View Full Version : Reincarnated Characters

05-07-2009, 06:27 PM
Anyone know of any books where a character is reincarnated?

05-07-2009, 07:05 PM
And what do you think the challenges would be to write a book where the protagonist is reincarnated?

05-07-2009, 07:13 PM
My favorite is Nora Roberts' Midnight Bayou. One of the cable channels just made a movie out of it, though I didn't see it. It's not that uncommon a background in paranormal fiction.

The biggest challenge to me is making that fact revelant to the present-day story and not just some kind of deux ex machina solution.

05-07-2009, 07:14 PM

05-07-2009, 07:50 PM
And what do you think the challenges would be to write a book where the protagonist is reincarnated?

A lot of it, I think, comes down to the how and why of the reincarnation. Why does it happen and how is it important to the overall plot/character development. What are your rules for reincarnating this person? Are they zombie-like and gross? Are they in their same body? Do they get cool powers when they reincarnate? How hard is it to do this to a person? Does everyone eventually come back?

Lots of fun world building possibilities here. :)

In my debut (see avatar), I opened the book with my heroine waking up in a morgue, with no idea who'd brought her back to life or why. The other hitch I wanted to use was giving her a brand new body--someone else who'd recently died. That choice gave me a slew of things to play with right off the bat.

05-07-2009, 07:51 PM
And what do you think the challenges would be to write a book where the protagonist is reincarnated?

I am writing a series where everyone has previous lives. At one point, I sat down and figured out which characters in the current timeline corresponded to which historical figures, and how their actions from long ago affected what's going on in the present.

I didn't bother with minor characters, just the main ones, but it did make my brain hurt, trying to keep track of who did what and when. Also, timing their lives so that they were reborn in time for certain important time periods that I'd already planned out.

05-07-2009, 08:45 PM
I love creative ideas, you guys are awesome!

I was thinking of focusing on just one character who evolves with each life time.

05-07-2009, 09:45 PM
If reincarnation is real, then all characters in all novels are reincarnated. ;)

05-07-2009, 10:11 PM
I'm using reincarnation as a plot device in one of my works in progress. With only one character. It's sort of a take on the Persephone myth, only spending lifetimes places instead of seasons. It is likely less complicated than it sounds, but it's been interesting exploring how the character changes over time, and how each incarnation differs but some things remain constant.

05-07-2009, 10:43 PM
Kim Stanley Robinson's Years of Rice and Salt follows its characters through a number of incarnations. The novel hypothesizes what the world would be like if our history had been dominated by the east instead of the west.

05-07-2009, 11:23 PM
Do the reincarnated remember their previous lives and in particular their deaths?
If so, this is likely to have a profound effect on their character. It could make them very cautious ("don't want to go through that again") or reckless ("what does it matter? I know I'm coming back).

05-07-2009, 11:30 PM
Philip Jose Farmer's "Riverworld Series" - is specifically about people being reincarnated on an alien planet. Famous people AND 'fictional' people abound. Nice twist is that if you get killed again, you are re-incarnated somewhere else on the planet. Some of the characters refer to this process as the 'suicide express' - a way for travelling. (You are reincarnated fully grown.)

Movies I recall are "The ReIncarnation of Peter Proud" and of course "Dead Again" which had a nice twist on swapping genders. Don't know if they were novels first, but I suspect they were.

05-08-2009, 04:40 AM
Pilgrim (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilgrim_(Timothy_Findley_novel)), from my memory, deals a bit with reincarnation to a certain extent as well.

I plan on using this device in a work of mine, in order to make familiar characters meet again in a different time period under different circumstances - I figured it'd be neat to have the MCs meet and act with each other once, and then do it all over again with some startup conditions switched around. The only link between both "generations" is one character who has lived long enough to be with both, and muse on how the latter has somehow learned from the mistakes of the former.

The actual reincarnation isn't much of a challenge, but finding a good reason to fit it in is another ball game altogether. At first glance, it seems too easy to fall into a "reincarnation for reincarnation's sake" - or worse, associate it instantly with mysticism.

05-15-2009, 02:12 AM
Brent Weeks' Night Angel trilogy has two characters who are (or in the case of one, were) capable of reincarnating after death. They remember the details of their death, remember the pain, and are brought back into their original body, fully healed and revitalized. It seems like a great ability and all, and one the character uses to his advantage (almost rather recklessly) that is until he discovers the cost of his 'gift,' something that was supposed to have been mentioned to him, but the message never gets to him until much, much later.

05-15-2009, 04:17 AM
There's a book by Kevin J. Anderson called Resurrection, Inc. that deals with the dead being brought back to life as more or less slaves - most of them don't remember who they were before, but there are some who do.