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  1. JPClyde

    JPClyde Senior Member

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    Does this Type of Duality Ever Work

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by JPClyde, Jul 12, 2017.

    I have a character that I can only describe as being like dark chocolate. He is sweet in some places, but can be very dark in other places. I realize throughout the series he's the one who was suspected to darken the most now that I think about it.

    I am just worried it comes off too flippant, maybe.

    Long story short most of the characters in this Novel are working themselves out in a world that they are trying to influence. Many of them have been isolated from the real world for a long time. Even further many of them have been tortured, beaten, and live a very cruel life.

    Michel isn't quite like that. When his gift was considered useful to the people who harmed and tortured the others, he was given a "nice enough room". But locked away from any other interaction of people. He has knowledge of books. But just because he was treated a little more special didn't mean things didn't happen. He was beaten by a bored knight here or there. People manipulated and used him quite a bit, and being socially isolated he became paranoid and suspicious of others actions.

    He's a gentle soul. Sort of. Something lurks within his subconscious that spells niceness with kniveness.

    In the current work of my story. Michel is distraught by a decision that would lead people to their deaths. It's basically throwing people into a suicide mission. And he could not agree with his own plan because he never wanted to turn out to be that cruel, heartless leader, who sends people off to their deaths.

    After the rather abrupt end to the leaders meeting Michel runs off. Dealing with a soring headache from a concussion and some other things, he simply decides to take a nap on one of the hallway floors. Someone wakes him up and somewhere between the state of being asleep and waking up he pulls a dagger out and has it pretty close to an allies throat.

    To be fair he was half asleep. And dealing with self destructive thoughts.

    I am just worried the readers will be like wait what:

    -he's against killing or throwing people needlessly to die
    -but then threatens someone with a dagger to the throat when he's waking up
    edit:
    -but then I should add he was extremely apologetic afterwards and extremely embarrassed that he had done so. He feels bad for doing so and practically drops the dagger from his hands realizing his actions

    Does this type of duality ever work?

    For Michel he has a lot of triggers from being touched. He doesn't like being touched. Doesn't want to be touched by others. So it was a simple sudden shock to him as he is waking up someone's touch. [and I have mentioned a few times in previous chapters before that Michel would like to avoid the touch of others]
     
  2. Laurus

    Laurus Disappointed Idealist Contributor

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    Does it ever work? I suppose it could, I won't generalize all works. Does it work here? I don't think so. If Michael doesn't like to be touched, actively avoids being touched, is gentle, and endured random beatings, I imagine his reflex would be to recoil, turtle up, maybe push away the person who woke him up. His actions would be defensive, not offensive, at least to my mind.
     
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  3. JPClyde

    JPClyde Senior Member

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    In the other times he had the ability to lean away or completely avoid. In this case it was in the dark, he didn't know who was grabbing him, and reliving something he tries to bury away. But I see your point. Hmmm.

    edit-

    His name is Michel. I didn't typo. lol :)
     
  4. Laurus

    Laurus Disappointed Idealist Contributor

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    Oh, sorry. I wasn't trying to correct you, I just didn't read closely enough.

    Is it possible for him to slash with the dagger? That's certainly a defensive move. Holding it at someone's throat though -- that shows training at the very least, a trained reflex that I don't think Michel has learned judging from your description of him. It could also show intent to kill, which it's obvious you want to avoid.
     
  5. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    I think it might depend on whether he's been trained for combat. Totally anecdotal, but what I'm thinking of is this:

    My dad has PTSD - he's a Vietnam vet - and while not ordinarily touch averse, he will absolutely come out of sleep swinging if you try to shake him awake. That said he's otherwise a very gentle, non-violent person and is expectedly apologetic when it happens.

    I'm ordinarily touch averse unrelated to any trauma, the closest I have to combat training is that I used to take a very soft / self-defensive martial art, and if I'm woken up by touch my instinct is to jerk away as @Laurus suggests.

    Like I said, completely anecdotal. But I think I'd probably buy it from someone who's been trained to fight and has it on that instinctive level, or whose trauma specifically propelled them to fight, rather than retreat like someone who was abused as a child and only had the option to cower/hide.
     
  6. JPClyde

    JPClyde Senior Member

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    Well. I mean. The world isn't set in our world. And I am in no way trying to confirm that Michel does have Autism. I simply made his touch sensory similar in my way. I am often usually a very calm person and I tell people respectfully not to touch me.

    Unless!

    They touch me in a manner that is shocking. Oh you do not know the kind of triggering sensation I get when they do. I have swung at someone for touching me in a way I don't expect them to do. I hate being touched. I hate it so much. I am often very cordial about it, unless they come from behind, or do it suddenly. Then it triggers my fight sensations in the worse way. And I am not martially trained @izzybot.
     
  7. Laurus

    Laurus Disappointed Idealist Contributor

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    Can I ask why he has a dagger in the first place?
     
  8. JPClyde

    JPClyde Senior Member

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    Signore, who is a trained soldier, gave it to him in order for Michel to protect himself.
     
  9. Laurus

    Laurus Disappointed Idealist Contributor

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    And he knows Michel is aversive to violence?
     
  10. JPClyde

    JPClyde Senior Member

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    It's not necessarily an aversion. Michel doesn't understand the line between Violence becoming Brutality. He is worried that by opening the gates towards Violence, it leads to Brutality. Michel also worries that by people fighting in a rebellion they cause, that their lives are wasted or that they threw away their life. Michel is often always worried about coming off as a cruel monster.

    In this case Signore gave him the knife for Protection. Not Violence. Signore is older than Michel and sort of tries to guide him in understanding how to navigate that boundary.

    Michel is afraid that violence will turn himself heartless. Or that to chose an act of violence willing, that you have to become a monster in order to act upon it without remorse or regret for your actions.

    He struggles with the fact that many of the people fighting for their freedom he knows them by name. Individually. As people. It's like asking your good friend to fight alongside you, knowing either of you will die and living through it every time and watching them all fall one by one. Their death the consequence of your cause.
     
  11. Laurus

    Laurus Disappointed Idealist Contributor

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    Interesting. I like the scenario you've set up for him then, it tests him. It's a significant moment of character development, so I don't think readers will say "wait, what?" as long as his response to being woke is something that causes him to push his boundaries in a believable way. And by "believable," I mean that it should be a moment that past events have logically led up to.

    Though I will say that having him push a boundary unintentionally feels somewhat submissive. Submissive in a way that I get the feeling that this fear of falling into brutality owns Michel. How much of his character is focused on overcoming this flaw? And he sounds like a character I'd like to root for, so does he eventually take proactive steps towards overcoming it? I'm just asking things I'm curious about now.
     
  12. JPClyde

    JPClyde Senior Member

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    Definitely something he is trying to overcome. Unfortunately for Michel, unlike the others who were physically bruised and scarred. He was mentally. And so there is this back and forth with how to tackle how his past affects him and if he needs to struggle this much to overcome it.

    Others look at him with an envious twinge, like you don't have a scar on your body so why are you complaining. But I am well verse in the madness that social isolation causes. Michel's enemy if not the Priest and Knights who beat him, were the thoughts they weaseled into his mind, that then became his enemy alone. His own mind.

    Michel unlike the other two seeks to learn. And he wants to overcome it. Sometimes he falls from those moment by letting it consume him. But he tries to stand back up again. He struggles with identifying if the way he feels is valid when other tell him it is not. And with being able to "yes this scarred me and I need to figure out how to overcome this".

    But Michel tries. He always seeks out new insight. Always try to strive for the better path. But he still has flaws, and failings.
     
  13. archer88i

    archer88i Banned Contributor

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    JP, my man, (my skull? whatever), you are asking the wrong question. Don't waste time asking if something "works" until you decide what it's for. Take the jack in the trunk of my car, for example. Does it work? Fuck no. I shaved with it three times yesterday, and I still have a beard.

    Does this kind of character work? Depends on what you want the reader to think about your character. A person whose principles seem at odds with their actions comes off as wishy washy at best, or dishonest at worst. In general, they're going to look weak no matter what. If that's what you're going for--damaged goods? A person who can't put their past behind them and who is harmed by their own refusal to move on?--then sure, it can work fine.
     
  14. JPClyde

    JPClyde Senior Member

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    Definitely what I am going for.

    But at the same it wasn't whether this character works. More like I haven't seen people pull this kind of duality and make it believable.
     
  15. archer88i

    archer88i Banned Contributor

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    Well, you're right. Most of the time it comes off as just digging for sympathy or something. And that's not a character's job. They're supposed to inspire us, not make us feel sorry for them. But go watch Aliens--the sequel to Alien. Ellen Ripley seems to fit your bill pretty well.
     
  16. JPClyde

    JPClyde Senior Member

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    I love Aliens. One of my all time favorite time movies. I also love Alien, and Alien Resurrection. Okay now you've just got me distracted.
     
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