Do any of you have problems writing main characters that are stereotypical?3/7/2008 #1
I love writing stereotypical characters!3/11/2008 #2
The trick is to make them as cliched as possible in the first draft (no matter how cringingly awful you think it sounds!) and then scale them back closer to normality in later ones. This way you get a really good feel for who the character is and it will be easier to write about them later on.
Hope that helps x
You mean, the vulnerable-yet-strong main character? The evil, world-domination hungry villain? Ditzy, snobby cheerleaders? Yeah.4/8/2008 #3
|William H. Chang
I've found that my characters are always pretty much parts of myself. That helps them from being overly stereotypical. And if you're worried a character might be stereotypical, stop and think of what makes them that way and change those elements so they seem less so.4/10/2008 #4
I actually have a problem with making the main character too...boring. The main character of my story is usually the one I don't care much for at all! XD;
Not in my most recent story, though, I love my main in that, so that's a relief.
In other stories I read or watch or whatever, too...I usually never like the main character much. I really dunno why.
But, as for stereotypical characters...I don't think I've ever made a main stereotypical, but as for side characters, I have a few of those...tough guy types who look mean on the outside but are really just softies. I can't help it though...it may be cliche, but I love that motif.4/10/2008 #5
I have maybe one or two stereotypical characters (the oblivious fiance, the goofy best friend) but nothing too major. I hate stereotypes. Writing is about making up something that is your own. Stereotypes belong to nobody.7/26/2008 #6
I have made stereotypical characters, but I'm trying to get out of that mold.5/16/2010 #7
|H. M. Longo
Stereotypes exist for a reason, in fiction that reason is often that something just plain works.
That said: Usually when I first think up a character he or she is neither cliché nor original, but simply shallow and dimensionless; a paperdoll of a character. I then let the character steep for a while, a matter of months or even years sometimes. I either write about the character or just think about him until he's breathed and come to life and done things on his own. The trick is to just let go and let the character do stuff. Don't force him into things. Imagine a location you know well, either imaginary or real, it doesn't matter as long as you know the place, set your character loose on the area with no agenda and see what happens. Don't decide "ok, now his girlfriend falls in love with the villain" and try to drag the character through the motions of what you assume he would do in that situation. Simply leave him alone in a room (or a city or an island or a planet) with his girlfriend and the villain and observe what they do. If the girlfriend falls in love with the villain the character will react accordingly. But she might not, because the girlfriend and the villain are characters as well.
This takes a great deal of imagination and the ability to just sort of sit back and "watch" something that you're thinking up. It's perhaps akin to dreaming. It this sounds like a lot of work, it isn't. It can just be allowed to happen. If this sounds like crazytalk, perhaps it is; but Robert Louis Stevenson wrote some incredibly novels just by setting a few characters loose in the Scottish Highlands or in his imaginary island. It's a long and involved process, albeit an easy one, and what it results in is a fully rounded, believable and realistic character.8/1/2010 . Edited 8/1/2010 #8
I don't think stereotypes (or archetypes, as I like to call them) are necessarily a bad thing, either. It all depends on how you use them. Marc St. James from Ugly Betty is an prime example of the swishy gay guy stereotype, but all of his stereotypical traits feel real and organic. It would have not helped his character to tack on a bunch of "unstereotypically gay" traits; it would show a lack of confidence in the character's specific image, and risk turning him into a bunch of gray goo.
Basically, an archetype is there to fulfill a specific job within the story. The role of Batman's archetype is to be mysterious and cool. If he succeeds at being mysterious and cool, then there is no problem. On the other hand, if he fails at this, then you start getting the complaints at him being stereotypical (take Inuyasha's Sesshoumaru, who ends up being more pompous than mysterious).8/10/2010 #9
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