. And I hope the reflections aren't too long either, just in between speech or action-sequences.
     
  21. Cain
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    Cain Member

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    Great stuff - I get what you mean now! OP should definitely think about this...
     
  22. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    This section does not teach you how to create a charater, it forces you to really know your charater, the questions tossed at you are sometimes really different than perhaps you had thought of previously...
    Sometimes just having to take a step in a new direction and find out something you did not know about your charater helps make them more intresting. it was just a thought.
     
  23. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    thanks for specifying, I had a feeling i might have misinterpreted your post. I saw the thread but didn't have the time to read through all 34 or something pages... :) but I guess you're right, it sure sounds like it could be useful. sorry if I didn't get what you were saying.
     
  24. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    yeah I know what you mean it's a long thread usualy if you read the first post and the last post you can get the general Idea.
     
  25. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yesterday when thinking of my mc I suddenly realised why she seems boring. I've created a character with traits that doesn't fit her and her background, that must be why she doesn't convince even me. in the original story I created when I was a teen she was like now, but didn't have the saMe background, and somehow I must have transferred her characteristics to the new, novel-version of herself, even though it doesn't make much sense.
    I have to step out of myself and stop using my own experiences and feelings when writing her because what she has been through is nothing I have experience from, so that will take a whole lot more imagination how those things affect people on a deeper level.
    She has to be a lot more troubled from this than I even imagined. I realise I will have to rewrite big parts of this novel and hopefully I will end up with something that is more convincing than it is right now, because it still feels like something's missing when it comes to depth.
    I had some great "AHA-moments" last night and thought I might finish with a totally different story than I first thought, but that feels ok. I'm actually looking forward to rewriting it! Another draft (which? the third? fourth? lost track) but as long as it gets better...
     

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