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Thread: Different points of views

  1. #1
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    Default Different points of views

    By which I mean how do you show character to have their own set of beliefs especially when it creates conflict such as with the BW protagonist and N (and Team Plasma)? How would you do it while not falling victim to certain fallacies in arguments and biases yourself (like portraying the hero as a mouthpiece for whatever you stand for like with Cory Falls or Harry Potter turns to the lord) and showing the opposing side in the argument as not (just) villains but people who see themselves as the good guys (but maybe misguided)?

    I ask this because I've see a lot of stories that shown this sort of thing but the writing was very simpleminded, resulting strawmen, generalizations of certain sides and such and it comes off as unfair. That and I encounter people who have vastly different beliefs than me that remind me thing that my way of thinking isn't the end-all be-all. As one who doesn't want to fall into these traps, I ask for your thoughts on these.
    Last edited by matt0044; 15th February 2013 at 5:08 PM.

  2. #2
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    As with so much else, this is about properly imagining your characters as people whose views and opinions emerge organically from their experiences and general philosophies on life, instead of as plot devices that say and do whatever they need to say and do in order to make the story you've planned happen. If you have a whole and complete idea of who they are, what they care about and how they perceive the world, you can imagine how that opinion fits into their worldview, why they hold it and how they justify it to themselves, provided the opinion makes any sense at all for them to have.

    It's also a good exercise in general to train yourself in everyday life to really listen to people you disagree with, consider the points they make fairly and try to understand where they're coming from. Often you can dissect a disagreement down to a simple fundamental difference in priorities, for instance, which should make it fairly straightforward to simulate someone who holds the opposite opinion, since you can just derive it from the fact they care more about X than Y. Sometimes it comes down to a difference in perceived truths: if two people have been led to believe different statements about the world are true, they can end up with completely different opinions even if they're both thinking absolutely logically. And even if they believe something that is in fact simply and plainly fallacious, it fits somewhere into their cognitive framework, as part of an ideology or vision or wish or justification for something else. You can make great use of all of these kinds of opinions in characterization, and if you've observed closely exactly what lies behind people's disagreements with you, you have easy inspiration for writing characters whose worldviews are strongly opposed to yours.

    It should only be inspiration, though - your characters should believe things for reasons that make sense for them, not just for any random reason you've heard people use. That applies to characters who agree with you, too - they may believe some of the same things you do, but that doesn't mean they believe it for the same reasons and would use the same arguments to defend their position.

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfree View Post
    As with so much else, this is about properly imagining your characters as people whose views and opinions emerge organically from their experiences and general philosophies on life, instead of as plot devices that say and do whatever they need to say and do in order to make the story you've planned happen. If you have a whole and complete idea of who they are, what they care about and how they perceive the world, you can imagine how that opinion fits into their worldview, why they hold it and how they justify it to themselves, provided the opinion makes any sense at all for them to have.

    It's also a good exercise in general to train yourself in everyday life to really listen to people you disagree with, consider the points they make fairly and try to understand where they're coming from. Often you can dissect a disagreement down to a simple fundamental difference in priorities, for instance, which should make it fairly straightforward to simulate someone who holds the opposite opinion, since you can just derive it from the fact they care more about X than Y. Sometimes it comes down to a difference in perceived truths: if two people have been led to believe different statements about the world are true, they can end up with completely different opinions even if they're both thinking absolutely logically. And even if they believe something that is in fact simply and plainly fallacious, it fits somewhere into their cognitive framework, as part of an ideology or vision or wish or justification for something else. You can make great use of all of these kinds of opinions in characterization, and if you've observed closely exactly what lies behind people's disagreements with you, you have easy inspiration for writing characters whose worldviews are strongly opposed to yours.

    It should only be inspiration, though - your characters should believe things for reasons that make sense for them, not just for any random reason you've heard people use. That applies to characters who agree with you, too - they may believe some of the same things you do, but that doesn't mean they believe it for the same reasons and would use the same arguments to defend their position.
    I wholeheartedly agree to your point. This is the thing that I always do to my stories and in life. If you know and understand many points of view of many people, it will help you on creativity. You should remove the inner boundaries that you have on the kinds of people that you meet or create.

    From my experience with others, I've talked to the likes of:
    -Jerkass (Bullies)
    -Shrinking Violets (shy people)
    -The Ace (popular people. Think like Zack Efron in High School Musical as a common example)
    -Snooty People (oftentimes from the rich. Its rare that its not from the rich. Known to judge others a lot)
    -Cynical People
    -Authoritarian People
    -Lazy Bums
    -Casual People
    -Genius People (at times called Geeks)
    -Perfectionists
    -Nice Guys and Girls
    -Paparazzi People
    -Musical People (dubbed as Glee people at times)
    -Workaholics
    -Religiously Devoted People
    -Super natural believers (people easily believing in Ghost stories)
    -Sore Losers (no offense but I've had talked to one once back then. Sometimes dubbed as Dumb people)
    -Lower class people (people with poor livelihood)
    -Hard Working People
    -Tech lover People
    -Bookworms
    -Country Side People
    -Overprotective people

    There are many more but these ones are the kind of people I've met and known through my life. Those traits are ones I've been using in my work (stories) a lot which greatly helps. Its just you need to meet many kinds of people and know many personalities if you want a diverse amount of characters in your story. If you want to be more advanced, you could combine different personalities.
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  4. #4
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    ... Yeah, I have the time to answer.

    Dragonfree summed this up perfectly, but I might as well attempt to make an impression. You need to keep your characters realistic. Make them do as someone with their personality would do. Normally, I don't plan things out, and what the characters do are fresh from my head when I write them down. Many of the actions and dialogue sequences made like this are for a rather witty sarcastic ******* character, but it works for each one. You simply need to have each character come across as a living being, and everything has to come out naturally if you want them to be more than just plot devices.
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  5. #5
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    An exercise that might help is writing the scene from both characters' points of view, even if you only end up using one of them. If you treat every character as the protagonist of their own story, it helps build them as real people when you have another character argue with them. Sure, they may be wrong about whatever they believe, but if there's a reason why they believe it beyond being a obstacle for the protagonist to knock down it builds personality/backstory instead of just looking like a plot point to make the main character look good.

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