1. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Senior Member

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    Frank

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Arcadeus, Jan 13, 2017.

    Need a bit of help fully developing Frank's personality.

    Little bit of story background behind Frank:
    He is above average intelligence.
    He came from a small village of people getting by off the land.
    He was raised by slavers from age 6.
    His mother was sold early.
    His father was a passing caravan owner who he never met.
    He became a slaver, and competitiveness made him one of the best at it.
    He was always looking for a way out of the life, (Age -Late 20's, Early 30's) which happens at the start of the novel, when he meets his future wife.

    So... traits
    -Semi-Intelligent
    -Competitive

    Then he has a mental breakdown (Wife and kid dead) and is depressed most of the time.

    So depressed gets added at that point. Which may nullify the competitiveness?

    Any ideas?

    Setting is post-apocalyptic multiple generations after cause. (Cause will eventually be found out, but won't take over the story.)
     
  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Get off my Balzac... Staff Contributor

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    Tough to tell until you put him in a scene somewhere... gotta give him a tryout before you can do a scouting report...
     
  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    The last two points aren't congruent - if competitiveness made him one of the best he can't always be looking for a way out, and vice versa
     
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  4. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Senior Member

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    Ah. Well I did that. My problem was that his personality didn't seem real enough.
    I wrote a 4,300 rough draft story in relation to his beginnings.

    So went through messed up childhood,
    Was a bad guy,
    Now mentally un-hinged and living inside his own body with minimal control over it.

    The difficulty of this is I am managing 2 personalities for the protagonist.
    One is his violent aggressive side, which ignores stuff like sex/gore as though it is a normality.
    The other is what is left over. The "other" is the depressed inner mind that the reader knows the thoughts of.

    I think I should avoid making him sad all the time, but give him a generally depressed personality still. (Went through depression, so won't be too hard to write)

    Don't want him to be arrogant, but I do want him to act like he knows more then others I think?

    Idk. I'm conflicted.

    He needs to exist as a balance to the outer Frank.
    He needs to be able to grow as a character.

    These are the two important thoughts in my mind.

    Outer Frank(Will come up with a nickname system) is going to be brutish and comedic, yet with a tender heart.
    Inner Frank maybe gentlemen-esc... not high society, but a bit snooty. Yet serious most of the time and a cold broken heart (due to death of his wife)
     
  5. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Senior Member

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    I realize this is mainly turning into me brainstorming. Please forgive this but it is helping me to flush it out. Also hearing even minor feedback is helpful in the process.
     
  6. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Senior Member

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    Hmmm, I don't really like the competitiveness angle anyways.
     
  7. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Why did the slavers raise him instead of just selling him on ?
     
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  8. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Senior Member

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    Because children make raised into that environment make great slavers.
     
  9. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Senior Member

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    Children don't tend to sell well. They can't do the work that an adult can. So they are generally used to increase the future "work force" of the slaving company.
     
  10. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Really ? So slavers have nothing better to do all day than raise motherless children ? Personally I'd say that sounds weak and unrealistic to me.

    Also in the real world children do sell well , not least to those who want to abuse them, and if you really can't sell them killing them or leaving them to die makes more sense than raising them

    If it were me i'd bin the never knew his father bit as cliche and have one of the slavers be his father - which would explain them keeping him on when his mother dies
     
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  11. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Senior Member

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    However, this isn't the standard "real world."

    This is a post-apocalyptic future where survival is the most important thing. The slaves are used as mercenaries, farmers, guards, prostitution, drug pushing. While children can be used for a few of these things, there are still going to be local laws of the area that keep children from doing things like prostitution if under 14-ish. (Might be hinted at, but probably not going to directly come up) Old-world laws won't all be completely dead, just warped for the most part. People still have pride after all.

    I was thinking that the strong of the children are generally added to the work-force. If a child is weak they are sold/used or killed.

    The slaving companies tend to rent out as well as sell.
     
  12. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Senior Member

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    The slavers are a community of their own. Even though their morals are not quite as strong. So raising kids for a specific job I don't think is too out of the question. Olympians are typically trained from a very young age to do a specific job, and as such, they do it better than others. Now, applying this to slaves doesn't seem like the worst idea. Quality and quantity if you train the kids while using/selling the adults.
     
  13. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Sure but your readers aren't in a post apocalyptic future so this is about what feels reasonable to them, and bunch of hard core slavers raising a 6 year old boy just doesn't ring true

    End of the day do what you want its your book - but my take is that this is weak
     
  14. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Get off my Balzac... Staff Contributor

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    Yeah, that sounds really tough. Since each sees the world differently, what you're really talking about is two POVs. Easiest way to pull that off (and it ain't easy) is to have them speak differently. Maybe one can be gruff with a lot of slang while is the other is more articulate and vocab oriented. And this isn't just for dialogue, but the interior monologue of each side of Frank. When you're writing his thoughts on the world (not just italicized thought quotes) try to shift the language around so we clearly see two different perspectives. Otherwise it'll fall apart.
     
  15. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Senior Member

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    @Moose-
    I appreciate the advice. However, if I you build it into a society that has established communities and "schools" and show that... I don't get how it is "weak."
     
  16. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I agree that slavers caring for a child all the way into adulthood just to add them to their own work force doesn't make purely practical sense. Children can be useful--they can farm, they can make a variety of manufactured items, they can care for and raise animals, they can process and prepare food, they can be household servants, they can do all sorts of things. But I don't see a lot of useful things for them to do in a community of slavers. I think that a child there would be a drain on resources.

    If raising the child doesn't make practical sense, then to me, that means it needs to make some sort of emotional sense.

    If the slavers are a family or clan, he could just be one of their sons. It could perhaps even be such a patriarchal society that women have no permanent place in it--women are acquired, produce boy children, and then the women and any girl children are sold on. Maybe that's even why he broke down--maybe he got fond of a woman and managed to keep her with him, but then the clan sold her and her children because they thought he was behaving like an outsider.
     
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  17. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    Laws regarding the treatment of slaves have been in place in every slaving society, but they're also pretty commonly flouted by the slave-owners. After all, who's going to bring a complaint? Dred Scott tried; he was on firm legal ground for the time, but the fear of the repercussions lead the Supreme Court to basically overrule and nullify existing laws and render all persons of African American ancestry subject to enslavement, and nineteenth century America wasn't in anything close to the state I'd expect out of a post-apocalypse.
     
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  18. T.S. Wieland

    T.S. Wieland New Member

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    Does your character have any interesting flaws? Is he maybe greedy, arrogant, or even vengeful in some way? Maybe a flaw that has formed through his history as a slave.
    One of the biggest suggestions I always tell starting writers of fiction is don't forget flaws. It's one thing to be able to relate to a character in on positive traits, but what REALLY catches people and draws them in when they find a character that they can relate to in their daily struggles is a characters flaws. It helps make your character seem more down to earth and not a superman. And even then, Superman even has some of his own subtle flaws.
     
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  19. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    If you show all that stuff then it comes off more believable - but that's creating an enormous amount of unnecessary context showing/telling to do which if difficult without feeling info dumpy or slowing the pace of the story.

    I think part of the problem is his age - as a parallel armies that have forced child soldiers (as with renamo and the lords resistance army etc) don't take infants, they take children who are old enough to be useful and essentially brainwash them.

    A six year old is basically a pain in the arse to have around (unless you are a loving parent and sometimes even then)
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
  20. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Not to mention that child prostitution is illegal in nearly every civilised country in reality, but these laws don't stop it from happening, so they'd have even less traction in a post apocalyptic state
     
  21. PAPA KILO

    PAPA KILO Member

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    From the start this character sounds like a renegade. Post apocalyptic is a tough world and the depressed don't survive for long. Inner demons is what readers usually want, and the actions the character does to cope with his life or his desire. if you character doesn't grow from a traumatic experience or take vengeance, some may put the book down with out digging deeper. This is a great start to a character that could go rogue and be the link to break, in the system he was born into. That is if your going for an adventure-action suspensful post apoc. Another question is does he accept this slave culture he is born into? Or does he want to break it apart to overcome his depression.
     
  22. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Senior Member

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    Just because something exists in a world, does not mean it has to be shown in the story.
    If I tried to tackle everything that is wrong with-in this world it would be far too dark.
    I am aiming for a balance of dark and humor.

    Prostitution is something I am choosing to avoid at this point in my story. I guess the issue is that I am calling them "Slavers?" They are their own organization, that also owns people.


    This is for when he's older and "broken."
    The most obvious flaw is the fact that there are two thought-streams in the same body. These two tend to have the same goals, but completely different methods of accomplishing them. Yet the one controlling the body is not the MC consciousness.

    As far as smaller flaws, I haven't fully flushed out what I would like so far.
     
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