Group: All Things ScribeSlice


I am having a problem developing a Character in the current novel I am writing.
Seeing as how this character is the main one in the story, I figured I would reach out to the writing community and attempt to get help.

The Characters name is Jasok of HarborStone. I have the physical qualities down and a small portion of the emotional/mental qualities.

The story focuses on his story, and the mystery behind his past. I started the story with a three chapter long prologue detailing a small bit of his past. Then the Main story begins 8 years later, thus the mystery.

I want this character to be a complete mystery, allowing the reader to be drawn in, in order to figure out what he hides.

Jasok is a magic user. One of massive and intense power. His connection is so strong that his eyes often glow with a silver tinge. But no one finds out the reason behind his powerful connection with the Unknown (Alias for Magic in the Story)

But I can't figure how to make his story a mystery. After the last prologue chapter, the Story will advance 8 years to where Jasok is 2nd in command to a powerful guild named KORT (Knights of the Red Thorn).

This guild is full of both combat and magic specialists.

But that is all I can scrounge up.

Assistance would be nice. Thank you.

Raven Roads

30th September 2014

Hi Raven, character development is a tricky technique to perfect and to advise you on how to proceed may take some thought but I will try my best to come back to you with some suggestions.

For now, I would advise that you spend as much time as possible on the prologue. BE careful not to give away too much information about the character in these prologue chapters if you wish to make the reader interested. Just enough to keep up a certain intrigue that can only be satisfied by reading further.

I tried this technique with fairly favourable results, including a mention in the Scribe Slice facebook page when I first started writing "And Fernando Makes Three". What I was trying to do was to write an introduction to a story involving a certain amount of information and back story that could only be fully understood by further reading.
Sort of teasing and taunting the reader in such a way he/she will feel compelled not to abandon the story until all the questions in that introduction have been answered.

After that it is just a matter of answering one question at a time and replacing each with new related questions.

Thus the fact that Jasok has magic powers is something that should not be sign posted in the prologues. Invent situations where the character overcomes impossible odds but don't go into detail how he gets out of it. That much can be left as a mystery until several chapters in, then you can start dropping hints as to how Jabok is able to overcome such odds.

Anyway feel free to read/reread "And Fernando Makes Three Part One Ira Furor Brevis Est" if you wish. Hopefully it might give you some inspiration or maybe not. As I'll say I'll get back to you with more tips later.

Leslie Blackwell

2nd October 2014

You say that the character has immense power, so one idea for an interesting hook is to have your character purposely restrict himself or hold back because of a reason that ties into his backstory. Maybe he is especially strong with fire, but he accidentally burned down his hometown for example.

Alex Makridakis

2nd October 2014

Working on a Murder Mystery titled "The Ninja" I can tell you that the most important thing in writing mystery - or mysterious characters - is information. Yes, that's right...information. It is possible to allow a flood of information of the character - his dark arts, or often simple and very subtle hints without giving up anything revealing (who the actual murderer is, etc.) While keeping certain aspects of one's character well within view - in a sort of 'hiding in plain sight' kind of way, you will be surprised how far you can go with developing your mystery and character. In easier terms, it is quite a simple thing to offer vast amounts of information about any character, or maybe you want certain important events to be the focal point of your mystery, while a certain shadowy individual lurks out there just beyond view, looking in from a crowd perhaps. This can be your main character, but I would advise you to do this in a way that sways and manipulates the story around the events rather than tell it from the character's Point of View - especially if your aim is to keep your readers guessing.

To make a mystery - or mysterious character - come to life for the readers while keeping the citizens of the city (within the story) in the dark, you must keep the reader in the loop about motives, thoughts and actions, while everybody else in the story is left scratching their heads. In order to do this you need multiple characters, preferably a few secondary characters as well as another opposite force (such as a detective or group of people who are attempting to hunt down the mystery man/woman. But if you have read mystery novels, short stories you will notice the amount of information being revealed to the character is astounding - done in a way that does not directly say who the killer is, or the disruptor, but usually points to several key suspects. Try it. Play around with it. If you're having trouble revealing too much put yourself in the story as if you were a character within the story and say to yourself "I think I know who the killer is, because...of...this or that. And if you guessed right then remove that object, event, or mitigating action to keep the plot thick with suspense. Also, instead of just one suspect, there should be no less than three, but four or five will keep everybody guessing.

Before taking off with your story, be sure to make sure to clear one thing up: is the story a mystery for the reader to find the culprit following a trail/s of clues left behind, or is the reader following the culprit while the city (its citizens) are the victims left clutching at straws, putting together the pieces of the puzzle. Hope this has helped Raven.

Daniel Bird

11th October 2014

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