Horror Story Protagonists?

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TerracottaPie
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Horror Story Protagonists?

#1 Post by TerracottaPie » Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:52 am

I've had this idea for a short horror story running around my head for the past few days and keep stumbling over one little issue.

What sort of protagonist would be the best to use in such a genre?

An ambiguous, genderless nobody seems fitting as the reader will more readily place themselves in their shoes. The problem ofcourse comes from the fact they're so ambiguous. How are they meant to react to various stimuli, is everything meant to be left up to pop-up choice menus? It just seems like it'd be hard to detail their reactions and as a result would detract from the reader's reaction to whatever horror is after them.

By comparison a pre-defined, detailed character makes it easier to detail reactions, gives the character their own views and thoughts but alienates the reader. It's more like watching somebody else than being a part of the story yourself. Similarly this makes the environment less hostile.

In short I'm just after opinions on both these styles. Chances are I'm wrong about something and I'm certain I've missed things. There could even be another style that I've missed entirely. What are peoples' thoughts?

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merdeamour
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Re: Horror Story Protagonists?

#2 Post by merdeamour » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:35 am

TerracottaPie wrote:By comparison a pre-defined, detailed character makes it easier to detail reactions, gives the character their own views and thoughts but alienates the reader. It's more like watching somebody else than being a part of the story yourself. Similarly this makes the environment less hostile.


The latter option sounds more appealing to me than the first one. Skillfully-told stories enable me to immerse myself in the story, sometimes well enough to put me into the MC's shoes. For me, making a VN with a pre-defined character in mind won't alienate me as the reader, not if it's done in a manner that pulls me right into it.

...I remember the Silent Hill for Wii, where it boasted that gameplay will adapt to your fears or something... I was pretty excited about this, thinking that the choices I make in the game would be interesting, to say the least. I was disappointed, however, to find that the choices were just the questions the 'psychiatrist' (can't remember if it was a psychiatrist...) asked you throughout the game. The choices weren't subtle at all. THAT was what made the gameplay seem boring to me.
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Re: Horror Story Protagonists?

#3 Post by TerracottaPie » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:03 am

merdeamour wrote:The latter option sounds more appealing to me than the first one. Skillfully-told stories enable me to immerse myself in the story, sometimes well enough to put me into the MC's shoes. For me, making a VN with a pre-defined character in mind won't alienate me as the reader, not if it's done in a manner that pulls me right into it.

...I remember the Silent Hill for Wii, where it boasted that gameplay will adapt to your fears or something... I was pretty excited about this, thinking that the choices I make in the game would be interesting, to say the least. I was disappointed, however, to find that the choices were just the questions the 'psychiatrist' (can't remember if it was a psychiatrist...) asked you throughout the game. The choices weren't subtle at all. THAT was what made the gameplay seem boring to me.
I'd never considered games to be honest, despite being a fan of a few horror game series. That's certainly got me thinking on the subject a bit more.

With games however you control most of the actions the character takes, aside from maybe dialogue. In a VN setting you're acting more as an alterego and in a KN the player is just a reader. Regardless, you make a good point.

I can relate when it comes to obvious choices being a bore, but overly subtle or apparently irrelevant choices won't get a positive response either, not without alot of thought.

Just getting an idea on the ups and downs of everything.

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Re: Horror Story Protagonists?

#4 Post by akizakura » Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:23 pm

I don't think there's really one "right" answer - especially not knowing more about your plot. merdeamour makes a good point in that a well-done predefined character can be just as immersive (if not more) than the blank slate.

I think how you go about writing the story also makes a big difference. The blank slate protagonist in a horror story works best (in my opinion) if you want to focus on the external - the actual "horror" happening - rather than the character or why they're in this situation. If you're going for the blank slate, you should definitely make sure you have some good external stimuli (even just good descriptions) to substitute for more centralized horror you would do with a developed protagonist.

These are just some thoughts. I love horror but writing it is always a challenge to me. I wish you luck!

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Re: Horror Story Protagonists?

#5 Post by TerracottaPie » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:43 am

akizakura wrote:I don't think there's really one "right" answer - especially not knowing more about your plot. merdeamour makes a good point in that a well-done predefined character can be just as immersive (if not more) than the blank slate.

I think how you go about writing the story also makes a big difference. The blank slate protagonist in a horror story works best (in my opinion) if you want to focus on the external - the actual "horror" happening - rather than the character or why they're in this situation. If you're going for the blank slate, you should definitely make sure you have some good external stimuli (even just good descriptions) to substitute for more centralized horror you would do with a developed protagonist.

These are just some thoughts. I love horror but writing it is always a challenge to me. I wish you luck!
I appreciate your comment. You definitely raise a few points that'll give me something to think about. Detailed descriptions are not particularly my forte, so I'll have to work on those if I take the blank slate option (which is currently what I'm leaning towards). Who knows, it may even be a good excuse to improve how I tackle descriptive writing.

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