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Thread: Changes in character behaviour.

  1. #1
    Learning to tie my shoelaces sargeorge's Avatar
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    Changes in character behaviour.

    I have noticed that my MC acts differently when his brother is around than when he isn't. I didn't notice I was doing this until now. I actually quite like it myself because I act differently when I'm with my family as well ( looks like I subconsciously gave that trait to my MC).

    Does anyone else do this with their characters?

    I am just worried that it could come across as an inconsistency in my MC's personality.
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  2. #2
    And so... Tepelus's Avatar
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    I think it's perfectly fine. People in real life are like that. I'm like that. Around family and close friends I can be my ol' goofy self, around people I don't know or don't know well I'm much more reserved.

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  3. #3
    The Crazy Man in the Sun. Feel me. WillSauger's Avatar
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    It depends how strongly the character is known and the actions towards his brother.

    If the character is happy and cheerful, and his brother walks in the room, and he dulls down and glares at him--we get it, he doesn't like his brother. But if it's small changes, you might want to reflect that back to the reader. Tells us, in someway, or show it strongly enough (do both), the changes.

    I have a character who "wears" masks. He has multiple facades for different situations and people. One character, he's overly sexual towards, while he's quite reserved. So I showed him being sexual, and reflected back that the character he's around knows that he's this way. That's covering all angles at once.

    Still, as long as you show the point enough, the reader will make it out clearly.
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  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW flapperphilosopher's Avatar
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    I think this is important. No one acts the same around everybody. But at the same time, no one acts 100% different, either, even if feels like it sometimes. The core of the character is the same, just different parts are expressed and expressed in different ways. If you really truly know your character all the way down, he won't act in ways that are inconsistent, even if they're different.
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  5. #5
    Back to purring Nekko's Avatar
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    As Tepelus, Will, and Flapper have said, real life people do act differently with different people. The important thing is to remain consistent. So if your MC is timid around his brother, but outgoing and carefree with others, just make sure that he always acts this way in those situations - unless you give us a reason why he'd change.

    For example: if his brother shows up and harasses his new girlfriend and he 'decides to swallow his fear' and speak up because he really likes this girl - let us hear his thoughts or have him say so defiantly to his brother.
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  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW rwm4768's Avatar
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    Real people act differently based on who they're around. When I'm with my parents, I spend my time discussing nerdy subjects. When my brother is around, the topic becomes sports.

  7. #7
    Learning to tie my shoelaces sargeorge's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice.

    My MC acts almost child like around his big brother. I quess this is to be expected seeing he is the closed thing to a dad his ever had. His brother also lectures him quite a lot which my MC is getting sick of. He has been moaning about it in his head and will soon let it all out.
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  8. #8
    Huh. kkbe's Avatar
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    You write that you're worried your mc's reactions are inconsistent. Only if you write him that way. Know your character and you'll know how he responds, sargeorge. I think the dilemma might be that your character is as yet unclear in your own head. You need to know your character. Who he is will determine what he does, regardless of the situation.

    I don't think you've provided enough for posters to give you an definitive answer. All we can do is speculate because we don't know your character. Anecdotal responses are reflective of that, I think. Perhaps you wonder whether you've sufficiently defined your character, so you're seeking validation. If that's the case, I have a suggestion: post a couple of excerpts on SYW that show who your character is, and how he responds in specific situations. Then ask your question. That way, critters will have a frame of reference when they respond.
    Last edited by kkbe; 11-25-2012 at 11:55 PM.
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  9. #9
    Zombie lovin' elindsen's Avatar
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    I think it's an important character trait. Many people act differently around certain people. How does he act different? More resrved? Relaxed? Fearful? Adding in some reason could really clear it up.
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  10. #10
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    Even in real life when we act differently around different people, we have consistency to our personalities. I think the inconsistency comes in when we treat someone differently in front of another person. For example, I'm nice to my friend when we are alone, but not so nice to my friend when x comes around. Just be consistent with your character's attributes but remember they might act differently around their mother than their best friend.
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  11. #11
    Super Procrastinator Kallithrix's Avatar
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    My MC behaves differently with different people and also in different situations. At work he has to be very serious, focused and in command, but at home he is playful and good humoured, mostly because he's also half cut most nights after a few jars of wine

    I think showing someone behaving the same way in all situations would be unrealistic. We all wear different masks
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  12. #12
    New kid, be gentle! Motley's Avatar
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    People are inconsistent. But I think they have to be inconsistent for a reason. If a character always acts the same way toward everyone, they will seem cardboard. If they change without any explanation or demonstration of why, readers might thing you messed up.
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  13. #13
    figuring it all out Nicrsing7's Avatar
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    I agree with others who have said it sounds perfectly normal. We all act a little differently depending on who's around us, and the changes are often so subtle that we don't even notice at first. Sounds like a realistic character to me!

  14. #14
    @LeaveItToIan IDGS's Avatar
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    I'd think there'd be a bigger problem if your character acted the same way regardless of company, circumstance, etc.

    I don't think you have much to worry about.


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  15. #15
    Benefactor Member WeaselFire's Avatar
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    As long as the actions/reactions are real and not forced, it's all good. I don't talk about sex around my mother and I don't discuss my finances with strangers, similar to most people I know. Without these nuances, the characters are cardboard.

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