Archive for December 7th, 2012

Dec 07 2012

Writing Experiment: Merge Two Extremely Counterintuitive Characters

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

Which two of your characters would be hardest to merge into a single character? How would you go about doing it?

Some possibilities which come to mind:

  • Can you use one character’s motivations (why he/she wants to do something) to add something to the other character’s goals (what he/she wants to do)? Sometimes a really counterintuitive motivation can open up fresh plotting possibilities. For example, if Character 1 is a cop trying out for SWAT because he’s suicidally brave and Character 2 became a forensic accountant because it was a safe career path might be merged into a cop trying out for SWAT because… he wants to stay safe. What convinced the cop that SWAT was his safest option? For example, maybe an unknown person or people on his unit are trying to get him killed–it’s probably more interesting than someone deciding to join SWAT for a more standard reason.
  • Do one character’s personality traits interact with the other character’s personality traits and/or goals in an interesting way? For example, applying Batman’s isolation and/or dearth of empathy to Superman might make Superman feel like more of an actual alien rather than essentially a human with superpowers.
  • Which elements of the characters’ background would you change for the merged character? What would you keep?

If you need help coming up with characters to merge, here are some possibilities…

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