Easiest/Hardest charecters to write?

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Roses for Ophelia
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Easiest/Hardest charecters to write?

Postby Roses for Ophelia » Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:14 am

Just for fun and out of curiosity; which charecters do you find it easiest to write, and which hardest?

Personally, Enjolras and Grantaire both fascinate me, so i find it easy to write for both of them, plus writing for Grantaire is a great excuse to dip into my obsession with classical mythology! I was initially terrified of Courfeyrac ( since he has such a huge fan club!) but Jehan just flies from my keyboard! And Éponine, of course, is always fun, because her thoughts are naturally so disconnected and strange, as long as she's a little nutty she makes sense. I can't quite fingure out Joly, Bossuet and Bahorel, so i havn't put them in the center of any of my fics, and Feuilly is just beginning to form. I'm working on something with Marius and Cosette, so we'll see how that turns out!

(silly shout out: Mlle. Patria has an awesome Marius. Just saying, since Marius does not get enough love in fic. Though god knows it's hard not to want to strangle him!)
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Aurelia Combeferre
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Re: Easiest/Hardest charecters to write?

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:22 pm

Javert for me is the hardest to write. Hands down. It's mainly because so many people have written him as having a sort of monomania, and I don't want to fall into that trap. Besides, I find Javert the character I have the most difficulty sympathizing with. I also find it difficult to write M. Thenardier and Mme. Thenardier. It's sometimes tempting to reduce those two to caricatures, more so in M. Thenardier's case.

As for easiest to write: like you, I find Enjolras and Combeferre easy to write since they are intriguing characters. Those two boys remind me a great deal of some of my friends in socio-civic settings I've been in. The only disadvantage of writing Enjolras and Combeferre is having to actually *read* Rousseau, medical trivia, histories on the French Revolution, and other assorted research materials.

Other characters I find easy to write about are Cosette, Marius, and Éponine. I understand where Cosette and Marius are coming from (having grown up in convent school and in conservative circles). As for Éponine, let's just say that I find her an interesting study and as a character I could relate to in other aspects besides unrequited love.
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Re: Easiest/Hardest charecters to write?

Postby Ulkis » Wed Jun 09, 2010 6:18 pm

I also find it difficult to write M. Thenardier and Mme. Thenardier. It's sometimes tempting to reduce those two to caricatures, more so in M. Thenardier's case.


But they are pretty much evil. Maybe Madame has the love of her daughters to redeem her a tad, but not Thenardier. I think as long as neither of them tie anyone to a train track and twirl their mustache, they'll be written fine.

Other characters I find easy to write about are Cosette, Marius, and Éponine.


If I wrote Les Misérables fic I think I'd find these three the easiest as well. And maybe Gillenormand and Gavroche.

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Re: Easiest/Hardest charecters to write?

Postby Mlle Patria » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:05 am

dI haven't really tried to write any characters other than Les Amis, but out of those I find Courfeyrac, Combeferre and Jehan the easiest to write. That's probably because they have some personality traits that are really easy to latch onto, such as Courfeyrac being the flirt and somtimes the trouble-maker, Combeferre being the voice of reason, and Jehan being timid and overdramatic.

The two Amis that I find hardest to write are Grantaire and Enjolras. I adore writing Enjolras, but I fear that I sometimes overthink his dialogue. I stare at my computer screen for ages trying to find the perfect balance between the human and the symbol (because he really is a symbol in a way). Unfortunately, I'm yet to find that balance.

I have a bit of trouble with Grantaire because I want him to talk in classical allusions, like he does in the book, but it's been quite some time since I've been on a mythology kick, so I have to go back and research it all.

@Roses for Ophelia, I'm very flattered that you like my Marius that much. Sometimes I want to strangle Marius too. Some of the things he does are so idiotic. Although I have my moments of Marius bashing (I mean really, you had no idea she loved you? She only followed you around 24/7) I end up forgiving him for the stupid stuff because he doesn't know any better. He's really just that naive, although if Courfeyrac would have lived longer, I'm sure he could have fixed that. :wink: He really is under loved.
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Re: Easiest/Hardest charecters to write?

Postby a_marguerite » Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:54 am

Oh, interesting thread! I cannot write Enjolras's POV- he's tricky enough to write when others observe him, and there's a lack of self-consciousness that I think would make it difficult to turn his POV into a narrative voice. Courfeyrac, Joly, Bossuet and Jehan are the easiest for me to write because I associate them the most with the Romantic movement (well Joly I tend to associate with Voltaire, but I'm very keen on Voltaire!) and because they're the ones doing ridiculous things. And, admittedly, my fics are pretty much Amis-doing-ridiculous-things.

I don't even know how to tackle Grantaire- I'm not well-educated enough to write one of his rambles, and I'm not entirely sure how I would go about writing something from Javert's POV. He's a fascinating character, but again one who I think would be too matter-of-fact to mesh easily with my writing stule.

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Re: Easiest/Hardest charecters to write?

Postby Col.Despard » Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:50 am

The easiest and most difficult characters I find to write are the two I love the most - Enjolras I find the most difficult, and Courfeyrac the easiest.

We have a desire to ground these figures in realism (as we understand it). As Hugo gives us enough potential biographical holes to fill in around his suggestions and statements regarding their personal histories and characters, this usually works providing the author has done their period research and has a reasonable grasp of characterisation...I can buy differently nuanced Prouvaires, for example, even if I prefer some to others.

Enjolras is different. I became involved in a political party before I was old enough to vote, worked actively in student politics throughout my final years of highschool and university, and my first job was as a political adviser. My current job still involves a good deal of work in this area, albeit from the perspective of a public servant in the arts community. I've known many young, passionate, charismatic individuals (some of whom have gone on to serve as MPs and even ministers in state and federal government). I've known variations on most of the ABC boys - several Courfeyracs, some Combeferres, Bahorels, Prouvaires etc. Not exact approximations, but enough to recognise them. I've never met an Enjolras - not in person, and not in any of the eras I've studied. De Valera doesn't work (even with his adherence to abstract ideas combined with more than a passing knowledge of real politick), any more than Michael Collins or Wolfe Tone or any of the pantheon of French revolutionary figures. There are elements there, yes, but none of them come close to Enjolras as Hugo writes him.

I can accept a well written Enjolrai firmly grounded as a character in a physical world and specific time period, but they do seem to largely exist as distinct from the character Hugo created. As for trying to climb inside his head...nope, I can't do it. I'll eventually re-write the few first person POV stuff I've done with him, and am dreading tackling some upcoming first person POV, even thought I have the outlines there. I can write charismatic, passionate leader (whether I do so successfully is up to others to determine!), I can try to tackle personal reserve, I can attempt lofty abstraction coupled with hard-headed realism, but I can't come close to what I love in Hugo's Enjolras. He exists so thoroughly in the realm of the ideal and symbolic...but as Marianne brought up in some of our meta discussion in Paris (and I wish I could recall her exact phrasing), he has feet just barely, barely touching the ground and linking him to the world his friends occupy.

I think you phrase the difficulties of writing him as a narrative voice perfectly, Marguerite. There are dangers in him drifting too far into the mundane (or, as in some specific instances I can think of, in a hostile writer turning him into a petty martinet who exists solely behind a facade of his own construction...something that jars in a very grating way with the Enjolras of the Brick). He is far easier to deal with from an observer's POV, as then the observer - usually one of his friends - can have moments of comprehension and insight (as his friends do, e.g. in the compassion with which Combeferre and Prouvaire regard him when he executes Le Cabuc), but can also acknowledge those moments when he seems obscure to us, his thought processes opaque (sometimes because he is thinking so far ahead of his colleagues, even in a practical sense).

Courfeyrac, on the other hand, I find a delight to write. Hugo is so right - he is a breed. I've known Courfeyracs, delighted in their company, and find their combination of warm generousity, occasional earthiness and passionate idealism that can surprise those who don't read their joie de vivre correctly and think it precludes serious thought and feeling.
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Re: Easiest/Hardest charecters to write?

Postby collectingbees » Tue Jun 15, 2010 6:08 am

Courfeyrac and Grantaire are the easiest for me, because I am best friends with two people whom I am modeling mine after. Crazy, nonsensical, uppity and Perpetually Up To No Good. Unfortunately, I've had to forgo giving Grantaire epic monologues, or give him anything outside of being a drunk/ obnoxious roommate.

I don't even know where to start with Enjolras, other than to make cheeky and playful jabs at him (as with the Mizzies Play Castle Risk picture).

My biggest problem is with Montparnasse. For most it is temping to make him a complete sociopath sadist, but for me, I have a hard time making him not be too soft. I want him to be likable, rather stuff at times, and suave and all that, but being capable of having soft moments. For crying out loud, he risked everyone's neck to save the useless Thenardier in the pouring rain, so he can't be all that monstrous. Certainly not any more brutal than any other 19th century guy, despite being a desperado, probably was pretty good to his friends?

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Re: Easiest/Hardest charecters to write?

Postby MmeBahorel » Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:54 am

Bees: I totally agree about Parnasse. He's rather like Enjolras, in that Hugo's description of him doesn't mesh easily with his actions. Hugo tries to describe Parnasse as this horrid, unrepetant, mass murderer, but then he has him risking everyone's neck to save useless Thenardier and (contrary to some streaks of fandom) even bothers to warn Éponine at the rue Plumet that he has a knife open so she won't cut herself in the dark. (kinda kills the bloodplay in some ways, doesn't it?) Managing the balance between the much more decent guy the plot shows and the sociopath of narrative isn't easy, and I do think there was more honour among thieves than Hugo or Vidocq would suggest. Because I think Parnasse tends to show it. (also, we never actually see him kill anyone, which takes some of the wind out of the narrative sails. Enjolras is scarier, in terms of actions, than Parnasse. Only one of them got pwned by Valjean, after all.)
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Re: Easiest/Hardest charecters to write?

Postby collectingbees » Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:12 am

MmeBahorel wrote:Bees: I totally agree about Parnasse. He's rather like Enjolras, in that Hugo's description of him doesn't mesh easily with his actions. Hugo tries to describe Parnasse as this horrid, unrepetant, mass murderer, but then he has him risking everyone's neck to save useless Thenardier and (contrary to some streaks of fandom) even bothers to warn Éponine at the rue Plumet that he has a knife open so she won't cut herself in the dark. (kinda kills the bloodplay in some ways, doesn't it?) Managing the balance between the much more decent guy the plot shows and the sociopath of narrative isn't easy, and I do think there was more honour among thieves than Hugo or Vidocq would suggest. Because I think Parnasse tends to show it. (also, we never actually see him kill anyone, which takes some of the wind out of the narrative sails. Enjolras is scarier, in terms of actions, than Parnasse. Only one of them got pwned by Valjean, after all.)


To add onto the fact that we never see him kill anyone, in addition to he gettin' his butt kicked by Valjean, Gavroche picks his pocket with ease. He also gives Gavroche quite a bit of attention. Maybe not so much attention as allowing him to tag along with him, which also seems out of character for a cold-blooded killer. So much for being an outright monster. Even when he Parnasse brags that he would have cut or hit Éponine after the rue Plumet fiasco, Babet scolds him/ shoots him down that he "doesn't hit/ touch women." (that bit about the him warning her about his knife dispels that) I want to show that he's not that bad of a guy, but still a criminal.

I am much more afraid of Enjolras than Montparnasse.

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Re: Easiest/Hardest charecters to write?

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:08 am

collectingbees wrote:
To add onto the fact that we never see him kill anyone, in addition to he gettin' his butt kicked by Valjean, Gavroche picks his pocket with ease. He also gives Gavroche quite a bit of attention. Maybe not so much attention as allowing him to tag along with him, which also seems out of character for a cold-blooded killer. So much for being an outright monster. Even when he Parnasse brags that he would have cut or hit Éponine after the rue Plumet fiasco, Babet scolds him/ shoots him down that he "doesn't hit/ touch women." (that bit about the him warning her about his knife dispels that) I want to show that he's not that bad of a guy, but still a criminal.

I am much more afraid of Enjolras than Montparnasse.


Oh Enjolras is *much* scarier in his own way (talk about added complexity). Ironic isn't it that the charmer of the shadows doesn't get to kill anyone, while the revolutionary who is supposed to be working towards the light is the one with a high body count at the end?

We really should see more scary Enjolras in fanfic sometimes. As in *majestic* scary, not bloodthirsty, friendless bastard scary, like in some fics I've read.
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Re: Easiest/Hardest charecters to write?

Postby MmeFeuilly » Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:24 pm

I'm not sure if I really find a character "easy" to write, although, I probably write Combeferre with the least amount of difficulty (Meaning I only have to revise five or six times).
Most difficult? Maybe Enjolras, so usually when he's in a scene in my stories, so is Combeferre, so I just focus on the latter. Although, Marius would probably have me strangle him before I was done the first few paragraphs, so he wouldn't be easy to write either.
Even so, since I've started to look upon the characters more as Ideals than as characters, it's made writing them harder.
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Re: Easiest/Hardest charecters to write?

Postby geminimimi » Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:50 pm

Easiest: 'Ponine! Maybe it's because I love her to death and obsessively re-read every scene she pops in in the brick but I feel I just get her. Not to say that we're SO alike. I haven't experienced poverty or any of the harsh conditions she's been through, but some aspects of our personalities are similar. I usually get her as my result in Les Mis personality quizzes. I think seconds would be Cosette and Marius, because they don't have that complicated personalities (that's not a bad thing). They're easier to decipher, and I can't count the number of times Marius has been accused of being a Gary Stu...

Hardest for me would probably be any of the Les Amis. I'm not as familiar with them as a lot of people are so it's harder for me to capture their voices and essences. But everyday I'm learning! :P
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Re: Easiest/Hardest charecters to write?

Postby Rowerrunner » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:04 am

I have little experience writing characters other than Montparnasse, so I'll just stick to him for this post. I do mostly roleplay, so keep that in mind I guess?

I try to write Montparnasse as kind of a multi-faceted person. He's a skilled murderer- bloodthirsty, fairly careful for a 19-year-old, and all that. Killing is his life. It's how he gets most of his pleasure (the rest comes from women and fancy clothing). He lusts for the kill, and does it without abandon. Sometimes he'll just be wickedly grinning after a kill, and it helps to relieve his stress.

On the other hand, he isn't too bad of a guy, when he's not murdering some bourgeois in an alley. His whole gig is being a gentleman. Though it's extremely contrived, he's attached to that. This means that he would never hit a woman, doesn't use Argot, etc. I ship Éponine/Montparnasse, so in their relationship, I see it as being a bit like 19th century friends with benefits. He uses her and manipulates her, doesn't hesitate to verbally abuse her by putting her down, but would never physically hurt her. He legitimately cares about her and I imagine him as being extremely damaged by her loss when she dies at the barricade.

So I guess, in all, I like to write Montparnasse as being a complete sadist when he's murdering people (in one roleplay he would leave his mark at a murder by carving his name into the victim's flesh, just for kicks). He's also fairly aloof and sarcastic at times. He's commanding and bloodthirsty, and while he doesn't treat Éponine well, he wouldn't outright abuse her, only emotionally manipulate her. I find him very fun to write, and in fact I find the likes of the Amis much harder to write.

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Re: Easiest/Hardest charecters to write?

Postby freedomlover » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:30 pm

Enjolras is hands down the easiest character for me to write.

Grantaire on the other hand, is harder. I think I pulled him off though... I hope.
Montparsse sounds the hardest- but I have not tried him yet.
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Re: Easiest/Hardest charecters to write?

Postby Gervais » Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:39 am

I find Bahorel strangely easy to write out of the ones I've done so far, and I'm getting the hang of Prouvaire. I have decent ideas of Marius and Cosette, though from the crack/fluff lens more than the Serious Fic lens. I'm kind of avoiding Enjolras at the moment, to be honest, and my Combeferre isn't that great.
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