1. AshleyGrim

    AshleyGrim New Member

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    How to write a convincing child necromancer?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by AshleyGrim, Mar 31, 2020.

    Hello! First off, I hope that in the light of the recent events, everyone is alright and safe :)

    I have character who is around 6 years old, who is starting to (involuntary) develop necromancy powers/magic. My story is settled in medieval times and the concept of magic is something taboo in their world setting.
    I was wondering how can I mix childhood themes with necromancy and make it 'realistic'? (if we can put it that way haha)

    Thanks and I apologize in advance if my English is weird :)
     
  2. animagus_kitty

    animagus_kitty Senior Member

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    Have they had a pet die? Children tend not to respond well to their pets dying.
    A loved one? Maybe their parent or sibling died, or their best friend, and they just wanted them to get back up and play with them again.
    Children generally have simpler driving forces than adults do, but only because their emotions have had less time to develop nuance. If they aren't going into this *trying* to raise the dead, then they're just trying to meet their emotional needs by saying "Please get back up, it's play time."

    So I would think, anyway.
     
  3. Malisky

    Malisky Malkatorean Contributor

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    Recalculating...
    Have you thought about your ghosts? What are they gonna be like? The child will be affected depending on how they "interact" with it. Can they be heard (audibly)? Do they even "see" the kid, or are they just glitching replays of their past? Are there bad spirits that seek to harm it or others for some reason? Can ghosts even do that? How will the ghosts look like? Will a decapitated man show as headless? Are there clear indicators that a person is a ghost or not?

    Most probably the kid is gonna have a rough one. It's going to get scared and confused. You could perhaps place a deceased loved one as a guardian against evil spirits that seek to scare or harm it. A tender soul that cares about the well being of the kid, otherwise I think it might lose its sanity pretty early.

    Apart from a deceased guardian, perhaps a living guide could help out as well. If magic is strictly prohibited and the child is only six years old, then someone must guide it in order to be able to keep it a secret and not slip. If the price for necromancy is death or something extreme, if I were its guardian I'd keep it isolated, out of the public eye until it learned to control its nerves, in order to keep it safe. Perhaps, even away from places that many people die or are crowded with ghosts.
     
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  4. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Book Witch Contributor

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    So, there is this scene earlier on in Christopher Moore's book Lamb
    the Bible only talks about when Jesus was born and then skips to when he's 30, but never talks about him during his childhood and realizing his "powers"....the book is a comedy told from the POV of Jesus' childhood best friend, Biff
    , where Jesus was 6 years old and people realized he could bring things back from the dead. It was really funny... kids being kids, they were playing a game that involved a lizard, and the lizard died. So Jesus was dared to lick it or something like that, so he licked the dead lizard, or put it in his mouth or something like that, and the lizard was resurrected. Then he licks it again, and it dies, then he licks it AGAIN and it comes back to life, and all the other kids are awed and keep having it do it again and again.

    I agree with the other people who responded... kids have emotional attachments to animals. If a childhood pet or an animal that you were fond of dies, that would be the most logical thing for the child necromancer to resurrect.

    Is the story more sinister? like, is the child necromancer harboring ill thoughts? if so, you can have the kid kill their pet, and then bring it back to life. Or if its not that kind of story, you could have a bully kill the kids pet and the kid bring it back to life.
    either way.... there needs to be a trigger.... and little kids are all about triggers and emotion
     
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  5. dbesim

    dbesim Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think maybe you could do with reading a little history on what the life of a child was like during the medieval times. Like, I’m assuming most kids didn’t go to school at the time. So what did they do? Did they play? Did they have to do chores around the house? That way you could make it a little more “real” before you introduce us to the kids’ special powers. Try and make him as “normal” as possible considering his circumstances. Maybe bring out his emotions in regard to how he feels about having these powers. Does he like it? Does he hate himself for it? Does he envy the other kids because they don’t? Do the other kids envy him because he does? Kids tend to be a lot more emotional and excitable than grown ups. So I’d focus more on bringing out those emotions as well.
     
  6. Michael D

    Michael D New Member

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    First off, I would imagine something like magic especially necromancy must be taught, if it’s taboo in your world then I imagine it would be hard to find a teacher.

    maybe have an older character that sees something in the child, like feels the presence of magic in the child so they take them under their wing. I imagine an adult necromancer wouldn’t be the most soft or gentle of people. So maybe have some conflict with the characters because one is still an innocent child while the other is an adult who’s whole magic revolves around death.
    You could incorporate how a child would see death, examples wanting only to bring things back for the sake of them not dying (a pet like someone previously mentioned) but then realizes the harsh truth about necromancy. And how it’s much more than just resurrection. This is my first post here so I apologize if this wasn’t helpful, I do hope it helped in some way though.
     
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  7. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber marshmallow Contributor

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    Sounds like a good recipe for massive childhood trauma.
     
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  8. keysersoze

    keysersoze Senior Member

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    And I thought my idea was too grim.

    There's that book/movie We need to talk about Kevin that I recently watched. The mother didn't like the boy and he became this monstrous individual (I won't spoil the story for you). I find thematic similarities here.
     
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  9. AbyssalJoey

    AbyssalJoey Active Member

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    Kill his (her?) mom, any loved one will work really but for a kid, a dead mother will be more effective (probably).

    Give Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood a watch if you haven't.
     
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  10. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor Contest Winner 2022

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    I would read "The Infancy Gospel of Thomas," which has some pretty interesting Slytherin-style magic by Jesus. Yes, that Jesus. The church hates this book. The word heresy is bandied about. It's just an old curiosity and not to be taken seriously, but it would make a perfect source for allegory. If it were me, I would rip themes off from it directly. Just the structure, mind you. Like the Flintstones compared to the Honeymooners.

    A neighbor messed up the brook that he was supernaturally playing in, so Jesus cursed him; “thou shalt be withered like a tree, and shalt not bear leaves, neither root, nor fruit. And straightway that lad withered up wholly” (III.2-3). Another boy bumps into him, and Jesus straight up killed the kid (IV.1). When that boy’s parents got mad at Jesus for, you know, murdering their child, he cursed them with blindness (V.1). Joseph tried to discipline him with some righteous ear-twisting, and Jesus said, “Vex me not” (V.3). Parents, keep your kids away from this gospel: they might get ideas.
     
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  11. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor Blogerator

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    Thou shan't be messing with Jesus.
     
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  12. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    At what point does your child character realise not everybody can do what he does? That might be a turning point. It's probably the point where he realises he has power. And the question is, how will he use that power? This will affect—and be affected by—his personality.

    People may shun him. But some people will also attempt to control him, or benefit from what he can do. This is where your character being a child can be important to the way the story goes. Presumably he'll still have the kinds of emotional and physical needs of a child, and will respond well to those who provide for these needs. And he might not notice he's being manipulated.

    Mary Stewart's excellent first novel in her Merlin trilogy: The Crystal Cave, is a good study of a child's life in medieval times, when he discovers he has powers he doesn't understand. I heartily recommend you read it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2020
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  13. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    The anime series Shingeki no Bahamut has a child necromancer, Rita, who just really, really wanted her mother and father back after they were killed by monsters - then found out that living with zombies wasn't all that it was cracked up to be, but spends the next 200 years living in a twisted parody of a family with them.
     
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  14. Richach

    Richach Contributor Contributor Contest Winner 2022

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    Children of that age do not have a full emotional repertoire. When confronted with complex emotional issues they tend to look blank as they are unable to comprehend the appropriate response and certainly not the full dynamics in such situations.

    You should not fall into the trap of either telling the reader or showing the reader the child's response. You must tread carefully with this as it may become far more complicated than it should.

    Does the child know right from wrong, good from bad? You won't get much understanding out of a six-year-old so my advice is don't try. If you are looking to get complicated emotional and mental responses, make the child 8 or 9 years old. 6 year old's are cute and funny but they are bland emotionally and intellectually compared to older children.
     
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