Do you ever feel bad about what you do to your characters?

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Lost_dragon
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18 Mar 2019, 7:37 pm

Sometimes bad things have to happen to your characters. Especially if it's vital for the overall plot. However, despite the fact that your characters are fictional...you feel the need to apologise to them. :lol:

*Everything is going good for them*

Well, now that I've established the norm...time to destroy everything you hold dear. I apologise in advance, buddy.

*Makes them lose money*

Oh man, I'm really sorry but I have to do this.

*Kills their friend*

I'M A MONSTER BUT IT TIES INTO THE STORY ARC, I'M SORRY.

*Gives them a chocolate bar*

Not that it makes up for it, but your author apologises. Enjoy this nice thing for once.

:mrgreen:



kraftiekortie
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18 Mar 2019, 7:39 pm

They're characters.....sometimes, you have to "do something" to your characters in order to have a story.

You also have the power to redeem your characters, to make them better, after you've "done something" to them.

Characters are items which can be manipulated by their creators at will.



Fnord
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18 Mar 2019, 7:47 pm

Image

Sometimes, not only does the dragon win, but there are times when the dragon MUST win to move the story along.



Lost_dragon
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18 Mar 2019, 8:01 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
They're characters.....sometimes, you have to "do something" to your characters in order to have a story.

You also have the power to redeem your characters, to make them better, after you've "done something" to them.

Characters are items which can be manipulated by their creators at will.


I realise that it is a necessary evil. Alas, I still feel bad for them sometimes. When I write a character, I spend a lot of time crafting their personality and role in the story. I get into their heads, so I do start to feel for them.

However, when it comes to playing a character in my improvisational comedy group...that's different. I don't form an emotional connection with the role as much.

It's purely for laughs, with the emphasis often being placed on the ridiculous nature of the situation rather than the emotional depth of the character. Whereas, when I write, I get to know them. That's why it's often satisfying when I conclude their story.

Fnord wrote:
Image

Sometimes, not only does the dragon win, but there are times when the dragon MUST win to move the story along.


Except when it gets lost trying to find the other characters. :wink:



kraftiekortie
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19 Mar 2019, 1:50 am

When characters grow in a story, you’re creating a Bildungsroman.



Lost_dragon
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19 Mar 2019, 2:55 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
When characters grow in a story, you’re creating a Bildungsroman.


I remember coming across this term when I was researching different types of genres one day. A Bildungsroman primarily focuses on the maturity of the character from youth to adulthood. It is also known as a coming-of-age story.

However, I would argue that character growth alone is not enough for a story to be considered this genre. Character development is common among an array of genres, typically either in the form of a positive (character improves on certain flaws) or negative (character regresses, for example slipping into insanity) arc.

There are what are sometimes referred to as flat arcs. Where the protagonist of the story for the most part stays the same, but either changes the world or simply the other characters around them. You could argue that a protagonist that follows a flat arc acts as their own catalyst, they don't need a call to action from someone else, they already want to help / change things.

Perhaps I am confusing character development with change. Although, in a sense it is a form of change because they go from one state to the other. Hmm, perhaps I should revise more on the subject. I'm only an amateur after all.

However, I would argue that if a character grows as a person, but the focus is not on their maturity from youth to adulthood...it is not a Bildungsroman. If it does, then it is.



kraftiekortie
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19 Mar 2019, 6:00 am

You got me there 8)

I know you have your "bad days"----but, all in all, you seem to be doing pretty well.



Kenya
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19 Mar 2019, 9:03 pm

As an author myself, I can definitely relate. The strongest example that comes to mind is of a main character I've written who undergoes constant verbal abuse from her manager, wins the heart of a boy only to catch him cheating (or was he?), and having to make a major sacrifice that could result in her death. I grew really attached to this character as I was writing her story and thus it hurt when I had to put her through those trying moments. The way I see it, though, I have a much stronger responsibility to write my stories as they come to me, not force them to be all rainbows and butterflies or out of some sense of personal gratification.



naturalplastic
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20 Mar 2019, 12:51 am

I saw some great published author (cant remember which one Im afraid) even say that to students in a film. "Don't worry about mistreating your characters. Theyre just fictional characters."



modernmax
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20 Mar 2019, 12:53 am

Nope, torture them in every way possible, whether they deserve it or not.


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Fnord
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20 Mar 2019, 8:55 am

modernmax wrote:
Nope, torture them in every way possible, whether they deserve it or not.
Slasher movies are based on this premise.



xxZeromancerlovexx
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24 Sep 2019, 8:32 am

To be honest, not really. I know it’s just fiction. I have a male character who is the “Gary Stu” type. He’s attractive and gets what he wants and knows how to get it. His brother on the other hand is far from perfect and has some unfortunate experiences though.


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Dial1194
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26 Sep 2019, 8:24 am

Not so much. I see the infinite ways a setting and characters could evolve, and I'm just following one of the more interesting or dramatic ones and writing it down. In one world, nothing happens and all the characters are always happy. And that's fine, it's valid. But there's not enough time and paper in the world to write down every variant. So I'll pick one that seems interesting, and start with that.

Part of that might be the fanfic influence. I've read literally thousands of stories all stemming from the exact same premise, with the same characters (or a strongly overlapping set) and often the same setting. And it plays out in a thousand different ways. So anything I write, even if the starting point is wholly original, is only going to be one of a thousand, a million possible outcomes, no single one of them more 'true' than any other.

Heck, there's a variant out there where all that happens to the characters is 'rocks fall, everyone dies'. I don't feel bad that the possibility exists. I probably wouldn't write it down because it's a bit difficult to get past the first paragraph after that opening, but the potential for it is still out there.



Fnord
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26 Sep 2019, 9:30 am

As far as RPG characters go, however, I try to keep mine "alive" for as long as possible, even to the point of putting them into retirement in some far-away bucolic village or on some distant backwater planet.


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shlaifu
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09 Oct 2019, 6:49 pm

I'mwith Aristotle on this one: characters are there for the plot to take place.
A character's character is secondary to the plot.

I know today people are obsessed with characters and character development, but I honestly think people are a bit blind towards plot and plot construction. They like a film/book if they like the main character - which means unlikeable main characters, really devastating tragedy or character development for the worse are off the table for most writers/filmmakers. .... It's just such a restriction if you need to keep your main character likeable, evolve him/her into someone even more likeable, and have it all end happily for him/her.


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