Rewriting – Character Solving Part 1
Part of rewriting my National Novel Writing Month project from 2010 is resolving some character issues. in one case, it is making a character seem less like a God.
Problem Character #1 – Alex Havoch/Duplicator
Alex Havoch is one of the principle characters in the story. He is a Hollywood stuntman who has made a name for himself because of his superhuman abilities. At the time of the story, he is the one character who is already active as a superhero.
As you may have guessed from his name, Alex Havoch’s super powers are, well, power duplication. In addition to this, Duplicator is able to augment super powers, increasing or decreasing their effectiveness as needed. This, naturally, makes him an extremely powerful character, almost too powerful.
Solution #1 – Tied Together
I had already decided to tie Duplicator’s two powers together. I have also made the power augmentation the primary power of the two, with the duplication an after effect of the augmentation. This means that Havoch cannot just duplicate powers, he needs to augment them before he can duplicate them.
While setting some limits to his ability, he still runs into the problem of being two powerful.
Solution #2 – The Magic Number
I have decided to set a limit as to how many powers Duplicator can copy at a time, going with the magical number of seven.
Solution #3 – It’s All Cyclical
Tying into the seven power limit, Duplicator starts to work with a new dynamic. When he copies a new power, an old power is lost. He is able to preserve a power by using it, making it the most recent power used. For example, Duplicator has stored flight, super hearing, electrical sparks, speed, super sight, cloud making, and water blast, copied in that order over time. When Duplicator copies a new power, fire generation, the water blast is lost. If Duplicator uses flight after he copies the fire generation, then flight is considered the newest power.
I added the cyclical nature of the power for one particular reason: inate fliers are rare in the world the story is set in. This adds another quirk that Duplicator has to deal with: holding onto that flight power through near constant use, or risk losing it with the next power augmented/duplicated.
Solution #4 – What Good is a Small Flame Anyway
Since Duplicator’s primary power is augmentation, this is the power he resorts to when fighting crime. Naturally, if he is fighting a super criminal shooting fire from his hands, Duplicator is going to augment that power down as low as he can (like to, say, a flame from a lighter). Since the duplication is a side effect of the augmentation, Duplicator now has a pretty useless small flame power, and has lost another power along the way.
Solution #5 – There are limits to Augmentation
This seemed like an obvious solution. Duplicator can only augment/duplicate inate abilities. Thus, he could not do anything with technology based powers (super suits, cybernetics), magic (mystical totems, spells, artifacts) and presumably alien abilities. I say presumably since there are no known aliens in this world (stress the “no known” part).
Duplicator also cannot augment abilities that are either on or off, like waterbreathing. After all, you can’t make someone breathe water more.
Finally, Duplicator cannot augment/duplicate defensive powers. I am considereing making this some sort of mental block that he can eventually overcome. But, in the meantime, he needs to rely on external objects for protection. Currently, he wears a chain mail costume for some protection.
Naturally, knowing how this character’s powers work is only half the battle. The real challenge is to work in these details into the rewrite without it sounding forced.
Posted on June 15, 2012, in Creative, NaNoWriMo, Personal, Writing and tagged creative, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, personal, Rewrite, rewriting, Writing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.