1. Egbert
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    Egbert New Member

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    Writing a Shadowy Character

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Egbert, Dec 3, 2011.

    I'm writing a fantasy/sci-fi book which actively incorporates otherworldly magic and astronomical science... It's about a distant series of "space archipelagos" which float meaninglessly about the universe, protected by a fragile and precious atmosphere generated by magically charged shards of a planet's core.
    So, the whole world (called Nil) is unaware (or rather, the people of the archipelagos are unaware) of modern science, and the world is placed in a late - Medieval Age sort of time period, with more advances into general knowledge and the current time being a major turning point in Nil's history.

    A band of four heroes must discover Nil's beginning while trying to dethrone a hidden, corrupt secret society originally started from astronauts from what is now "future" Earth. The astronauts, at first amazed by the whole new world, were suddenly swept up with dreams of guiding this new world into a perfect world, without the mistakes of Earth. Their obsession with making a perfect world soon turned to corrupt madness, and they eventually became (I really hate to use this term) mad spacemen. The four heroes are each emotionally different - the one I'm talking about is The Abbot.

    The Abbot is a very shadowy character, the last of the heroes to be introduced. He does not talk much, but when he does, he has a bit of an Irish or Scottish lilt or brogue - very slight. I based him loosely on Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, but more mysterious. While Dumbledore may be mysterious and a closed book himself, the Abbot has absolutely nothing known about himself published to his comrades and even when having emotionally revealing talks with his three fellows does not reveal much.

    The Abbot wears a hood and cloak all the time, revealing a slightly crooked chin and a long, bent nose. The rest of his face is covered by the shadows of his hood and his head is always pointed at the ground. His cloak is very tattered, and he wears a Scottish-like brooch upon his clothes. Later in the story, The Abbot is shown to have very special abilities - he is one of the few in Nil that can use magic. He can guide the thin life essence of magic that act like threads in the air and tell them what to do - and they follow him, obedient but very held back, as they can be extremely powerful. For instance, he could simply create an insanely overpowered fireball out of the essence, but he could also harness a huge ball of water, constantly folding in on itself and crashing in on itself. He can also "teleport", taking others with him as he fades into oblivion, and folds his way through spacetime to eventually walk into his destination (more on this in a future post).

    He is also very knowledgeable, sometimes participating in discussions with the other brainiac of the group, who is openly smart and very analytical. The Abbot appears to know more about Nil than all of the people of Nil put together, and seems to have a goal of unmasking the leader of the corrupt society and showing him to the world of Nil.

    So, I'm not sure how this character would work out in comparison to other heroes, but I feel he is much needed and brings a balance to the group. I am imagining one scene where the foursome are arguing on a road where to go, and it gets very heated. There is pushing, shoving, the brainiac is sitting on a tree stump imagining that the argument isn't happening, and the other two are yelling (I am fully aware this is a run-on sentence). Suddenly, The Abbot appears out of nowhere, and his shadowy presence is enough to stop everyone from yelling and arguing. Everything is silent, and he speaks in a very quiet but discernable voice. And then the rest of the scene is undisclosed :)

    Anyway, that's my character. I hope some of you will be able to evaluate him to see if he is balanced. Thanks!
     
  2. casteas16
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    casteas16 Member

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    I'm new to this, but I'll just mention a few points anyway ^^

    If this character is to be very very mysterious, in that nothing much is known about him etc. you must be prepared for your readers to be wary of him - I as a reader would be easily paranoid about a secret agenda that a character like this might have. You've done well basing him on Dumbledore, because I found myself thinking similar things about him too! Also be sure to have your characters suspicious. A balanced character for me is one that is believable not just in themselves, but in how they are received by others =]

    I don't know if this helps hah, but there it is >.< =]
     
  3. Ralinde
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    Ralinde Member

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    Hm, you haven't mentioned a couple of key things so I may or may not be making assumptions.In any case, I like the sound of the character very much. I have never been published so my advice may or may not be all that good. I suggest taking it as you will.

    I don't know if this is being written from a single point of view or from all four of the heroes. In any case, if it is from the point of view of all four characters, then I feel the Abbott can be mysterious to outsiders but for the reader, he will be have to be somewhat open as they will be reading from his POV. If he is supposed to be the main character this will also be true. For the reader, you will have to reveal quite a lot. They will need to know what his motives are, they will need to be let in on his past gradually: essentially they must be able to come to understand him in some way that they can relate to. In that case, the Abbott will need a lot more work.

    However, if one of the other three is the main character, I think you will be fine. He can be as mysterious as you like. This can cause some antagonism for the story but that's fine. It's more fun that way. On the other hand, over time he will probably earn the other three and the reader's grudging trust. Even if he is mysterious, he will slowly become normal to the other three.

    Anyway, I hope that helped somewhat. I think he is a rather balanced character even if I know nothing of his background. If he is somewhat older that the other three heroes, he may take on something of a mentor role and there isn't anything wrong with that. It could work out quite well for the story. The best advice I could probably give is to have a look at similar characters and how they turned out in the end.
     
  4. Egbert
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    Egbert New Member

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    Since the story is in the "pre-production" phase, I'm still planning out some stuff :p However, The Abbot is not the POV - the story is third person, starting with the first member, then meeting the second in another archipelago, then a third, and The Abbot being the fourth and last member. He does use magic much later in the story. The reader will, at the end of the book, realize the Abbot's ties and back story and how it connects to everyone. Thanks for your help! :)
     

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