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  1. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    What's wrong with my three-headed monster?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by deadrats, Dec 31, 2016.

    I have these three characters acting as one unit. Something similar to a three-headed monster. By the time this unit shows up there have already been a good number of characters introduced. So, I was thinking of then making it a two-man unit, but that just doesn't seem as cool. The unit is quickly breaking. Just two characters in the unit could seem like twins or lovers, and I don't want that. It's just the three characters making up this unit seems like a lot of new faces. Something is wrong. Anyone around here familiar with writing a three-headed monster? Did you struggle at all with the characters within the character? It just seems like a lot to me.

    I guess I'm kind of wondering how much I need each character within the unit to be their own being. Trying something new here. Just thought some of you might have worked with similar creatures in your own writing. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
  2. Lifeline

    Lifeline South. Staff Contributor

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    I am not that certain what you are talking about, but if you mean three persons who are very supportive of one another to the point of acting as 'one': This would be a possible source of great tension. I mean if for some reason the storyline would mess with their outlook on the world and they find that they are suddenly at odds? It'd be great! :)

    I have a six-headed monster in my closet *snickers* so yes, I am familiar with your kind of thoughts in principle which is, that 'not being distinguishable' is a myth. Have you ever encountered such friends in real life? Even the best friends have their own personalities (i.e. leader-follower) and everyone has their own mannerismns or ways they like to do things. So yes: you need to make them thoroughly their own persons.

    Struggle? Yes, in the beginning. Now that I HAVE given each of them their own backstory and character, I don't struggle at all anymore. It's just fun to write.
     
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  3. Jaiden

    Jaiden Member

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    The two examples that come to mind come to me from Tolkien. Firstly, I think you need them to disagree or else there is no point in having three people. Secondly, they need to agree, or else they would never exist as a unit. So, the agreement can come in many forms, submission, respect, or even fear.

    With Gollum/Smeagol you have a relationship built on fear and hatred, but also the occasional bout of submission as one personality takes over. In this example the two characters exist only in the mind of one body, but that doesn't need to be the case. In the other example, I think of the trolls who want to cook and eat Bilbo and the Dwarves. They are three bodies, but co-exist for the same general purpose, and disagree on the methods, but agree in general on a final outcome. The three are individuals, and yet very little time is taken to explain this, because the overall point of the scene is that these trolls are dangerous and hungry. Dangerously hungry, perhaps.

    There is also the whole leader/follower relationship type, and the power struggles that come from that. Afterall, nature abhors a vacuum.
     
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  4. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Thanks for your thoughts, guys. My three-headed monster only shows up at the end of the story. These are not main characters. They are hardly even characters. But they represent something bigger that I believe is clear or maybe not. Maybe that's what I'm struggling with. I don't want my three-headed monster to be a well-developed character. It is solely there to represent something bigger and take a specific action. Perhaps, I've gone a little weird with this. Do you ever use symbolic creatures or characters? Or maybe the fact that these are not a well-developed characters is a problem. I don't know. I already have my main characters and my story. I feel like if I put too much into this creature of sorts, it will change everything and not in the way I want it to. My POV character knows nothing about this creature so I feel like that also makes it hard to put more into it. My POV character encounters this three-headed monster at the end. There is no mention of it before hand. So, it would seem hard to really develop these characters given my POV character. How do you develop a character that your POV character has very limited knowledge of?
     
  5. FireWater

    FireWater Senior Member

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    Is "three-headed monster" a term for three literal, regular people who play an antagonistic role, or something nonhuman? Not that I mean it has to be a specific, literal three-headed monster of course, but there's a difference between regular people, a nonhuman creature of some kind, and human characters who still have some non-human/uncanny valley mannerisms. What role do they serve and what makes them "monstrous" in terms of their role in the story?
     
  6. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Interesting. I could go either way in terms of if this is literally a three-headed monster or three characters somehow connected to serve as one. Honestly, I don't think it would change the story much at all. I've been working on something else completely different, but I might revisit this story and see if a slight change would make the kind of difference I was looking for. What do you guys think is better? A literal three-headed monster or three characters acting as a three-headed monster?
     

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