Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

Write a hint or trick for writing fiction and have it critiqued here by a member. Good and bad advice is welcome. (2 Viewers)

Status
Not open for further replies.
IMO you're in danger of creating a batch of two-dimensional characters, as was most of the Star Wars cast.
...
Yes, pure evil exists - or at least from my perspective, but someone else might see my bad guys as not so bad or possibly even good... Hitler and Stalin would be a stretch for anyone though... however, even those tyrants believed they were in the right.
So, I ask that you consider looking inside your antagonist's head to see their motives. Why are they doing these harmful things? The exercise might give your character greater depth and make them more interesting.
You're limiting antagonists to human beings. Antagonists need not be human beings -- need not even be persons. An antagonist may have no head or thought process to get inside of.

IMO Star Wars is a great fairy tale/myth. But even stories that lean into realism can have non-person or non-human antagonists. Some horror comes to mind, as well as Jack-London-style man-vs.-nature tales.

Til We Have Faces is quite nuanced, but even then, there is the goddess Ungit. Certainly, she is more of symbol, but you can't discount the antagonist/villain role she plays in the story. Descent Into Hell has a batch of nuanced, very human "bad guys," but there's also Lillith. And Lillith is Lillith, and that's okay. She doesn't need to be humanized for the story to work. In fact, humanizing her would ruin what the story needs to be.
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
IMO you're in danger of creating a batch of two-dimensional characters, as was most of the Star Wars cast.

Yes, pure evil exists - or at least from my perspective, but someone else might see my bad guys as not so bad or possibly even good... Hitler and Stalin would be a stretch for anyone though... however, even those tyrants believed they were in the right.

A character doesn't necessarily have to be good, bad, or likeable by any objective standard.

They do need to be logical - even if this is only in their judgment of themselves. Any madman has his justifications. Given a chance to explain his actions, he can depict himself as reason incarnate. This probably won't square with those on the opposing side, but this is also how you establish conflict.

Bad actions for good reasons? Good actions for bad reason? Logical choices that cannot square with morality versus the conundrum of a morality that consigns its practitioners to destruction?

It's entirely possible (and occasionally interesting) to consider mercenary actors in the fight between good and evil.
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
Ok how about this? It's related to what Tetttsuo posted. The more you know your character the more possibilities for conflict there are? For instance, I am using a character questionnaire that asks what are the character's personality traits? How do they show the character personality traits in action? For instance if they have a job, how does the character trait make things more difficult? So if you find a good character questionnaire would you use it? I like Deborah Chester's character questionnaire since she asks similar questions. She has about 70 questions. I am filling what I like slowly. So character personality can be a source of conflict?
Example from Deborah Chester's Fantasy fiction formula exerpt:
1. What is the character’s story role?

2. State your character’s full name.

3. What portion of this name is used by the character or others?

4. State any nicknames for this character. Used by whom?

5. State the character’s age.

6. Physically describe the character.
7. List the character’s primary personality traits

17. What personally is the most important thing or person in this character’s life?



18. Why? 19. When opposed or thwarted by someone, how does this character typically react?



20. Why should a reader like this character, or want this character to succeed?
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top