Need help writing a girl's character background!

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winternight119
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Need help writing a girl's character background!

#1 Post by winternight119 » Tue May 11, 2010 9:59 pm

I'm at a point in writing my storyline that is pretty far, but it is absolutely crucial that at this point I have well-developed characters to drive the story home instead of being driven by the story. (That way it'll seem more like the characters impact the world that they live in, I think.)

So: I have a main character. Let's just call him Boy A. (I do have a name for all these characters - if it would be clearer with them, ask for them.) The story takes place in a town in Japan.

Boy A:
-Transfers to a new school upon arriving at a new town. He is 17, and a 3rd year Japanese high school student, 5'5" at 120 lb. Brown-eyed and stereotypical anime guy hair. Fit, but not buff.

He is easygoing and quickly makes a couple good friends. Eventually his friends become Boy B and Girl A, the boy being a medium-build tennis player who picks fights, with a stereotypical "baka hentai" hopeless romantic mentality.

Boy A's temper is slow, but when someone insults him he insults them back. He is a bad cook since he and his father own a shop, and he eats the cup ramen from the shop and etc.

The part I am having difficulty with is the girl (Girl A). I need her to have parallels to a certain character type. There is a character of mine she needs to resemble, but needs to be made "contemporary" in a way: The character Girl A needs to to parallel is this: A general's daughter during fedual Japan (the era of samurai and civil war). She develops a forbidden love with a samurai. She is a "proper lady" if you will, but not defenseless (she is probably skilled with a sword).

Girl A:

So Girl A at first appears a mystery to Boy A, who eventually after a series of events gets to know her better. She joins the kendo club late, which he got involved in, and reveals her great skill there.

She is the daughter of a yakuza, hence she initially appears mysterious - she is basically hands-off for any guy. (Because of this, I cannot judge how it should affect her personality - it would make her a little hostile, right?)

But she and Boy A and B develop a friendship that makes them all close. There is room for romantic development between Boy A and Girl A so they can become closer (no spoilers here before the characters are even finished! ;).

Boy A is eventually faced with a dilemma in which he has to protect Girl A. So she cannot be stronger than him (like Sakai Yuji and Shana from Shakugan no Shana).

What personality for a girl fits for this aspect of the story? What kind of girl would be suitable to develop interesting situations with him? Given, that no other main female arises in the story other than her? (Though other girls in the plot will arise, but none will take the spotlight that she has of being the main girl.)

I'll continue to brainstorm about her character and see how the story and her mesh together.
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Re: Need help writing a girl's character background!

#2 Post by FeatherThief » Wed May 12, 2010 12:19 am

I love doing character designs so I thought I might be able to help you or at least provide a nice framework for the character. I was not sure if you wanted hair/eye colour etc. so I didn't include those but if you want I could.

First we start with a bio.

Ever since she was five she was trained by her families guards to use a sword. She was also always treated as as a superior and had no friends as a result so began to dream of her own little worlds. Eventually as she grew older her father let her go to public schools but she was never allowed to associate herself with the other children or else her father would beat her. This caused her to eventually lock up her emotions and hide them.
For a basic personality, she shows no emotion though she has a hot temper and often gets into childish arguements as she begins to warm up to other characters. She is also reclusive in the beginning, not meanly but reclusive and almost shy where then guys approach her and are then shot down. When she finally opens up she is a shy girl with little or no social skills. Think Taiga but less class friendly. I did this with speed so I hope it helps and I might try to improve it.
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Re: Need help writing a girl's character background!

#3 Post by winternight119 » Wed May 12, 2010 1:14 am

Great idea. I will edit the character bio, then, accordingly, and edit this post asap. :]
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Re: Need help writing a girl's character background!

#4 Post by papillon » Wed May 12, 2010 1:45 am

I should note that many people will find it annoying if you build her up as having great sword skills and then suddenly make her weak so the boy can protect her. *Especially* if he's not presented as being an amazing fighter himself.

If you want to present them as equals, and both protect each other at different points, that's fine. But if you want him to be the fighter-hero and her the damsel in distress it might make more sense to give her skills other than fighting skills in the first place.

(Rambling, feel free to ignore...)

I'm not sure the Yakuza really parallels to a general's daughter - wouldn't a general be much more respectable and high-class? A general's daughter sounds more like the untouchable princess (or governor's daughter) in a typical romance. Not the daughter of a crimelord.

A better parallel might be the daughter of a major business owner. If her father is extremely wealthy and obsessed with Japanese tradition, you could have a girl who's been pushed her whole life to do everything ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. She has to learn every traditional artform. She has to wear old-fashioned clothes. She must learn at least the basics of kendo because that's respectable. She must always be at the top of the class academically. She must especially excel at math because proper traditional Japanese women manage the family finances (or so I've heard). She must be escorted to and from school by bodyguards because she is a valuable object and might be kidnapped. And because of that, she's never been over to a friend's house, or had a friend visit her.

And she's absolutely seething with resentment because of it.

She seems on the surface like an ice queen or a perfect housewife, always smiling and soft-spoken. But she's angry all the time, and finds little ways to rebel and be destructive. She's very good at charming the teachers and can manipulate events to get people she doesn't like into trouble. She enjoys kendo despite having only mediocre skills because she gets to yell and hit people.

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Re: Need help writing a girl's character background!

#5 Post by IceD » Wed May 12, 2010 2:33 am

That's some good and inspiring material Papillon!

I also agree that making the main heroine a daughter of well-respected, powerful (well, sort of) businessman or a governor would earn your work much more. Also, Id' like to point that if you'll go with the evil yakuza father, your story will somewhat resemble that of Minori's first visual novel - Bittersweet fools, very much :) so it would be better to try something different (not that I mind it, it's your choice after all). Furthermore, if you want still the story to keep a certain deegre in badass, you can make her father a corrupt one, both as bussinessman or governor - first by dealing with criminal world to achieve his goals and second, for eg. playing in an large-scale political affairs. This would also give you some more space to extend storyline, if needed and with that, her daily lifestyle would be greatly justified in most aspects.

I only hope you'll manage to finish this! Good luck.

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Re: Need help writing a girl's character background!

#6 Post by winternight119 » Wed May 12, 2010 2:50 am

I daresay Papillion has made some great points,thank you for bringing those up. However I do not know anything about Minori or Bitersweet Fools. Upon Googling it, it seems quite interesting. :] Which seems more mafia-based than yakuza based (which my story would be), underscored by having ties to those involved with Gunslinger Girl. But you are right, I should steer clear of too-close resemblances even if I would otherwise be unaware of them.

Anyways back on topic: I am honestly now second-thinking any kind of direct involvement with the mob by the protagonist. You are right in saying it makes more sense and there are better ways to develop the plot than this. The main thing then becomes, she becomes involved later in an accident/deliberate attempt to take her life by a party that is an enemy of her father's. (Example of how this would happen: There is a meeting between the two parties gone wrong, the boy and girl escape after fighting their way out. A car chase ensues; she is in the car with Boy A, and then an enemy [gangster/yakuza] in a car runs them off the road, where she is in bad condition.) This leaves the main character to resolve how to not only help her but somehow resolve the situation of the enemy party (which in the case of a gang would be a sort of exposing them to the police, along with a brawl with the leader, or something like that).

I'll definitely finish it, thanks for all your encouragement. :)
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Re: Need help writing a girl's character background!

#7 Post by LVUER » Wed May 12, 2010 3:46 am

To make it more interesting, why don't make it the girl is an assassins guild-master's daughter and the boy is a very dark and secret government agent.
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Re: Need help writing a girl's character background!

#8 Post by IceD » Wed May 12, 2010 5:40 am

The latter would propably require proper explanations, but it's also a good idea :)

Anyway, yakuza = mafia. No exceptions. It's a japanese equivalent. Of course, there are some differences beetwen groups, for example those from LA, Italy (Sicily to be exact) and Japan, mostly occuring with differences in their moral/honour codex, looks, specialites and fields on which they try to build their prosperity, but all in all - they're dirty people and don't hesitate to kill (in most cases), especially if there's a profit behind it.

As for research - it would be good to look upon some of the tales, facts and myths from years 1920-1950 concerning american mafia. Although it's a bit outdated, those years of their activity may prove useful and give some inspiration towards mafia-based stories. And as a pinnacle of everything, The Godfather should lend a helping hand :wink:

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Re: Need help writing a girl's character background!

#9 Post by Applegate » Wed May 12, 2010 9:32 am

I think a valuable thing to keep in mind is this, regardless of how you will go about it. Although keep in mind that my knowledge on Visual Novels is extremely limited.

"Why is the girl inapproachable?"
Reading your initial story, you proposed that she was the daughter of a yakuza. It seems to be a common device to make the girl unapproachable by virtue of her family being scary, or the reputation of "daughter of yakuza" is difficult.

Ah, but let us say business top. Why is she inapproachable? Perhaps her father has a tendency to make sure you "transfer" from school if you try to make a move on her precious daughter. Or, perhaps, the boys who approached her in the past had to coincidentally transfer away, and her father is really a sweet and kind man.

You can then build on that. She is inapproachable, either through grounded reason or fleeting rumour, but you want the protagonist to talk to her. It is important that you either force an event that brings the two together, or you could make the girl the kind of person you would want to make friends with. Perhaps the hero can be oblivious of her reputation, and of course his best friend clues him in. Common anime hero rules say he will disregard any such advice, underestimate the threat to his lifestyle and acquaint her.

If you wish to go the forced event route, it may be better to acquaint them first through small scenes, before the build up to a big fighting scene where he has to help her save her father's life - if she is such an inapproachable and volatile girl that the hero could not approach her before, it seems odd that she would request a complete stranger's assistance in such a highly important matter. What is more, early scenes with the girl may give the reader at least some familiarity with how she is, or enables you to provide a pre-game image of her, and then slowly but surely adjust the reader's opinion of her as you explore her unseen sides.

It is difficult to say whether seclusion from male contact would make one aggressive towards boys. It is an individual matter that you will have to decide on, what is best for the story and, most importantly, what kind of girl do you like to write. What target group do you have in mind?

I am not sure what you are planning to do with this story, but I hope this will help you somewhat in deciding what sort of person your love interest will be.

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Re: Need help writing a girl's character background!

#10 Post by winternight119 » Wed May 12, 2010 3:47 pm

Applegate: there is a certain depth there that I really appreciate your bringing up. Regardless of visual novel or not visual novel, those are important aspects I should aim to keep in mind for a more character-driven plot, kind of like building a puzzle and not building the edges first, but trying to complete the picture. Very helpful indeed.

The yakuza = mafia is true. Regardless of how they see themselves or how more overtly they operate than the mafia in many ways.

The direction I am going in is that I am hoping for a sort of tragic story. A comparison that came to mind is Rurouni Kenshin (I am referring to the movie - I would never watch that long of a series!), though certainly it was not an inspiration. But the same feel for tragedy and a lost loved one would be conveyed. The backstory about the parallel is that the parallel needs to be a sort of traditional, "classic" tragedy story - or at least one that would be believable as being an old-fashioned story about loss and the sadness of a wandering samurai. (This has been done before in various incarnations. I guess some comparisons would be obvious, comparing the "feel" that they have.) I am wondering where the line about contemporary-badass-story and ancient tragedy should be drawn. ("Ancient tragedy" being samurai infiltrates enemy, falls in love with enemy daughter, cannot escape in time to avoid the upcoming war, she dies as they try to make their break - pursued by both armies which he betrayed, he lives on, returns later to seek vengeance.)
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Re: Need help writing a girl's character background!

#11 Post by LVUER » Wed May 12, 2010 8:15 pm

@Applegate:
I kinda never deeply think about that. Thanks for the info ^_^
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Re: Need help writing a girl's character background!

#12 Post by FeatherThief » Thu May 13, 2010 8:39 pm

I think what applegate suggests should happen later in the story, I think Winter mentioned that already. Also the samurai part that winter mentioned and ignoring the more yakuza part makes the whole thing a bit colder. True the yakuza do make it a bit awkward so it might be better to go for the stereotypical old style family with rigid rules instead because you can combine the aspects of the hard lonely girl and get rid of the sticky yakuza parts.
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Re: Need help writing a girl's character background!

#13 Post by winternight119 » Fri May 14, 2010 7:10 pm

Thanks for the followup, FeatherThief. The story is pretty cold if you are just looking at the samurai aspect. That's why I needed a balance. I think the old style family with a rich father businessman/politician is an improvement, but what i have so far is him still dealing with yakuza, resulting in dire situations for the girl even though this time she is more badass. Anything bad happening to her character isn't sudden so she doesn't suddenly turn into a "damsel in distress."

It's improved thanks to your guys's opinions, however in my eyes something's still kind of off - perhaps because I wrote it. Perhaps because any yakuza involvement is, as Feather so well described it, "sticky."If anyone wants me to send them the plot to look at I'd be happy to do so, having someone else look at it would be great. And I don't want to post the whole thing here.
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Re: Need help writing a girl's character background!

#14 Post by FeatherThief » Sat May 15, 2010 12:02 am

No I agree something is off. If you could send me the plot I might be able to get a better idea, as looking at the title of the project something hit me though I am not sure yet what it is.
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