1. TheDarkWriter

    TheDarkWriter Active Member

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    How can I improve these character and develope their relationship?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by TheDarkWriter, Oct 29, 2016.

    My story is about these two main characters one is a demon and the other is his servant. Basically his servant is a former human who after losing everything and hit way past rock bottom made a deal with him. Essentially these are the terms of the their deal she obeys him and without question and collects on those who have double crossed him or have just crossed him and in return she gets all sorts of cool powers and is no longer bound to mortal weakness. She's essentially like the ghostrider she soled her soul and freedom for power because she was at such a low point she never wanted to be weak again.

    As for their relationship she's very self entitled and is constantly being "reigned in" by her Master and by that I mean he has to constantly say things like "I told you do that two hours ago why isn't done yet?" and when she gets snarky or makes an excuse he punishes her with a very nasty headache.

    One of my problems is I don't know who should be at fault him or her? I feel it should be her because she is prone to slacking and is a very prima donna total diva type and even though he treats her badly a lot of the time she doesn't do much to help his opinion of her improve.

    On the other hand is treatment of her doesn't help the situation either and it's pointed out by many other characters that they are toxic. I'm also having a hard time think of ways to redeem them both.
     
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    It's a toxic, abusive relationship. But does it need to be redeemed?
     
  3. TheDarkWriter

    TheDarkWriter Active Member

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    The story is at it's core about them becoming better people.
     
  4. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Ah, ok. From your summary I see him as the worse of the two.
     
  5. TheDarkWriter

    TheDarkWriter Active Member

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    How so?
     
  6. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    This particular snippet sounds very ... abuser apologia-ish. "He treats her bad but she doesn't give him a reason not to." It definitely sounds like you think she's the worst of the two, yeah, but I don't really see why.

    So, here's my thinking. Why is she 'self entitled' and a 'diva'? She was at rock bottom. How did she get there? What kind of person was she before she was a super-powered 'diva'? Before she hit rock bottom? You need to figure out what led her to becoming who she is. Any character flaws she may have had some kind of root, some cause, and figuring out how to resolve those causes is a good way to both make her a more well rounded character and give her organic, sensible character growth.

    On the other side, is the demon benign? Did he 'save' her from rock bottom out of the goodness of his heart - is this just a thing he does, and him telling her off for not doing what she's told is more akin to someone giving a long-suffering sigh and chasing their naughty pet cat off the counter again? Or is he an asshole who targets people who're at their lowest because they're more likely to make deals with them, and he has no actual compassion for them - he just wants free servants?

    You say he punishes her with headaches for not doing as she's told. I wouldn't expect her to like him - he's her master. He obviously has immense power over her and he uses it to dictate her actions and harm her. If you want them to be friends, you need to equalize the playing field. How can she be happy with someone who has that much power over her without it being some kinda Stockholm shit, you know? She may have some issues to work out about herself / her personality, but he's the one who took advantage of her and continues to do so with every order and every punishment. She didn't do anything to him except ... not like being a slave. That's not her flaw here. From your description, it doesn't at all seem like she's contributing to this relationship being bad.

    (Disclaimer: am tired and ill, hopefully this post makes sense. And isn't typo-ridden.)
     
  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    My reaction may be a cultural one. She disobeys him and he abuses her. (Deliberately causing physical pain to others is abuse in our culture.) Our culture doesn't really condemn disobedience, and it does condemn abuse.
     
  8. TheDarkWriter

    TheDarkWriter Active Member

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    She was originally a beauty queen then a scandal ruined her then she got disowned by her parents who she even admits were not very affectionate. It's basically out right stated she associates material objects with love. Another problem with her is that she was sold into sexual slavery and to add insult to injury she found out durring her ordeal nobody even noticed and she consequently became a more willing sex worker. Ultimately she started manipulating men to get what she wanted and then when she pissed off the wrong person things got worse for her. While she was being moved on a ship no less there was a storm made the ship go down and she by some miracle washed up on an island where she met him. He meets her and offers her a choice to go back to a life she hated where she was a glorified sex toy or to finally have the power to never be weak at anyones hands again.

    It was more on his part an impulsive and act of opportunity he can't turn just anyone into a servant they need to meet certain requirements. Like they need to be a certain kind of damaged and they have to be strong enough to survive the transition. He views it as a boss/employee style relationship and he's a no nonsense kind of guy he likes when people do things specifically as he tells them.

    For example if he wants her to procure him something herself he'd expect her to get it for him herself. She typically has other people do her work like for example she'd have a couple of mooks get said object for her so she could slack off and his problem with that is that if he wanted a couple of mooks to get it he'd get a couple of mooks to get it.

    Another problem he has with her is she's unneccarily condescending and bitchy. While hes not the most compassionate person he's something of a businessman and if he's proposing a deal or something and she's insensitive about something going on with said prospective customer's/client's life he'll get mad make her stop speaking for however long he wants.
    More often then not he "punishes" her when she does something really bad like if she causes a situation to get out of hand. This is actually a topic that gets brought up a lot. She'll say she hates being a his slave and he'll argue with "You knew exactly what you were getting into I didn't sugarcoat anything I didn't omit anything I laid the offer out flat and made it crystal clear." Even in the beginning when she made the deal he warned her to not rush into the deal thoughtlessly. He justifies his treatment of her by saying "You know in the beginning I tried being the fun boss because I hoped she'd fall in line on her own, that was a mistake when I realized that I tried being more stern and when that didnt work I realized that she was one of those people who respond best to the carrot and stick method." The ironc thing about the two of them is he's more likely to want a peaceful resolution to a problem and she's more likely to just resort to a violent means.

    For her it's the fact she has to answer to someone that bothers her. Magic in my story has a simple rule to obtain something of equal value must be lost. She wanted power and is like a succubus/siren but the price she paid(and she knew this going in) was that despite that she's got this power to control others she's got no free will of her own and the irony is always pointed out to her. What really terrifies her is not being in control and she's show to really enjoy having power over others.

    This is a pretty good example of how she is.
     
  9. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    This is just things that've happened to her. The only thing about her personality here is that she associates material items with love, and I can infer that she's a survivor - she's resilient and adaptive. These aren't character flaws. Neither is having been sold into sexual slavery.

    So she grew up in an unloving home. Maybe she has problems with empathy because of that. She doesn't think anyone cares about her (see: no one noticing she was gone) so she doesn't care about anyone. Add onto that the fact that she's been through the grinder and it doesn't seem like she's ever had a helping hand, and of course her interpersonal skills aren't great - so she comes across as 'bitchy' or as a 'diva'. Honestly? She seems like she could be a really interesting character, but you're only thinking of her as a bitchy diva whose problems are all her own fault. I'm asking you to think of her as a more complex and nuanced person.

    She seems like someone who's struggled with having had her personal autonomy, her agency, taken away - beauty queens are often pushed into it by their parents, she was literally a slave, now she's a servant to a demon who can inflict headaches on her and straight up take her voice away when he wants to. At the same time, she's used what power she's had to manipulate people in the past, and she now has supernatural powers. That's an interesting struggle. It'd do a number on a person's head, being both powerful and powerless. Of course she's not well-adjusted; that doesn't just mean she's an asshole.

    Or, make her flat. Make her a one-dimensional bitchy diva at fault for everything. That just doesn't seem particularly interesting or compelling to me.

    If she's such an inconvenience why does he keep her around? Why go through the trouble of reprimanding her and reigning her in over and over? I don't understand his motivations unless there's some aspect to their relationship in which they are able to pal around and actually enjoy each others' company. Otherwise she's an unreliable employee so why doesn't he 'fire' her, and he's a boss with unprecedented levels of control over her (would you [be happy to] work for a guy who gave you migraines and muted you when you delegated? I wouldn't) who, presumably, she has no way of getting away from. It's like mandatory prison labor if anything.

    I also find it pretty hard to accept that a run of the mill human could truly understand some supernatural demon contract. "You knew what you were getting into" is bullshit. Preying on someone who has no other real options and then saying "hey, you made this choice" is literally an abuser tactic (a form of gaslighting I believe). You could commit to him being an abuser, but that'd make 'redeeming' their relationship a tough pill to swallow. It's that or tone down his shittiness, IMO. I mean, not necessarily tone it down, but at least let him grow enough to acknowledge it and try to behave better. Like I said, I'm not really understanding where he's coming from in all this, and you need to consider what they're both bringing to this relationship - both in the present day and with regards to their emotional baggage from the past. It seems like you only want to consider her baggage, and only to condemn her, when he's the one doing the awful shit. She's at worst a somewhat lazy and petty employee. They both need to grow and change if you want them to have some kind of healthy, functional relationship.

    See, there's the agency thing again. And I find that difficult to believe. Why would she give up her free will when she's had it forcibly taken from her before? Of course she wants power over other people - she's fought to have that - but at the cost of not having power over herself? Why make this deal? It just sounds like she made a bad choice out of desperation, which makes "you knew what you were getting into / you chose this" even more bullshit.

    There's definitely a compelling conflict about agency in here but you're completely dodging it. Although, it seems like she does have free will if she can disobey him, just at risk of paying a price once he finds out, so I don't fully understand this contract itself, really. Giving up power over yourself in order to have power over other people is certainly an interesting deal, but I don't see why it'd appeal to her, specifically, so much unless she was in dire straits - having power over herself seems like the main thing she'd want. Forcing her to make this choice when she's in a predicament is scummy. And I get that that's just how the demon magic works in the setting, right, but that doesn't make it justified or okay - it means demon magic is a raw deal, so again, blaming her for making a bad choice when all her choices were bad ... actual abuser tactic.

    Now, say demon magic works under the conditions that for instance: she's on the cusp of legitimately improving her life through hard work etc., she's reclaiming her agency, and the demon offers her an easy out - the ability to instantly get what she wants at the cost of sacrificing that agency. She had another choice but she chose to be greedy/lazy. Now that'd be a character flaw. Now he gets to say "hey, you could've flipped burgers and done it the way all the other humans do it, but you wanted more / wanted it faster / wanted it easier, so here you are, deal with it". Sure. But she was at rock bottom and the demon offered her the only plausible out? Nah.

    /see previous disclaimer, tired and mostly rambling

    edited for typos and clarity
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2016
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  10. TheDarkWriter

    TheDarkWriter Active Member

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    I wasn't planning on making things that have happened to her character flaws. Like you said it's an interesting struggle and I didn't really want to make her one-dimensional I just didnt want her to be a mary-sue I wanted to make her someone who despite being in a sucky situation was not a gentle little lamb.

    His reasons for keeping her around is that-and she doesn't know this- he's stuck with her. The contract kind of screws him over in that he can't get rid of her and has to put up with her until she dies(which can be a while). I agree they both need to grow up(something they are both told a lot by other characters) they do get a long at times and this is typically when they are just hanging out. I think what they both bring to the relationship is that he's the only person whose really never spoiled her and despite how he treats her he doesn't make unwanted advances towards her (she's actually surprised he's never tried and this makes her slowly start trusting him) also she's literally the only person who stands up to him and does not fear him which initially surprises and intrigues him. In this way they challenge each other and force each other to look at themselves.

    As the story goes on they start to respect each other more. He starts not being as controlling and she starts taking her job more seriously.

    I have to admit your right the more I think about it the more I realize he suckered her into a raw deal. I was planning on having it be that she thought it wouldn't be so bad only to regret it afterwards which is what you've described. I'm definately going to be exploring the agency thing you mentione more I definately was not focusing on that enough. The idea is that she does have free will but she just has to do whatever he says and there are times when this gets a little complicated for them at times like he'll say something and will be sarcastic but she'll do it I was thinking of using this to provide some comedic relief.

    This pretty much the best example of how she made a contract at first he was charasmatic and she loved what he offered pretty much they are like Joker and Harley.
     
  11. AnchoredAerial

    AnchoredAerial New Member

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    @izzybot @TheDarkWriter I don't know why your guys conversation is making me so happy. When I first read this I was thinking of Supernatural and then you posted Vampire Diaries and I just power-fisted in the air.

    For the girl:
    I agree a lot with what Izzy has to say. While her past is tragic, it's also a motivation. Does she put up with this demon because she doesn't want to go back to her old life? Is there relationship getting so bad that she would rather go back, but can't because she's trapped? Or does she secretly like that she is servant to him? Does she feel like she is getting taken care of for the first time in her life and doesn't want to lose that?

    For her give her some flaws. What is she trying to overcome. Even more, is she perfect in the sense that she has no surface flaws and wants to fix a broken demon? And what does she do with these powers? Is the power corrupting or does she do good? I would even in the beginning have her use the poor against the demon. "Silly girl. I'm your master. I'm much, much strong than you could ever be." Does she lose the powers every time he gives her one or does it slowly build up to the point where she can be demon herself? Does she ever refuse a power?

    I think more develop for her in the future would be awesome! I love her backstory. I'm curious to see if she would ever go back to her family or want revenge. And what's her views on family now? And the beauty queen is such an interesting concept. She's beautiful, young, and taken advantage of. Usually those girls are stuck up, but yet she is, for the most part, unscathed. How? Is she strong? What helped her through it? *Hint hint symbolism* Don't do a creepy doll. Please dont!

    Him:

    I agree. Why does he keep her around. I came up with this weird idea of why he was on the island. When reading your guy's response, I questioned his relationship with others before the deal. Is he alone or with other demons? Has he made this deal before? What's his relationship with her before? I thought, and its completely your story, he fell in love with her during a moment that she would never remember. For example, is he like the badass demons of demons and everybody worships him and therefore when he meets this girl that completely ignores his charm and can be snarky to him, does he secretly love it, her. Yet, when he tortures her what does he feel? Or do they both begin to like it? Kinky. Or is he constantly trying to burying these emotions?

    Instead of a healthy relationship there is the evil dark relationship that is held together by loathing :supergrin: of course there's healthy too

    Furthermore, on what Izzy said, how rock-bottom was her rock bottom. What did she get out of this that really sold the deal. What does she get to do to these people who harmed her before?

    Izzy also did a great job talking about the contract.

    ^What she said. It's late and I'm tired and I don't want to reread. Hope it makes sense:pop:
     
  12. AnchoredAerial

    AnchoredAerial New Member

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    @TheDarkWriter Why can't he get out of the contract? Love the Joker and Harley Quinn example but in that scene he was about to leave her but, then felt compelled to her and saved her. What is this demons morals?

    And is he just a regular demon or is he almighty and powerful?

    I like to help explore by asking questions
     
  13. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    He's the only person who never 'spoiled' her, the person whose parents were unaffectionate and who was literally a sex slave and who nobody missed? She does't sound as if she had a spoiled life. I mean in the same breath you're saying she's surprised he never made any advances on her. She's had a life where someone with power over her not trying to have sex with her is a surprise. It doesn't sound like she needs someone who won't 'spoil' her - doesn't seem she's lacked them.

    I've watched neither of the clips you've linked but Joker/Harley is - again - an abusive relationship so if that's the comparison you're drawing ... eh.
     
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  14. AnchoredAerial

    AnchoredAerial New Member

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    She is being spoiled. She's receiving powers from him. For the first time in her life she isn't helpless.
     
  15. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    She found a way to not be completely helpless before, by manipulating men while she was a sex worker (eta: obviously she was still at a disadvantage here since from what I understand it resulted in her being shipwrecked? but I'd still say it count as this not being the first time she's not been helpless), and the powers come at the price of doing whatever the demon says or facing pain / other punishments. We may have different definition of spoiling someone.
     
  16. AnchoredAerial

    AnchoredAerial New Member

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    No, you're right. Our definitions of spoiling are the same. Facing pain / other punishments are brutal and come at a price, so you're right it's not spoiled. But, why would the demon want her instead of ALL the other girls in the world that he could have do his dirty work? What ever she got from manipulating men as a sex worker must have been amazing for the demon to say, "Yeah, I'll make a deal with you". Although, she's getting the worst end of the stick, like death said, the demon is getting punished too since he is stuck with her.

    I just imagine Demon's as cunning and in the mindset of been there done that a thousand times so I know the best plan of attack. Also, nothing to lose. This may not be him but, I don't think he would do something just to have a slave. There has to be more for him in this.
     
  17. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    Yeah, part of what I meant when I mentioned not getting the demon's motivations earlier was not knowing why he picked her. I'm unclear if he knew anything about her / her abilities or not, but was assuming it was more or less chance - she just happened to wash up on his beach. Could be wrong though. I don't want to assume too much.
     
  18. AnchoredAerial

    AnchoredAerial New Member

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    Exactly, me either. Let's wait for them to respond before we continue. And yes you did say exactly that, totally missed it. Good job bringing that up first!
     
  19. TheDarkWriter

    TheDarkWriter Active Member

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    Oh it's not that she's not unscathed the really interesting thing is that there are two sides of her the first side the side that most see is a manipulative and entitled mean girl. She's very hateful and vengeful towards the world. However when it comes to her family she's very insecure and secretly desperately want to be loved by them again even though they hold her to insanely high standards. She's constantly seeking the one thing that she has been deprived of and that is love.

    Part of the reason she puts up with him is she doesn't want to go back. It's so bad she'd leave even though it's bad her current situation is even by her own admission SO MUCH better than her previous one. Also she does feel like she's getting taken care of for the first time in a long time. Her power is like a representation she's always craved affection and has always sought it out but no matter what she's never felt loved and her power represents that it gives the affection of others but it's not real. Her master even explains it like this "Whether you want to admit it or not the one thing you've always craved is love."

    Your actually not far off. He actually knows her but she doesn't remember him. Essentially he's the Big Bad Wolf and she's the reincarnation of Red Riding Hood. Yeah I know crazy. Long story short the first time around he wasn't very strong and when he was young she used him and broke his heart so he cursed her to be reincarnate so he could kill her over and over (eventually he got bored and forgot all about her) over the years he became a badass demon and was worshipped by many until he fought a priest and was forced sort of reincarnate himself as a way to survive and while being raised human not knowing who he really was he developed a celebrity crush on her and when he regained his powers and memories his old feelings began to stir and then while he was rebuilding his empire of all the islands in all the world she washed up on his and he just could not believe his luck.

    He has mixed feeling for her on one hand he wants her on the other hand he wants to make her suffer. He's trying to burying these emotions(literally he switches from pure seething hatred to puppy dog love) to an extent but he can't and I'm not going to lie it is a bit kinky because they both get off on pain because of how screwed up they are. They pretty much exist in a world of super powered heroes and they are literally the type of people who add just a few shades of grey(pun intended) to all the black and white. Some of what they do is good but they also do some bad (it's one of those perspective type deals) depending on how you look at it.

    One of the ways he built her back up emtionaly was he helped her kill everyone who harmed her and forced her to be a sex worker and he taught her to enjoy causing others pain though it's implied she had a sadistic streak long before this. For her what sold her on the deal was the power at the time she thought it would be worth it.
     

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