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Trying to figure something out:

I've been having trouble with a story I'm working on and I've just realised why. I have no idea what is going on inside the most important character's head other then it's probably very strange. So after trying and failing to get a fix on things, I thought I'd ask for some outside input.

The character in question is as far as anyone can tell, human. However, he is a human who has been aware of something that would give Lovecraft nightmares for roughly a third of his life, hasn't had to deal with any sort of concequences for the same amount of time, has been doing a lot of very literal looking into the void, and has got used to having an entire, ever expanding multiverse to run around in. While he has avoided going made from the revelation and actually seems to be enjoying himself, there is no way in hell that this hasn't done something to his brain. The question is, what exactly?
 
 2 feotakahari, Sun, 4th Dec '11 7:27:01 PM from Looking out at the city
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
I think you'll need to specify what exactly this horrible thing is. (Though this might be a decent starting point.)
That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
 3 Enthryn, Sun, 4th Dec '11 7:38:43 PM from Earth Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
One possibility is that he still thinks mostly like an ordinary human, but accepts the incredibly bizarre as normal without a second thought. Assuming he's actually enjoying himself somewhat, this is quite plausible.

So, he still has worries, desires, and concerns like most people, but all the weird things he's seen flow naturally into it, as though there wasn't anything strange about them. You know, something like, "Hm, what should I have for lunch today? Guess I'll figure it out after I check if someone's done something about that hole in reality yet."

I've experienced a very mild version of this, myself; after being exposed to so much weird mathematics, I'm not fazed at all by the latest crazy news from physicists. The universe is actually a hologram, or there are hidden dimensions of time? Okay, sounds plausible, could be a lot weirder.

Your handling of this character should also depend on how serious the tone of the story is. If you want to play up the elements of horror, he should be more psychologically damaged by it all than what I've suggested.
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 4 Noir Grimoir, Sun, 4th Dec '11 8:07:29 PM from San Diego, CA
Rabid Fujoshi
Well, I've actually written a lot of characters who I couldn't exactly tell you how their thought process works. In other words, I couldn't really write them from a first person viewpoint since I couldn't explain what their thoughts are like, I just know how they react in certain situations, what they feel about things, what their habits are, their values and motivations but in terms of what is exactly going on in their heads, I haven't a clue.

Coincidentally, these characters also tend to be the ones that don't talk much. I sort of suspect they don't really think much in words at all and have very quiet heads, which is why writing from their viewpoint is sort of impossible. I actually like these characters and think they work just fine, even awesomely, when they aren't a viewpoint-character and we have to figure out how they are from the views of other characters.

I don't know if that was helpful at all. I don't know how your story works but maybe you should switch the viewpoint and have other characters speculate how they think based on what the character does and says.

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 5 Ralph Crown, Sun, 4th Dec '11 8:14:12 PM from Next Door to Nowhere
Short Hair
So is he human or not? Post 1 is vague.

The subconscious is a strange duck. It can absorb data, reach a conclusion, and feed it back as dreams, compulsions, mistakes. So your protag may consciously deny his eldritch lore but subconsciously process it and make strange things happen, things his conscious may ignore or project on others or nature.
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@feotakahari: It's sort of hard to describe briefly. The best way I can think of doing so is to quote something the character in question says when he's trying play up the eldritch angle to scare someone: "I have seen the multiverse spread before me. I have walked on a thousand worlds and will walk on a hundred thousand more. You on the other hand are just one version among many, of one person among many, on one planet among many, in one universe among many. Every thing that could happen has happened, every decision you ever made is irrelevent since a thousand other yous made others. All possibilities are equally likely, all possible outcomes will occur somewhere. In the grand scheme of things, neither your actions or you yourself matter in the slightest."

Of course, given that every decision, every chance event or quirk of fate generates a new timeline, it could be said that the opposite is true, not that that is any less scary.

@Noir Grimoir: I don't need to know exactly what he's thinking, I just need to know enough to figure out his motivations and behaviour, if that makes sense.

@Ralph Crown: I'm 99.99% that he's human. The remaining 00.01% isn't sure what he is.
 
 7 Enthryn, Wed, 7th Dec '11 12:32:20 AM from Earth Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
That doesn't sound particularly eldritch. The whole thing about multiverses, every possibility being realized, etc.? I think that's probably true in some sense, but it doesn't really bother me. Sure, I haven't seen all that shininess arrayed before me in person, but it all seems like stuff that's easily counteracted with some anti-nihilism and a healthy appreciation for the infinite.

Basically, I don't see the Cosmic Horror aspects at all. Why are his motivations hard to figure out? Just write him like any character who's had a lot of diverse experiences, I guess.
Prendre le bien, le mal et sans trier, accepter
Sans couvrir tes yeux, tout regarder.
 8 feotakahari, Wed, 7th Dec '11 1:15:27 AM from Looking out at the city
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
^^ So you've got a character who realizes that anything he does in one universe won't matter in other universes. If he kills someone, they'll still be alive elsewhere. Right there you've got a good way of characterizing him either as justifiably heartless, or as stubbornly ethical even when he'd be expected to be heartless.
That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
@Enthryn: I said that it'd give Lovecraft nightmares. That is not a particuarly hard thing to do since among other things the guy had zero appreciation for the infinite (half his works were him freaking out about humanity not being the most important thing in the universe).
 
 10 Enthryn, Wed, 7th Dec '11 11:43:02 AM from Earth Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Oh, good point. Didn't Lovecraft have nightmares about all sorts of mundane stuff? If I recall correctly, going on a fishing expedition might give Lovecraft nightmares.
Prendre le bien, le mal et sans trier, accepter
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 11 KSPAM, Wed, 7th Dec '11 12:27:13 PM from on the ground Relationship Status: In another castle
BEST. PRINCESS. EVER
I have a character sort of like this. They both have seen some shit in their time, and they both approach the strange and the weird with resounding acceptance and glee. The difference here is mine has had over ten billion years to do so (yes that is older than the universe and no, it is not a typo or gross mistake).

For someone who's only recently gotten into the whole mess that is the universe's dark underbelly, I suggest at least a full human lifetime of coping (unless this is being played for comedy)
Team? You mean cannon fodder? — neobowman

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@Enthryn: Probably. The guy didn't have the most resilient of psyches. If I went back in time and ended up in 1920's New England I could probably reduce him to a gibbering wreck in about five minutes, less if I had my book of Hubble telescope pictures with me.
 
 13 Enthryn, Wed, 7th Dec '11 4:48:31 PM from Earth Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
[up][up] That's not quite right. The universe is estimated to be around 13.75 billion years old, so plenty of things in the universe are over ten billion years old. (The oldest known star in the Milky Way, for instance, is estimated at 13.2 billion years old.) The age of the Solar System, on the other hand, is around 4.57 billion years; perhaps you've mixed up the two?

[up] Just try telling him about quantum physics.
Prendre le bien, le mal et sans trier, accepter
Sans couvrir tes yeux, tout regarder.
 14 KSPAM, Wed, 7th Dec '11 5:47:10 PM from on the ground Relationship Status: In another castle
BEST. PRINCESS. EVER
[up] Ah, right, right. My mistake.
Team? You mean cannon fodder? — neobowman

Goodfae: a mafia web serial
 15 Enemy Mayan, Thu, 8th Dec '11 9:49:45 AM from A van down by the river
I would say, if he's seen bad things and not just mundane things (still trying to clear up for my own edification what the "give Lovecraft nightmares" bit means exactly), that if the things he's seen are particularly horrible and he still doesn't recoil from them or go mad because he's seen them, he probably either started out as a Nightmare Fetishist or turned into one at some point.

Hopefully that helps.
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Total posts: 15
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