Fantasy novels -unusual characters - advice/opinions wanted

Not sure if you're on the right track? Post anything from character descriptions, snippets of text, or even whole chapters to get some advice.

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Caitlin
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Fantasy novels -unusual characters - advice/opinions wanted

Post by Caitlin »

Well, I have a simple but mainly loaded question. I have a story that I am going to be writing from the point of view of a non-human character that isn't well-defined. They are, but not really.

One of my chapters is going to written from the P.O.V. of a goblin, and now, this goblin isn't going to be attacking anyone.

When he was a young goblin, he was found by the late King of a King and raised. ... He's now 91 years old, and an adult in his species age. The problem is that I want to have a goblish culture without making them mindless monsters. But I'm not a goblin, but human, so how do you put yourself in the mindset of a goblin or any other non-human characters.

Dwarves are easy, elves are extremely easy because of my religious views, but others such as trolls, goblins, and etc are not as easy.

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Luthien Rogue
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Post by Luthien Rogue »

1. Music. Try some artists' sites, such as Nivbed, which have some really good fantasy music that's non-intrusive. Find one that suits the character and/or scene.

2. It sounds like he was raised amongst humans? Then certainly he would act much the same? But you, being the writer, would know your character better. ;) Try making a list of questions, like this, to get a better understanding of his personality:

    What is the first thing he thinks about when he wakes up?
    When he looks in the mirror, what is the first thing he notices?
    Would he die for his friend?
    If he saw someone dying, what would he do?
    What three things does he like to do most?
    What three things does he hate to do?


3. Worry about his style of speech last; first and foremost, you want the scene to make sense and to provide necessary information; you can stylize it later. Add some personality quirks here--some personality-influenced observations there... ;)

Good luck. :)

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SchoolTheOld
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Post by SchoolTheOld »

That sounds like good advice to me, Luthien.

Try to run through a normal day with your character. How does he see things? If he's not a normal goblin, it's up to you to make your readers see him as unique, and break the stereotype, not necessarily in style of speech, but in action. Does he walk like a human, or does he goblin along like the rest of his race?

If he's 91, that makes his adoptive human dead? Who is he staying with now? How much is his instinct to be something that he isn't involved?

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Jack Sarratt
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Fantasy novels -unusual characters - advice/opinions wanted

Post by Jack Sarratt »

Hey Caitlin, I understand your problem. My characters aren't always human either. Keep in mind that most people view goblins as monsters. While this isn't true, goblins, trolls, and other such creatures are usually war-like. Many are organized in tribes, with rank being established by battle or rites of passage. For many goblin characters, pride or honor are necessary. Bear with the fact that even though they aren't mindless, they are still ruthless. Your goblin, being raised among humanity, will be less barbaric and outright violent than other members of his species, but such behavior traits are inherent to any goblin's nature.
People say to not judge a book by its cover, but first make sure you picked the right title.

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Luthien Rogue
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Post by Luthien Rogue »

but such behavior traits are inherent to any goblin's nature.


Except they are fictional creatures, thus they can behave in any way the author wishes. All creatures have unique personalities... even animals. Just because it's a tiger doesn't mean it's going to be vicious; just because it's a puppy doesn't mean it's going to be sweet and cuddly. A creature like a goblin entering a situation such as the one Caitlin described could respond in any way: it could accept the situation and adjust well, learning to behave like a human; it could accept the situation but still have goblin-like tendencies, making him seem awkward amongst humans; it could respond with hatred toward humans for taking it away from its own kind. It's up to Caitlin to decide. :)

Whatever you decide, Caitlin, I do agree with SchoolTheOld's advice on running through a normal day with your character; this will help you get to know the character better and understand how he reacts in common situations. :)

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aldan
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Post by aldan »

One thing that you all may be misreading is that the goblin was raised by humans. What she said was it was the King of a King (perhaps she meant the son/daughter of a Goblin King? Hopefully she'll enlighten us!) that raised it.

In any case, the way that I look at how to figure these things out is to look at what sort of society it is in, what the society does for food (is it a hunter/gatherer society (which is what I picture for Gobs, myself) or more of an agrarian society? What sort of religion do they have, and are Goblins in general a very devoutly religious race, and if so, why? Why would a Goblin king or the child of a Goblin king take in a young Goblin, when Goblins are very prolific? I'm sure there would be lots of orphaned Gobs due to their weakness as a race. What are the Goblin families like? I picture that they'd have lots and lots of children, since they are generally a weak race, easily slain. What are the differences, culturally, and physically, between male and female Goblins? That one can be huge for coming up with something for a racial background, since things like "machismo" in the Spanish culture has for centuries been quite pronounced in the whole way that the two sexes are treated and how they act, although that has changed over time.

Goblins are often looked upon as being rather fearful, but are smart enough to set traps by using such reactions to draw enemies after them so as to get them surrounded by other Goblins. They would likely look upon themselves as being a rather smart race, because of their cleverness and abilities to trick, though they'd likely not really be very smart (only clever) at all, generally not having much ability to read or write. Next, how do they become an adult? Do they get trained as warriors, and if so, how are the accomplished ones (talented ones) recognized and then treated? These should give you some ideas for questions to ask yourself concerning pretty much any unusual race. Good Luck!!
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and to appear stupid than
to open it and remove all doubt."
---Mark Twain

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SchoolTheOld
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Post by SchoolTheOld »

Too true, Aldran.

I just assumed that because she mentioned that he was a foundling, he was found by a race other than his own (generic assumption, humans).

I apologize. ;)

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Post by Havoc »

I recently read a book that was written from the point of view of an Orcish warband. Though Orcs are warlike and brutish people that rather act then speak in this novel you do get to 'live' and sympathize with these Orcs. I found that in this novel, everything was written from their point of view. Everything. So humans weren't good, no. The Orcs were the one that are living the right life and the humans, new to the world as they are, are destroying the natural environment and must be stopped. Wars aren't that bad, using natural supplies with no end in sight is.

Same should go for your gobbo's, if your reader isn't convinced that the goblin society is the only right one for them, then you're missing the point. Even if the Goblin is raised in a different culture, some of the goblin society should still be reflected in him. For instance, he might be shy and quick to hide when in danger, as would be the rest of his race. His ideas however spring forth mainly from the culture in which he was raised.
It's the pacing mate.... PACING!!!

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Post by Bread Butterbeard »

I would have to agree with aldan, but prehaps you should try to write him as though you would a human character adding a few "flaws" along the way that hint at him being a goblin.

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