Then why do gay people get mad when straight people turn a gay character straight?
Um…first of all… Clay technically doesn’t have a confirmed sexuality, so we aren’t turning him bisexual. He COULD be. Second, even if he was confirmed to be straight, straight people are everywhere on television. You don’t need to turn gay characters straight. You can pick any show on television and MOST of the characters are “straight” (or at least never have any same-sex romances). Why would you need to turn a gay character straight? You don’t. And you shouldn’t because that is our representation. You have TONS of rep and we don’t. For the same reason we don’t need straight pride.
[Ask RPedia] Does the Main Character Have to be “Good” to be Liked?
Anonymous asked: Do you think a character HAS to be likeable for people to like them, if they’re the protagonist in the story? I’ve had a lot of conflict over this, as I myself enjoy having unlikeable/mean/“villainous” characters as the main character, but I’m unsure as to whether this would go well over with the majority. Do you think being likeable is a must-have trait for a popular, or enjoyable character?
Hi yeah okay uhm, no. Never. Nope. Honestly people just love a character they can connect with, and there’s a lot of people out there who look at themselves and are guilty that they have less-than-perfect responses to situations. Seeing someone who does similar, yet thrills and interests them, can give them that hook. Let them know they aren’t alone, and give them a fictional anchor to see themselves in. That connection, be it fascination, love, attraction, or reflection is the important part. Let’s examine a few of the ‘most popular’ characters from recent shows and see why they were popular, because surprise surprise, most of them were straight up villains yet everyone loves them. … I’m going to talk a lot about basically these two paragraphs ad nauseum as I explain, get ready for it.
Whether it’s about why a character would
commit murder or why someone would want a do-over in life, I get a lot of
questions about character motivations. This is a very important question to ask
yourself to develop a believable character because for every action and
decision that is made there is some sort of motivation. You eat because you’re
hungry, you sleep because you’re tired, you plot to take over the country
because the current government killed your sister and framed it on you to further
their political agenda. Or maybe you eat because nobody can turn down the
deliciousness that is mint chocolate ice cream, you sleep because you’ve got a
ridiculous migraine from all the ice cream, and you plot to take over the world because you plan to outlaw eating
mint chocolate chip ice cream to have it all for yourself. No matter what the motive
is the important thing is that the character has one. To help you come up with
one for whatever insanity you’re planning (the scenarios I’ve seen from all of you make me equally proud and baffled) I’ve come up with a few points to
consider to get your thinking gears moving.
Consider how it relates to the
main plot and subplot(s).
Going back to taking over the
country, there are millions of ways this story could unfold. What differentiates
each and what makes it interesting is why the character wants to do this. Martin
Scorsese once said “The king died and then the queen died is a story. The king
died, and then queen died of grief is a plot.” This is the way a character’s
motive works: your story tells the reader what happens but the why and how is
always more interesting. So ask yourself what kind of impact you want this
motive to have on the plot because it is what will drive everything. When a
character doesn’t have a motivation (like a villain who is evil because) there
is no direction and no intrigue in the events as they unfold.
Is it out of fear or desire?
To put it very simply,
character motivation is fueled by either fear or desire (or maybe both). You
could eat because you saw someone else eating cake and now you really crave some
too, or you could eat because you fear dying of hunger. There are always primal
fears and desires like the desire for survival, companionship and happiness and
a fear of death and pain. These are great and can often come up but also try to
personalize them to your character so the reader feels why it is important to them. Once you having something fueling the motivation it becomes much more real and
gives you a better idea of how to use it.
Make it fit with the genre.
Along with personalizing to the
character, it’s good to keep in mind the tropes of the genre (remember tropes
are not the same as clichés). In a romance the reader expects one of the
motivations to be love, in a thriller it’s often about a fight for personal
survival and/or to save someone or something. The reason this is important is
because it would be odd for a character’s main motivation in a story about
saving the country from foreign invasion to be becoming a pianist. Unless, of
course the story is really about a young talent who loses their chance to
travel to a music school because of war, but now the plot has changed, hasn’t
it? There can be multiple motivations, especially when you cross genres like a
YA adventure, or thriller with a romance but just remember that readers who
give your work a try have certain expectations based on the genre so either try
to match or rethink the genre you’re really writing.
External and internal
External motivations are ones
that are imposed on your character by external forces while internal
motivations come from within themselves (personal desires). For example, take a
police officer tasked with finding a kidnapped victim. They have the external
motivation of solving this case because it is their job and failing at it would
be failing their assignment and leaving a life in peril. They could also have
many other personal motivations driving them like having lost their best friend
to trafficking or something completely unrelated, like they are motivated to
make their little kid proud. You can also try to make these motivations specific to differentiate from characters, at least in your own mind so you can weave that into the characters. External motivations can push the character into
the plot but the internal ones can keep them going when things get tough and make readers truly sympathize with them.
Finally, do your homework.
No matter how many tips you
read here or anywhere else, none of it is going to matter if you don’t sit down
and work out your character’s motivations to fit them and your plot. If you need
motivations for something that you might not be familiar with (eg. why someone
would commit a specific crime) or you need more information about the topic…RESEARCH!
Remember, remember, remember that there are no cutting corners when it comes to
writing so take a seat, let your mind explore the possibilities, and get to