1. Stargate404

    Stargate404 New Member

    Oct 1, 2017
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    Naive main character help?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Stargate404, Jun 7, 2018.

    Hello everyone, it's been awhile since I posted on the forums but I'm back haha.

    Anyway, I am writing a novel and the main character is young, a recent college grad (though he attended college earlier than most of his peers) and is incredibly book smart but lacks social acumen. He is aware of customs and traditions and goes through painstaking effort to be polite and courteous; he is not socially awkward in formal conversation. Anyway, this character finds out that he is descended from the king's blood and is forced by circumstances and blackmail to press his claim to the throne.

    Here's the problem: he's young and he's naïve but also the main character. He's forced into a lot of the positions he is in due to the circumstances the world and society are in. Those around him who are more experienced are somewhat shaping the way for him. This doesn't mean he doesn't have struggles and issues but I feel like he's on rails a bit too much. I want my naïve character to move the plot forward not have the plot move him forward. I'm struggling to write a naïve MC who knows he's out of his element, who is a teenager and makes many mistakes, while also preserving his status as a worthy MC. I get the feeling that things just happen to him and he reacts rather than driving things forward. Now, as the novel progresses he goes from being out of his element and passive to getting adept and driving things forward but I'm not sure this would be satisfactory for the beginning of my novel.
    Shenanigator likes this.
  2. Dragon Turtle

    Dragon Turtle Deadlier Jerry

    Jan 16, 2018
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    There's nothing wrong with a young and naive MC. That's a pretty classic type of fantasy protagonist, even. From your description here, what stands out to me is that your MC doesn't appear to have any goals. Maybe he does and you just didn't mention them, but they should be key. What is important to this character? What drives him? What was he aiming toward before he found out he was descended from the king's blood, and how did that discovery affect his path toward his goal?

    If he is in fact really smart, he's likely going to know he's out of his element. How that affects his actions will depend on his personality. He might be the type to start intently studying the social customs of the new world he's in, or he might feel defiant or apathetic toward them. Either way you could combine that with whatever his goal was. For example, let's say his goal was he wanted to become a champion circus juggler before he found out he was royalty. He doesn't give a damn about court life, he just wants to juggle. By day he plays along and does what people want of him, but all along he's secretly planning the night's escapades where he sneaks out and meets up with his old circus friends. I chose an absurd example on purpose but I hope it gets the point across. :)
  3. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

    Dec 30, 2010
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    Young and naive doesn't mean he's passive and compliant. He could be a naive idealist. He could be a little gullible. But none of this means he can't be defiant, or determined, or maybe he jumps to the wrong conclusions based on his naivety and makes a mess of things with all the best intentions. I don't see why naivety means he has to have no agency. The two aren't mutually exclusive.
    Stargate404 and Shenanigator like this.
  4. evenflow69

    evenflow69 Member

    Jul 1, 2018
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    Arther had Lancelot! Young equal naive in most cases especialy when it comes to governing. A charecter to protect the king and do his dirty work would solve the issue. He could develope loyalty from the experienced by showing great amounts of empathy and patience.

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