Pre-plot character development


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Thread: Pre-plot character development

  1. #1

    Pre-plot character development

    So in the book I'm writing for lore reference when I write my real post apocalypse story, there's a character I'm writing who contributes to the lead up to things going quite literally ballistic (in essence a robot Charles Manson like character who makes the social circumstances surrounding his people jeopardized leading up to the apocalypse.) My question is, when taking into consideration that they won't show up in the main plot and will instead be referenced to in exposition to give the reader a better understanding of the world, how much should they be developed? Their influence will be greater than their actions, and it's not like said actions are going to play out in the main plot.

  2. #2
    Member Rojack79's Avatar
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    Well if your like me and you want to know just about every detail that can effect your story I would say make them a fully fleshed out character even if they'll never appear for long and even if they only have a few lines of importance to the over all story.

    You never know when you might want to go back and actually explore this character in greater detail, like writing a story centered around said character for example. I have lists of characters centered around there importance and impact on the story, some are sparse two sentence descriptions others are several paragraphs long details of how they enter, effect, and then exist the plot and overall story. It really just depends.

    If this character is the catalyst for the inevitable robot uprising then he's pretty important and deserves your focus. Just my two sence.
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

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    Member hvysmker's Avatar
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    Sounds like a subconscious excuse to avoid actually writing.

    You must have a good friend. Use his personality for a character. Use any movie or book character's personality. Mix and match in your head. No need to know astrological signs, shoe sizes, or to write anything down. If your imaginary gangster gets himself in a bind, what would James Cagney do if he looked like your friend? Hell, use stereotypes, especially for minor characters.

    Another excuse I often hear is taking time to find the right title. You want the right title? Use "Xxxxx". Anything will do for a working title. Later, once finished, finding a real title will be easy.

  4. #4
    One other problem I find in the development is also requiring an explanation within the story, which with simple ideas for concepts pertaining to publicly released and cataloged information (I.e.: commune practices, locations of criminal activity and in potentially even rarer cases police compounds with reports still in tact) that can be found and or referenced. However, showing deeper character developed with stuff like emotional states would require some personal documents written by the character primarily, and a whole host of problems opens up there. The aforementioned character hosts his operations some place like California or less likely Oregon, Texas can't be the only place where everything plot related happens. I wouldn't want to move it farther past that too though since I want I keep the scale restricted to Texas, the state is big enough for the plot to unfold.

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    Member Rojack79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danielvaldez90323 View Post
    One other problem I find in the development is also requiring an explanation within the story, which with simple ideas for concepts pertaining to publicly released and cataloged information (I.e.: commune practices, locations of criminal activity and in potentially even rarer cases police compounds with reports still in tact) that can be found and or referenced. However, showing deeper character developed with stuff like emotional states would require some personal documents written by the character primarily, and a whole host of problems opens up there. The aforementioned character hosts his operations some place like California or less likely Oregon, Texas can't be the only place where everything plot related happens. I wouldn't want to move it farther past that too though since I want I keep the scale restricted to Texas, the state is big enough for the plot to unfold.
    So to sum it up you want all of the action to take place in one state but have this character be apart of the story even if he's not directly present for the events that unfold, am I correct?
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

    I don't have a big ego. You just can't comprehend my greatness!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Rojack79 View Post
    So to sum it up you want all of the action to take place in one state but have this character be apart of the story even if he's not directly present for the events that unfold, am I correct?
    The main story I'm writing takes place in Texas, the lore to it generally goes over the rest of the world. The particular character isn't in Texas because, again Texas isn't the center of the universe and to make it so that every event takes pertaining to the history of the world post robots seems like a quite bit of bullshitting.

  7. #7
    Member Rojack79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danielvaldez90323 View Post
    The main story I'm writing takes place in Texas, the lore to it generally goes over the rest of the world. The particular character isn't in Texas because, again Texas isn't the center of the universe and to make it so that every event takes pertaining to the history of the world post robots seems like a quite bit of bullshitting.
    Ah I see. Well then in that case it looks like you might just have to write the story or better yet create an outline first. Go through chapter by chapter detailing all of the most important events to take place in said chapter and have a list of characters that will appear in the chapter as well.

    Then when that is done go through each chapter with a fine tooth comb and see if the story makes sense. If it does great if not then you can shift things around until the story comes together just the way you want it to.
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

    I don't have a big ego. You just can't comprehend my greatness!

  8. #8
    Let's put it this way: Your story will never suffer from too much character / background / world development prior to you writing. However, it can absolutely suffer from too little character / background / world development.

    Point being, the more you know about your world and the people in it, the better you will be able to write about your world. So with that, do as much or as little as you feel comfortable with.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by InTheThirdPerson View Post
    Let's put it this way: Your story will never suffer from too much character / background / world development prior to you writing. However, it can absolutely suffer from too little character / background / world development.

    Point being, the more you know about your world and the people in it, the better you will be able to write about your world. So with that, do as much or as little as you feel comfortable with.
    I don't disagree with the spirit of the logic, but nobody lives forever. Not sure spending endless hours designing some world is a good use of time for a ​writer.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    I don't disagree with the spirit of the logic, but nobody lives forever. Not sure spending endless hours designing some world is a good use of time for a ​writer.
    Oh sure. There's absolutely the danger of becoming too wrapped up in the world building. Or even using world building as an excuse to not actually write. At some point, enough is enough.

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