1. Wrizzy
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    Wrizzy Member

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    YA character help: Reaction + one MC or two?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Wrizzy, Jun 29, 2015.

    I have two questions. One is about the realistic aspects of the MC’s reaction. The other is about whether or not to make a side character a co-MC.

    Question 1:

    To explain my story, it’s a YA, contemporary, paranormalish-something. (The only thing I can come up with in comparison is Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Shroeder)

    I’m really excited to get started, as I finally finished the plot. However, I am caught up on trying to figure out my female MC and her older sister’s personalities and how they play into the plot.

    For the first half of the story, the MC is clueless that her sister is jealous of her.

    ----> First, I want to ask just for some opinion to get some discussion on possibilities of how this would manifest--is that realistic? I’ve known quite a few clueless people, or clueless seeming people. (No judgement there, I love these people.) Anyways, I imagine that the MC is so busy trying to hide her hurt from the main plot issues and dealing with other things going on, she doesn’t even register that her sister’s mean behavior is, in fact, jealousy.

    The jealousy will be a main hindrance for the character’s movement forward, because she needs her sister’s understanding and their common childhood experiences to move past what is happening.

    If interested, I have a plot issue question about this story, too—here.

    ---->Well, I post this because being clueless about anything can be annoying as a reader. I obviously want my character to be likeable. I am interested if anyone has any ideas on how this oblivion could play out in a way that doesn’t make the MC seem terribly unlikable.

    Lol, you still with me?:crazy:


    Question 2:

    (I'm not sure if this would be considered a plot question, because it is about the characters? But, it's also about the way the plot plays out.)

    Okay, so my MC’s older sister feels like the MC stole her friends when they were younger. She feels like the MC weaseled herself into the sister’s group of friends, as they now have assumed her as a regular part of their activities for years--which feeds the jealousy thing. The sister is very observational (unlike the MC). But, she doesn’t like to talk about what she sees (which are main plot issues!), because she feels like her parents won’t listen, and her sister is too busy with her own crap to act like she cares what the older sister thinks.

    ---->Is it cheap to have a side character (the older sister) come in and save the day by producing a key plot object, because her story arc eventually allows her to forgive her sister, the actual MC? Of course, for the MC to not be cheap, she has to develop enough to be able to be aware of the sister's hurt feelings, right?

    Would the sister need to become a co-main character? Probably, right? To make the reader believe she would come and help. I hadn’t thought of her as more than just a side character, but now I'm not sure what to do. I just want to get some opinion on this, as I’ve not really done multiple main characters before. I've heard of the 'head-hopping' annoyance, but not sure how to avoid that..?

    Thanks in advance! I wasn't sure how to separate this, so just put it all in the characterization forum.:bigoops:
     
  2. sidtvicious
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    sidtvicious Contributing Member Contributor

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    Question 1:


    Characters don't need to be "likeable", they need to be compelling. The two are not mutually exclusive, but one should not confuse them. With that in mind, let's consider the aspect of your MC's "cluelessness". You seem to be asking more about the execution of a characteristic than the why. The "why" being essential.
    You hint at a why here:
    Why is your MC clueless? Are they simply too wrapped up in their own lives to realize that the sister is jealous? Is it a form of denial? i.e. Can they simply not live with the idea that their sister could have this jealous quality? In either case, you don't need to TELL us that the narrator isn't noticing, SHOW us. As long as you do this, and don't emphasize an over explanation of the oblivion...while still riding the line of making humanly believable, you'll be fine.

    Question 2:
    It could be seen as Deus Ex, pending on your execution. You can handle the situation with dialogue/subtle other interactions. You can have the sister do smaller things as minor character, building to the eventual saving of the day. The key here is to establish the relationship, and keep the "sisterly" bond alive if you will. If all of the sudden the sister comes in and saves the day it'll be a Deus Ex, but if you have some slight foreshadowing/some heavy relationship building it could a be a moment of character development. Foundation before action.

    In the end it's up to you when it comes to POVs. However, I will warn that making a character an MC for the sole purpose of avoiding a Deus Ex, can actually double the feeling. If the characters only purpose is to sweep in and save the day...she's neither compelling nor interesting. It's about how your write it. "Head Hopping" can annoy some readers, but there are plenty of successful stories with multiple POVs.

    This decision can also be dependent on the way you're writing it. If you do Third-Person limited, switching POVs is fun, but jumps from First Person to Third-Person can be very jarring. And First Person to First Person can get confusing, if you don't have well established voices for each character. Just keep that in mind when you're making your decision.


     
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  3. Wrizzy
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    Wrizzy Member

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    Thank you so much for your help!

    I actually just had a crucial epiphany about my writing, stemming from your comment above. It seems I have a tendency to not have enough character build-up to lead in for the climax parts of my stories, especially where different character's plot lines intersect. I would sit and instinctively know something was wrong, but not sure what it was. I'll have to go work out some more details for their wounded, dwindling relationship.

    Thanks again!:-D
     

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