Different points of view
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Thread: Different points of view

  1. #1

    Default Different points of view

    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) 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 and such and it comes off as unfair. As one who doesn't want to fall into these traps, I ask for your thoughts on these.

  2. #2
    Your mind is a world AetherX's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Different points of view

    I think it all comes down to really understanding both sides of the argument. If you as an author think that a certain idea is childish and without any good reason behind it, you are not going to be able to have your character believe in that idea without it seeming weak. Your ability to recognize fallacies will be beneficial, but in the end if you don't understand the opposing side of a belief you won't be able to write it.

    Just a suggestion: Rather than trying to make each argument perfect, make them both flawed. Purposely give both sides fallacies, and have them pointed out by the characters. That way, both sides' beliefs will seem shaky and uncertain. In the end, stubbornness is usually what makes a character stick to their beliefs anyway. Humans often make flawed arguments, and you shouldn't worry about your characters doing it too. If the arguments are both equally rickety, bias will be less obvious.

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    Hex Mistress NoirGrimoir's Avatar
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    Default Re: Different points of view

    I think the simple answer is to not write something simply because you want to make some kind of point about morals/philosophy/politics, or whatever. To be honest, I find that kind of writing to be boring and pointless. I've found that usually when people are trying to write something that has some kind of a message at its core, it's a message everyone already knows and agrees with (Friendship is great! Go green! Stealing is bad!) No one needs that stuff shoved down their throat again. No one wants to be lectured about stuff they have already heard enough about from their parents/guidance counselor/society at large when they are trying to enjoy themselves by reading a story or book. It's actually kind of arrogant of a writer to think a reader would even want to hear about his or her beliefs. Also, when you start off with a story that you are trying to make some kind of point with, often amateur writers usually try to create a character around a cause and muck it up, ending up with someone who is just a stereotype, rather than someone who could be an actual person. The philosophy should generally be secondary to the characters. If someone wanted to read about ethics, they'd just pick up a book on ethics, as apposed to a story/novel. People read a novel to be entertained, its literature, not a textbook. So long as you don't write this kind of story, then I can't imagine that you could even have the kind of confrontation where you delve enough into which beliefs of characters in a story are right and wrong. Naturally there will still be arguments and disagreements, but it's okay for the truth to never be found or remain unresolved. In a story with anvils, that's not the case. Either the writer takes a stance or risks leaving the reader unsatisfied.

    About specific characters, a writer should really be objective enough about their characters that they can't consider any one character to be themselves in the story, but have a little of themselves in every character, to help make them real. The writer should be able to come at things from both sides, to get into the heads of all of their characters and see their points of view. They should create characters as people first, and as the writer is making these characters, usually it will come to light naturally that they like this and don't like that and believe in this and are completely apposed to that. Rather than making a character from a cause, let the character organically develop his or her own stance. If you have enough variety in your characters, then there is bound to be one that could help you make that point, if you still choose to make it. Generally though, as you're writing, if you just focus on the characters, a theme or message will develop on its own that's a lot more true and a lot more credible than anything you could have planned out from the beginning, and then you just run with it till the end.

    I know for me, there are a lot of characters who I wouldn't want to know in real life if they were a person, and who I wouldn't agree with at all. Some I know would be my arch-enemy, or I'd hate their guts. They might be cruel or dumb or irritating, but as a writer, I love and enjoy writing each one of them. I don't make a single character who I dislike as a writer, even the villains, since I don't want to give my readers something that I won't personally stand behind, and I think that should be the case with everyone who creates something. In the case of someone writing a story with multiple viewpoints, it all comes down to understanding people, how they think, and how they act and how they get to be the way they are. People don't usually come up with opinions out of the blue, they generally have reasons for them, even if said reasons might be stupid or not supported by logic. If you really can't understand how one's own character came to their point of view, then there's a serious problem, and you need to go back and figure it out. As long as you know that, I think writing said character without being overly-biased will be a breeze.

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  4. #4

    Default Re: Different points of view

    @NoirGrimoir Well, I'm not trying to be super in-depth or pretentious. But when it comes to morally gray characters, it helps that their motives and beliefs are well defined.

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    Hex Mistress NoirGrimoir's Avatar
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    Default Re: Different points of view

    That wasn't a statement aimed at you or anything, just my general ranting on a subject, filled with hyperbole.

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  6. #6

    Default Re: Different points of view

    Quote Originally Posted by NoirGrimoir View Post
    That wasn't a statement aimed at you or anything, just my general ranting on a subject, filled with hyperbole.
    Oh. 'Kay.

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    Default Re: Different points of view

    I have two fanfics from first-person POV. One is from Byron's POV, the other is from Will's. Both are kind of like confessionals.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Different points of view

    Like AetherX said, you need to understand both sides, if you have a conflict of philosophies. You have to understand why the characters do what they do. If you feel they are flawed, and have a point to make, you should try to be fair in presenting it, as fair as you can be. That doesn't mean you can't give a character a blasting if they deserve it of course. For example, in Scooby Doo the movie, the Scooby gang dropped Scrappy Doo out in the middle of the desert, miles away from civilization, and left him there.

    When I realized that, I wanted to write a fic where the lot of them get told off. I don't care if the character can be a bit annoying, he's an energetic kid who adores his uncle maybe a bit too much, and they just left him, family, and a puppy, out in the desert where he could die! Wasn't the deal that Scooby was taking care of Scrappy as a favor to his sister? The very act of abandonment is disgusting and inexcusable, and those characters needed to be held accountable for their actions. But they weren't. They got away with it and were never punished or felt sorry for it.

    When it comes to writing a story with a message, there's a rule: Story first. It doesn't matter if you have a message or moral to teach, your first priority is to tell a good story, one where the message you want to send comes out naturally from the character's logical actions, and not forced, like character A is doing something they normally wouldn't do for no other conceivable reason other than the author has a point to make.

    Of course with first person POV, bias is acceptable, since you are seeing the world through a single person's eyes, while third person POV needs to be more objective.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Different points of view

    @reynard Yeah, I never liked the Scooby Doo movie to begin with.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Different points of view

    Quote Originally Posted by matt0044 View Post
    @reynard Yeah, I never liked the Scooby Doo movie to begin with.
    Is it any wonder? I have never before felt a immense desire to grab Scooby Doo by the neck and strangle him with my bare hands. I totally understand Scrappy being so hateful towards him in the movie. Wouldn't you be if your idol left you to DIE without seemingly a second thought?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Different points of view

    Quote Originally Posted by reynard View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by matt0044 View Post
    @reynard Yeah, I never liked the Scooby Doo movie to begin with.
    Is it any wonder? I have never before felt a immense desire to grab Scooby Doo by the neck and strangle him with my bare hands. I totally understand Scrappy being so hateful towards him in the movie. Wouldn't you be if your idol left you to DIE without seemingly a second thought?
    That and the whole thing was garbage. The Nostalgia Critic reviewed it and thought the same: Nostalgia Critic - Scooby Doo - YouTube

    Anyways, you have a different example?

  12. #12
    Ch-ch-ch-changes Zero-Suit Lugion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Different points of view

    The whole thing was one big joke on how Scrappy is an annoying, terrible character who never should've existed.

    It was a bad joke, but a joke nonetheless.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Different points of view

    Quote Originally Posted by matt0044 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by reynard View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by matt0044 View Post
    @reynard Yeah, I never liked the Scooby Doo movie to begin with.
    Is it any wonder? I have never before felt a immense desire to grab Scooby Doo by the neck and strangle him with my bare hands. I totally understand Scrappy being so hateful towards him in the movie. Wouldn't you be if your idol left you to DIE without seemingly a second thought?
    That and the whole thing was garbage. The Nostalgia Critic reviewed it and thought the same: Nostalgia Critic - Scooby Doo - YouTube

    Anyways, you have a different example?
    That review is actually where I realized they did that. Never really dawned on me the first time.

    As for other examples, I guess you could start with Team Magma and Team Aqua. If you write them, and their leaders, you have to make sure those characters truly believe what they are doing is right. As TV Tropes pointed out, nether one of their plans were very smart when you get down to it (probably owing to the presumptuous idea that they could control legendary Pokemon and just put them back once you woke them up). And between the two, Team Aqua's plan makes the least sense. Water types are the most common, and if Poke-Earth is like ours, it's probably 3/4ths water. Magma's makes more sense because Hoenn is too forested for agriculture, so more land would have definite benefits. It would be so easy to make the leaders of both complete idiots, it really would.

    But if you know what you're doing, and you're fair, the two make for potentially good characters. Neither leader must have realized the flaws in their ideas, or just chose to ignore any flaws because they were so passionate about their goals. Obviously Archie loves the sea and water Pokemon, why else would he do what did? The question for the writer is how that love made him create Team Aqua. What events and experiences in his life made him feel that creating Team Aqua was a good idea? The same goes for Maxie and Team Magma.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Different points of view

    How does one portray the "Strawman" well? That is, the obnoxious, biased one whose head tends to be too far up his own ass to give a toss about anybody else's opinion. Heck, is there a way?

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    is obsessed with Noivern! Zekurom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Different points of view

    Quote Originally Posted by NoirGrimoir View Post
    If someone wanted to read about ethics, they'd just pick up a book on ethics, as apposed to a story/novel. People read a novel to be entertained, its literature, not a textbook.
    I suppose satirical novels like Animal Farm or 1984 are exceptions, but I suppose they're not exactly meant to be entertaining either.
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