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

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Fnord
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09 Oct 2019, 6:57 pm

Plot-driven characters are fine for morality plays, but a character-driven plot is essential for an entertaining story.


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Lost_dragon
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10 Oct 2019, 5:44 pm

Interestingly, the characters I write in poems tend to suffer worse fates than in my stories. Perhaps this is due to spending less time with them so I am less likely to become attached.

Fnord wrote:
Plot-driven characters are fine for morality plays, but a character-driven plot is essential for an entertaining story.


Back in school, I'd sometimes have to write stories which tied into a moral. These stories were usually plot-driven, with a few noticeable exceptions. If the moral was more multifaceted then I'd usually put more focus onto the characters. Alternatively, if I was writing a story that subverted the expected moral, then I would try to draw attention towards certain personality traits.

One of my favourite things to do was build up to a big speech at the end, teasing a sappy conclusion. However, when it finally got to that moment the main character would either a) stubbornly reject that message, b) comically miss the point, and / or c) the whole thing was actually a build up to a punchline. I enjoyed confusing people with an anticlimactic twist.

For an example of c, I once came up with a story about a boy going to great lengths to protect a coin he believed was valuable. Becoming gradually more silly overtime. In the end, he managed to reach an antiques store just before it closed (he would've got there sooner, but you would not believe the day he's had). He asks how much it's worth, looking dishevelled and clearly worn out. Trying to hide his amusement, the shop keeper pretends to seriously assess the value of the coin. He stays quiet for a while until the boy complains.

"I can't stand it anymore, just tell me how much it's worth already!"

"...Well, that depends who you ask, I believe that this coin would be quite invaluable to someone of a different profession indeed"

"Really? What kind?"

The shop keeper unwraps the foil and eats the coin. "A Chocolatier".

Boy looks horrified. The end. :mrgreen:

Unfortunately, that story was poorly received at the time. It was fun to write though, and I must admit I occasionally remember that memory and laugh at that silly joke even now. My humour has definitely changed over the years, but I still share a few things with my eight or nine year old self that we find amusing.



kraftiekortie
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10 Oct 2019, 6:00 pm

Yep....they used to have chocolate "coins" when I was a kid....



Dial1194
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12 Oct 2019, 12:22 am

Fnord wrote:
Plot-driven characters are fine for morality plays, but a character-driven plot is essential for an entertaining story.


Ah, but to make sure the plot goes in an interesting direction, the characters in question are shaped and defined by the needs of the plot... and then proceed to drive the plot in the direction the author wanted it to go in the first place. It's a two-way street.



EzraS
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12 Oct 2019, 5:38 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
Yep....they used to have chocolate "coins" when I was a kid....


Like Cracker Jacks, those still exist. I get them in the grocery store at Christmas time.



EzraS
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12 Oct 2019, 5:41 am

I did feel a kinda bad about having little Timmy the blind orphan kid eat rat poison.



naturalplastic
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12 Oct 2019, 5:45 am

Back in school I saw a film clip by an author giving tips on writing fiction.

He said "don't feel bad about what you do to your characters. They aren't real people anyway."

:lol:



Mountain Goat
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12 Oct 2019, 6:54 am

If I am writing aboutbreal life I tell it how it is. Obviously it is from how I see it.

If I should make things up (Which I don't do often because it brings me into a false world, even though it can be fun to write and make things up), I don't think I could harm people.


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