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Lately, the first few chapters of my story have all been about Character Development, so the readers will get a feel on his personality.

But, being the big softy I am, I really can't get him to show his bad/tough side.

First, I make him seem sympathetic and relatable. That way people won't think he's just a jerkwad. It also explained his lack of romance, etc.

But, after developing him. I realized I may have made him too nice.

So, main question. How should I stick to the personality, yet also not make him such a j***?

10/10/2012 #1

It sounds like in your mind bad=j***. Is that how it feels to you? If so, you may not be able to. But the nice tough guys are usually just too blunt and can come off like a j*** (which means they don't really know how to/want to sugar-coat stuff) or they have a penchant for standing up to people and standing up for people all the time, even when it's inappropriate and can come off as a j*** that way. So, what kind of tough guy j***-but-not-a-j*** do you have?

10/10/2012 #2

No, bad does not equal j***.

  • I have a guy who'd be sweet, yet stand up for someone if they needed to.
  • Gives everyone a chance, yet can just ignore you at points.
  • Sarcastic and emotionally exhausted.
  • He'd "physically" intervene if you were going too far. (FALCON, PAUNCH!!)
  • Willing to turn on his own kind (FBI) for example you did a crime and he was 100% sure you didn't do it, he'd let you run out. (in the game this is based off of, he did this, because they had no evidence against him. Yes, this is based off of Heavy Rain.)
  • He trusts his wits more than his guts.
10/10/2012 . Edited 10/10/2012 #3

Okay, so he's strong-willed and usually sure he knows what's what, even if everyone else disagrees (although he might reconsider...possibly)? I'm also guessing he's got issues that can make him a j***, like maybe he gets mean and yells at people when they don't listen to him when he says he doesn't want to talk about something, even if they're sure it'll help him, huh? And I'll bet he hates liars, cheats and other people that hurt people and can make a huge stink if he finds out someone's trying to swindle, frame or generally deceive people. Sounds like my kind of guy, lol.

Try making up a list of extreme but simple situations and ask yourself how he'd react, then write that down. You can use it as a personality guide to refer back to later. I do something similar, except it's all in my head. And I just try to compare the general attributes of the situation to the list I have and see if I have a match to find out the IC reaction.

10/10/2012 #4

Yeah, basically, but who doesn't? xD

Okay. I'll try. -lost all inspiration ._.-

10/10/2012 #5

Lol, there's different levels of hate. Someone like him would probably feel personally offended that someone thought they could get away with such a thing in his presence. I know I would.

Sorry your inspiration disappeared. You know, it might be better sticking with personalities you know better until you get good at maintaining characterization if you don't want to do the work. That's what I did.

10/10/2012 #6

It's good practice.

I just came up with a pretty good idea, so I'll write until I lose inspiration again.

Not sure how much it'd OFFEND him, though if it was mild enough, they could get away with it that easily. (Apposed to getting punched in the face. ;))

10/10/2012 #7

Hey, I'm not a punch people in the face kind of person, but I do take an instant dislike to people like that and will be all ready for an argument at the very least.

10/10/2012 #8

Neither am I. But due to his rough past, he has gotten intolerant. [SPPPOOOIILLEERR] For example, someone he liked ended up being a murderer criminal so he was forced to arrest her. FFFFFFFF.

(He is also an addict, by the way.)

Edit: I don't even know how he pulled it off, but one of the main things about him in the game was he was an addict, which numbs the bad effects of his "shades" which are kind of like AR glasses. He'd rarely punch, but he'd surely start an argument.

10/10/2012 . Edited 10/10/2012 #9

Ah. No wonder he's emotionally exhausted. Addicts are usually addicts because there's something they want to forget or not deal with, although sometimes they just get hooked. I doubt he's the kind to just get hooked though.

AR glasses? Oh, so he got addicted so the shades wouldn't suck so much?

10/10/2012 #10

I doubt it's just that. But choo guessed it! He is probably trying to forget.

"Effects of ARI glasses: Bloody nose, bleeding eyes (AUCK) shaky hands, paranoia, etc. The third one is also caused by the drug.

10/10/2012 #11

And ARI stands for...?

Btw, a spammer posted after you in the review game, so I hope you don't mind, I just posted to let the next poster know to review you and not her. I've seen people skipped in games like this because of spammers and cheaters, so I'm hoping you won't be. I just don't have the time to be reviewing people anymore. Or the concentration. I can hardly sit through a summary anymore. :(

10/10/2012 #12

Another way to approach it is to figure out why the character acts the way he does.

  • I have a guy who'd be sweet, yet stand up for someone if they needed to.

Will he stand up for everyone, or just a select group of friends? If it's everyone, then there has to be a reason he has to protect people, so maybe he wasn't able to protect someone in the past. If it's just his friends, maybe you show him turning his back when someone he doesn't know gets picked on.

  • Gives everyone a chance, yet can just ignore you at points.

Why does he ignore you? Is he the type of person that gives you one chance, then writes you off for messing up too much?

And so on.

My main advice is to not be afraid of being tough on your characters. If you want people to relate to the character, than you have to make him "real", which means that he's got to have both good and bad characteristics. A fully fleshed out person will have self-doubt, fears, and moments of cruelty, just as he'll have moments of heroism, bravery, and confidence.

On the other hand, you can start off with a relatively nice, sorta one-dimensional character, and then put him through hell so that the reader sees how he becomes a "real", three-dimensional person. He gives everyone a chance? Show how that trust is misplaced and how he starts to become more and more guarded. He trusts his guts over his head? Show how that leads to the death of a loved one. It's way more interesting to read than a nice guy that goes around being nice to everyone, unless it's a comedy about how nice guys never win. Or win in the end. In which case, everyone else has to be a complete j***.

10/10/2012 . Edited 10/10/2012 #13

I know. I'm way too busy.. I want to REVIEW ALL THE STORIES. But I'm a bit bored of that now, and I need to write while I can. Haven't written forever..

Thanks for standing up for me. :))

ARI (Augmented Reality Interface) A prototype given to select FBI agents. It has little widgets such as a "Virtual Ball", Environment Changer, and accesses the FBI database. You wear the glasses and a glove and things such as an electronic file appears infront of you and you can "interact" with the evidence. Just wearing the glasses and gloves, then touching evidence can give you a profile of it if it has been identified.

10/10/2012 #14
he wasn't able to protect someone in the past

Yes, he was forced to arrest the love of his life.

put him through hell.

Sir, He's been through fiery pits of hell and more.

He trusts his guts over his head?

No. He trusts his intelligence OVER his guts

Show how that leads to the death of a loved one.

How about the loss of a loved one?

way more interesting to read than a nice guy that goes around being nice to everyone

Trying to make him be a bit of the bad guy a few times, instead of the cliche Gary Stu.

Edit: Oops, double post. DX

10/10/2012 . Edited 10/10/2012 #15

Sure, no problem Imagination. And please don't take my post in the other thread wrong. The point is 'no one cares, don't get upset'.

Oh...Got it. So basically it overloads the human brain and possibly even has some compatibility issues (paranoia=possible brain damage).

Good points, Tiki, although that might be a little advanced. Idk how much work Imagination wants to put into it. It sounded like what little I said was enough to take the wind out of her sails.

Edit: where's that other stuff coming from? it's a little ambiguous because we sometimes only see half a conversation.

10/10/2012 . Edited 10/10/2012 #16

Actually, I might make it just seem like it's an effect of the drug. ;D

10/10/2012 #17

How many 'sirs' would have 'princess' in their pen name? Although points to you for non-discrimination! XD

The point I was trying to make is that making him a 'bad' guy a couple times doesn't necessarily free him from being a Gary Stu. I deliberately switched wits and guts because there's some sort of backstory there, a choice that he made so that he decided to use his brain instead of his heart. IMO, the thing that stops a character from being a Gary Stu is that he has a range of emotions and reactions. He can be brave, but he needs to temper that bravery with fear and maybe a moment or two of cowardice. He can be nice, but maybe he's nice to the extent that it hurts himself or someone he cares about.

My hubby is a very nice guy - to the point where he has trouble telling people no and not complaining when no one shows up to help us move, even though we've helped every single one of our friends move, often multiple times. If this were a story, my irritation at his continual niceness might keep him from being a Gary Stu. Those are the little details that keep a person real and rounded. Think of the things that annoy you about the character. Then think about the reasons why you'll still like him in the end. That's what makes a character into a person.

10/10/2012 #18

He has alot of reactions.

He's trying to overcome addiction. He seems like he can control himself, yet ends up giving in.

Edit: Not sir as in guy, but as in, "You wouldn't even know" :P

10/10/2012 . Edited 10/10/2012 #19

"trying to overcome addiction" is a pretty broad term. Is he still using or has he stopped? If he's completely stopped than he is classified as a recovering addict. If he still uses, he's an addict even if he's trying to stop. Is he having withdrawals? What was he addicted to? and for how long has he been a user?

Addicts usually are prone to very impulsive behavior. They can also seem to have two different personalities. Type 1 - The j***, when he's high (coke?) he's impulsive, argumentative, stressed, shaky, volatile, seemingly always in motion, etc. Type 2- the "normal" guy - when he's straight. So you may not even be writing him all wrong if he keeps personality jumping. It just matters in what context the "jumping" is going on (on or off the drugs).

Addicts also lie...a lot...about anything and make promises they always intend to keep but never do.

You may want to research addictive behaviors. It may help you "know" you character better and then they can write themselves almost.

10/13/2012 #20

How many 'sirs' would have 'princess' in their pen name? Although points to you for non-discrimination! XD

GimmehotPRINCESS, TapThatPrincess, Princess_and_my_peepee, etc. If there's any guys here, I'm sure you can confirm you all know at least one guy that'd use a username like that.

IMO, the thing that stops a character from being a Gary Stu is that he has a range of emotions and reactions.

To me, it's realism. Sure, Sues tend to have the emotional range of a peanut, but you can still make a non-Sue that has the emotional range of a peanut. On Bones, Doctor Temperance Brennan is very stunted, emotionally and has little in the way of heart, compassion or tenderness (at least, that she'll admit to) and clings to logic like it's the Rosetta Stone of life, but she isn't a Sue because although she's highly skilled at a lot of things, she falls tragically short in her personal life and anything requiring human emotions or an understanding of them. And Sues, as we all know, fall short nowhere. Personally, I think it's realism. The second you make Sue lifelike, they seem to stop being a Sue.

He can be brave, but he needs to temper that bravery with fear and maybe a moment or two of cowardice.


I'm not sure you know what bravery is then. Bravery is being terrified and doing it anyway. What you're describing sounds more along like the lines of arrogance and a delusion of immortality or sheer stupidity.

Addicts also lie...a lot...about anything and make promises they always intend to keep but never do.

It does kind of depend on the type of addiction though. Chemical addictions are like that, but there are other forms of addiction which aren't as...um...compelling, I guess. I should know, I'm addicted to many of them. I try really hard to face up to the issue and not lie about it, embarrassing and disappointing as it is.

I know this was sort of unnecessary for the OP to know, but I wanted to say it anyway.

10/16/2012 #21

@Darkwinter999, I was assuming a chemical dependence (alcohol or drugs). I know it wasn't specified but it just seemed that way from the way it was worded. Addicts of harmful behaviors do tend to lie, mostly to cover up their addictions. Unfortunately I know many people that suffer from harmful addictive behaviors.

10/16/2012 #22

It is chemical dependence. I just wanted to say that. I can't think of a single addictive drug that doesn't create a chemical dependence.

My addictive behaviors tend to be harmful from the sheer excess I do them in, so far as I know. I mean, the overeating has other harmful effects, but most of my addictions are only a problem in excess. Unfortunately, I don't have much else going on right now, which is why I can't kick them yet.

10/16/2012 #23

I meant the character that was in discussion. You're right, there is no addictive drug that doesn't create a chemical dependence there are also addictions not based on drug that create somewhat of a chemical dependence (anorexia/bulimia). My point was about addictions can create liars. People tend to lie to cover up their addictions, a lot of the time because of shame. They know what they are doing is wrong and they can't seem to stop (or don't want to) but they don't want anyone to find out. It's why cutters wear long sleeves and long pants, why bulimics binge and purge in private, why anorexics wear big, bulky clothes.

From my experience drug addicts and alcoholic though, lie about pretty much anything and you never know what is real maybe because they don't even know themselves. They only know their lives revolve around getting that "fix" and they will lie, cheat and steal to get...as I said, in my experience.

10/17/2012 #24

You're right, there is no addictive drug that doesn't create a chemical dependence there are also addictions not based on drug that create somewhat of a chemical dependence (anorexia/bulimia).

Anorexia and bulimia do that? I didn't know that. Well, I'm sure sex addictions also create a chemical dependence, as well as anything that gives you an adrenaline rush.

Well, I've thought about it a while and I think the reason I have a problem with lying is because I still have a problem with lying. It's a preexisting issue that's been getting better, even during the addictions. I think the idea that reality is perception and not actuality is hereditary or something because I can't really think of any better reason why I would've always thought that, and I did inherit a lot of crap from my dad, including the ability to and comfort with manipulating people, using lies to create false realities I can actually keep track of and the ability to actually live in a fantasy world and still function decently in the real world. And it's taken me a really long time to figure out the problems, understand them, and then fix them so I can be a much better person who adds to the world instead of taking away.

Edit: Man that was hard to admit here! Oh well, it's part of my therapy. People like that get away with things because they won't admit the truth and especially not publicly, so people don't call them on their s*** as often. So admitting that stuff keeps the temptation down to do things to be gotten away with.

10/17/2012 . Edited 10/17/2012 #25

In a sense it does. The act of starvng oneself releases chemicals in the brain (endorphins), it also changes your brain chemistry. It can create a "high" not unlike one from drugs and there are withdrawal symptoms as well. Unfortunately, it is something I know a lot about, personally and intimately.

If you are indeed telling the truth (don't take offense but you did just admit to having a problem with lying), it sounds like you have something different than a problem with addictions. Self-medicating is a symptom of an underlying mental disorder. Though most closely linked with Bi-polar, it also has roots in schizophrenia and different personality disorders. Heredity plays a certain factor but there are environmental factors as well (nature vs nurture).

Writing is a great way to delve into that fantasy world and to feed that compulsion in you but it does become a problem when the lines between those worlds start to blur.

10/17/2012 #26

Oh, that sucks. I had some trouble with it myself, but mostly just when I was trying to stop my overeating. I've found that the hunger is actually real and just eating less isn't going to solve my problem. I mean, I get hypoglycemic when I try to eat a normal meal! This is going to take me a while to figure out...

Lol. And true. There are some people who'd admit to something like that whether it's true or not just to trick people, stimulate a reaction or get attention. It is a valid concern. A good way to tell the difference between the liars and the real deal is the real deal doesn't always need you to believe them. ;D

Huh? No. Reality sucks. It's boring until something really bad happens, then it's terrifying, and it's frustratingly limiting the entire time. My problem isn't with mental conditions or hormone imbalances. My problem is with being human and so very mortal. Big difference.

Yeah, I always made sure to keep track of things. The second I had trouble telling the difference, I backed off and started dealing with the real world almost exclusively. I have noticed though, a tell-tale sign you're not in reality is you can change anything you want whenever you want. At least, that's how it works in my fantasy worlds. Everything's easier.

10/17/2012 #27
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