1. Gammer

    Gammer Active Member

    Dec 13, 2008
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    A Strong First Impression Without "telling"

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Gammer, Dec 15, 2010.

    I've been stuck for a while with my High Fantasy WIP with introducing my MC. The introduction just doesn't feel like its doing its job of showing what kind of character he is.

    His name is Kumello and he's a real nut for folktales and legends in his village. He's spent most of his life reading them and hearing tales, so he's pretty genre savvy. (I.E. when he gets the call for adventure he knows it's only a matter of time before the bad guys burn down his home and kill his foster parents so he tries to lead the bad guys away.)

    Because he's spent all that time reading he's really scrawny and weak and pretty awkward. He has a crush on a girl named Cira but can't pursue it because he's too shy and her father thinks because of his weak build he wouldn't be a good provider.

    He has a brother named Jelani who is the exact opposite of him. Strong, charming, etc. Jelani on his rite of passage brought down a full grown bear and brought it back. Kumello's rite is coming up and he feels that he has to measure up to his brother in some way and that the rite is the best way to show everyone (including himself) he isn't a weakling.

    So how do I introduce a good portion of that to make a strong first impression on him without really restoring to "telling"? I know most of it is stuff you introduce over time, but what parts can I use to make a strong introduction to him in the opening chapters?

    (Sorry for the length BTW)
  2. Elgaisma

    Elgaisma Contributor Contributor

    Jun 12, 2010
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    I usually find an interaction is a good place to start. Most of mine begin with dialogue.
  3. Mallory

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Jun 27, 2010
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    Tampa Bay
    You could have the tough older brother teasing him about not being able to get with the girl. This shows:

    1) his relationship with the tough older brother. The brother could be a bully, or just playfully teasing.

    2) the girl situation

    3) his weakness, or at least perceived weakness, would be shown by 1 and 2.
  4. digitig

    digitig Contributor Contributor

    Jan 21, 2010
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    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    "...and he stepped in front of her and drew his sword at the swooping dragon."
    The children shuffled restlessly.
    "All your stories are the same, aren't they, Kumello?"
    "Yeah, Amal's right. Always a monster, always a hero, always a girl to be rescued."
    "And she always looks like Cira, doesn't she?"
    Kumello flushed. "Well, they are always beautiful."
    "You'll need that dragon's treasure before her dad will let a wimp like you near her!"

    Ok, that's just a bit of quick free writing which needs work, but it's the general Idea of how I would approach it. And I know it's a gamble starting a novel with an ellipsis, but it's the sort of gamble I like. You've established that Kumello likes -- actually is a bit obsessed by -- heroic folk tales, that he fancies Cira, that Cira's father is an obstacle to that because Kumello is a weakling with no money.
    1 person likes this.
  5. JeffS65

    JeffS65 New Member

    Nov 17, 2009
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    Make an event that center around him. Perhaps an embarrassing event. The kind of thing where he is immersed in his own 'world' and gets busted out by his love interest. That kind of thing. You need to set up a circumstance that shows him in his 'world' but is in the vein of a describable situation.

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