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edited 11th Apr '18 6:31:51 PM by dRoy
So, I have this bully character in my story that I felt like adding some depth to. Basically, she's been spoilered to hell and her parents regret that, as it led to her being a total bitch. When the girl gets suspended for bullying MC, the parents lashed out at her, said that they regretted loving her and destroyed her latest phone. Naturally, the bully gets distressed but she blames her punishment on MC, showing how she tends not to learn her lesson.
However, I wonder if giving her less-than-ideal parents would detract from the MC (MC's backstory can be summed up is that bio mom died giving birth and the MC ended up in the foster system where she had to deal with several abusive foster parents) or it's worth giving her depth of any kind at all. I intend to write a second draft of the story, so should I keep what I got with the bully?
EDIT: Reworded a bit for clarification
Edited by Cutegirl920fire on Jan 28th 2023 at 6:53:05 AM
I mean, I feel like that's hard to answer without a lot more information about the story—either could work, depending on your intentions for the character.
For example, if all that you want is a momentary "villain", one who will pop into the story, make the protagonist suffer for a bit, then vanish from the narrative, then there may be little purpose to humanising them.
Similarly, if you want a Hate Sink, then humanising them could undermine that.
Conversely, however, if for example the bully is intended to be a prominent part of the story, then humanising them might make their presence a little easier for the reader to bear.
Likewise, if, for argument's sake, you have a running theme of people being good at heart, then having a cardboard-cutout villain might undermine that.
And so on and so forth...
As to detracting from the protagonist, could you clarify what you mean there, please? How would giving depth to the bully so detract?
Edited by ArsThaumaturgis on Jan 28th 2023 at 9:47:21 PM
So, I think my story will have another central theme; "Do you truly believe in what you fight for?"
This is shown in how why each faction were formed or why the characters behave that way. The humans resisting the Alien occupation, was obviously formed to free the Earth from their grasp. But due to Human nature being complex, their statements of wanting to restore the "free and tolerant countries" can get murked when it comes to certain members who uphold reactionary and even authoritarian tendencies, whichc an makes us doubt on whether they do it out of pragmatism to save themselves because they had no choice, or deep down, they do want to believe them or are too selfish or jaded to recongnize it.
Even for the main four heroes, all of them who while representing the four principles which according to celestial gods, will bring peace, have self-doubts on whether they truly represent what they were chosen to or the Celestial gods didn't think things through.
It could even more hairy when it comes to the Human collaborators for the Aliens, showing between the unwilling and the willing. While the unwilling could have more clear cut things of doing it, it's the willing one that can get harder because, well, most are reactionary far-righters. It's their association with the Aliens that makes us wonder if their rhetoric was nothing but clout to hide their true selves as self-absorbed power-hungry narcissists, or have a misguided view of their ideals that they're willing to fight for, no matter how ridiculous it may sound.
So yeah, what other angles do you think I can explore with this central theme?
What I meant with detract is that having more than one character with Abusive Parents may undermine the MC (like the readers may get sick of how many abusive parents are in the story)
Ah, I see.
Well, does the story include further cases of abusive parents than those two? And more to the point, are there any non-abusive parents shown?
If there are non-abusive parents, and especially if those two sets of abusive parents are the only ones, then you may be fine.
But again, a lot may depend on the specifics, such as just how much space in the story is given to the parents and their being abusive.
And looked at from a different perspective, having two sets of abusive parents could allow a bit of "compare and contrast": you have two characters—the bully and the protagonist—who both have abusive parents, but who would seem to have ended up quite different...
Edited by ArsThaumaturgis on Jan 29th 2023 at 5:22:48 PM
Well, the MC had a few Abusive Parents as a foster kid but gets adopted by a decent family. I don't think the other characters outside of the MC's family
Were you saying that they don't have abusive parents? Or that other parents aren't shown? If the former, then that may help, at least.
And it sounds like there's at least one set of non-abusive parents in the narrative, so that likewise seems as though it should help.
So, my apologies for repeating a question but I didn't really get much traction on this one, and I it is somewhat important.
I left a warning in the original post, but yes, it's a little sensitive.
Edited by Swordofknowledge on Jan 30th 2023 at 10:16:25 AM
I'm writing a scene for a work-in-progress anime parody film script. The scene is a musical number where characters from Yuri anime and manga sing about the concept of Yuri and lots of references.
So I have a few questions:
So, this is something I posted in the political thread, but I want to know how does it sound from a writing stand point.
After a devastating Alien war and their Human collaborators, a group of benevolent Aliens decide to initiate a period of reconstruction on Earth, but not just on infrastructure, but also on everything. Including systems and ecomomies with the help of the Humans they believe to be the ones who know how to solve them. With time, systematic inequality is near non-existent, with many groups flourishing together like never before, in a period known as the New Renaissance. Of course, I still wondered about some caveats to add because perfection is impossible, and that some majority population turned more cynical and skeptical of the reforms, they were so used to getting the privilege that having that stripped away for an egalitarian society would be seen as too "extreme" for them. White Americans, in particular, would feel more mixed about the success of the New Renaissance compared to other groups. Not to mention, even some of those who prospered can't help but ponder if getting a war to make the world finally move on is worth it. Is it too far-fetched or there's some merit to the idea?
I don't claim authority on such topics, but to my mind it doesn't seem too far-fetched.
In particular, a global war against an external enemy seems like something that could well help to unite humanity to some degree, reducing internal tribalism.
There are a lot of nuances and details that might affect how plausible it sounds, of course. For example, without knowing the specifics, I could see humanity being leery of a second alien species right after war against the first, even if the newcomers seem benevolent.
Another thought: you speak of formerly-privileged groups having difficulty with equality; but let me check: in the course of a global war, how much privilege did they still have? Did the conflict and devastation not destabilise such things? (Or were the frontlines more contained than that...?)
A handful of wealthy elites and racist groups were involved in the collaboration with the Alien empire.
Also, since the Aliens didn't discriminate in who they attacked, most groups were affected more or less equally.
A handful doesn't seem likely to make for much dissent—especially as it seems likely to me that at least some proportion of their number died in the war. (As it was, well, a war.)
As to different groups being affected more or less equally, I would imagine that the overall destabilisation of life would reduce privilege overall, and the external threat would encourage social cohesion.
And even those who didn't join the Aliens feel threatened by the reforms of the other ones, and try their damnest to prevent them.
I think that you perhaps misunderstand: I'm arguing that this destabilisation and reduction of privilege means that there may be less sense of threat from the reforms.
(Either that or I'm misunderstanding you: I took your comment above to indicate that you read my arguments as being in favour of people feeling that their privilege would be threatened by the reforms.)
Edited by ArsThaumaturgis on Feb 3rd 2023 at 7:19:31 PM
I was talking about the other half of the wealthy elite who didn't collaborate with the Aliens, not Humans in general.
So I've asked this before, but I didn't really get much traction, and it is an important aspect of my story and one of its characters. It is a bit of a sensitive question so just be aware:
What emotions would someone feel after killing their abusive parent?
In my WIP, a child uses her powers to kill her abusive mother after a lifetime of physical and emotional abuse. She doesn't suffer any repercussions for this action, and it is swept under the rug, but it haunts her up until she is a middle-aged woman with a family of her own.
I feel like she should feel some sort of satisfaction, but I don't want to play into the "evil little girl with superpowers" trope when it comes to her, since she is very much a good character.
I just know those feelings would be complicated, so I wanted to see what other people thought.
Sure, but given the conditions, did they still get to be the wealthy elite before the reformation? After all, there was a global war going on.
In any case, the wealthy elite are a pretty small sub-set of humanity; if they're unhappy, they're not likely to make for a particularly loud objection under the circumstances, I would think.
Have her extremely conflicted on how she feels, given the circumstances.
Ah, that works too.
As in happy one moment, ridden with guilt the next, perhaps sometimes angry at the whole situation or grieving it as if she didn't cause the death? But just continue this all the way up until adulthood?
That can work, but as long as you make her into someone that can be understandable.
I understand. It shouldn't be too difficult to make her understandable then; this reveal happens when she is a character who has long been established and familiarized with the readers. It's intended to show some reasons for why she acts the way she does, even more than the explanations already given at this point.
So in a work using Historical Domain Characters in an Urban Fantasy setting, how would you go around tastefully keeping a historical figure's mental diagnosis ambiguous?
The historical figure in question was officially diagnosed with a mental disorder in their historic life since they were institutionalized but many historians and scholars doubt that was an accurate diagnosis, which leads to them debating what disorder the figure actually has to the point that it'll be safe to say no one really knows. In the story/modern times, the historical figure's mental issues is a big part of their character arc and when they do finally get therapy, they do end up getting another official diagnosis. However, the diagnosis isn't named as in-universe the figure wants to keep that private and when it's name-dropped, the diagnosis will be blanked.
I don't want to armchair diagnose any historical figure, especially as someone who isn't a qualified therapist, and while I'll base the figure's behavior off documented reports of their behavior and mental health, is this the right thing to go about keeping their diagnosis ambiguous in a tasteful manner?
Pretty much as you describe, I think: simply show the symptoms, without ever giving a full diagnosis.
From your description, those symptoms have produced an uncertain diagnosis in our world, so they should naturally do the same in the story.
(I'm not sure that I would likely blank the diagnosis, myself. Rather, I think that I'd just never give the relevant piece of wording.
For example, if the character receives the diagnosis in written form, I might describe the character taking up and reading the document, maybe even mention that the diagnosis is there—but simply not relate the text of the document.
Or if the character receives the diagnosis in a spoken meeting, I might report the speech in dialogue up until the paragraph in which diagnosis is given, and then either describe the giving without the dialogue, or cut to a new scene—or some such thing)
@ Your Bloody Valentine:
This is good point, that the threshold for a breaking point in a relationship is pretty subjective based on who beholds it.
...also a good point on them just being successful coparents rather than partners. I hadn't even thought about that, at least not really even though it is a reality all over the place.
I guess it comes down to my personal thoughts of romanticism, my desire for the outcome for these characters, and also my main character's desire for them (he sacrifices quite literally everything to ensure his parents and sister are able to live a happy and peaceful life together after he is gone).
But all in all thank you for the reminder about the subjectivity of such topics.