November 9, 2017 at 7:05 am #7529
Hello fellow lady writers,
I’ve been pretty dedicated about writing for only some 3 years now. I’m trying to stretch my literary muscles through different areas of spec fiction, since i’m not sure exactly where I’ll end up and since I’m just a newb. I’ve found that across genres I keep ending up writing the same man across from my female characters, or if he is the lead. If he’s on a spaceship, or a dragon, or an oil rig, he’s always the same quick-talking, smart but unmotivated, “nice” guy. Sometimes there’s three of them in one story. I keep trying to steer them away but they keep ending up as carbon copies of the same guy. Once he has more than a couple lines, he becomes this one dude. I know this is terrible, lazy writing so, my question(s) is(are).
Has anyone caught themselves doing this sort of thing, repeating a character? How have you stopped yourself?
WillisNovember 9, 2017 at 4:10 pm #7530
YES. Witty smart-mouthed girls who are thinking a lot of things but only say the sassy thing to hide their feelings. As I type this, I realize that my current main character, while unique, has roots in this type. Oh dear…
This is something I learned once:
1. If the character is similar to you or someone you know, give them an external trait that is the opposite of that. So change their hair color, give them a huge nose…whatever. The goal is to see them in a different light so that you don’t get bogged down with what you are failiar with. All of a sudden you’ll have fresh new ideas about their personality.
2. If the character is not simlar to you or someone you know, give them an internal trait that IS familiar to you. So if the man you are writing is coming from a really genaric place, and that’s why he is always the same, the goal is to make him more complex by giving him internal traits that you can intimately understand because you share them. Maybe exaggerate the trait– like once in a while you are angry, but anger is a big part of this guy’s personality.
And SPECIFICITY helps sooo much. Just name ANY detail. ANY. Be so specific. I had a character that was just an “old woman” and I was being pretty generic. It could have been fine– they could be a perfectly unique and round character– but then I said, “Ok. No. Let’s shake it up. They are an ex-pilot.” And all of a sudden it became wayyy more clear who this person was and everything else in the story had so much more reason and made so much more sense.March 13, 2018 at 10:25 pm #7751
Hehehe, I think all writers do this. Mine is worse than yours though. The character i keep writing is the main character in all my stories. I also make her look the same, act the same, be around the same sort of people. Yet it never seems to go the way i want. I found out that the reason i keep using the same girl or women as my main is because i was trying to find just the right setting for her and i have yet to find the right place to put her in yet. She is also called Tyonca or Mesa, she always has dark colorful hair with main highlights with a red tint, big brown eyes a small but toned from. She is witty, stubborn, but silent and with a quick temper but still manages a cool level head most of the time. She is fast to figure most thing out but can’t seem to trust people no matter what. When i finally found the perfect story for her it happened to be a story that i couldn’t possible write, So she sits of to the side wanting for the chance to be told in a story that i can write one day. I also have a male character that i have a hard time fitting into a story and it was the same again, I kept putting him in stories but they never seemed to suit him either the way he looks changes but his stand offish personality and his name James Larkin never changes.
All writers hit a stage when they find the perfect character by not the right story, We have folders (well a folder of sorts) that we have off to the side that we keep with different idea’s, characters, story settings and so on waiting for the day that we finally figure out just where they belong. Trust me one day you will figure out the perfect story for your character and it may be the best sotry you will ever write.April 11, 2018 at 7:57 am #7804
That makes legitimate sense. Seems like trouble lol
Different from the issue I was having though. I think familiarity really is a big issue like Alex said. I only care for and familiarize myself with one kind of dude. My female characters are very different though, usually because of their motivations and history. For example, if her mother died leaving her with her younger sister, she feels protective and so she’s probably more prone to being aggressive and inaccessible, but if she lost her younger sister and not her mother she’s likely more trusting, less aggressive but heavily sarcastic and judgmental. Once I give them a different backstory my main character usually just starts looking and feeling very distinct from everyone else. I also usually create the story first and then the characters, not the other way around.
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