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How To Break A Charater

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by ShadeZ, Jun 6, 2021.

  1. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Maester

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    So I have a main who is a Myreik (general/warrior queen type). Her culture are might makes right. She was adopted as a young child into this culture after her biological family were killed by raiders. She is known to be calm, quiet, solitary, wild, and powerful. She is quite expressionless or if she expresses emotion it is largely fake. Her species while not emotional as humans are more animated and expressive generally. I am trying to come up with what made her this way. She mentions on a few accounts, there is no point to being short tempered or loud, she prefers to hunt on her own rather than risk being stuck protecting a herd, she perceives all things in a predator-prey relation her enemies arent enemies they are quarry etc. She knows she is powerful but no one else does unless they were on her side in combat. She sees everything as a game or new challenge, sees humans as fickle and self destructive beings, and she sees extra emotion as unneeded.

    Ideas as to what made her this way? Her kind have alternative neurology to humans but she is seen as cold and dangerous even amongst her species.
     
  2. Chasejxyz

    Chasejxyz Sage

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    Your thread title and the post seem to be two different questions, so I'm going to go based on the post since you give more info.

    People don't need reasons for why they are the way they are. Like you can be afraid of spiders without having some horrible spider-based trauma as a child. Since your character is a non-human species and is from a very different culture, the way she thinks about things is going to be very different from humans. But the fact that she's "cold" and "dangerous" even among her species is something that could be examined. How much of her backstory do you already know? How much of this story have you written?
     
  3. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Maester

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    Her's directly not much. This species do need reason why they are as they are very little is just "that is how they are". She has an adoptive twin brother and older sister who was killed in a war that she was also in. She has lived 300 ish years and has seen human friends die either to time, illness, or injury. She has seen human enslave fae and vice versa.
     
  4. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    People are complicated. Someone's personality is the result of thousands of different factors and lived experiences, but we're writers so we can cheat.

    When I read your description three key traits stand out to me;
    -Masks her emotions
    -Likes to play with her food
    -Dangerous, but doesn't like to show it.

    Now, like Chase said traits like that don't need some specific origin, but a trait that's not used doesn't deserve to be mentioned. Someone's history can be used to demonstrate traits as well as explaining them.

    With a character's history I think there's three important questions to be answered. Where did they come from, what shaped them into who they are today, and what do they do with that?

    What this means differs depending on the character and that last one can be folded into the start of their story. Take Superman for example. He came from Krypton but it was the influence of Ma & Pa Kent that shaped him into who he is today. What he did with that was decide to do good which conveniently leads directly to being Superman.

    Batman however came from wealth, he was shaped by the traumatic lose of his parents and what he did with that was hone his body and mind into the ultimate weapon so that no one else has to suffer like he has. You don't really get Batman AS Batman until all three of those are achieved.

    Since your character conveniently has three traits I'm thinking something like while growing up she was always competing and messing around with her family when young and that lead to her treating things as a game later on in life. Masking her emotions might have started as just a natural inclination but reached its current level as a result of 300 years of trauma making it all seem pointless, and with that she generally went lone wolf during which she found it convenient to not show off how dangerous she is unless she has to.

    Mmm.... and while there's conveniently three traits here I don't think characters should be limited to that, but the three things are a convenient way to show how a character's been affected by nature, nurture and then how they expressed their agency. Might be best to demonstrate/explain additional traits via connections to other characters or story events? Not sure.
     
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  5. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    So she's a Vulcan Assassin. :p
     
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  6. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Maester

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    A half cat a vulcat assassin lol
     
  7. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Maester

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    Her family are all a feline like hybrid hence the cat and mouse nature. However they are extremely competitive and she has 5 siblings one of whom was killed in battle in front of her. She is the second oldest of her siblings and when the oldest died she was expected to take over however she abdicated last second.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2021
  8. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Maester

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    Cme to think of it each of the siblings is emotionally "stunted" by their breed standards. Keara is not emotional but has strong clear morals and murderous moods (this is the main I'm speaking of). another of the others is obsessively protective as he fears his family being targetted. The youngest brother is a murderous zany ball of energy who is a sadistic cat of a fellow who believes in striking first. Keara seems to be a stabilized varient of the younger.
     
  9. Avery Moore

    Avery Moore Scribe

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    I agree with Chase that you don't necessarily need a reason, but that said, I think you've given us some decent reasons already. One of her siblings was killed in battle in front of her. That seems like a pretty good reason to be emotionally scarred.

    If you're looking for other reasons though, it could be that she was just raised that way. Perhaps as a child she was actually more emotional than her siblings, but her adoptive parents disapproved of this and were particularly strict on her. Or maybe there was a rivalry with her siblings. Perhaps she was the runt of the litter and she wasn't expected to survive, so she had to become particularly strong and cold in order to keep up with her siblings.

    Or, if you want her to have a relatively normal childhood, perhaps it was her job that changed her. Being a general isn't exactly an easy job. You have to make a lot of tough decisions and essentially decide who lives and dies. Maybe she made some bad choices in the beginning of her career that led to most of her regiment being completely wiped out. Maybe she had to sacrifice half of her army so that the rest could retreat. Maybe her lover was in the half of the army that was sacrificed.

    There are plenty of situations that can make a person particularly cold and dangerous. I suppose the main choice you need to make is whether this was a prolonged progression. (She was just raised this way and she gradually became colder over time.) Or if you want a single inciting incident. (Like she lost someone close to her and her entire personality changed after that.)
     
  10. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Maester

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    Well she was human but was raised by a predatory species of dragon slayers. They actually make great parents but are far less involved than one may think save primal reactions. At one point her twin brother and her were hunting and a snow leopard attacked them they managed to fight it off and drag each other back. When their parents (being the species is adoptive they have like 5 dads and 2 moms) heard of it one of them went after the snow leopard in secret. Becoming one of these things and being reared by them is probably very well why she's so predatory with her thinking and reactions. She very well probably picked dangerous up here too as it is a might makes right type structure between her and the siblings and she happened to be the strongest growing up so she would have learn to hide how dangerous she was to play out and see how strong the others are.
     
  11. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Inkling

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    Often what make people a certain way is a mixture of things. It is environmental and social but it is also the make up of the brain. And what tends to be effective is multiple things in a person's life and then those things being confirmed.
    So as a teen a character might pf had a friend whose problems she listened to all the time, but then when her parents died this friend wasn't there for her and continued to want to tell her about her minor problems or went off with another friend and forgot about her. Throughout life she might continue to help others as that's her nature and repeatedly gets this treatment. She develops a belief that no one will be there for her no matter how much she puts herself out for them. Then you can look at how this belief affects her. You can then look at the symptoms. Loner - that would be an obvious one. So look for trauma and then look for ways to reinforce the belief that came from that trauma.
     
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