1. Harry Watson

    Harry Watson New Member

    Jun 23, 2012
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    Are these characters interesting?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Harry Watson, Jun 23, 2012.

    Basically the plot centers around Sam,Ty and Anya and their unique abilities. They are from ages 15 to 17. They all come in contact with the Cult of Arsonists which is how they all meet.

    I'd also like feedback on the actual names themselves

    Sam Maddox: Sam is an average, quiet boy. Sam is tall with brown hair.He lives in the poor side of Silverfalls. After seeing a boy covered in burns, Sam goes to his quiet place. He falls off a bridge and wakes up with no recollection of how he survived. Through a variety of mishaps, Sam learns that he is unable to die.

    Tyresias Byrne: A loud mouth, with strong oppinions (he's everything that Sam isn't). He is short with red hair andloves arguing. He is unsatisfied with life because he lives the same high class routine everyday.He has the power to see all the outcomes of an event, meaning he can see what could have been.

    Anya Kerberos: Peter Kerberos's daughter. She is very tough and is an expert on voodoo curses and spells (which she uses to fight) Anya has bright cherry red hair and a spiderweb tattoo.

    Valastro Abaddon :The leader of The Cult of arsonists. He has the ability to cause instant starvation, pass through walls and steal a persons voice. He's as crazy as Hannibal Lecter.

    Peter Kerberos:Tyresia's favorite author. Ty ends up saving his life and the two try to figure out who the League of Arsonists are. While doing so he disappears.

    Kerberos meaning: demon of the pit.

    Daniel Tramer: 7 year old who can see ghosts.
    John Tramer: Daniels Father.
    Judith: The mother of John's late wife. Cruel, highly religious, hates John/Daniel.

    Sal Hindley:A 55 year old man who buys Sams house. Sam's family continues to live there under his tyranny. He is verbally abusive and has many drunk outbursts that
    he constantly takes out on Sam. Examples of his craziness include: Driving an ax into their shed, knifing the snowman built by Sam's little sister and breaking their door down.
  2. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    These character sketyches mean nothing, and a name is just a name.

    The value and believability of a character lies in the totality of the writing, not in a capsule description.
  3. Lucy Eisenberg

    Lucy Eisenberg New Member

    Jun 23, 2012
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    Sam and Peter seem like characters I would enjoy. However, Anya as the tough chick with dyed hair and tattoos, and Daniel as the kid who can see ghosts, come across as stock characters. But I guess it's really about how you execute it. And, great job on the names! :)
  4. Tesoro

    Tesoro Contributor Contributor

    Jan 3, 2011
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    A place with no future
    I agree with Cogito. There's so much more to a character than can be summarized in one sentence. Plus it's HOW YOU WRITE THEM that matters the most.
  5. nhope

    nhope Member Reviewer

    Nov 10, 2008
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    NH Seacoast
    Knifing the snowman? What was it made of?
  6. thetyper

    thetyper New Member

    Jun 21, 2012
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    Hi Harry

    Sounds interesting. Is there a reason for the mythology reference beyond the one you point out? I agree with Cogito that this is a bit brief for anyone to get a grip on the characters, which would require some critical sections of the text to see how they behave and interact and develop, etc.
  7. Gonissa

    Gonissa New Member

    Feb 17, 2012
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    Ghost Tower
    I gotta say this, dude, but them names is pretty pretentious. Except for Sal, which sounds uncommon but not too weird to be unacceptable. Tramer is likewise fine. Kerberos, however is especially pretentious, especially for someone who doesn't sound like a bad guy or a mythological beast. I work at a bookstore, and I find it highly unlikely that an author would be named this way. It's not a very catchy name, and would turn away the people that find it offensive that someone would name themselves "demon", assuming that this is a pen name and not a family name. Being a family name would make it much, much more unreasonable. "Abbadon", while equally pretentious, is more acceptable because the dude himself is a cult leader, and I can totally see a cult leader giving himself a really dumb name just to sound important.

    Maybe this is just me, but Tyresias sounds almost like a girl's name. And, either way, Tyresias Byrne sounds like a play off his character -- his firey personality and red hair. While such play on names is acceptable in comedies or comics, it has a way of making stories serious in tone not being taken as seriously by the audience. It just comes off as silly. It's sort of like how in the movie Avatar they named that one rock "unobtainium": they both undercut their professionalism and insult the intelligence of the audience at the same time. Now, I'm not saying that "Tyresias Byrne" is as bad as "unobtainium" (you'd have to try really hard to make a worse name than "unobtainium" -- it'd be the equivalent of naming your dude "Red-Head Fire Guy"), I'm just saying that it's in the same vein.

    Sam Maddox, while a decent enough name, sounds a bit...eh, "teen-ish". Sort of like "Maximum Ride". I don't care for it myself, as it seems like a name trying too hard to sound cool. However, if your book is directed towards teens, your audience won't mind. After all, writer-types tend to be far more strict about how a story should be written than your audience does, most of the time. You could possibly get away with it and do well.

    Cult of Arsonists, eh? Hm...could be interesting. Definitely sounds like teen fiction. So what's up with them cultists?
  8. Boomstick10995

    Boomstick10995 Member

    Jun 15, 2012
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    lol why are red heads always the firey ones? Trying to play towards a stereotype? lol just kidding. They all sound like they have potential, but I have to agree with Cogito. Can't say anything for sure until I see them in action.
  9. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

    Mar 9, 2010
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    I'm afraid that these descriptions aren't telling me enough to have an opinion. Below, I'm asking a bunch of questions, but I'm definitely not suggesting that you sit down and answer them. I'm instead trying to point out that a character is a really complex thing, and I'd suggest that you start writing scenes with the character, and find out who they are.

    > Sam Maddox: Sam is an average,

    How is he average? Surely he's not dead average at everything, right? There must be things that he's better or worse at.

    > quiet

    Why is he quiet? Is it because he's shy and hesitates to express himself? Is it because he's confident and doesn't feel the need to express himself? Is it because he was taught that children are seen and not heard? Is it because he's depressed? Absorbed in his own thoughts? Is he quiet on all occasions - school, with parents, with friends, at the mall, on the sports field?

    What's he like when he does talk? Does he have a sense of humor? Is he logical, silly, both?

    > boy. Sam is tall with brown hair.

    Short hair? Long hair? In a military buzz cut because his father likes it that way? In a mohawk because he thinks it will make him cool? In the conventional haircut that his mother started specifying when he was six years old because he simply doesn't care?

    > He lives in the poor side of Silverfalls.

    Is that because he's poor? Because his family is frugal? Because they're living in a family house that his mother loves and won't move out of? Because they're saving lots of money for Sam's college education? Is the neighborhood dangerous? Does living there mean that Sam is isolated because he can't go out and interact in his neighborhood?

    > After seeing a boy
    > covered in burns, Sam goes to his quiet place.

    This suggests that Sam is not merely quiet, but mentally ill.

    > He falls off a bridge

    Why? Was he running? Climbing? Did someone push him off? Are you saying that he's so mentally ill that he was unable to keep from walking off the bridge?

    > Tyresias Byrne: A loud mouth, with strong oppinions

    Why? Did his parents encourage this behavior? Is he taking after his father? What's the motive behind his loudmouthed expression? Is he angry? Is he controlling? Is he a bully? Is he trying to help? The same for the arguing - why?

    I'm going to skip his hair. :)

    > He is unsatisfied with life because he lives the same
    > high class routine everyday.

    Why is an upper-income life more unsatisfying than a lower-income life? Who prevents him from having any variety in his life? Do his parents deny him permission to pursue his interests? Are they overprotective? Do they decide what his interest should be?

    I'll stop here. Again, I'm _not_ suggesting that you answer these questions. I'm just saying that you simply can't tell who a character is until you start writing.
  10. captain kate

    captain kate Active Member

    May 4, 2008
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    Cruising through space.
    I agree with Cognito. My biggest question is: what are their strengths/weaknesses and motivations? What do they think? How do they act?

    Second, and most important, is how will it be written. I know I sound like I'm beating a dead horse, but what's going to happen in the plot arc to cause a character arc? Where will these characters be when they hit Point B?

    The capsules are a nice basic start, but they need to be fleshed out and that's only possible through the story. Get your plot arc developed and they will come along.

    Keep plugging! :)
  11. Steph4136

    Steph4136 New Member

    Jul 4, 2012
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    Toronto, ON
    I agree that some of the names sound pretentious, I'm also not sure how to pronounce some of them. Sometimes it's okay to use common names in books too, like Smith as a last name, or Black or something like that. Personally when I see a lot of names like that (outside of a fantasy book like LOTR or Wheel of Time), it looks like someone is trying too hard to come up with cool sounding names.

    I do think this story sounds very cool though and I'm intrigued. Have you already started to write it? Or have you come up with the characters and their traits first and will go from there? I usually don't worry about characters when I first start a new story as they come in time. Often a secondary character will surprise me and I pull them more into the story.
  12. thewordsmith

    thewordsmith Contributor Contributor

    Nov 18, 2009
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    State of Confusion
    Here's my take fwiw.
    FIRST: With the voodoo and spiderweb tattoo, my first impression of her, specifically, was that you had been watchinng too much NCIS. This sounds SO Abbey-esque.

    Now, that being said, I concur with Cogito.
    the names don't really mean anything. "A rose by any other name ..." (although a poorly chosen name can affect the reader's perception of a character and, therefore, harm their impression of him/her) It is not what you name your characters, but how you present them. And, likewise, these brief character sketches can in no way begin to flesh out the characters to the point that we could really know what they are like or if we would like them or not or find them interesting or not.

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