DISCUSSION: Main Characters

This is part of the reason why I like to choose the names for my own MCs in the stories I write versus letting readers pick. I think it just allows me to feel a lot closer to them and want to write a better story for them.

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A nice middle ground is always good.

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It’s so frustrating too! Like if you’ve been standing up for yourself your whole life you’re not suddenly going to become a Mary Sue when you get into a relationship :woman_facepalming:t2:

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I do too! I think it’s a mixture of being female and being able to relate more personally and also the fact a lot of stories I’ve read have been from female perspectives.

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That’s probably part of it. :thinking: It probably also has to do with my taking characters from my table-top rpg sessions and adapting them for original stories. Not the story lines, just the character’s personality and what not, so I’ve already spent a lot of time in their heads.

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I like to develop their personality, ethnic background, family, looks, and the most important details before writing the story. But as I go along, something might inspire me to add new traits and a backstory that wasn’t revealed from the beginning.

Well, since I’m a girl, I do prefer writing from the perspective of a female. As a reader, either one is fine with me.

From my stories, definitely Emilianna from Miss Understood. She’s a spoiled, bratty young adult but there are more layers to her than what people would expect. Emilianna tells it like it is, whether it’s awful customers, entitled students, or disaster dates. She doesn’t pretend to be something she isn’t, and she doesn’t care. She has a soft spot for her relatives, and values her heritage and ethnicity.

I love it when I can relate to the MC. But when the MC is different that I am, they have to be likeable in order for me to enjoy the story. An MC I have nothing in common with and isn’t even likeable? Nah, I’ll pass.

A little bit in-between. Not a total doormat who lets people push her around, but not someone that’s rude to people who don’t deserve it and vulgar, either.

Definitely, because in my case, the MC is the one who the story revolves around. If people don’t like the MC, they probably won’t like my stories.

I usually write my MC and try to put myself in her mind. How would she react in this situation? Would she say what I’d say, or something different? Once, I tried writing a story where I didn’t really have a well-defined MC. I just couldn’t figure out what personality traits and interests to give her. I had to scrap that story because the MC was so dull to me.

As a writer, I don’t like making “blank-slate”, nameless MCs with no ethnic background nor religion. In my story, I allow customization but I let the readers know that the MC does have a specific ethnicity and religious beliefs (later on in the story). As a reader, it doesn’t matter that much, but sometimes I get stuck when I’m asked to name a character and I don’t know who I want to play as.

Not at the moment, but maybe in the future.

I don’t know too much about Harry Potter, but I took the Hogwarts house quiz, and my MC is definitely a Hufflepuff.

My MC loves preteen series books like the Babysitters’ Club, the Cupcake Diaries, Girl Talk, Sleepover Friends, etc… and she isn’t ashamed to admit it even though they’re books for kids. These books hold a nostalgic value for her, and she’d like to one day write a series about a group of friends with distinct personalities. As far as music is concerned, she mostly listens to pop, but she’s not a huge music fan.

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Same here. I feel like Emilianna is a real person, whereas if she was a nameless MC with no particular ethnicity or culture, she just wouldn’t feel as real.

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Same! Especially when I know I don’t want to play “as myself” but I’m not offered a name to just pick. :sweat_smile:

-rubs hands together- Here I fkn go, kids. :smiling_imp:

As a writer do you take a lot of time to develop the MC before hand or do you prefer to let them develop as you go along? Why?
When I write, the setting almost always leads. The characters will fit into the setting, rarely do I write anything that’s the other way around (except for a few where the MC is high-key a version of me lmao, but I don’t make Episode stories of those. :joy:)
Do you prefer Male MCs or Female MCs? Why?
I’ve written male MCs before, and imo I do alright with them, I just feel like I do better with female MCs. Growing up female, having my gender play a role in how people see me, it’s influenced how I interact with the world, writing included. Most of my MCs are born from a sliver of my personality, and it’s tough to find a masculine sliver for them, and to have them interact with the world with their maleness as a subtext. I just sort of feel like I’m walking on shaky legs. It’s the same sort of thing trying to write about different cultures, races, or sexual/gender orientations. I know, logically, that, say, a transgender female MC’s mind works the same as mine, but she’s been through all sorts of expectations, stigma, pressures, etc etc, from society that differs from mine, how would I write that realistically, etc etc. It’s the same sort of thing for male MCs, society has categorised them differently from me.
Who is your favourite MC from one of your stories on Episode and why? If you’re a writer feel free to choose one you’ve written and if you’re a reader feel free to choose one from a story you’ve read (Or do both if you’re both a writer as reader).
I don’t really have a favourite MC as a reader, and as a writer, my favourite MC isn’t in an Episode story. But for the sake of this exercise, I’ll pick Nikki from my upcoming (in 2022 lmao) story. Nikki is definitely part of a setting-first story, and is intended as a self-insert. Ideally, the reader will CC her and take her over. Therefore, she has the traits that the setting demands. Independent, strong-minded, true to her sense of honour (sometimes to a fault), frustrated that bad things happen and she’s powerless to change them. The kind of person who would never be content with a double standard, no matter which side of the standard she was on. A little bit lonely, but copes with it pretty well (in the present, anyway). She’s not how I see myself, although there’s a piece of myself in her, I suppose.
As a reader do you like when you can relate to the MC or is it fun to have nothing in common with them?
Mostly, I like to see a MC type I’ve never seen before, but doesn’t get on my nerves. There are some of my own traits that I always see in stories (shy, trusting, loyal) and some completely different traits that I often see (outgoing, sassy, ambitious, assertive). There are some of my own traits that are a rarity (low emotional drive, daydreamer, etc) as well as some rare MCs who see the world in a different way than I do, but a way that still makes sense to me. It’s interesting to see MCs who’ve had a different walk of life than I have, though, and see things that are normal for them that I hadn’t even thought of.
As a reader do you enjoy MCs who are on the more quiet (shy more reserved) or on the louder side (fierce, not afraid to stand up for themselves)?
I think imma break the question again and say something in the middle of this. I’ve dropped stories for being too far on either side of this spectrum.
As a writer do you take the role of creating an MC importantly? Why or why not?
Kinda; my MC must be a seamless part of my plot. I can’t have a story where they don’t jive. When I write, either the setting or the cast has to take the lead in driving the plot. If the story is driven by both at once, it’ll be chaos. If it’s driven by neither, nothing will happen.

More on this if anyone is still reading my essay by this point lmao

Two of the best stories I’ve written have completely different drivers.
One, Beautiful Genesis, follows Nikki, a relatively “average girl” through a horrifying universe with amoral celestial laws. She has a rare curse that makes her special, and not in a good way.
The other, Gifted, follows Jill, an emotionally unavailable uni student. The setting is basically “our world except that 1% of people have magical powers, everyone knows and accepts that.” Not much more complicated than that. The plot is driven mainly by Jill’s interactions with other power-users and humans, as she fails over and over to feel, identify, and communicate her emotions.

I couldn’t have Jill star in Beautiful Genesis, Jill’s emotional difficulties would overshadow the moral questions of the universe (or vice-versa).
I couldn’t have Nikki star in Gifted, Nikki generally has her emotional ducks in a row, nothing would really happen.

Do you write your MC or does your MC write you?
The MC and the plot are completely intertwined, and since I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pantser, the MC falls together as the story does. So very often, she writes herself to play the role she needs to play. :wink:
How important is picking the MCs name in a story to you?
Not at all, tbh. “A rose by any other name.” I have multiple stories where I don’t bother naming the main cast. My Jane Doe happens to be… (drum roll) …Scarlet. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I find that if I put too much time into the MC’s name, I end up looking for a name that fits with the plot, and no one but a canonically psychic mother names their child after the child’s future. Like a girl blissfully unaware of vampires being named Belladonna or, perhaps, Scarlet (lol). A girl blissfully unaware of werewolves being named Luna or Selene. A girl destined for a tumultuous romance being named Juliet. It sounds ridiculous.
Is there a side character in one of the stories you’ve written that you’d like to make an MC in a new story?
Hmmmm… :thinking: I’ve written very brief spin-offs starring minor characters, and occasionally had some supporting characters insert themselves into the story more than I ever intended I once had a background character become the main villain and the intended main villain become a minor character, and really, it’s just like Dylan to insert his smug-ass self where it doesn’t belong and steal everyone else’s thunder. Screw you, Dylan. But the only time a minor character has gotten their own full-length feature is when they’re the child of the previous MC lol.

-sorts through records- Oh, wait, I did a full-sized spin-off on a minor character once. It was ok. Idr why I did it, but I saw it through lol.

But as for whether I want to in the future, not at the moment. The MC is generally either the most interesting one, or the one at the centre of the drama. The others don’t have much potential for a full-sized plot revolving around them.
What Harry Potter House would you sort your MC into?
I didn’t read or watch Harry Potter, but I took 3 different quizzes as Nikki. :joy: End result is: definitely not Slytherin. I got 1 Gryffindor, and 2 Ravenclaws, with this distribution:

Anything but Slytherin lmao

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What kind of music is your MC into? Books?
Music: Nikki’s music taste is only mentioned once; she has a guilty pleasure for a specific fictional Kpop group. :sweat_smile: But when it comes to music she’d admit that she likes, that isn’t mentioned often, maybe just top-40 lmao.
Books: Fantasy, without a doubt. Reading and writing are her major hobby. She’s been writing fantasy for as long as she can remember. They’ve been her comfort when she was alone. (She just never expected that real-life magic has no valiant heroes…)

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  1. before hand to have a guide, give them a signature thing (that is v special to my sentimental ass)
  2. Female. better outfits, easier for me to write as a female myself, better hair lol
  3. as a reader proooobably… no i could never pick, and as a writer Xochitl Casco from the story im plotting rn i lov her sm already
  4. as a self centered biddie, i like relating, as an insecure teen girl, sum polar opposite
    depends on my mood
  5. if its a story about internalizing and stuff, the quiet ones, if its about drama, extroverts lol
  6. SO MECH w/out a good character there cant be a good story
  7. depends ig idrk what u mean lmao
  8. writer: the most important thing. meanings, urban dictionary reputations, NO DIMINUTIVES :triumph::triumph: ,
    reader: idrm
  9. low-key kighkey
  10. current one would prolly be a gryffindor
  11. can vibe to anything, has to have romance
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@Nessya

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Danielle, I already fangirl so much that @ColeCatalyst likes my MC in private don’t bring my secrets to the light, please :see_no_evil:

Where is the embarassed emoji when you need it!!!

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@Danielle318, don’t worry about it. :smiley:

On topic:

As a writer do you take a lot of time to develop the MC before hand or do you prefer to let them develop as you go along? Why?

I wouldn’t say I took a lot of time and had everything planned out for both of my MC.
A rough idea and research then progressed as I kept writing.
What I knew for sure was that I wanted to identify myself with them, both like martials arts, don’t want to get attached because when they do it’s almost for life.

Do you prefer Male MCs or Female MCs? Why?

I have no preference. I started with a female MC, then on my second story did a choose your gender MC because the MC is supposed to be almost apathic. Maybe, if there is a next, I will do male MC.

Who is your favorite MC from one of your stories on Episode and why?
From my stories, DG is my favourite, she can fall a million times that she will get up 1.000.001 while caring for those who matter.
From a story that I pray it will published soon. Jessie, a thief that is like a Russian doll who left me curious to get to know her more.

As a reader do you like when you can relate to the MC or is it fun to have nothing in common with them?

I have no preference here, I like both scenarios when well done.

a writer do you take the role of creating an MC importantly? Why or why not?

Yes, it’s. Having MC’s personality lined up helps prevent reactions that don’t make sense.

Do you write your MC or does your MC write you?

A little bit of both. I start by giving it life then go with the flow.

How important is picking the MCs name in a story to you?
For my first story, I looked up the meaning of almost all names from the family members :see_no_evil:, and for the MC chose one that meant God’s gift in Russian
For the second one, as my MC is supposed to be detached and I thought why not letting readers chose the name and part of the features :woman_shrugging:t5:

Is there a side character in one of the stories you’ve written that you’d like to make an MC in a new story?

I believe somewhere ahead in the future, I will do the opposite.

What Harry Potter House would you sort your MC into?

I would say they are both Syltherins

What kind of music is your MC into? Books?

Both love books, rock and metal

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Awws my MC :smiley: Thanks Nessya!:heart_eyes:

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I will use my second story that I’m currently writing to answers these.

  1. I do a little of both. Like initially when I started writing the story I just made up who I wanted him to be as I went along but then decided to flesh him out a little bit more. It’s better that way to me.

  2. I don’t really have a preference. Just depends on who I want the story to be about. My first story the MC is female, this one is male. It’s nice to get perspectives of both sides.

  3. So far my favorite character is the current I’m working on. I don’t want to say too much without giving away who he is, but I’d say I like his character growth.

  4. As a reader it doesn’t really matter if I can relate or not.

  5. Same as 4

  6. Yes I do take it to be important. When I make the MC in a way I have to become the MC, and think as the MC would think. Like “as so-in-so, do I like this or that?” “Do I like being around this person?” “Do I see myself being in a relationship with that person?”. I think that adds depth to the character.

  7. Like I said in my previous answer, to me it’s important to become the MC. And I would say that it’s like that for all of my main characters. Because they aren’t just secondary people to fill in space or say a few things here and there. They all add something to the story and help shape the MC.

  8. It’s fairly easy to me, I notice in a lot of story a lot of characters have the same names or similar type of names. So I try not to pick names that are close to those.

  9. I do actually, the story I have published now has a secondary character the I’ve started a spin off story for. But it all depends on how well the published story goes if I decide to continue on with it.

  10. I don’t watch Harry Potter

  11. Hmm, for my current published story, my MC’s taste in music would probably be similar to mine, since I loosely based her on myself. Music from the late 60’s to the 90’s, old school RnB, smooth jazz, electronica, some indie groups, and Retro/Synthwave to name a few genre’s.
    For my male MC his would probably be Childish Gambino and some Future Beats/Soulection type of music. As far as books go… Not really sure.

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  1. As a writer do you take a lot of time to develop the MC before hand or do you prefer to let them develop as you go along? Why?

I get a pretty decent idea of their personality, interests and style before I write, but a great deal of the character development happens after I’ve already started writing. It just comes naturally.

  1. Do you prefer Male MCs or Female MCs? Why?

Their gender couldn’t matter much less to me, I just want characters who are well-written.

  1. Who is your favorite MC from one of your stories on Episode and why? If you’re a writer feel free to choose one you’ve written and if you’re a reader feel free to choose one from a story you’ve read (Or do both of you’re both a writer as reader :joy:).

I don’t actually have any stories on Episode (and the stories I do write tend to be third-person omniscient, so there’s not really one MC in them either.) The majority of stories I’ve read on Episode have been reader-insert ones, so there’s not a lot to judge off of there.

  1. As a reader do you like when you can relate to the MC or is it fun to have nothing in common with them?

I like to relate to them. I’m up for reading about all sorts of people, but when they’re so far removed from my life, it’s hard to feel any connection with them. For example, I’m asexual and aromantic, so I tend not to care too much about MCs whose plot lines revolve around relationship drama.

  1. As a reader do you enjoy MCs who are on the more quiet (shy more reserved) or on the louder side (fierce, not afraid to stand up for themselves)?

It really depends. A quiet character could be well-written, but done wrong (and I’d say a good portion of them generally ARE done wrong) it’s just frustrating to watch them get walked over. On the other hand, a louder character could be hilarious (my favourite example would be Undyne from Undertale) but then again could also just be straight-up mean.

  1. As a writer do you take the role of creating an MC importantly? Why or why not?

Absolutely! If the reader doesn’t like the MC, it doesn’t matter how good the plot is.

  1. Do you write your MC or does your MC write you?

Frankly, I’m a little unclear what’s meant by that. A lot of my characters do share a certain quality or interest with me, though. Write what you know, right?

  1. How important is picking the MCs name in a story to you?

If I’m writing the story, very. The name can potentially tell you lots about a character - their background, their age, etc. Some names just have a certain personality they instantly bring to mind.
If I’m reading the story, I’d say it’s less important. Building off of what I just said, some names simply don’t work on some characters. Because you pick Episode names before the story begins, it’s easy to pick something that just… doesn’t work.

  1. Is there a side character in one of the stories you’ve written that you’d like to make an MC in a new story?

Again, I have no episode stories, but I totally have given side characters in my other stories their own spin-offs.

  1. What Harry Potter House would you sort your MC into?

N/A

  1. What kind of music is your MC into? Books?

N/A

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How do you know it’s overrated if you haven’t read it? :thinking:

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Ooh I really like this. I think if a mc isn’t well developed it can sometimes cause them to get written into things that make no sense for their character.

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1. As a writer do you take a lot of time to develop the MC before hand or do you prefer to let them develop as you go along? Why?
I try to develop the main parts of my main characters beforehand, since that usually helps me write and make sure that everyone is in character. I definitely add more depth to them, and occasionally change things, as I continue writing, though.

2. Do you prefer Male MCs or Female MCs? Why?
I don’t really have a preference with this.

4. As a reader do you like when you can relate to the MC or is it fun to have nothing in common with them?
Both options can be interesting to me: like other people have said, seeing new perspectives and experiences can be great in stories. As long as the character feels real, I’m good either way. I will say that I don’t model custom characters after myself because they might not always act like me.

I’ve also seen other people talking about how important the “likability” of a character is, and I don’t necessarily think the main character(s) need to be likable for me to enjoy a story. I may try explaining this more sometime in the future, since I’m not sure how to put it into words right now.

6. As a writer do you take the role of creating an MC importantly? Why or why not?
I think it’s pretty important, since obviously the main characters’ actions are personality will be affecting the story. Most of my stories have multiple main characters, and I also try to take into account how they would interact with each other.

8. How important is picking the MCs name in a story to you?
Not at all important. Like I mentioned above, I’m also not going to name or customize a character after myself. I’m fine with customization and names, but if it’s offered to me, I’ll be making a fictional character.

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I realize you said you weren’t sure quite how to put it into words, but I am kinda interested by what you said about the characters being likable or not.
For me (and yeah, I realize you didn’t actually ask, but still… lol) I have to like the character to some degree, or I don’t actually care if anything bad happens to them, thus making the story less interesting overall.
I’m curious to hear your opinion, though!

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