How to not favor a certain character in writing?

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Luxraysrock
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How to not favor a certain character in writing?

#1 Post by Luxraysrock » Thu May 10, 2018 6:55 pm

This character was supposed to be the true/canon route during the early ideas stage of my otome VN, and this made total and complete sense so as I brainstormed and wrote more, I fell in love with him. He is without a doubt my favorite character to write, even though I'm a bit ashamed to admit that, haha. His dialogue and banter with the MC flow so naturally, partly because they're childhood friends and know each other already.

Since starting my project, though, it has changed drastically. The setting changed from modern slice-of-life to school/fantasy, and the premise changed to match. I've added several more characters to make a total of five romantic options, and the side characters are goofy and lovable in their own ways as well. Basically, I love each and every character to pieces and have so much fun writing them, so I don't think it's a matter of "making the other characters as interesting as your favorite."

This character - heck, let's call him by his name, Trenton - is still a major influence on happenings throughout the story, and his route will more than likely be locked until at least one playthrough is completed for plot's sake (this is still in debate, but I digress), but I wouldn't exactly call him the "true" route. Despite this, I still feel like he's my favorite and it shows in my writing... My other four characters are dear to me as well, but Trenton is special because he was the first one I thought of, and he plays such an important role in the MC's life.

I'm not planning on giving him special treatment in that he gets an extra chapter in his route or extra CGs, etc., but I feel like the way his route progresses and how he interacts with the MC will give away my preferential treatment of him.

My question is how do I kind of tone down the favoritism I show Trenton over my other characters? Does anyone else have a favorite character they feel they give extra or special attention to while writing? How did you make it less evident? Or could I just be paranoid that my readers will know who my favorite character is?

Any help would be appreciated :)

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Re: How to not favor a certain character in writing?

#2 Post by Mutive » Thu May 10, 2018 7:16 pm

My first thought is that all of the characters need to be different (if they aren't already). There's no real reason to play an otome if all the characters are essentially the same, just with different hair colors. :)

After that, I'd focus on what makes them differently cool and what you like about the *different* aspects of them.

For instance, maybe you love how one is a kind, nurturing type who you know will always support you, no matter what. But then a different one is wickedly funny, while another you have these cool intense debates with. (Or whatever their actual traits are.)

If there's a character where you're like, "There really isn't anything all that cool/awesome about them", then maybe they don't belong in the game.

(And if one character seems a touch cooler than others to you - that's fine. We all have favorites. The goal is just to make sure that you're not putting in characters who are literally just filler to puff up the length.)
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Re: How to not favor a certain character in writing?

#3 Post by Draziya » Fri May 11, 2018 4:30 am

Personally I think it's natural that the childhood friend route comes off as more favoured. It's not unheard of, for instance, for the childhood route to end in marriage, where other routes merely end with them happily dating. Honestly I'd raise my eyebrow at the MC having more chemistry with a complete stranger over a childhood friend.

If you're determined to level the playing field a bit more, I suggest giving the other characters each something unique and significant to do plot wise, if you haven't already. If you feel your bias is clear with interactions with the MC, show off how talented and integral the other characters are in situations that aren't just banter.

Or perhaps explore why the other love interests don't click with the MC as well. Do they have reasons they aren't telling the MC? If you figure out something particularly interesting you might have so much fun writing their route that your bias becomes unnoticeable!
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Re: How to not favor a certain character in writing?

#4 Post by Luxraysrock » Fri May 11, 2018 9:04 am

Mutive wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 7:16 pm
My first thought is that all of the characters need to be different (if they aren't already). There's no real reason to play an otome if all the characters are essentially the same, just with different hair colors. :)

After that, I'd focus on what makes them differently cool and what you like about the *different* aspects of them.

For instance, maybe you love how one is a kind, nurturing type who you know will always support you, no matter what. But then a different one is wickedly funny, while another you have these cool intense debates with. (Or whatever their actual traits are.)

If there's a character where you're like, "There really isn't anything all that cool/awesome about them", then maybe they don't belong in the game.

(And if one character seems a touch cooler than others to you - that's fine. We all have favorites. The goal is just to make sure that you're not putting in characters who are literally just filler to puff up the length.)
Yup! All the characters (I have around 13 "main" characters, all things considered) are different and fleshed out enough to not feel like rehashes of one another! I have cut characters from the cast before now, and made some less relevant, etc. They each have their own backstory and past that brings out who they are and why they do what they do.

Thanks so much for the reassurance :D I definitely don't think I have any filler characters - the last LI started out as a filler just to have that "solid 5" but he quickly evolved into an important character on his own - but sometimes I just can't help but think that I shouldn't have a favorite because they're all my creation, if that makes any sense.
Draziya wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 4:30 am
Personally I think it's natural that the childhood friend route comes off as more favoured. It's not unheard of, for instance, for the childhood route to end in marriage, where other routes merely end with them happily dating. Honestly I'd raise my eyebrow at the MC having more chemistry with a complete stranger over a childhood friend.

If you're determined to level the playing field a bit more, I suggest giving the other characters each something unique and significant to do plot wise, if you haven't already. If you feel your bias is clear with interactions with the MC, show off how talented and integral the other characters are in situations that aren't just banter.

Or perhaps explore why the other love interests don't click with the MC as well. Do they have reasons they aren't telling the MC? If you figure out something particularly interesting you might have so much fun writing their route that your bias becomes unnoticeable!
Thank you! I'm personally a HUGE sucker for childhood friend romances (in any genre, really, just bring it on!) so I wanted to incorporate it into my own story. I figured if I'm writing something I wouldn't enjoy reading, why am I writing it? I admit, it's a cop out to bring an already somewhat intimate relationship into play though :'D

Each individual route branches out into its own plot (and everything isn't magically solved in Trenton's route like most true routes) but I could definitely beef up the interactions and other events from early on in the story to show off the other LIs! That's a fantastic suggestion! It's pretty embarrassing that I haven't done that already.

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Re: How to not favor a certain character in writing?

#5 Post by Zelan » Thu May 17, 2018 12:18 pm

Everyone has given good advice so far, but I do think that I should mention that your bias might be more apparent to you as the author. I would get feedback from beta readers or testers on whether Trenton gets too much attention before you worry about it too much, especially considering that you're taking pains to make sure they're equal in CG count and route length and such.

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Re: How to not favor a certain character in writing?

#6 Post by Mammon » Fri May 18, 2018 4:59 am

Just make sure that all the LI's have something of their own, that you at least like them as you write them, and that their characters are roughly as complex as your preferred character. F.e. if your childhood friend has three adorable traits and one interesting hobby, try to give the others the same amount of those. And try to spread out the traits you like amongst them, so there's not one obvious preference and the others with the author writing a hobby without any enthusiasm.
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Re: How to not favor a certain character in writing?

#7 Post by mremma » Fri May 18, 2018 10:54 am

Try to show your writing to someone and ask for estimation, perhaps only you think that you love this character more than others, but actually anyone else won't even notice it!
It's like a college essay, you know, sometimes you don't appreciate the result, but a teacher says you're genius. So maybe this is the case when everything is fine?
Although, personally I don't see anything wrong with admiration of the main character, which you created.
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Re: How to not favor a certain character in writing?

#8 Post by Luxraysrock » Fri May 18, 2018 4:45 pm

Zelan wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 12:18 pm
Everyone has given good advice so far, but I do think that I should mention that your bias might be more apparent to you as the author. I would get feedback from beta readers or testers on whether Trenton gets too much attention before you worry about it too much, especially considering that you're taking pains to make sure they're equal in CG count and route length and such.
mremma wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 10:54 am
Try to show your writing to someone and ask for estimation, perhaps only you think that you love this character more than others, but actually anyone else won't even notice it!
It's like a college essay, you know, sometimes you don't appreciate the result, but a teacher says you're genius. So maybe this is the case when everything is fine?
Although, personally I don't see anything wrong with admiration of the main character, which you created.
Thanks! Yeah, maybe it's not as bad as I think it is :'D Getting a beta reader/editor is definitely on my future agenda!
Mammon wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 4:59 am
Just make sure that all the LI's have something of their own, that you at least like them as you write them, and that their characters are roughly as complex as your preferred character. F.e. if your childhood friend has three adorable traits and one interesting hobby, try to give the others the same amount of those. And try to spread out the traits you like amongst them, so there's not one obvious preference and the others with the author writing a hobby without any enthusiasm.
I can pretty confidently say I have that covered :) I've cut characters already because they "didn't fit" so the ones I'm left with are those I'm comfortable with and have fun writing. The cast is pretty diverse and I think everyone's fleshed out enough to be likeable. Thanks for the advice!!

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