1. Jair

    Jair New Member

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    How can I create very easily loved secondary characters?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Jair, Oct 19, 2016.

    I'm writing my story and I'm using an order of plot events I created. Now I'm in a part where the story takes a bit of a lighter tone. Now is my chance to introduce new friends to the main character so that he establishes a strong relationship with them.

    They're not very relevant for the overall story I'm going to kill off his friends a bit further, but I need to know how to write the secondary characters lovable enough so the reader is "affected" or just moved by their deaths.

    My goal is to take the story's tone and make it have a dark background while scene by scene the reading is a bit light. I need to make that it of a contrast. I'm writing a fantasy and it's just a war going.

    Long story short, the main guy goes to boot camp and meets his companions. After their first mission everyone dies.

    How do I write the characters so that you can relate to their deaths?
     
  2. I.A. By the Barn

    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    I have never made a character just for that purpose. A death of a friend is meant to symbolise (in my mind) departure, the point of no return. It will be hard in a short period of time for a main character to establish enough of a relationship for many people to care.
    If this comes late in the story I apologise, as yes, this will work and should by then mean something to a reader. Creating your secondary character can be quite similar to your main, faults (proper ones) and skills so a reader will connect with them, as they would with your main character.
     
  3. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    I mean, you create them the same way as any other character. They need personalities, hopes and dreams, goals. They need to live and breath, have their own prejudices, their own likes and dislikes. They need to be active, pursue their dreams avidly just like the reader wishes they could do.

    Let a few of them want to help the protagonist on whatever journey or with whatever goal he's seeking. Let some of them tell the protagonist he's wasting his time. Choose a few archetypes and build real, important characters around them just like you would any other character.

    Then kill them, I guess.

    Who knows, you might like one of them so much you decide to bring him back. It's happened to me.
     
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  4. Jair

    Jair New Member

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    "Then kill them, I guess."

    I won't deny that sentence made me laugh a bit too much lol. Anyway I think I'll stretch their appearance in the stories and how much they interact with my main. I'll let the characters develop well enough so that then I could bring myself to kill them. I'll probably keep one of them secretly alive or something and then bring him back much later in the story. Thanks, you helped a lot.

    -Jair :)
     
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  5. Jair

    Jair New Member

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    I think it's all about how well they've integrated themselves in the story. The time that they have to develop should be a bit more than just "short" but not long enough that they become too important. This is just one part of the story, since it'll have two main characters. The first half will be told by the one I mentioned and his friends are the ones that die. But I need that "death" factor to bring the reality of war to the story. I just feel if everyone is alive by the end then it'll be too light. That's why I need uninmportant secondary characters that'll die later on. The story is quite long to be honest. So I think I'll have enough pages to work with them. Thanks a lot.

    -Jair
     
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  6. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    Hope it works out well!!
     
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  7. hawls

    hawls Active Member

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    If you're defining these characters as unimportant then that will come across in your writing and the reader will see them the same way. Cannon fodder.

    This doomed friend character has to be vital. In every way. Otherwise nothing about him will have any impact whatsoever. On your protagonist, on the plot, let alone on the reader.
     
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  8. Megs33

    Megs33 Active Member

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    My heartstrings get pulled by characters who are in love. MC gets introduced to a couple and a moment is given to showing their emotions toward one another: the leaning of her head on his shoulder, bright happy grins and amusing jokes at one another's expense, a subtle holding of hands or touch to the lower back. Then when one of them dies there is so much pain to be found in the description of the other's agony. Maybe it's even more heartbreaking because the surviving member of the couple is killed not long after. Bittersweet because they both died but you know they have to be together again somehow.

    ^ Nailed it.

    To piggyback, I tend to find that as a reader I'm going to care more about characters who are entwined with the MC, and therefore me. They give him something he needs- an escape from his problems, whether physical or mental. Inherent to that statement is that the reader cares about the MC's problems. If I'm following the MC down the rabbit hole of despair during a war, then the solace he finds in his new friends is solace that I'll find, too. Maybe one person is a jokester who eases tense situations. Maybe one is an authority figure who the MC might compare to his mother or father. One could be a "brother" of sorts, a friend who supports him and helps him recognize a light at the end of the tunnel. All of them share a bond of love and friendship that needs to be palpable and realistic. They offer comfort and ease his pain, and as the reader you feel like you can breathe a little easier. Give the reader the impression that these are people who are in it for the long haul, who will be joining the MC for the foreseeable future, and it'll make their loss that much more impactful.
     
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  9. Megs33

    Megs33 Active Member

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    Actually, if you want to read books that offer a REALLY great example of what you're looking for, I recommend the Matt Archer: Monster Hunter series. The MC is essentially enlisted in the army and battling a seemingly endless horde of monsters. The tone (especially at the end) is decidedly dark. Matt is introduced to a LOT of new people, and you never know who will die. There's a pretty open rotation of new characters, and each death still felt like a gut-punch. I thought it was really well-done.
     
  10. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Are you trying to set MASH in a LOTR universe?
    military-humor-speed-checked-by-radar-mash.jpg :supergrin:
     
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  11. I.A. By the Barn

    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    ^That made me laugh so much!:D
     
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