When characters are "out of character" and it makes sense

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Thread: When characters are "out of character" and it makes sense

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    Default When characters are "out of character" and it makes sense

    Found this blog and I thought I'd make for an interesting thread. What are your thoughts on these "OOC" moments done right? Do you have any examples?

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    J'ai Envie De Toi AetherX's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: When characters are "out of character" and it makes sense

    That's a cool article, but I kind of disagree with "avoid using characters as “props” to draw out emotions from your protagonist." To me, that's what supporting characters are for, bringing out new sides in your protagonist and getting them into new situations that can flash out the protagonist's character.

    In general, I think calling this behavior "out of character" is kind of misleading. It's very much in character, but like the article says, it's showing that your characters are only human. I can't recall any specific moments in my stories like this, but that could be because I just like to throw my characters in situations that would make them act like this on a regular basis. Fear, anger, shock, and passion are all things I try to focus on for all of my characters. As far as growing goes, though, I'm starting to do this more with my character Criss in Unpredictable. Being open and emotional are not really things that she would ever do at the beginning of the story, but over time she's having more and more moments like that.

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    Default Re: When characters are "out of character" and it makes sense

    Quote Originally Posted by AetherX View Post
    That's a cool article, but I kind of disagree with "avoid using characters as “props” to draw out emotions from your protagonist." To me, that's what supporting characters are for, bringing out new sides in your protagonist and getting them into new situations that can flash out the protagonist's character.
    True but that shouldn't be ALL THEY ARE.

    In general, I think calling this behavior "out of character" is kind of misleading.
    Yes, that's why I put those between quotation marks.

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    Default Re: When characters are "out of character" and it makes sense

    These moments are acceptable, imo. As long as they make sense as you say. I did a scenario like this in a short story that happens in the timeline that FE: Dawn of Darkness is part of, actually. I haven't posted the story collection that it belongs to yet, but I might do so in the future. But in this story, Geoffrey begins suffering a mental illness that changes him drastically, to the point where he commits some pretty serious crimes (burning down a fort-turned-museum, stealing a precious painting, and nearly hurting innocent people). He also begins drinking a lot. Hell, he even develops a desire to kill Ike. He's depressed and just really messed up because Elincia left and he really cared for her, Ike is getting so much attention despite Geoffrey and the knights trying to keep Crimea safe on their own, and nobody seems to have faith in Geoffrey to lead the knights anymore. The illness he develops is Post-Traumatic Embitterment Disorder (PTED), but he is eventually treated and returns to normal. And he gains a love interest in an OC named Erica.

    I had some complaints of my treatment of Geoffrey here because of my being an Ike x Elincia shipper, but I got the idea because I think Geoffrey may be prone to mental illness and depression, and this theory had nothing to do with shipping. Besides that, Geoffrey's OoC-ness was justified because he grew mentally ill. And I still stand by this.

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    .______. Elysia's Avatar
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    Default Re: When characters are "out of character" and it makes sense

    I've always found the idea that people in general should ever be "in-character" to be a little ridiculous, honestly. We can describe fictional characters with a set of traits ("loyal, carefree, bubbly, optimistic, determined"), but actual people are almost always so much more complicated than words can express. Three-dimensional characters, for all good the term does, just doesn't cut it when it comes to describing something as vast and unfathomable as a human personality.

    Seriously, I do things that surprise me all the time, and the people around me do, as well. While people often have a general trend that they may follow (Bob will probably not kill that puppy, for instance), they're also subject to deviating from what their personalities (or our understanding thereof) may predict.

    ...iunno, anything is possible when written right, just like anything can go badly when written wrong and such. I don't think it's possible to encompass fully the complexity of a person through our words, although it's sure as hell fun to try.

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    Default Re: When characters are "out of character" and it makes sense

    Quote Originally Posted by Elysia View Post
    I've always found the idea that people in general should ever be "in-character" to be a little ridiculous, honestly. We can describe fictional characters with a set of traits ("loyal, carefree, bubbly, optimistic, determined"), but actual people are almost always so much more complicated than words can express. Three-dimensional characters, for all good the term does, just doesn't cut it when it comes to describing something as vast and unfathomable as a human personality.

    Seriously, I do things that surprise me all the time, and the people around me do, as well. While people often have a general trend that they may follow (Bob will probably not kill that puppy, for instance), they're also subject to deviating from what their personalities (or our understanding thereof) may predict.

    ...iunno, anything is possible when written right, just like anything can go badly when written wrong and such. I don't think it's possible to encompass fully the complexity of a person through our words, although it's sure as hell fun to try.
    You make an excellent point and I feel as though certain fandom members tend to misunderstand the idea of "Out Of Character" moment in their favorite show as "bad writing" when when it's actually justified most of the time. Unfortunately, not everybody gets, as you put it, "something as vast and unfathomable as a human personality."

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    Default Re: When characters are "out of character" and it makes sense

    I think putting characters in new situations, particularly ones not at all seen in canon, give writers a certain amount of leeway in making a character established in canon act in new ways. Even if its over the top absurdly "OOC" I think its fine as long as the writer is aware of what they're doing and deliberately doing it and not just going nuts with it not realizing what they're doing.
    matt0044 likes this.

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    Requiem Raver Drakon's Avatar
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    Default Re: When characters are "out of character" and it makes sense

    If there's a good reason (like say aging, getting married, having children, surviving a natural disaster or living in a post-world at war world), then you have more leeway.

    However, there is a fine line you have to walk -- too little change and the character falls flat. Too much change and you might as well make an original character.
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