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  1. soujiroseta
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    soujiroseta Senior Member Contributor

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    Who is John Green?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by soujiroseta, Aug 3, 2008.

    okay ive been trying to work on my protagonist for my novel for a couple of days now and it seems ive come across somewhat of a stonewall. By his preconceived personality John Green is supposed to be secretive and unwilling to part with information about his past. the thing is that now i cannot actually come up with anything for his past, almost like hes already started hiding stuff even from the author. it seems as though whatever i write does not fit the way i wanted him to be.:confused:..its kinda weird but i wanted to know if anyone else has had a similar character creation problems.
     
  2. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    Yes.

    It is not uncommon for authors who have a personality, a situation, a plot, conflict, etc, to be stumped when it comes to developing a back story or a history.

    The main thing is, perhaps you can just provide him skills and let his "History" come to life as you need it.
     
  3. soujiroseta
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    soujiroseta Senior Member Contributor

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    thanks for the advice ungood but thing is there are massive amounts of the story that are driven by the inluences from his and i've always made a habit of thoroughly working through my main characters before i start a story.
     
  4. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    be vague enough to let the details slide and come up later but also have an idea of what you want.

    IE: He was in the special forces, Rangers. (When and for how long and what happened can be a bit of mystery even to you for now)

    IE: He has a BS degree (In what from where, and when he earned it you don't need to know just yet, he just has one)

    Things like that might help you build a skeleton to flesh out.

    Think of what is Vital that you must know about him.

    IE: He was married and his wife and unborn child were killed in a snowmobile accident.

    Just start with the *Must have* and then think about the other stuff that might fall into the *Should have* and then you go to the *Would be nice if*
     
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  5. That Guy From That Place
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    That Guy From That Place New Member

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    Making an incredible characters with stunning personalities and more layers than an adolescent school girl is okay if you know how every aspect of them will work for your story. If you have a story but no characters, than your characters' backgrounds can be a little more... lets say 'vague'. Because your story is already laid out, you can contour your characters' personalities, backgrounds, skills, and any other attributes to your story. In other words, the more you know about your story as a whole, the more your characters will reveal themselves to you. (Trust me, I'm no robot, I experienced this plenty of times)

    Take this example: You want to write a story about a superhero and a villain. So when you create John Green, you automatically know he's either a superhero or villain.

    Or: You have no story premise but for some reason you decide to create John Green, now you'll find yourself making some blind profile complete with his mother's maiden name and blood type, and eventually asking the question 'who is John Green'... Nitty-gritty details mean nothing without a story.

    If John is hiding things from you, make him a story where he'll eventually tell you everything you need to know. The more you come up with, the more he'll come out of that shell.
     
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  6. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    Hey "Guy" that is some very good advice.

    It truly depends on the authors style and creation process.

    Some authors are story driven while others are character driven. (There is more, but it is late for me)

    If an author is story driven the character comes to life as the story unfolds, or put another way, the story is what drives the development of the characters.

    If the author is character driven then the character is crafted and then out into a story where it is their actions that unfold how the story happens.

    It truly depends on how the author deals with the creative process and how they build their stories.

    but you have a very good idea, I suppose if all else fails you could do an "Interview" like story.
     
  7. That Guy From That Place
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    That Guy From That Place New Member

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    True. Souji be sure to look at what both roads have to offer... this can take five minutes or five months, but never rush these crucial parts of writing. Ideas will hit you square in the head like a sledgehammer. It's up to you to decide what will help your character and what is best left out.
     
  8. soujiroseta
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    soujiroseta Senior Member Contributor

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    thanks alot "Guy" and Ungood your advice sounds really solid and ill be sure to be looking at both approaches as soon as i can tear myself away from this computer. even thoough ive always been a character person i see no harm in just giving him the bare minimum and let the rest come when its needed.:) I think i'll have him now:D *goes off to find J. Green papers and info*
     
  9. Chef Dave
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    Chef Dave Member

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    I have always felt that the idea for a story must precede the development of characters. After all, if you're writing an action/adventure story, do you really want your main character to be an obese and slovenly short order cook or a former special forces operative?

    If you're writing a romance, do you want the protagonist to be tall, dark, and handsome, or short, greasy, and covered with pimples?

    Stories help define your characters and characters help to tell the story.
     
  10. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    I like to come up with characters with great personality and there own back story. Then i put them in situations and have them use there skills to get out of trouble

    Who says that a slovenly short order cook can not rise to the occasion to be a hero when properly motivated. Not saying he would kick a lot of but, he might just have enough guile to see himself through the situation.

    If he faces a group of Jet li's and Jackie Chan's he might loose. But local rough necks might meet there match. So this is why I like strong characters. You can fit a story around them.
     
  11. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    Probably the best way to figure it out is to just go ahead and write the story and make it up as you go along. He will be flat at the beginning, but by the end he will be exactly who he needs to be. Then you can go back and rewrite the story with the knowledge that you have now.
     
  12. Kirby Tails
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    Kirby Tails Member

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    My past secrets usually create themselves. :p

    I just knida write and all of the sudden... "Oh by the way, I'm your real father!"

    :p
     
  13. Lillias
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    Lillias Member

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    I tend to be able to make up characters really easily , but stories and plots are so much harder. I guess in this case , unless John Green's past is important to the plot then you could just make his past somewhat normal and focus on the present of this story.
    However to make him more human give him flaws and bad memories and such.
    It just depends on the kind of character you want him to be.
     
  14. soujiroseta
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    soujiroseta Senior Member Contributor

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    thanks for all the advice guys:)
    most of the story is based upon the bad memories which he has and its part of what drives him. i understand what Chef Dave said about just writing and having his character fleshed out in the writing but im inclined to agree with TwinPanther about the strong characters. All the stories ive ever written have started as an idea but the backbone has always been the depth of the main characters.

    in the past week ive been able to flesh out John Green. He's perfect as far as im concerned but now his character doesnt fit the story in some places. he's full of holes in some parts of the story. for example his inexplicable dedication to his job contradicts his careless and unfaithful nature when relationships are involved...
     
  15. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    My idea

    Here is an idea. Make his past events such that he or anyone would want to keep them secret. Perhaps the reason John Green (great name btw) is so secretive about his past, is because of the past events.

    Maybe it is because he did something in the past he is ashamed of. Or maybe it is because he is embarrassed by the events, not because of he did, but because of what was done to him.

    Just an idea. Maybe that is why John Green is hiding his events from you. He is ashamed, and afraid that once you learn them, you will not think he is tuff enough.
     

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