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Fun > Who was your most challenging character to write?

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message 1: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Higgins | 173 comments My niece was recently burnt in an accident so to help keep her distracted I decided to write a YA novel with her. Since she's 16 with a rock star crush it's no surprise our MC is a 22 year old rock star. Here's the challenge, I'm...well...far south of 22, female and less than current on the latest slang. I mean I actually had to Google what a snapback is (for those who are curious, it's a cap.) Why can't they just call it a cap?

So, since misery loves company, how about you tell me who your most challenging character was to write and why.

PS, I'm not really miserable, I'm having a ton of fun with this despite feeling incredibly old;)


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

One of my characters was inspired by another character who died heroically. The character I had trouble with at first was the father of that dead character and their relationship with the inspired-character. The semi-distant father was struggling with grief and the desire to mentor/be friends-sort-of with the character. Writing dialogue was tricky because the father is sort of an awkward person in general, so I had to balance all these different aspects of him AND try to convey that through the other character's point of view. I made a break through once I got the feel for how he would conduct himself and how he really wanted to just reach out and connect with someone who knew his daughter in a way better than he ever did.

Thankfully, I didn't have to learn any slang or stuff like you did as I write sci-fi/fantasy. :)


message 3: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (last edited Mar 05, 2016 07:00AM) (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4269 comments Mod
Tough question as I like to create challenging characters.

I will go with one I have been working with recently named Robin. Robin is the narrator of a story I will be releasing soon called George Stew. Robin and George are hated by nearly everyone in their town, but -- I don't want to reveal why. I'm leaving it up to the reader to draw their own conclusions. So, to make this work, I have to reveal as little about Robin as possible. I don't even let myself know too much about Robin.

P.S. Healing prayers / wishes / thoughts to your niece.


message 4: by Joe (last edited Mar 05, 2016 07:13AM) (new)

Joe Jackson (shoelessauthor) My main character's husband is dying of a terminal "disease," and he worships the god of death, so it's an interesting balance. At times, he is depressed that he will leave his wife too soon, but at the same time, he recognizes death as an ultimate freedom. So writing him to be a little self-pitying but maintain a positive outlook, and have that balance stretch into his relationship with his wife and children is, at times, quite challenging.

I'll echo Dwayne as well, prayers and best wishes to your niece. And a big thumbs-up to you on taking on such a project to help her in her recovery.


message 5: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Higgins | 173 comments Dwayne wrote: "Tough question as I like to create challenging characters.
Robin and George are hated by nearly everyone in their town, but -- I don't want to reveal why..."


Can't wait to read it!! I feel the need to warn you that I am extremely curious (read nosy) by nature and may PM you every hour on the hour until you reveal the secret.

Dwayne wrote: "P.S. Healing prayers / wishes / thoughts to your niece."

Thank you!


message 6: by S.J. (last edited Mar 05, 2016 12:40PM) (new)

S.J. Higgins | 173 comments Sarah wrote: "Thankfully, I didn't have to learn any slang or stuff like you did as I write sci-fi/fantasy. :)
"

Note to self: Change setting to fantasy/sci-fi world where you can create your own slang words...


message 7: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Higgins | 173 comments Joe wrote: "My main character's husband is dying of a terminal "disease," and he worships the god of death, so it's an interesting balance. At times, he is depressed that he will leave his wife too soon, but a..."

Suddenly I don't feel like channelling a 22 year old rock star is a such a big challenge anymore :)

Thanks for the wishes!


message 8: by Quoleena (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) A fictional telling of where is Jimmy Hoffa (alive and well and in hiding). Since it's written in limited 3rd person, I watched tons of videos, clips, documentaries on him to get a better sense of who he was. It was a fun challenge with lots of research.


message 9: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Cunegan (jdcunegan) | 239 comments David Gregor, the antagonist in both Bounty and Blood Ties... mostly because when it came time to write Behind the Badge, the third novel, he started doing and saying things I never expected him to do and say, and in a lot of ways he wasn't acting like the villain. So trying to unravel his actions and his reasons for doing so, and trying to reconcile those actions with what he has done in the past, has been quite the challenge. Fun, but challenging.


message 10: by Philip (new)

Philip Dodd (philipdodd) | 32 comments My book, Angel War, is essentially the biography of the one known on Earth as Lucifer, the Devil, Satan. So I found it a great challenge to create my version of him on the page. Using what The Bible says about him as my guide, I decided he was born an Angel of Light, who later transformed himself into a four legged, scaled beast, and named himself, the Dragon, to begin what he called his great rebellion against the Father. Someone in Victorian times described theatre as the Devil's art, no doubt, partly, because it is rooted in deception and illusion, so I made him famous first in the angel lands as the White Castle Poet, the playwright of his own acting company, the White Castle Players. It was a challenge to create such a character as a convincing real person rather than simply the personification of evil, but I am satisfied that I tried my best in my attempt.


message 11: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4269 comments Mod
Quoleena wrote: "A fictional telling of where is Jimmy Hoffa ..."

I need to get to your book soon. The more I read about it, the more intrigued I become.


message 12: by Rachael (new)

Rachael Eyre (rachaeleyre) | 192 comments Definitely Josh in Love and Robotics. My previous books were first person but I wasn't sure if I could pull that off with a robot. You find yourself questioning all sorts of things you'd take for granted with a human character: would he feel this or know this? Does this sound convincing? Would a reader think, "Nah, that's just a bad approximation of a robot?" I wanted to move away from old robotic stereotypes - lack of contractions, overly technical language - but knew readers would be expecting at least some of those features.

Compared with this, writing insane characters or people of the opposite sex has been easy street ...


message 13: by Quoleena (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) Dwayne wrote: "Quoleena wrote: "A fictional telling of where is Jimmy Hoffa ..."

I need to get to your book soon. The more I read about it, the more intrigued I become."


Sweet thanks! It can function as a stand-alone, even though it's book 2. I did that intentionally.


message 14: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Higgins | 173 comments Rachael wrote: "writing insane characters or people of the opposite sex has been easy street ..."

I have the easiest time writing characters who are insane, hmmm wonder why that is? [taps chin]


message 15: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) I can't think of who I have had the most difficult time writing. I love to write villains and some of them have required a good bit of research and figuring out their back stories and motivations to get right.

But the characters that require the most work are often the most brilliant when the story is done.


message 16: by Nicole (last edited Mar 05, 2016 09:17AM) (new)

Nicole Luckourt (nicole_luckourt) | 22 comments Fun question. Thus far, the most challenging character for me has been the antagonist in my romantic suspense novel. The character possesses psychopathic personality traits and it wasn't so much knowing what this person was going to do, but staying in the character's head through it all that was difficult. I always joked that I felt like I'd been slimed after writing these scenes ; )


message 17: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) My most chalenging character to date has been a plain vanilla thirty something white male with a whole mess of behind the scenes drama. Everyone else in the series has personality quirks, interesting backgrounds, secrets, is not human, is a teenager with their own annoying slang, or has something that makes them interesting. This guy though, he's kind if got nothing except a pretty face and an easy to steamroller personality. It was not easy dealing with him.


message 18: by Zoltán (new)

Zoltán (witchhunter) | 267 comments One of my characters is a witch. She is several hundreds of years old, a rebel among witches, a loner, she had only one real friend and mostly sticks with animals/pets, a positive character, but uses her charm routinely for her purposes and she has her problems as well. As the books is a character evolution story and I'm a man, it did pose a decent amount of challenge even with her just as a secondary character. But I'm brave (just have to convince myself :P ) and after a similar second book, I plan to write the final book with her as the main character.


Slightly related: I had to write poems as the character's would have written it. I barely believed I managed to do it and still nervous at each reaction. :)


message 19: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (whatmatters) | 124 comments I feel like I’m giving away too much of the story. So I’ll simply say, these characters were a 5 year challenge. Excerpt Chapter One

      The only thing I knew about them, was that they were able to read my mind with amazing clarity, watching every movement and describing it in detail for affect. I started with an empty canvas trying to form a picture of who they were, what they were doing, and conceptualize how they were doing it. Somehow they were connected to me, doing things which are not known to be possible.
      They would later call themselves “The Mind Game Company.”
      “You don’t know what we found out about you?” Then they would give me a moment to consider the possibilities reading my reactions. Followed with a type of cheeky candy-coated taunting. “You don’t even know what kind of people we are or what we’re going to do with your information.”
      So adept at rattling my nerves and never able to face my accusers. I called them many names, because they had many faces, though the most appropriate was parasites, mind stalking parasites.


message 20: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Hammes | 2 comments The characters I'm currently writing, especially during the 1st draft, are challenging. Basically, they don't have a personality but develop one throughout the story. The story itself is character-based and the events happen because of them. Writing them has gotten easier over the time but they are difficult nonetheless


message 21: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Siegrist (amandasiegrist) | 190 comments I had a secondary character in the first book of one of my series. She was quiet, soft-spoken, even in anger. She would talk in this soft tone when mad, never raising her voice. That always scared people more than her other friend that was loud.

I just finished the second book in the series where she was the main character. I found it more difficult to focus the entire book on her verses a few scenes here and there. When I wanted her to get upset, I had to remember that she doesn't holler, say nasty things, or be over-the-top. She still has to be cool, calm, and collected. That proved to be very challenging, but I always enjoy a good challenge. I'll be editing down the road and I guess I will see if I slacked on her personality.


message 22: by Lyra (new)

Lyra Shanti (lyrashanti) | 126 comments S.J. wrote: "Sarah wrote: "Thankfully, I didn't have to learn any slang or stuff like you did as I write sci-fi/fantasy. :)
"
Thought to self: Change setting to fantasy/sci-fi world where you can create your o..."


Ah, the joys and freedoms of writing in sci-fi fantasy! :)

I'd say the most challenging character that I've written to date is a villain who is quite horrible. He doesn't really care for the lives of others, owns slaves, treats his wife like an object that he can use and abuse, and he looks as gross as he is inside. Hopefully, this is as far from myself as it gets, but that's why he works as a villain. It's challenging to write such characters, but if done right, they help your protagonist get to where they need to be.


message 23: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Lentz (kalentz) | 57 comments Love this thread. It got me thinking about all my characters in general and their traits, triumphs, and difficulties.

Each had their trials in writing them, however, three were particularly trying at times. One of the characters, I had an issue keeping sentence structure intact for his unusual speech. Another, I had to keep in mind his unreasonableness, brought on by grief, when he reacted to events. And the third, well, she was simply villainous I skipped lunch when she made it onto the page.


message 24: by Charles (last edited Mar 05, 2016 12:29PM) (new)

Charles Douglas (chancemaybe) | 3 comments I only had trouble with one, the main one. My first drafts had him a little bland. Mainly because I inadvertently was merely using him as eyes to move the book along. So, I put the book aside, and thought about who was Chance Maybe, other than a boy that has an extraordinary thing happen to him. Once I detailed a background, and figured out his personality, I wrote another draft with this new personality. The interaction, and dialog changed, and I was surprised by how his curiosity drove new subplots of exploration and adventure.
A great improvement indeed.


message 25: by S.J. (last edited Mar 05, 2016 12:51PM) (new)

S.J. Higgins | 173 comments K.A. wrote: "And the third, well, she was simply villainous I skipped lunch when she made it onto the page."  

Okay, you know it's bad when you need to skip a meal because of your character.


message 26: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments This is a great question and I'm very much enjoying the replies. For myself, it's hard to say what my most challenging character is to write, since I write with a co-author and therefore can "cheat" by saying, "Here, this is your character." (Of course, she can do the same thing.)

If I had to nominate a one though, it might be a woman who's POV we haven't yet explored in much depth. She's a marine corporal, pushing 80 years old, has the body of a woman in her early 20's and is, by all appearances, pretty much "perfect": well-adjusted, at peace with herself and the universe, the best at what she does, and in a perfectly happy and stable relationship. Her colleagues treat her with great respect, if not awe, and the [well-earned] adulation leaves her untouched (although she does take a quiet pride in her accomplishments). She also a great deal of fun.

If she has fears, doubts, jealousies, serious disappointments or inner demons, we don't know about them. This would make her a challenging person to write about, if we tried to get inside her POV, which we haven't so far.

Perhaps some day, we'll be enlightened about these things, or maybe she's exactly what she appears to be (which would be fascinating). In any case, we'd love to write more about her when [and if] we gain a deeper understanding.


message 27: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments That would have to be Noura. She's so annoying and does stupid things.


message 28: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 262 comments The MC in my last novel is a middle-aged university professor with a profound dislike for travel and for technology. He suffers from travel sickness and immersive virtual reality makes him physically ill. Worse, his "soft" chosen field of study is regarded with contempt by most of the (technologically-dependent) world.

I needed to make him helpless outside his comfort zone without being stupid. I wanted to give him snarky wit, a defensive shield, without being gratuitously nasty. All in all, he was a tough balancing act. Still not sure it I ever got it right :)


message 29: by Ripley (new)

Ripley Franks | 10 comments I am very sorry to hear about your niece. With previous experience in the medical field I was bothered most with seeing injured children. I hope it's nothing too serious and that she gets well soon.

For a while one of my most challenging characters was the main character in my upcoming book, he's a young war veteran that fought in Afghanistan as an Army Ranger. I eventually found him to be easier to develop as I do have a few cousins that served as Rangers. They gave me some stories about their time in the war, even Ranger school, and pointers on how to develop my character.
Today my most challenging character is actually one of the secondary characters, he is an angel named Levi. Levi was the hardest character to make since I don't know any angels! I too had to turn to the internet and studied as much as I could on angels. I learned that there are actually many different types of angels that hold specific duties. Levi was hard to create because he isn't human and isn't familiar with human customs, so he wouldn't know what a snapback is either!
I had to do a lot of studying to make Levi and I'm glad that I did because I like the way he turned out!


M. Ray Holloway Jr.   (mrayhollowayjr) | 180 comments I think my most difficult characters to write were my two young lovers in my time travel novel. I had to have them meet at the age of thirteen, and over the course of thirty years, I had to mature them so they would be age appropriate for that section of the story. When I first wrote it, I got to the end and realized that the two characters stayed the same throughout the whole book, which made no sense. I had to go back and change their language and some of their behavior so they would seem like real people.


message 31: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Higgins | 173 comments Ripley D. wrote: "I am very sorry to hear about your niece. With previous experience in the medical field I was bothered most with seeing injured children. I hope it's nothing too serious and that she gets well soon..."

Thank you.


message 32: by Sevda (new)

Sevda Khatamian | 8 comments Well, I write memoir. So I am one of the characters in the book. My life is full of strange and funny things. It's kind of odd that I have to write things about myself or the things that happened to me. I remember things, note them down, write a little something about that incident or whatever that memory was about, and then I decide that it might not be so good for the book.
That one particular memory is out, I can see it or read it if I want to. Only I don't know what to do with it. It's not good for the book anymore, so! It floats around in my head, shows up in my dream, or maybe, I miss it for a second, I don't know. Not sure about challenging, but it's odd. Different.
I am working on my second book now. I think I'll give it a break for a while after this one is done. People go crazy over everything, so why not this one!


message 33: by Ram (new)

Ram (ram_muthiah) | 11 comments SJ, I wish the speedy recovery to your niece. Creating a cruel villain character was challenging for me. When people do horrible things, I have no idea how can they even think of justifying it. I spent many weeks to come up with a logical reasoning for the villain's behavior, his character, dialog, etc.,


message 34: by Safa (new)

Safa Shaqsy (safashaqsy) | 54 comments the most difficult character is the guy the protagonist met. I don't quiet understand him. I hope I do in the next book.


message 35: by Grace (new)

Grace Crandall | 79 comments Yikes, I hope your niece feels better soon! Writing a book with her is such an epic idea.

And if it helps, I'm a teenager and I didn't have any idea what a snapback was :)

Right now I'm having a hard time with the leader of my camp of rebels. He's in his fifties and not really of a classic hero type as far as looks go--short and ropy, nearsighted and balding--but he's supposed to come off as a sort of understated legend. I'm having a hard time finding his 'voice'--most of his dialogue so far is pretty blasé--and I can't get into his head. What does he want to do? How will he react to the major plot points? I really have no idea.
I'm planning on writing a short story set in his past soon, so hopefully that will help :)


message 36: by T.L. (new)

T.L. Clark (tlcauthor) | 727 comments Without a doubt mine was in my latest book. I wrote about a child sex abuser.
The idea is to raise awareness, and also to offer hope to survivors.

The whole book took me 18 months and it went through many beta reads to ensure content was informative yet not sordid.

It was a really fine line!
The abuser is written to show how they can appear 'normal' to the outside world. But to do that without making it look like I was sympathetic? It was really really tough!


M. Ray Holloway Jr.   (mrayhollowayjr) | 180 comments My most difficult character to write was James, the empath from my short "The Empath". He is a very conflicted character, who wants sincerely to help others, but takes on an awful lot of pain and anguish to do it.

So far, I have a short story out about him, but I do intend to write a two or three book series about the character when he is older. There is so much more to tell about him.


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