Trouble Deciding

by Rose

Question: My characters aren't fully developed, and I'm already having trouble with them. I want my story to be original, something not many are writing about now. So far I've come up with Elves, a human like creature that has an eye that when they choose it can kill you, and my own self designed creature a shadow angel. Now I'm having trouble deciding on what I want.

I've tried thinking of having combinations with more common creatures but I think it'd have too much going on. If it's not too much going on, I don't want to over shadow my plot with putting random bits of maybe the Shadow Angels coming- to-be along with maybe the main characters back story bits. Any tips on deciding what I should choose or how to balance backgrounds and plots? Any advice is absolutely wonderful.

Answer: You might try thinking about the story first and letting the characters emerge of of that. For instance, the story ofTwilight concerns the challenge of remaining sexually abstinent while a teenager. So Meyer created a vampire love interest for her heroine - a love interest who was both unrealistically attractive and incredibly dangerous. (Being bitten by a vampire is treated as analogous to having sex.) Hence, Edward is the perfect character to heighten the Bella's dilemma.

The Harry Potter books are all about love so strong that people willingly risk their lives for the sake of others. So the villain, Voldemeort, is a being who preserves his life by killing others.

In The Lord of the Rings, light and dark are used a metaphorically for good and evil, so all the evil creatures hate light, while the virtuous elves love it.

In Star Trek: The Next Generation, the universe is filled with aliens who are just like human beings except for a few superficial features. Why? Because the series was intended to promote the idea of overcoming the boundaries of race and culture and building a peaceful society where everyone is accepted. So everyone looks different at first, but turns out to be the same on the inside.

If you know what themes you want to explore, you can design creatures who can symbolize various sides of your thematic argument. That will ensure a strong connection between your story world and the story itself. Try asking yourself what function or role you want a particular character to play in the story first. What should they represent? Then give him/her unique features that heighten or express that role.

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