1. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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    "Surprise" Personalities?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Adam Bolander, Nov 30, 2020.

    In Henry Rider: Clown Hunter, Henry spends the entire first book talking about how her cousin, Alicia, is the worst person she knows. We never actually meet her though, except in a dream/hallucination sequence that is, naturally, entirely inside Henry's head.

    The thing is, while Henry is a good person and a likeable character, it's no secret that she has severe self-esteem issues and considers her job as the Hunter to be the only good thing in her life...a job that Alicia is gunning for as well.

    So I've got an idea for when I eventually do introduce Alicia for real. Henry has her built up to be a smug, condescending, nearly psychopathic creep, so wouldn't it be a surprise if she was actually a really nice person? She does want to take Henry's place as the Hunter, but still does her best to have a good relationship with her cousin. All the negativity and animosity is coming strictly from Henry, whose jealousy and paranoia makes her see and hear everything Alicia does as insulting and derogatory.

    What effect do you think that would have on the readers? Would they sympathize with Henry because they understand why she feels that way, or would it turn them against her and lessen their enjoyment of the book? (This is aimed at a middle grade to young adult audience, by the way)
     
  2. montecarlo

    montecarlo Active Member

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    I can’t speak for your target audience, but that would turn me against Henry

    -MC
     
  3. Kallisto

    Kallisto Ruler of the world... somewhere... Contributor

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    I agree that it would turn against Henry if you don't approach it in the right way. Now if you want people to turn against Henry and not trust him, cool. Go for it. But if you don't, but you still want us to like the Alicia, then you need a time where Alicia and Henry deal with this. Maybe she was like that when Henry last saw her, but things have changed. Now she's here to help.
     
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  4. HulkingElf

    HulkingElf Member

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    well that would depend on how you show this off. if when they first meet you shouldn't reveal that the character is nice you can keep in from the mc's perspective as being 'insulting and derogatory' but then way later on when the mc learns or finally recognizes that she was nice the whole time you can have a short set of scenes that detail minor flashbacks showing that she had been nice the entire time. that would at the very least not make us dislike the mc until way later in the story.
     
  5. Lifeline

    Lifeline South. Staff Contributor

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    Depends on how you write it. If you're writing from Henry's viewpoint, of course I could emphasise with her because no one despises himself/herself. We all justify what we do, and Henry would have good reason in her own mind to despise Alicia. If you're writing from Alicia or omni, it's a different story because then we'd see the other side.

    So decide what you want to do, and then write it :)
     
  6. Malisky

    Malisky Fortune cookie Contributor

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    I perceive this to be a good thing. It's a character flaw, which adds intrigue, rawness of emotions and can work as a handle to push the plot further. Being conflicted about a character for me, doesn't mean I stop liking her. I might get mad at her at the parts she's being a jerk, or even pity her for not getting over some painful stuff, but that's a good thing. At least she is "real" and not some sort of a moral wood print. She's got flaws and what a good opportunity this is to get a resolution out of them as the story unravels. A good one or a bad one. Both equally can work. It's up to you.
     
  7. jmh105

    jmh105 Active Member

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    I honestly think this would be the most interesting and nuanced route for you to take. I'm very interested in the concept of deconstruction, especially as a way to introduce a gray area to your younger audience.

    I wouldn't necessarily sympathize with Henry, BUT if it results in character development for her, I'm here for it!
     
  8. Reece

    Reece Senior Member

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    I would spend a significant amount of time waiting for her to show her true colours.
     

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