Character Feedback Request...
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Join Date: Jul 2012
09-20-2012, 08:01 AM
Originally Posted by
I think it's great you're writing, it's a very cool hobby and its nice (and brave) you share it.
Being asked to be critical, I firstly agree with Varool, linking your character to a large array of existing ST characters does not help the development. It's like the character needs a lot of support, which actually weakens him. I would suggest to take all of those out and make up your own authentic characters.
I find the characters around your character a bit bleak. What kind of man was his father, what kind of woman were his mother and sister (etc.)? To make a story immersive, writers often add a lot of those details. And don't make them too perfect, add flaws.
I find your main character, Kane, too polished and perfect. For the reader it is a lot more fun if he has some serious (character) flaws. Now he seems to be some sort of super human, tall, dark, handsome, admired, easy in making contact, not driven by hunger or ambition, best of his class, gifted in many things, athletic to an olympian degree, speaks several languages fluently, plays several music instruments superbly, brave, intelligent, etc, etc. He has a bit of a temper, that's about it.
Kane is maybe how we all would like to be, but he is (therefore) not someone we can identify with.
Look at Picard. A very flawed man. Can't allow himself to be close to people easily. Artificial heart as a physical weakness. Bold. Troubled relationship with his father and brother. Arrogant at times. Very, very lonely. Full of regrets. A temper at times. But to offset it, an enlightened thinker, a near brilliant strategist, a man who holds his principles high. A loyal Captain to his crew.
It is the balance between his flaws and talents that make him so believable and makes us identify with him. And that goes for most ST characters.
So I would advise to reinvent Kane, give much more content to the characters that shaped his life, and give him just as many flaws as talents, to make him interesting and believable.
Awesome feedback, and thanks for taking the time
I have to admit, I didn't consider his linguistics to be un-realistic for someone who had been relocated to a foreign location during childhood and assimilated into that culture, and who had then 'worked abroad' and married someone who was not a native Standard speaker, but I can of course revise that
Similarly with the musical ability, I wanted that to be a hobby he maintained as a link to his deceased mother. I admit, his mother and sister are very flimsy as written (as this is his bio, not theirs' ) but I thought his father was fair well, if subtly, described when 'reading between the lines', as something of a 24th Century equivalent of Howard Stark: A respected engineer who did 'world changing' work, but was never able to discuss that with his family. The linking to existing characters, as above, I had not viewed as a weakness of character, and was originally only intended to 'anchor' Kane in a very specific time frame: People he was likely to have encountered, ie at his time at the Academy, or during assignments. I didn't want him to simply be Riker's unknown bff, but maybe someone who the young Riker had wound up competing against, maybe even the reason which had made him (Riker) so career hungry, afterall, what better motivator than knowing someone who it all just comes to, who doesn't even want it.. What better reason for a severed friendship than a misunderstanding which could not be explained due to orders and secrecy? Again, none of that would likely have even been referenced on the printed page, it was just intended so I would know the character in my mind, hence why I wrote the bio. Ironically, the loneliness of Picard, is
key trait which I wanted to achieve with Kane... Yes, he may be
to make a good first impression and get on with others easily, yes, he may have had a good education and be respected by his superiors, but all that is just an external facade, a defensive mechanism for someone who is at their core 'perpetually mourning', and always seeing loved ones die around him. Maybe that didn't come across in my writing... An aspect which is made clearer in my manuscript, is that at this point in his life, he is only seeing a future of loss ahead, of friends and family, both past and future, (something I tried to hint at with the reference to his and Riker's age differences) and have written that not even alcohol can ease that emotional torment due to it being neutralized by an accelerated metabolism, leaving only Vulcan meditative practices (which didn't always work for Spock, Tuvok or Vorik, who
Vulcans... ) I would certainly add 'alcoholism' as a character flaw, but if even the most potent alcohol has the long-term effect of drinking water, it would make even binge-drinking a somewhat moot point, and I only want to add a few flaws, not have a mentally unwell character that would be declared unfit for duty by his CMO
Other flaws which I had hoped would be noticed, was the unwanted prejudice towards Cardassians, and an enforced sense of obligation to live up to the expectations/accomplishments of an accomplished parent/mentors: This is someone who feels compelled to excel because of other's expectations, rather than his own desires. Probably not a strained relationship with his father, but definitely easy to say growing up feeling that nothing was good enough or noteworthy, much like the undercurrents of the relationship between Howard and Tony Stark. Thanks for taking the time to read and leave feedback, it is very much appreciated
Last edited by marcusdkane; 09-20-2012 at