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Perspectives You'd Like To See More Of?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Creed, May 8, 2016.

  1. Creed

    Creed Sage

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    Hey everyone,

    What are some character types/backgrounds/perspectives you'd like to see more of in fantasy? Or what are your favourite character perspectives to read?

    This could be occupation, race or ethnicity, dis/ability, social standing, or gender. It could be something like a personality trait or altered morality. Maybe this could serve as inspiration for some Scribes to start a new story with a new character, or make an existing cast more varied.
     
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  2. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Hello Creed.

    I would like to see more female perspective in Fantasy, particularly in leading roles. I also think that seeing more Magical perspective, like what everything looks and feels like from the point of view of highly powerful magical characters, would be interesting and even intriguing in a story.

    Another interesting perspective would be that of a colorblind character, which I am going to be exploring in a story very soon.
     
  3. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    I find this question difficult to answer.

    Lately I've been thinking of the way that most characters in fantasy have something special about them. They are well-connected or nobility/royalty themselves; they are especially talented, fighters or magical; they are the cursed or the prophesied; they have peculiar outlooks, odd obsessions, and so forth. Even if the characters begin as ordinary, they become embroiled in extraordinary events and might actually end up one of the aforementioned types. The same goes for most of the characters we see in movies. So I've been thinking: Why not have an utterly average Joe or Jane? Someone who begins a story as an unremarkable person and is never transformed into a remarkable person doing remarkable things.

    But of course, people see movies and read books because they want to experience what they normally never would themselves, and they want to see characters who are extraordinary in some way. How difficult would it be to create an interesting character who is utterly ordinary and never becomes anything other than ordinary? Well, perhaps my musing is in vain. Plus, it could be said that everyone who is alive really is remarkable, even if they aren't named Obama or Kardashian or GRRM...and a good story would always find the distinction in any given character.

    Now to answer the question a little more to the point:

    I am extremely old-fashioned and love the "young orphan becomes hero" type of story, no matter how cliche that has become.

    Otherwise, I'd like to see characters who are more competent, more confident and assured, less troubled by doubts, fears, irrational distaste or anger–less shaped by myopic worldviews and habits of thought and less likely to be sent into a tizzy over the littlest things happening around them (or even big things happening around them.)
     
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  4. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    I would say... nothing in particular. So long as the characters don't whine and throw hissy fits... woe is me, I'm so doomed, like you know, doomed.
     
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  5. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    I would like to see more queer perspectives in fantasy. Definitely more protagonists with nontraditional gender identities, such as genderfluid, agender, and nonbinary. Maybe some asexual protagonists?

    It would also be cool to see more neurodivergent protagonists, especially protags with mood disorders. My family has a history of mood disorders, bipolar disorder especially, and I really wish that growing up, me and my cousins had had more positive representation of people living with what we and our families were dealing with. Positive portrayals of characters with schizophrenia would be nice too.

    I'd also like to see protagonists who have a talent or skill for something not important to the plot. I don't know, it just makes them more human to me. I want to be able to read about a protagonist who paints or something, roll my eyes a little and say "Of COURSE painting will come up later", and be pleasantly surprised when it doesn't. Maybe it sounds a little odd, but I want protagonists to have hobbies and interests just for the sake of them. Maybe they paint when they're depressed. Or play music when they can't think their way around a difficult situation. Et cetera. I think it would be interesting to see that kind of characterization.
     
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  6. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    The MC in my 'Empire' series of novellas is female and middle class. Though not a magician (or a warrior, or a bard, or a rogue) she is touched by magic of the highest and darkest sort. Plus, one of her servants is a wizard, though not an especially powerful one.

    I noted this as well, and strive to keep most of my characters 'normal,' or at least not 'heroes of the ages,' types. Still, well,

    Titus Maximus, MC of 'Labyrinth' is a scion of the second most powerful family in the Empire. His sidekick Casein is a bottom level aristocrat and superb warrior, and his other companion, the middle class Doctor Isabella Menendez is a powerful magician. That bothered me a bit.

    With 'Empire,' I went with middle class Tia Samos, her knightly protector and noble bastard Sir Peter, her oafish peasant carriage driver and petty magician Kyle, and her gypsy maidservant/bard Rebecca. Tia's initial mission, while of import to her family, is nothing earthshattering, or even that unusual. But they still meet powerful aristocrats - including the emperor - and become entangled with extremely powerful magical creatures.

    Closest I came to 'keeping it common' was with the Toki/Hock-Nar series of shorts. Toki is a runaway apprentice mage and petty thief, while Hock-Nar is an outcast hobgoblin. But, even so, Toki eventually becomes a respected master wizard, and Hock-Nar has a formidable reputation as a warrior.
     
  7. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    Hemmingway said "try to populate your stories with people, not characters".

    I do sort of think that fantasy does seem to have more characters than people, but I wonder if it's the nature of the genre? Like, characters seem to be categorized into: noble, bard, Mage, wizard, witch, sorceress, bar wench, etc...

    How about a person who is a bard? This is something else entirely. Though it is much harder to do.
     
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  8. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    In my case, its a legacy of my long ago gaming days. Though, anymore, its more convenient label than ought else. Titus is a pretty fair warrior in his own right, but that's far from all he is. Tia doesn't really fit into any standard character class. Sir Peter is a warrior striving to be something else. Kyle, despite his immense strength and magical proficiency, see's himself as a working man. As to 'a person who is a bard,' that would be Octavos, from 'Labyrinth: Seed,' though he doesn't figure that out for most of the book.
     
  9. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    A fine sentiment from Hemingway, but really... it gets highly philosophical, so much so that the answer to your question about fantasy becomes: Yes, no, maybe, Splunge! Is it any different really than even historical fiction? Characters become archetypes, or do people fit into archetypes? OH higgly piggly.

     
  10. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    Meh, I just agree with FV. I'm tired of seeing the same archetypes. Everyone is brooding. Everyone is dark. I'm so tired of dark. Even in movies, "lets make Superman dark! That will be so cool." Nope not cool (for me anyway). I'm tired of that darker is better tortured soul character. I think we need to start looking at real people and giving fantasy people with real people problems.
     
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  11. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    Tia again, from 'Empire.' For the first three novellas, one of her chief goals is to latch onto a man of aristocratic birth - because that would make her and her family defacto aristocrats, with attendant privileges. She does encounter some very dark creatures and magic, and attempts to take appropriate precautions, but that's not her major concern. In the fourth novella, which I'm writing now, she spends much of her time learning basic domestic skills (previously, she had servants for that sort of thing.)
     
  12. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I tried to do this in my novel (still haven't started on the second draft).

    The main character is Enar. He works as an archivist with the local police and his mother just passed away recently. To get himself back on track and to get a little bit of a break before trying to start his new life he decides to go on a vacation.
    The story begins as he arrives at the place he's visiting and it ends when he goes home again.

    The main storyline is about how he meets a woman who's also there on vacation and how he falls for her. They climb a tree together, swim in a lake, and ride a horse and cart.
    There is also a very big dog that's a bit scary, and one evening Enar gets really drunk and is very hung over the day after.

    It's an everyday story about an average guy doing things that are special to him, but which really don't matter at all in the bigger scheme of things.

    However, it's still a fantasy story in that it takes place in a fantasy setting. Enar is of the anfylk race (hobbit inspired). There's a bit of magic and witchcraft here and there, and there's definitely something funky with the trees.

    ---

    Now, the question is: is this something I'd like to see more of, or that I'd read more of? Perhaps.

    I greatly enjoyed writing the story, but before I started it I'm not sure I'd have picked up a story like that. It doesn't quite fit with my impression of the kind of stories I enjoy. I always viewed myself as liking big majestic epics, or tough as nails urban fantasy - not slice of life romance.

    I hope to have the novel finished by the end of the year, and we'll see what happens after that.
     
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  13. Peat

    Peat Sage

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    Characters without great combat or magical prowess. I enjoy reading about those sort of characters as much as anyone, but I do feel fantasy is a poorer genre for the lack of main characters who aren't of those persuasion.
     
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  14. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    @Svrtnsse: That's very interesting.

    The idea of using an ordinary person actually came to me, as a kind of puzzle, about half a year ago when I began to think of how movies usually focus on extraordinary individuals. It's a philosophical conundrum for me. All these superhero movies, Star Wars and Star Trek movies, Jason Bourne and James Bond movies, the Twilight movies etc., had me picturing the Average Joes and Average Janes going to see them (myself included), and made me wonder what that says about us, that we don't see the marvel that is our own lives, or don't appreciate the marvel in everyday life.

    But I, also, enjoy that type of movie, and I'm a huge fan of the fantasy genre and have greatly enjoyed the extraordinary characters and situations in fantasy.

    So it's not so much that I'd want to see "more" average characters. I've just been curious about the potential. The closest half-formed idea I've had for trying to make it work would be the use of an Observer type of POV character, who is utterly ordinary but happens to be witness to some extraordinary characters and events.
     
  15. Lea

    Lea Dreamer

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    I always wanted to do this. Most fantasies focus on the hero, and I've toyed with the idea of writing a story where the main character is in the midst of a great crisis but in no way involved. They just sit in the homes, complaining about how much the hero is messing up, but do nothing to actually help him. May be boring, but that's why I only toyed with the idea and have yet to commit. :p

    My main character cleans when she's upset. Does that count? :D
     
  16. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    One thing that I think is important is that it allows you to explore the world in a different way. You can see it through the eyes of the regular people instead of the exceptional ones.
    I think this can be helpful in making the world and the events seem more real to the reader. This in turn helps create a greater sense of wonder when something that isn't part of the real world shows up in the story.
     
  17. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Do it!
    Do you have any idea what a nuisance it is to have to go out and pick up some milk for the coffee when there's a dragon rampaging through the city and all the roads are blocked off?
     
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  18. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Hello everyone.

    There is another perspective that I particularly like, and I think that it should be seen in Fantasy more often. After having featured it myself in two of my stories, I decided that I really like it and I want to use it again sometime in the future when the moment comes:

    The Afterlife Perspective!

    This is the perspective of a character that just dies, sometimes at the middle of the story or even at the start, and then the narrative continues because the character in question has transformed into a ghost or has otherwise been sent to some kind of Afterlife realm. This does not mean that all contact is broken with those alive, but it certainly takes a different angle.

    I hope this idea can inspire somebody out there =)
     
  19. Lea

    Lea Dreamer

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    I actually have a WIP featuring this idea. :D It's quite fun and challenging.
     
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  20. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    One of my novelette projects this year is based on this. For me, it'll be a dang tough one to write.
     
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