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How do I create a character, who doesn’t suck, with the hero’s journey?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Writer’s_Magic, May 25, 2018.

  1. I chose the hero’s journey to outline my novel idea. I need a character for the next step. However, I decided that the character is female and lives the futuristic Boston. I haven’t more until yet. But how do I create a character, who doesn’t suck, with the hero’s journey?
  2. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Auror

    Joke suggestion: Play Fallout 4, you can have a character in Boston. In the future. A very broken one, but it is a future.

    As for an actual one? You may not much like the answer. Either start writing and seeing where she goes or just play with some traits and characteristics and go from there with, more writing. The matter of suckitude is usually more up to the reader then you, not that it stops you from thinking they may suck. Really you just have to write and put her into scenario's to see how she takes them.
  3. Tom

    Tom Istar

    I've got a character who follows something of a hero's journey character arc, and (I hope) he doesn't suck. The key to using the hero's journey is that it's just an archetype--it's a framework that's meant to be built around. Think of it as the bones of the story, and the individual details you choose to enrich it with are what fleshes it out into its own living, breathing creature.
  4. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

    Give the character goals, motivation, strengths and faults.
    The goal is the completion of their journey, motivation is why the go on the journey, strengths help them complete the journey and faults hinder them from completing the journey. Extend these four traits to both the external conflict of the story as well as a secondary internal conflict for the character.
    This is the most basic way to make a character not suck.
    Rkcapps likes this.
  5. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

    The same way you make any character not suck... good luck!

    But really, whether you have a quality character or not doesn’t depend on the plot structure.
    Heliotrope and Chessie2 like this.
  6. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

    Suppose I have a lot of time on my hands today. Maybe I'm just procrastinating. Either way I feel like helping lol. So I'll share how I come up with my characters. Disclaimer: depth in characterization takes time to learn, understand, and apply. Your process is going to be different than mine. Just keep that in mind.

    My characters come to me before any other part of the story idea does. I usually think of their sex, their appearance, and personality right off the bat. Oftentimes I daydream about them in a particular setting and that's how I know what subgenre of romance to write them in (either fantasy or historical). From there, I brainstorm:

    -I come up with a name appropriate to the setting.
    -A trope or two that I want the character to fall under. I write romance, mostly marriage tropes. So I select a pair of those to give the character more depth. For example, arranged marriage trope + royalty, or mail-order bride + orphan, or widow + older female, etc.
    -Determine the character flaw from the trope, plot, setting, and character backstory (more on this shortly). The flaw is what the character absolutely must overcome emotionally (internal goal) while she also overcomes the plot goal (external goal). So, to provide you with context, a character from an arranged marriage trope + royalty will have a flaw of resistance to his/her mate. This specifically becomes the internal goal that I then challenge throughout the course of the story with plot (study plot points for this reference). By the end of the story, character will have overcome the resistance to their mate and be in love. The external plot goal can be anything: stop the dark lord from succeeding at something bad, move out of poverty, whatever. The external goal here is intrinsically linked to the plot.
    -Backstory: I spend a good deal of time here. I need to learn about the character's upbringing and what sorts of emotional resentments/wounds they are harboring, what their love life was like before the start of the story and meeting the other hero, what their relation to the story goal is and HOW they plan on resolving that story goal. For me, romance is the main plot while all other plots are subplots. For you, it will be the other way around, unless you don't have a subplot romance, which in that case then it would be another kind of plot.
    -Regarding plot: are you writing a fantasy adventure? Dystopian? Spend time brainstorming this.
    **I then start to write. About 99% of my character development happens on page. This might be different for you. I'm a pantser, mostly, so I cannot go into the story with a set anything. I do need to know enough about my character to get me off page one. I then move through the story, following my intuition and going with what feels right for the character I have developed. Most of the time, the brainstorming I have done works sufficiently enough to provide me with solid characters. As the story develops, they don't often surprise me about what they do. I already know what needs to happen, how they need to be challenged so they can grow internally. The prewriting stage helps tremendously with that.

    Anyway, I hope this helps.
  7. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

    I'm a plotter and this happens to me as well. I don't have a fully developed character until I get to the end of the first draft. No matter how much planning I do, it always changes once I start writing. I have resigned myself to the fact that I won't fully know who my character is and what their motivations are until I throw them into the thick of it. Once I'm finished the first draft I can go back and flesh them out from the beginning.
    Demesnedenoir likes this.

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