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Depth of Character....is it needed? Options · View
xxPaigexx
Posted: Thursday, June 06, 2013 1:14:27 PM

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Im considering writing another story but I wonder is the depth of character important for a short/medium story?
sprite
Posted: Thursday, June 06, 2013 1:18:29 PM

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depends on the reader - some are just looking for a quick wank. personally, i am not into faceless impersonal sex scenes - i want a feel for the characters, i want them to feel real, i like a little insight into what motivates them, what is going on in their heads - do i need to know everything about them? no, but i want to know enough about them to care. i want to know a little about what makes them tick.

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CeliaisAliena
Posted: Thursday, June 06, 2013 3:42:59 PM

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A few years ago, when I wrote a story every couple of months, instead of every couple of years , I kept making 'realism' my watchword. But in hindsight, I'm not sure what I thought I meant. I don't think characters have to be "well-rounded" in the classroom sense. Erotic "realism" is more about overhearing the characters' wishes, desires, inhibitions in a sexual situation.

Like, when I reread Anais Nin now, I find her stories are like sketches, smudged in, impressionistic. Everything feels like something happening in a half-dream, and I recognize now how much I really like that. The interior lives of her players are all about moods. I don't think a writer has to fuss over background, as long as we get a feel for how the characters relate to their own, or others', desires as the erotic situation unfolds. Even if it's just shadows moving in the eyes of mechanical copulating dolls, I think that works. Just a glance of shame or exhilaration, or both, can be enough psychology to make the story memorable.

Sprite can write the multi-chapter, more character-driven stories I used to attempt, but also is great with pulpy scenarios that I can never pull off. I envy this. Whenever I attempt a story now, I'm always trying to strip strip strip it down. If you can pull off simplicity in smut, I think that's a virtue.

Of course, this goes a ways to explain why I keep to poems!

BlondeBookworm
Posted: Thursday, June 06, 2013 5:49:03 PM

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Stories with in-depth characters are my favorite ones to read, I like the feeling that you know the character and have a bond with them. My stories aren't the best examples but there are authors on here who I think do an amazing job of creating the feel that you know the character and can relate and have the same thoughts and feelings.
Emerys
Posted: Thursday, June 06, 2013 5:51:58 PM

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sprite wrote:
depends on the reader - some are just looking for a quick wank. personally, i am not into faceless impersonal sex scenes - i want a feel for the characters, i want them to feel real, i like a little insight into what motivates them, what is going on in their heads - do i need to know everything about them? no, but i want to know enough about them to care. i want to know a little about what makes them tick.



This exactly. I don't mind "faceless, impersonal sex scenes" much when I just need something to quickly get myself off, but for the most part I want exactly what Sprite described above. Those are the types of stories I'm always on the lookout for, anyway.

ThatStoryGuy
Posted: Saturday, June 08, 2013 8:01:44 AM

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I wrote a story and used the ask a reader section to find out how to make it better. The biggest problem was I misinterpreted the feedback given at first changing my story to include what can only be described as a completely irrelevant reference to something that happened earlier in the characters life. All in all it just made the story more confusing. So I believe, even being the brand new writer I am, that the best thing to do is simply to use powerful adjectives in short stories so that the thoughts and emotions of the character add depth to it.

Oh... and of course what the fancy people above with their snazzy ranks said ;)
Noreasonneeded
Posted: Saturday, June 08, 2013 6:31:25 PM

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For me, I would go with a mix of Sprite, Celias and TSG. While a good flash story has it's obvious attractions and useful purpose Embarassed I find, first, that most flash stories are waaaayyy too thin, and cover Tab A and Slot B only. Too often they give nothing of the experience of the character(s). I want to be able to relate to the character, experience their emotions, be that fear, shame, excitement, isolation or pain, and a little bit of development brings that alive. CA talks about mood and atmosphere as though anyone can do it, but oh, no; read her "Picture" and tell me you can't smell that awful hotel room. But she weaves the characterization into that mood; we KNOW that woman.

Of course, that's what I like to read, and my stories tend to be (IMO) overdrawn and too long. I should spend more time trimming, but after edits and re-reads I am usually on to the next tale, and hope it's good enough. Too much character development makes me yearn for the fun, too little makes me yearn for the story. Reading really good authors makes me yearn to be better. There's no right or wrong, it's what you're trying to do, and whether you did it right or not. Did the reader get your intent? Then it worked.

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RavenStar
Posted: Saturday, June 08, 2013 8:35:07 PM

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Here's a good question. It depends on the story that's being told, doesn't it? Some stories don't need character development because we don't care who they are, just what they do. I've read plenty of *short* stories that had absolutely no depth of character and yet... they were amazing. And that's the other caveat. For a short story it's almost not necessary at all, since character development would make the story not so short. A longer story may very well require quite a bit of character development, unless the poor sod's just gonna go around experiencing things in an emotionally shallow manner. If the writing is really really good this could work, maybe. Cheers!
overmykneenow
Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 11:21:30 AM

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In my most recent story, I don't even give my main character a name. All you know of her is that she's a woman, she wears heels and she visits an art gallery - anything else about her does nothing to tell the story (what story there is). A reader will already have some kind of image in their head of what she looks like - why should I change that? She could be black, she could be blonde, it won't make a difference to what happens or enrich the story.

If I'm writing first person I'll drip feed information about the other characters to the reader, in the same way you'd notice things about someone as you get to know them. I did this with the girl in Unreserved Seating. Interestingly, I don't describe the narrator at all though and I did toy with idea of adding a twist at the end by revealing the narrator is a woman - but I don't think it needed it.

Of course remember though that you're writing for your pleasure so do what makes you happy.

Warning: The opinions above are those of an anonymous individual on the internet. They are opinions, unless they're facts. They may be ill-informed, out of touch with reality or just plain stupid. They may contain traces of irony. If reading these opinions causes you to be become outraged or you start displaying the symptoms of outrage, stop reading them immediately. If symptoms persist, consult a psychiatrist.

Why not read some stories instead

NEW! Want a quick read for your coffee break? Why not try this... Flash Erotica: Scrubber
seeker4
Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 11:30:08 AM

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sprite wrote:
depends on the reader - some are just looking for a quick wank. personally, i am not into faceless impersonal sex scenes - i want a feel for the characters, i want them to feel real, i like a little insight into what motivates them, what is going on in their heads - do i need to know everything about them? no, but i want to know enough about them to care. i want to know a little about what makes them tick.


I started to write an answer but as I read the thread to see what others say, I decided that sprite's answer stands for me as well. Whether I'm reading or writing, I find an erotic story more erotic if it gets at least a bit into the heads and lives of those involved.


She plowed his driveway, but what else can his sexy sister-in-law help with?

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Dancing_Doll
Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 11:57:21 AM

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Give your characters a distinct personality but you don't necessarily have to get lost in explaining excessive backstory.

If you're going the traditional storytelling route (plot strands, scene changes, twists etc) then you might spend a little more time developing your characters, their motivations, and who they are.

If you're writing something that's more conceptual and stylistic, then you can leave the details of who they are (superficially) more obscure but then focus on fleshing them out in less obvious ways - through their energy and presence, the way they move and talk, the way they fuck etc.

I usually tend to do the standard variety of character development but in the last story I posted (which was still long, at over 9,000 words) I left them purposely vague because the focus was on the sexual encounter between them. Despite not knowing much about either of them and having almost no backstory, they still have very distinct energies.

I think the key is to try to create 'flesh and blood characters.' We don't need to know everything about them, but we just need to believe that they exist and are not cardboard cut-out humans with wet pussies, big dicks, and nothing going on upstairs.

Dirty_D
Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2013 8:31:17 AM

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overmykneenow wrote:
In my most recent story, I don't even give my main character a name. All you know of her is that she's a woman, she wears heels and she visits an art gallery - anything else about her does nothing to tell the story (what story there is). A reader will already have some kind of image in their head of what she looks like - why should I change that? She could be black, she could be blonde, it won't make a difference to what happens or enrich the story.

If I'm writing first person I'll drip feed information about the other characters to the reader, in the same way you'd notice things about someone as you get to know them. I did this with the girl in Unreserved Seating. Interestingly, I don't describe the narrator at all though and I did toy with idea of adding a twist at the end by revealing the narrator is a woman - but I don't think it needed it.

Of course remember though that you're writing for your pleasure so do what makes you happy.


But you don't have to say "she was brunette with long curly hair" to have character development. In fact, I would say that physical descriptions are the antithesis to character development.
overmykneenow
Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2013 11:29:34 AM

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naughtynurse wrote:


But you don't have to say "she was brunette with long curly hair" to have character development. In fact, I would say that physical descriptions are the antithesis to character development.


I wouldn't say it's the antithesis but like any character information, as facts on their own they're pretty meaningless. The same applies to any information that would appear on her resume, school report card or medical records.

Physical appearance plays a huge part on what we go on for first impressions - be they right or wrong (he's a bum, she's a slut and so on) and they can be really useful pointers to someone's true personality.

Does she usually wear her hair down? How does she react to the attention her appearance generates? Is she wearing that dress or is that dress wearing her?

Warning: The opinions above are those of an anonymous individual on the internet. They are opinions, unless they're facts. They may be ill-informed, out of touch with reality or just plain stupid. They may contain traces of irony. If reading these opinions causes you to be become outraged or you start displaying the symptoms of outrage, stop reading them immediately. If symptoms persist, consult a psychiatrist.

Why not read some stories instead

NEW! Want a quick read for your coffee break? Why not try this... Flash Erotica: Scrubber
Dirty_D
Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2013 11:38:45 AM

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True character development refers to learning a character inside and out, wearing her hair long is fine, but how does she react to things? Why does she react to things? Does she enjoy sucking cock? Does it turn her on? or is it something she has an aversion to? Does she do it from a sense of obligation or true joy? That is what makes for good character.

Im going to add a link: Character devlopment This is a short story, and there is no physical description. Yet, I think that it still shares the emotions and feelings of the characters.

*Disclaimer, I'm not a great author, but I like to think I got this one story right.*
Metilda
Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2013 3:53:49 PM

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xxPaigexx wrote:
Im considering writing another story but I wonder is the depth of character important for a short/medium story?


I prefer my characters just make sense - to their selves.

One story I read: the main character was living in a witness protection program and fell in love with his neighbor through simple/small conversations they had. Because of the nature of his life - we knew very little about him. We didn't know his real name, his favorite food, or little details - all we knew was his life *right now*

And *right now* meant being secretive, laying low - and staying out of sight - and lying to everyone he met about who he was.

But - that - gave him an incredible amount of depth . . . we only learned that he wasn't *a bad guy* - and in fact he was outgoing, smart and courteous all his life until someone else in his family stepped in it. Then - when he falls for his neighbor - he can't lie to her anymore and slowly, sort of, half way, tells her the truth about himself - a little. He was a deep character - without a lot of detail given.

I thought it was a bit of genius the way it was written. . . .until she took the shy, quiet, unassuming neighbor and turned her into a cock hungry slut for him. The neighbor was not well developed - other than being shy and reserved - so the contrast jump to her 'new sexual self' actually made no sense to me - seemed entirely illogical - and in fact ruined the story for me. It was great - until that point.

You have to give enough depth so their actions make sense. and suit the character that has been presented. . . if a character does something that you don't see coming - it must be supported.

Guest
Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013 6:29:50 AM

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Autumn17 wrote:
Stories with in-depth characters are my favorite ones to read, I like the feeling that you know the character and have a bond with them. My stories aren't the best examples but there are authors on here who I think do an amazing job of creating the feel that you know the character and can relate and have the same thoughts and feelings.


I quite agree with this.
RumpleForeskin
Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013 10:59:11 AM

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There's no 'right' or 'wrong' answer to the question of how much character development to include in a short story. It all depends on the story and the target audience.

The two stories in my sig line take different approaches. "From Becky:..." is a love story with the female protag getting a fair amount of CD. On the other hand, "How Humans..." has as its protag a male big mouth bass. His CD was a bit more minimalist. ;)

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