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Emo Character

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Old 03-02-2010, 12:42 PM
Smithy (Offline)
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Default Emo Character

I've recently realised that my main character is more than a little bit emo, not completely but in enough ways (self loathing, suicide revering, feels like no one understands him, martyr complex) that I'm worried he might become rather annoying.

That's sort of my aim (I want people to be half wanting to give him a hug for all the things he's gone through, half yelling at him to realise that for all his troubles he doesn't have it that bad anymore) but I don't want people to give up on him before he reaches the catharsis of his character development and sheds a great many of his most overtly negative qualities. How can make his emotionalism more bearable?

When people talk about a good book they say it's a page turner. But really that's about the minimum I expect from a book. 'Is it a good book?' No, the pages don't turn.- Michael McIntyre
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Old 03-02-2010, 01:17 PM
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If you post a scene where he's displaying these qualities it may be easier to help you out.
"It feels good doesn't it? To steal something back."
~ Rudy, The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

"You do not have soul. You are a soul. You have a body."
~ C.S. Lewis
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:37 PM
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This is a good example, seeing as its probably the longest example of continuous angst in the work:

He had always thought that life was simple, that all he had to do when confronted with any particular problem was pull out the most applicable of the many teachings Aunt Magdalene had drilled into him and that would tell him how to live his life. But now, with Miranda kidnapped and in great peril, with sorcererors and armies and plots to destroy the Empire, the old words where no longer proving such a reliable guide.

A man takes care of his family, Michael Callistus, if he doesn’t he isn’t any kind of a man at all. So you take care of your little brother and sister boy, because if anything happens to them it’ll be because you didn’t care enough to stop it. That was the first lesson, the most important lesson, the one to remember above all others. So he had to try and save Miranda, because that was what a man did. But could this man do it?

That boy and girl in there are special Michael Callistus, you understand that? They’re better than you, they’re worth more than you are because they carry something very precious inside them. And that’s why its important that you look after them, because one day they’ll do things that you could never even dream of. You wouldn’t be capable of doing some of the things that they’ll be able to do in a thousand years.

The second lesson, the lesson that contradicted the first, the lesson that left his head spinning. How was he supposed to rescue Miranda when he wasn’t half as great a man as Felix would have been, didn’t have half Miranda’s power? All he was good for was running off bullies in a little fishing hamlet, and carrying Miranda places upon his back. How was he supposed to defeat a powerful warlock and all his power? He wasn’t special like they where, he wasn’t even a soldier with years of experience like Gideon. He was just a watchman for a place too small to deserve a regular guard. What could he possibly do?

Michael, when you’ve seen what I have you realise that most of the time it isn’t about what a man can do. When someone ask themselves that before anything happens most likely the answer doesn’t matter. But when something starts, and a man stops asking himself what he can do and asks himself what he must do; that’s when the answer becomes meaningful.

Uncle Samuel had told him that, just after Felix had died, when he had confessed to the wrinkled old man that he wasn’t sure if he would be able to look after Miranda any more. Michael had always took that to mean that so long as Miranda needed him he would somehow be able to dredge up the needful to look after her. But he had ballsed that up today hadn’t he? And what about now, would he be able to save Miranda simply because she needed him too? Did it really work that way? Or would he just fail miserably like he had at every other great trial in his life so far?

He thought he knew what he had to do, but how was he supposed to do it when he knew all too well what a low and ignoble person he was?

“Michael,” Gideon’s soft voice intruded upon his thoughts, and Michael jerked his head up to see the green eyed Commenae lord staring at him intently from the other side of their dying fire. “I think you might have almost thought you where alone.”

Michael looked away in embarrassment; he had forgotten that Gideon might still be awake, and notice that he himself hadn’t fallen asleep yet, “Sorry Gideon, I was just, um…”

“I’m not going to ask what you where thinking about, because I think I can guess, you are only human after all. But let me just tell you one thing Michael: self doubt is the luxury of the indolent, who having nothing better to do find themselves spending their leisure worrying about the amount of leisurely idleness in their lives. But people like us, with a long hard road and a grim battle before us, we must armour ourselves in iron certitude if we are to prevail.”

“How?” Michael said. “Is it really that easy?”

Gideon gave a barely perceptible nod, “Did your sister trust you when you told her that you would protect her and keep her safe always?”

“Yes,” Michael nodded.

“Then why don’t you believe it?” Gideon asked.

“Because Miranda didn’t know everything about me,” Michael said. “I hid bits of myself from her, the less flattering bits that might make her doubt what I could really do for her.”
When people talk about a good book they say it's a page turner. But really that's about the minimum I expect from a book. 'Is it a good book?' No, the pages don't turn.- Michael McIntyre
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Old 03-03-2010, 02:06 AM
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Don't over explain and describe his actions, thoughts, motivations, etc.

First, try to establish that he is, for the most part, not a happy camper. To what extent is purely up to you. If he's suicide revering, to go out and say it full blown head on isn't the best method. Make sure important, grand, thoughts/feelings like that are relevant or brought up in the right context.

Then throughout the story, if his actions are more or less motivated by his 'emo-ness', don't let him, or someone else explain/describe it. Try to keep it neutral most of the time. Two ways we'll get the picture of what validates his actions/thoughts are:
Every action has an immediate connotation and a direct, unmistakable root. Doing cartwheels is a generally positive action, and you don't really need to explain the person is a happy-go-lucky type of person to validate it because they got a pay raise or for no reason at all. It's pretty much implied. You can explain/describe if you want, but you don't have to do it ALL the time.
Second, every action has a reaction. After your character does something, even if you explain it neutrally, the reaction/consequence from that action that occurs sooner or later will then explain his prior actions/thoughts. Now you don't have to explain everything descriptively, or like an observation made by himself or the writer. The only time observation that directly point out his character/personality should be voiced/thought are from other people. Examples would be his parents are worried about him, or he's the type of person who people shy away from during recess, or school faculty treat him with a little more fondness than regular students because they want to make him feel like he's not abnormal. These examples are probably out of context to your story, but they're just examples.

A plus for doing it this way is that when the reader is reading his story, it makes the reader feel like the character thinks his actions are already validated, or normal (to him, that is), and feel like we're moving along with the character, not the narrator or writer.

These tips just make it more bearable, I believe.

If you want the weight of his emo-ness to make us scream at him, or feel bad for him, then apply a few drops of strong emo-ness here and there. Also make crucial moments very crucial. The absence of conviction can obliterate crucial moments.

I fear what I'm about to say isn't too radical to comprehend:
A reader can more easily bear a story of nothing with excellent story telling, as opposed to a story chalk full of flowery writing, vivid descriptions, or tangible characters, that allude to the same nothing.
Trust me, readers greatly appreciate story telling.

I hope this has helped
I say the only thing worse than a cannibal is a vegetarian

Last edited by Brizzly Gear; 03-03-2010 at 02:45 AM.. Reason: Expansion
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Old 12-08-2016, 07:11 AM
EmyJ (Offline)
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I have one really good tip for. Hope you'll like it.Try to describe some problems from your character's childhood, hard times etc. This will help readers to find themselves in your character.
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