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Old 09-10-2019, 10:51 PM   #21
Rantanplan
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Default Re: Loving your character too much

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Originally Posted by sc111 View Post
IMO, without reading the script it's hard to accurately assess -- as some have here -- if you're overthinking it or too in love with your character to "kill your darlings." Or, as others suggested, you developed the "wrong" character for your story (personally, I don't think that a character is "wrong" or "right" but that's a different topic).

I'm sticking with amping up the stakes to put the character in as high a state of desperation as possible. Like -- what would any of us be capable of doing if someone had a gun up against our kid's temple?

No matter how evolved we are, in certain situations, I believe all of us are capable of committing acts we wouldn't normally commit.

Agree. I don't know if you read what I wrote up-thread, but I was agreeing with you early on and I used that recent manhunt in Manitoba as an example of the extremes to which a young adult will go out of pain and desperation.

Last edited by Rantanplan : 09-10-2019 at 11:01 PM.
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:55 PM   #22
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Default Re: Loving your character too much

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95% then... okay -- well how do you solve your problem then?
I'm going to write it and see what my gut tells me. I know what I want to achieve, so I will know if I have or haven't achieved that once I've written it.

But I am absolutely terrified at the thought that I might have to go back to the drawing board, because I only have a few scenes to go and I've reserved a little motel in a cute mountain town for 3 days for the sole purpose of hanging out in coffee shops and proofing a hard copy of the finished product.
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:56 PM   #23
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Default Re: Loving your character too much

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How would you look at it if you were a psychiatrist and you had each character coming into your office for daily sessions? You're not making them say or do anything. All you're dong is asking the questions.

That's a great suggestion! I sometimes try to play the shrink with people I know who are having problems, so maybe I could apply that to my characters!
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Old 09-12-2019, 05:02 AM   #24
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Default Re: Loving your character too much

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Honestly, it's more complicated than that. It's true that I've become very fond of the character, yes, but I feel the reader will as well, and so I want to be mindful of both what the character would or wouldn't do, and what kind of emotional impact I want my story to have. So it's all about serving the story.
A great piece of advice I received regarding a similar dilemma:

There are writers who write what the character would organically do and their characters are authentic but don't make for the strongest stories. Other writers do what is better for the story but their characters feel like puppets. The script that changes your life is where the character does the one thing they would never do, and it feels 100% organic.
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Old 09-12-2019, 08:57 AM   #25
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Default Re: Loving your character too much

This is a lot of flowery language that’s avoiding the issues to me. You are the creator of the character and the world. It’s not season 3 of a TV show. You decide who a character is and what they do. And what they do is the story.

I still do not understand what the problem is. Write this half asleep and finish the first draft. This over thinking for sure won’t lead to anything.
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:07 AM   #26
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Default Re: Loving your character too much

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Agree. I don't know if you read what I wrote up-thread, but I was agreeing with you early on and I used that recent manhunt in Manitoba as an example of the extremes to which a young adult will go out of pain and desperation.
Oh I did see that. I was reacting to others who came to certain conclusions.
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:20 AM   #27
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Default Re: Loving your character too much

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This is a lot of flowery language that’s avoiding the issues to me...
I don't understand how you can come to this conclusion when the ultimate issue is the plot which none of us know.
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:11 PM   #28
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Default Re: Loving your character too much

My last post was responding to the one above it, not the OP's question. I was responding to the advice given by nguyen....

I'm saying I still have zero idea what the OP's issue is and why they can't finish their script. So I'm guessing yes. I'm just 100% confused by this entire thread but 2 or 3 of you are 100% understanding this issue the person has. And that intrigues me like a detective. I'm honestly just trying to understand it because I'm curious.

Everyone is talking in fortune cookies and horoscope talk and no one is saying clear statements that would solve this is how I see it.

Such as "My main character has to murder someone, but I don't want to write that because I don't want to see that character on screen do that..." Some clear dilemma to address..

I know we don't share POVs and that's okay. I'm just giving you mine.
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Old 09-12-2019, 03:46 PM   #29
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Default Re: Loving your character too much

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My last post was responding to the one above it, not the OP's question. I was responding to the advice given by nguyen....

I'm saying I still have zero idea what the OP's issue is and why they can't finish their script. So I'm guessing yes. I'm just 100% confused by this entire thread but 2 or 3 of you are 100% understanding this issue the person has. And that intrigues me like a detective. I'm honestly just trying to understand it because I'm curious.

Everyone is talking in fortune cookies and horoscope talk and no one is saying clear statements that would solve this is how I see it.

Such as "My main character has to murder someone, but I don't want to write that because I don't want to see that character on screen do that..." Some clear dilemma to address..

I know we don't share POVs and that's okay. I'm just giving you mine.
The OP needs their main character to murder someone. But the OP doesn't want to write it because they don't want to see their character do that. The real question first is why: (1) Because the OP doesn't believe their character would organically do it? or (2) Because the OP has some unexplained emotional connection to the character that prevents them from getting the character to do something that is needed story-wise.

If the answer is #1, then it becomes a much longer conversation about how to make the character do what is needed for the story to work from a structure point of view, while at the same time making an action that is ordinarily inorganic for the character seem as 100% organic as possible.

If the answer is #2, as it seems to be for the OP, then any advice just depends on what the OP's goal with the script is. I'm assuming they want to write the best possible script so that it can be optioned/sold/given recognition; hence, I passed on some advice that was given to me.
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Old 09-12-2019, 03:54 PM   #30
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Default Re: Loving your character too much

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My last post was responding to the one above it, not the OP's question. I was responding to the advice given by nguyen....

I'm saying I still have zero idea what the OP's issue is and why they can't finish their script. So I'm guessing yes. I'm just 100% confused by this entire thread but 2 or 3 of you are 100% understanding this issue the person has. And that intrigues me like a detective. I'm honestly just trying to understand it because I'm curious.

Everyone is talking in fortune cookies and horoscope talk and no one is saying clear statements that would solve this is how I see it.

Such as "My main character has to murder someone, but I don't want to write that because I don't want to see that character on screen do that..." Some clear dilemma to address..

I know we don't share POVs and that's okay. I'm just giving you mine.
I see. You were responding to this (which I broke up with numbers):

Quote:
1. There are writers who write what the character would organically do and their characters are authentic but don't make for the strongest stories.
2. Other writers do what is better for the story but their characters feel like puppets.
3. The script that changes your life is where the character does the one thing they would never do, and it feels 100% organic.
Interesting because IMO this is spot on advice and not flowery in the least. The last sentence (3) sets up a worthy goal for all writers, IMO. And I have a hunch (3) is what Rantanplan is striving to achieve.

I understand you're frustrated because Rantanplan did not provide specific details about her character or plot when posing the question. I also kind of understand why she didn't -- sometimes members here go on tangents critiquing a script they haven't read instead of addressing the question.

Still, even without specifics this is an important topic. Because if we don't even attempt to achieve #3 above, IMO we're sabotaging our script.

For example: the other night, thanks to insomnia, I watched "The Dinner" on Netflix. And it ultimately pissed me off primarily because the choices made by the characters in the ensemble cast. The story took me to the precipice of believing each character's actions/choices were organic but in the last act it collapsed into character manipulation, especially with the Laura Linney character whose actions came out of left field, for me at least.

It seemed to me the story and the characters (how far rich Americans will go to protect their privileged kids who have set a homeless woman on fire and killed her) took a back seat to the message: rich people suck. This message was forced in such a ham-fisted way that the characters were like chess pieces being moved around on a board to "prove" rich people suck.

The next morning I checked reviews and it appears many agreed with me on Rotten Tomatoes: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_dinner_2017

The sad part for me: there was some excellent, thought-provoking dialogue and a lot of potential that was sacrificed for the "rich people suck" message. As a result, the film, though it had some solid isolated moments, overall sucked as well.

This was a case where the characters were forced to do X,Y and Z to serve the plot without considering if their actions/choices were believable.

A classic example of getting it right (#3) is Michael Corleone in The Godfather. He's starts out telling his future wife: "That's my family Kay, not me." And ends with Kay watching men kiss Michael's ring because he is ultimately The Godfather of the title.

Michael's journey between being the honorable war vet who wants nothing to do with the mafia, to arguably a far more ruthless Don than his father ever was, is long and winding yet it is entirely organic.

And now that I think about it, I would advise Rantanplan to look at how Michael's transition from good guy to ruthless Don was achieved in The Godfather.

Anyway -- I'll stop here before I ramble.
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