1. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Which do you find more interesting?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Lea`Brooks, Jan 7, 2016.

    My current WIP is a fantasy novel following my MC Seren and her quest to save the world. In it, she has the ultra rare power to control time -- pause, go backward, and forward in time, as well as the ability to see different paths the future might take. I have come up with two different ways she could've gotten this power, but I can't decide between the two. I find both options to have their own benefits. So which do you think would add/detract from the story, and why?


    Option 1: She inherits the ability from her mother. Only one person at a time can hold this magic, so when Seren was born, the magic was passed to her, essentially stripping it from her mother. Then when Seren has a baby, it'll be passed to that child, taking the power away from Seren.

    Option 2: Something happens to Seren's mother while pregnant that taints and mutates Seren's magic, giving her this unique ability.


    Some context: I essentially am going to send Seren back in time to destroy a powerful enemy. (Yes, it creates a loop paradox, but I'm okay with it.) Seren will have no knowledge that she's the one who has to destroy this enemy until the very end of the book. She will defeat the main enemy, somehow figure out she's the one who destroyed the powerful enemy hundreds of years ago, and the book will end with her going back. I'll include an epilogue of her returning to present day, aged and married with a child.

    Additional: Yes, her magic is limited. She can only do so much with her time magic before she'll need to "recharge." That's essentially why I have her staying behind in the past for a while. She has to wait a certain amount of time before she can use the power again.
     
  2. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    When I think of the choices, neither jumps out as better, so I think it's best to consider the symbolism each would have. The first seems like it's more of a legacy, an inherited and perhaps nomadic power. The other makes me think of randomness and how the unforeseeable can alter our destiny. I'm not sure if either would be more pliable than the other for any thematic intentions, but that's what I would consider.
     
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  3. Bandag
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    Personally, I like option 2. I'm imagining a scenario where Seran's mother (now powerless and frustrated) is trying desperately to train her daughter to use the powers that she was supposed to have.(let's say laser eyes) Seran would be trying so hard to learn to use her laser eyes or whatever and feeling like a total failure, not realising the whole time that she doesn't have laser eyes. She has time travel powers.

    It could actually be a really cool twist on the old "chosen one" cliche.
     
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  4. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, her mom dies before the story starts... But yes, that's essentially how it goes. :p

    See, there's three different types of magic in my world. Life/creation (Vales), death/destruction (Vexes), and spirit/illusion (Videns). Videns are super secretive. No one really knows that they exist. So I started the story with Seren being a Viden, but she doesn't know. And in my world, magic is suppressed, so it takes a long time to develop your powers. So Seren is training to strengthen her powers, but because she doesn't know she's a Viden, she struggles really bad.

    I planned on her being both a Viden and having this time magic. Because Videns are like the psychics of the world. They can see the future and past, communicate with the dead, bring people back to life, etc. So to me, being able to control time kind of just fits with that.

    Still haven't decided 100% which way I want to go. If I have it being genetic, I have a scene in mind where she meets with all of her dead relatives that had it to help her learn how to control it. But if I have it be a flaw in her magic, it'll make her being the only one to go back and stop this guy more... climactic, I guess you could say.

    So thank you! :D

    More opinions needed!
     
  5. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    From reading your first post my initial response was option 2. However, after reading your second post I now say option 1. Already having the 'Viden' powers but having something else that's special and unique to her/her family is much more interesting and makes for a stronger character, IMO.
     
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  6. Bandag
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    I really like where you're going with this. Time traveling back to the past to get lessons from your great great grandancestors is an awesome idea. On the other hand, if her time travel powers are hereditary, then why haven't her mother and/or ancestors used their own powers to come forward in time and let her know what the deal is?
     
  7. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think I phrased something incorrectly... She isn't actually going back in time to meet her ancestors. She's literally talking to their spirits. lol I tried to work a scene where she went back and met her mother when she was younger, but I just couldn't make it work. There were too many paradoxes created by it, so I had to scrap it.

    Your question brings up a good point though and one that's kept me on the fence about this decision. There's a hugely powerful enemy in my story that was trapped hundreds of years ago to save the world. Since then, the time power has been passed from generation to generation, in case he gets free and needs to be trapped again (only time can trap him). Eventually, he DOES get free, and that's where my story picks up. Seren defeats him, then realizes she was the one who trapped him the first time. So she goes back, does her thing, then comes home.

    But, if I make it hereditary... Why her? Why couldn't her mother have gone back in her lifetime? Or her grandmother? Why couldn't Seren's child do it? While I like the idea of it being hereditary, I'm worried it's more of a problem than a benefit.

    ETA: But if I make her time powers an accident... Well, that's a very convenient accident, isn't it? She just happens to be born right before the bad guy gets released. And she just happens to be the only one who can stop him. I really like the idea of it being only her, no one else. But at the same time... It feels like a cop out.

    I feel like I'm missing something here. lol Some tiny little nugget of info to bring this all together, but I just can't figure out what it is.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2016
  8. Charis Anwyn
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    Charis Anwyn New Member

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    I love the first idea, a family that's got this specific gene that only relates to their family.

    As for the question of "Why no past relatives", what if the true danger wasn't realised until hundreds of years later. A weak danger that takes so much time to generate enough power to become some unstoppable monstrosity that only going back to the past, to a point of weakness is the only way to achieve victory?

    Just an idea but I do love the thought of a family rarity.
     
  9. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Let me get the facts straight. Seren has the ability to travel in time , slow time, freeze time, etc, and she "traps her enemy in time," then realizes she has to go back in the past to trap him there as well?

    I think its pretty obvious what's going on here. You can't trap someone in time. She's sending him back and forth in time. Think of it like someone playing hot potato but only with himself. The only way to keep the bad guy from destroying the world is to keep him constantly mobile, so you can send him to the future or the past, and all those years in between hes no threat, but of course the future/ past are present at some point, and so at those two points, he needs to be sent in the other direction. Seren is playing tennis with herself, the table is the world, and he bad guy is the ball, her job is to keep him in perpetual motion forever. She realizes he has to be sent back, so he can be sent forward, and a loop is created, or, man gets sent to past, woman follows him to past, sends him to future (her initial present), where she again sends him to the past. This loop only works if she sends him back, then forward. Theres actually no need for spirits unless you want them.

    I'm still not sure how Seren got the power to control time, but I think the integral part is that only she can do it, she knows no one else can because he was sent to her present, which implies she sent him there when she was in the past.
     
  10. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess I need to give more context, huh? lol

    There are three gods in my story: Life/creation, Death/destruction, and Spirit/illusion. They require a delicate balance or their powers fall out of alignment. Hundreds of years before the story starts, they lived on earth and were very involved with the population. But there was a cruel king who tried to take over the world so he started a war. Since there was so much death, the Death God became too powerful. So powerful, his very presence could kill the earth and people around him. The other two gods became weak because of his abundance of magic.

    The Death God was then trapped in a crystal -- a magical holding cell, if you will -- and buried underground. The balance between the gods was restored, they stepped away from living amongst the humans (living instead as merely myths), and life went on naturally. But then, about twenty years before my story starts, a rogue group of Vexes (death magic users) discovered the Death God had been buried and decided to free him, raising the crystal in which he lived to the surface. The God started feeding on the ground around him, killing the earth and animal life. This sickness started to spread across the entire country, stripping the life from it and making humans sick should they come in contact with it.

    That's where my story starts. It revolves around Seren, who has become queen, trying to figure out what this crystal is and how to destroy it. In the end of the series, Seren is able to trap the Death God is another magical crystal (because only time can defeat death). She then learns that she was the one who trapped him in the first place, all of those hundreds of years ago, and has to go back and do it again. Since she has a limited use to her power, she gets stuck in the past. She defeats the cruel King who started the war against the world, becomes the queen (named Yeva), and dramatically improves the country before returning back to the present. During the story, I'll even make reference to this legendary queen, who Seren greatly admires and tries to be more like.

    That's why I'm trying to figure out how she gets this time magic. I love the idea of it being a family trait. But, why couldn't one of Seren's family members gone back to trap the God? Why does it have to be Seren? When did this time magic first appear? How did it first appear? Seren couldn't be the start of it (in the past, as Yeva) or she would be her own great-great (times a million) grandmother, and that's a bigger paradox than I want to fiddle with. But if I make it an accident, as I said before, it's a very convenient accident, with her just happening to get the magic at the right time.

    I'm in a pickle. I think I need to change something.
     
  11. GoldenFeather
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    GoldenFeather Active Member

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    I like option 1. It creates obstacles and allows for more to work with. If a mutation caused her powers, it makes her entirely unique and the only person with these powers.

    If it can be passed on, you can add lots more story. She could have a baby, or have a miscarriage (how that affects her magic), or someone could somehow steal this magic from her since it can be passed on. I find you can do more with Option 1. Option 2, to me personally, just sounds like an easy way to give reason for your main character to have magic.
     
  12. datahound2u
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    datahound2u Member

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    I also prefer option 1. It has amazing potential! Dare I say, even sequel potential!!
     
  13. Raven484
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    Raven484 Contributing Member

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    option one is better. Having the power passed down will always create more holes in the story. Time traveling stories are always picked apart by readers. I think it is the ultimate power to have, and because the reader does not have it, they will rip apart your story and make you wish you did not write it.
    I am writing a sci/fi story that has time travel in it. It was a mess until I could iron out the plot just make it plausible. It is a very minor part of the story, but I had to make it believable to the reader before I could use it.
    Good luck with it, sounds interesting and I hope to see what you come up with.
     
  14. Bandag
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    The more you tell me about this story, the more I like it. You're right about the details though. The big advantage of option 2 is that you don't have a thousand years worth of ancestors who could have just as easily achieved the MCs goals for her. If you roll with option 1, you're going to have a nightmare of a time getting the wrinkles out of the plot.

    As for the great great grandmother thing, maybe Seren and the king just never get along all that well? Maybe Seren's great great great grandancestor is the kings mistress, rather than Seren herself
     
  15. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you just helped me figure out one part of the problem.

    If I make it a family trait, it has to go back thousands of years. I don't really have to give an explanation as to where it started, as long as I make it clear it didn't start with Seren as Yeva in the past. So the question is, if this power goes back thousands of years, why didn't Seren's ancestor living during the cruel king's reign stop the Death God? Easy answer? She was a baby.

    Since the power is passed from person to person at birth, stripping their parent of the power, I could very easily say the only person who could trap the Death God was too young to do it. A two year old is barely able to walk, let alone fight a powerful enemy.

    So that's one problem down. Still need to figure out why Seren is the one to go back in time (instead of her mother, or grandmother, or even her daughter), then I'll be comfortable going with this idea.

    Thank you! :D
     
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  16. datahound2u
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    datahound2u Member

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    Maybe they each did go back in time, but for various reasons was unable to trap the Death God. Now it is not only Seren's duty, but her heritage to finish what her ancestors started.

    Maybe at some time long past, the Death God (or another god?) formed a pact with an ancestor whereby the family would have nth opportunities to travel back in time to trap the Death God, and if they did they could keep the gift of time travel. But if they didn't, they the entire family would be permanently erased from memory and from existence.

    Gosh - this could be so much fun!!
     
  17. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm glad you think it could be fun.... So far, all it's given me is a headache. :p
     
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