1. Lea`Brooks

    Lea`Brooks Contributor Contributor

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    Which character would be more interesting?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Lea`Brooks, Apr 4, 2017.

    One of my WIP is an urban fantasy set a few hundred years in the future. Global warming and war have ravaged the country, but it's under repair. Creatures of myth (vampires, werewolves, fairies) have come out of hiding and are living in locked cities, or containment zones, throughout the country.

    My story focuses on modernized golems and the journey my seventeen year old MC Giselle makes after being changed into one.

    However, I've been struggling for a long time with who Giselle is. I see her two different ways and can't decide which is better.

    1) A typical girly girl: she loves shopping and makeup, isn't really outdoorsy. She's naive, very generous, and friendly. She talks a lot and asks too many questions, and wants to make the world a better place. I guess she's a lot like Cher in Clueless.

    2) An adventurous tomboy: she lives in Oregon, so hiking and boating and camping are her favorite things. She loves to party and meet new people, but she's very closed off emotionally to most people. She has a large group of friends and enjoys spending time with vacationers. She doesn't like making deep connections with people.

    Any preference? Neither one changes the story too much. Her arch will remain about the same.

    Thanks!
     
  2. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    She could be a combination of the two? I'd like to see more characters who don't have to fall into the girly girly / tomboy dichotomy but skew it a bit instead.
     
  3. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    Agreed here. Maybe more tom than girly, though seeing Cher navigate a futuristic wasteland full of unruly beasts does sound intriguing. As if, Mr. Werewolf!
     
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  4. Lea`Brooks

    Lea`Brooks Contributor Contributor

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    Okay thanks! While I can certainly make her both girly and tomboy-y, I don't think I can blend both personalities without them clashing. Tomboy Giselle is more mellow and relaxed, whereas girly Giselle is loud and energetic. Tomboy can make friends easily because she's mysterious and sexy, but Girly struggles to make new friends because she's flamboyant and annoying.

    Now do you have a preference? :D
     
  5. The Arcane

    The Arcane Member

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    The first one.
     
  6. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Those are complete opposites. Wouldn't that affect the plot significantly?
     
  7. Lea`Brooks

    Lea`Brooks Contributor Contributor

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    You quoted the second, then voted for the first? I'm getting mixed signals here... :p

    Nah. The only thing that would change is how the story starts (lunch with friends versus party on the beach). Obviously her arch would be a little different because she'd have to learn different lessons, but the story itself won't change too much. Their core personalities are the same. Just how they express themselves is different.
     
  8. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    I mean, I don't know anything about your story, but I feel like there's got to be a more 'right' answer. One way or the other (or some other way that you haven't thought of yet) is going to better support the plot. Which lessons that she'd have to learn fit better with the themes or feel or tone? If it's a non-zero effect on the overall story then the decision is one you need to make conscientiously.
     
  9. The Arcane

    The Arcane Member

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    That's the joke. I quoted the part that said "she's from Oregon" and then voted for the other one. It was a jab at Oregon.

    In reality, neither of these descriptions are very good. Neither of these mention how the main character relates to the plot. Infact, some of these descriptions look like they would conflict or take away from the setting and plot. How a character influences the plot is more important than who the character is.
     
  10. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Contributor

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    Which one do you enjoying writing more? You could write versions of both and see how they turn out. If you like to write about a loud and energetic character and/or feel she fits better with the rest of the cast, go for that. If sexy and mysterious feels more interesting to you or open new plot possibilities, then pick the tomboy. Sometimes I also make these decisions based on what I already have in the story to balance out the rest of the cast.
    I mean, to me both of these characters could be interesting.
     
  11. Joe King

    Joe King Member

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    That was my first immediate thought.

    I think with the plot you've described I'd personally want her to be a tomboy. To me it just seems like a tomboy character would be much easier to get behind with the way the world is in that particular time. I could see how it could be funny having her be really girly, not wanting to help repair anything just in case she breaks a nail or something. However with the tomboy I feel like she'd be into the whole war thing, not shy away from the destruction and be intrigued to meet the vampires and other creatures. Sounds a lot more interesting to me that way. Of course that's my personal preference and it's completely up to you.
     
  12. Lea`Brooks

    Lea`Brooks Contributor Contributor

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    Aww, thank you! You're too kind.

    Ahha! Thank you. :)

    Personally, I enjoy the tomboy character more. I feel like I could have a lot of fun with her backstory and personal quirks... But I feel like I always write characters like that. Every MC I have is emotionally disconnected, somewhat quiet, enjoys the outdoors. Tomboy Giselle still feels distinctly different than my other MCs, but she's very similar. So I thought a girly Giselle would be a change of pace for me. I've never written anything like her before. But that's part of my hesitation. I'm not sure it's even possible for me to write a character like this without annoying myself. :p

    In my attempt to explain why I liked tomboy Giselle, I realized girly Giselle is pretty shallow and lacking depth. I think the only reason she was even an option was because that was how I always saw her (and guess how many first chapters I've started and stopped because I couldn't get her voice right?).

    I've decided to scrap girly Giselle and go with Tomboy Giselle! She'll be a hit at the next beach party!
     
  13. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    You've never seen Firefly, have you ;)

    Kaywinnit Lee "Kaylee" Fry was one of the most popular characters (which is not a low bar) for the fact that she had such a girly-girly personality against such a tomboyish professional role.
     
  14. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

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    What offers the best conflict / compliment to the situation?
     
  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    maybe shes a girly girl who also likes the outdoors etc - visits to the stereotype mine are best avoided
     
  16. Lea`Brooks

    Lea`Brooks Contributor Contributor

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    Excellent question!

    I need Giselle to be reckless in a way. There are a few scenes where she doesn't think about her actions and jeopardizes the mission. Tomboy Giselle is definitely more reckless, but Girly Giselle is timid. I think she may be too timid. I can't see her doing half of the things required of her.

    I also need her to be passive sometimes. Lonnie, a POV character, is really hard on her. I need Giselle to bend to him for a while, not arguing or questioning, just trusting him to get her through (until she gets tired of it and stands up for herself). Girly Giselle is much more passive than Tomboy Giselle. I could easily make Tomboy Giselle passive for the sake of the story -- at least temporarily. She'd go along with his plans for a while, but she wouldn't take it for long. She'd mostly take it because she doesn't like conflict.

    I think those are the only two main points I need. Still thinking Tomboy Giselle is the way to go.

    Already discussed above.
     
  17. Transylvanian Amnesiac

    Transylvanian Amnesiac Member

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    I agree with peachalulu in it being important to identify which version of your character could create the most conflict to the situation, and I'd be of the opinion that a "girly girl" would have a greater internal conflict in adjusting to her new circumstances. If she's outgoing and loud, that would be a great contrast to being transformed into someone of a species that just came out of hiding into the human world. I would assume that there would be mistrust and discomfort on both sides of the human/monster relationships; the humans might carry some fear for the things that they only thought existed in their nightmares, and the monsters might feel to be second class citizens having to change themselves to be a part of a world that the humans created and feel entitled to. As someone previously happy and overeager, being instantly made into a pariah facing prejudice I think would be a greater challenge for the girly girl, even if the tomboy made friends easier. It sounds like people were just drawn to the tomboy that you've imagined and it was not her own desires that necessarily won her friends. I also get the impression that the girly girl you imagined loves being around people, even if she annoys them. Her transformation would allow for her to become more self-aware of this.

    Maybe I'm imagining things, but it seems that people feel that women who are predominantly and unabashedly effeminate in their interests and mannerisms automatically lack nuance and somehow negatively impact the female cause. In the particular climate we live in we are experiencing a lot of debate about gender and gender roles; it's as if most of us seem to feel that women who "blur the lines" by exhibiting traits that are generally associated with the conventional male and shirk those associated with the conventional stereotype of women before we saw a real shift in the emancipation of women is somehow superior. The amusing thing is that the tomboy is not a newfangled concept, like many people seem to make it out to be. They have existed in tandem with their more overtly effeminate compatriots since the beginning of civilization; even if they did not always get to engage in their true passions. It is not at all uncommon to hear many women touting that they "are not like most girls" and that they "get along better/prefer to hang out with the guys" as if this inherently makes her above the women that they have "othered". They take great pride in their "tomboyish" pursuits and on occassion even mock the "girlier" ones. Why does it matter whether or not any given woman prefers to hang out with men or women or whether they prefer to engage in sports, hunting, fishing, etc. or cosmetics and health care or even reading and writing, as all of us here love to do?

    My point after this rant is that these more superficial and stereotyped identifiers do not identify the character as a whole; both a girly girl and a tomboy dream, they love, and they bleed. Write the character you want to and feel can be fleshed out better, but I hope that you do not think a conventional girly girl trope cannot at the same time bring complexity and nuance to the page (or computer screen).
     
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  18. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Can't she be girly without being flamboyant and annoying though ... even after reading the discussion above i'd suggest a hybrid character with some of the characteristics of each would be more interesting, especially if shes conflicted about some parts of her character and the psyche behind them

    girly gisele doesnt have to be timid if you don't write her like that... (EOTD and this isnt aimed directly at the OP I get very frustsated with writers who say "I can't do xyz because the character ..." when the reality is that the character is their creation so they can do anything if they want to)
     
  19. Transylvanian Amnesiac

    Transylvanian Amnesiac Member

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    @big soft moose I agree with you there, and I think that if Lea Brooks feels more strongly about tomboy Gisele or decides to mix things up a bit she is allowed to. I thought I read somewhere that girly Gisele was found to be annoying as Lea imagined her. My point was I got a bit of an impression that a "girly girl" was somehow less nuanced, and I know people who actually believe that in my daily life. Personally I could enjoy the company of a tomboy or a girly girl on the page or at a dinner table. My rant ended up being less directed at Lea and more at society, which is the most frustrating thing of all, I find ;)
     
  20. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Personally, I love taking apart combinations of traits that people feel are "supposed to" go together and spending hours combining them in ways that I'm "not supposed to" :p On geek forums where people talk about MyersBriggs and/or D&D Alignment, for example, the main stereotypes are
    • Men are Thinkers (insensitive) and that Women are Feelers (sensitive)
    • Judgers (organized) are Lawful (authoritarian) and Perceivers (disorganized) are Chaotic (antiauthoritarian)
    • Thinkers can't be Good and Feelers can't be Evil (see Men and Women :bigmeh:)
    • People of different MyersBriggs types can't get along
    • People of different Alignments can't get along
    I love writing characters who are disorganized authoritarians, organized antiauthoritarians, heroic insensitive women, villainous sensitive men, and everything in between.
     
  21. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    imo myers briggs is a useful shorthand, but it (or rather people who over rely on it) does tend to overlook that everyone is an individual, so two people with the same myers briggs letters can still be wildly different.

    My boss and I have virtually identical MB scorings, but i'm a scruffy outdoors bloke who likes pick up trucks, chainsaws, bbqs and hunting ,while he is an urbane well dressed chap who enjoys restaurants, wine and opera. We have virtually nothing in common except for our basic approach to work (and even that differs to an extent)
     
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  22. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Which is why I love coming up with characters who are similar to each other in ways that the systems measure, but different from each other in the ways that the systems don't measure, and vice versa ;)

    I, for example, am a Chaotic Neutral INTP, and in terms of these six criteria, I have barely anything in common with Alec Shorman, the Lawful Evil ESFP who narrates my Urban Fantasy WIP. Outside of these six criteria, however, Alec and I are both liberal Special Snowflake SJW trolls who love Dungeons & Dragons, Goth music, Joss Whedon, who try too hard to make everything funny, and who are early-to-mid-20-somethings who do not yet have drivers' licenses.

    Jackie Campbell on the other hand, a Lawful Evil ESTP character from my YA horror novella, is a teenager who has a driver's license, doesn't care about politics, and despises the Gothic scene with a vengeance (despite appearing at first glance to be almost exactly like Alec: Lawful Evil ES-P).

    Furthermore, Captain June Harper – the Chaotic Evil ENFJ protagonist of my Doctor Who fanfiction – is a vigilante serial killer who is completely convinced that she is Chaotic Good, whereas Amy Carmine (Chaotic Evil ESFJ) from my UrFan takes great pride in the fact that she's one of The Bad Guys.

    I also have a great deal in common with the Chaotic Evil INTJ vampire from my UrFan: for example, she and I both believe that Heath Ledger was a better Joker, no matter what Alec (Lawful Evil ESFP) says about preferring Jack Nicholson. However, my vampire also prefers the factual accuracy of Sid Meier's Civilization IV, whereas Amy (Chaotic Evil ESFJ) and I (Chaotic Neutral INTP) prefer the more strategic decision-making of Civ III.
     
  23. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I'm also INTJ and i also reckon heath was the better joker...
     
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  24. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Go with your instincts. Although I'm not sure why a girly version must be timid. I knew a girl at school back in the 80s she was pretty girly wearing pantyhose and carrying a purse while the rest of the 11 year old girls were wearing jeans. She wasn't timid just a little uneasy in certain circumstances that went out of her comfort zone. I wouldn't think too much in labels I usually use them to start a story but then break away from them as the scenes progress to let the reader know the character isn't just this she's that.
     
  25. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    And since you, my vampire, and I are all INT-s who like Ledger better – whereas my ESFP likes Nicholson better – now I want to write an INT- who likes Nicholson and an ESF- who likes Ledger :D

    (Not necessarily in the same story ;) )
     

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