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Overused personalities. How to avoid them?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Writer’s_Magic, May 29, 2018.

  1. The beautiful (almost model-like) girl, who believes she’s ugly. The spoiled daughter of a rich millionaire. Or the absolutely bad boy, who is adored by every girl at the school. There are many personalities, which are overused. Especially, in fan fiction. But at the moment, I plan to write a fanfiction. So, how can I avoid a cheesy character? (Don’t write: Give them flaws! Or the like. I already know them. And yah! I tried them.)
  2. Ban

    Ban Troglodytic Trouvère Article Team

    The problem with these is not the their personality itself, but the fact that their personality is based on a single trait. They are one-dimensional. You prevent this by writing fully-fledged characters. People who can't be boiled down to a single trait.
    Penpilot likes this.
  3. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

    I would not mind any of those characters, per se, so long as they were starting points and not cut-outs. Until a character is brought to life they all kind of are just a collection of traits. Give them enough pages and their depth needs to start showing. These ones you posted up seem kind of High-Schoolish to me. Which, if you are writing high school characters, is okay. Not that high-schoolers don't have depth, but they tend to be in the more drama prone portion of their lives. That often has the same effect of pigeon holing them into a few traits.
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    There are no overused personalities, only under-developed ones. If you stop at the spoiled daughter of a millionaire, then you've failed. You have to keep going. Except for gender, that's the story of the Buddha, and there've been more than a few stories written about him. Because throwing the spoiled child out into the wide world opens up all sorts of possibilities. So many so that, even after centuries of telling stories about the Buddha, Herman Hesse could still come along and write Siddhartha.

    Go on, start with a stereotype. Just don't stop there.
    J Q Kaiser likes this.
  5. J Q Kaiser

    J Q Kaiser Dreamer

    I agree with Skip. I also like twisting them around in interesting ways. For example, I have a succubus who claims my main character as her own and then insists on a chaste relationship (even as she goes about her normal activities). It creates, even in the context of a comedy and parody, some good tension between the two and pulls her out of a two-dimensional character type. Moreover, it forces the questions of why she acts this way? How will their relationship develop without the sexual competent the reader would expect? When will the relationship make the jump to that level of intimacy? All of those are opportunities to develop the character and her relationship to the other characters around her. At least, I hope it does those things.

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