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Kitten says, Top 10 most annoying character tropes

Journal Entry: Mon May 28, 2012, 5:36 AM


6) The Prodigy

What is it? : The Prodigy is a character that is basically faced with no struggle or obstacle. They can master anything or learn anything with ease, despite the limitations. During a battle they usually dodge attacks and pull deus ex machias, and it's all because the writer wants their character to be the powerhouse of the team.

Why is it a problem?: Hello kids, today we're going to talk about how to make a well balanced character! Prodigies are basically really badly written smart/powerful characters that remind you of that overachieving kid that used to beat everyone at everything in school- without trying- wait no...they can't because that person does not exist!

A prodigy character is a big issue because frankly, what's the point of making a story of someone who already learned and mastered everything? Not only that but in roleplay they come off as extremely annoying, always giving out  monologues and exposition from their books and being flawless in battle and giving out a bullshit explanation why they dodged a hyper beam to the face. You can argue that 'The Prodigy' is another type of godmodding, but unlike the previous trope a Prodigy like character is not based on actions but on the character itself. This character is very unbalanced and very annoying to read since we cannot relate to them.

Also concerning PMDE, these prodigy like characters like to excuse their powerlessness by adding a mere sentence of; 'They trained with Master Foo for four weeks and that's why they know this attack'. Or 'They read fifty books in four weeks so now they know exactly how to master this attack'. These sentences come out as very lazy excuses, and I personally find it more interesting if they show the character training ( showing their achievements and their failures). These excuses just makes the writer sound like they want to solely write a story to show how cool and capable their character is.

How to fix it: We shall start in how to write a physically powerful character. Firstly, you must keep in mind that being powerful in fighting requires A LOT of hard work. I've been in Tae-Kwon-Do for a lot of years and I mastered a simple looking spinning kick in that amount of time. You have to keep in mind that what you visualize in the brain takes a hell of a lot of practice to be fully realized (and what I mean by that is months or even years). While in your story you can tweak some things (since pokemon are fantastic creatures of wonder) you still need to SHOW (not tell) your character training and show a growth within themselves.

Another thing you could do is make the character old and explain their training in their back story. Or make this character powerful but undisciplined and unfocused so they don't win most of their battles (ex: Nimko). All in all, you MUST give an explanation why your character is this way and make us CARE.

Now on to smart characters, again this requires hard work and practice. It would also be extremely interesting (and in my opinion necessary) to make them really bad at something essential so another character can fill in the spot.  This will cause a balance in the team and everyone will have a chance to shine.

Another peeve of mine is that when a character reads something in a book and tries it only once and they become an instant master. Books do not work this way, they are only sources of information not formulas for you to master something. Mastering it is completely up to the person and their unique personality.

Also if you're going to make a smart character, please try to only make them an expert in a few things (and explain why they are so keen on this subject). Don't cherry pick what your character knows for the sake of convenience, pick traits that make SENSE to them as a person.



So what are your experiences concerning this trope?

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:iconfeythnin:
Feythnin Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm a second-degree black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do and it took me ages to perfect my flying sidekick. I hurt myself so many times, so I hate it when people say "they just read a book" too.
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:iconxmintea:
xMintea Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2012
I love these journals you do it makes me want to make a new oc and just go wild with all the knowledge i've learned!

These are incredible resources i think everyone should know!

i think someone should show lovelysue or saraeshigeru these...
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:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Hhahaha thank you! I'm glad they help you :3
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:iconxmintea:
xMintea Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2012
It really is helpful! i think you should post these in OC groups so people can read them and learn ~
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:iconlack-rat:
Lack-Rat Featured By Owner May 29, 2012
This kind of reminds me of the character Monkey D. Luffy from the anime "one piece"
Basically he's an amazing fighter who can beat almost anyone, but his fighting skills are offset by his ridiculous stupidity.
He's so stupid that he has no other skills at all, so he has to rely on the other characters for help.
I remember at one point in the story a villain he's fighting mocks him for having friends and Luffy actually points this out to him, admitting that he wouldn't be able to do anything without his friends help.
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:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Hahhaha I love Monkey D Luffy :) And yes, that's a really good point you brought up!
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:iconlyndsey96:
lyndsey96 Featured By Owner May 28, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
AHHH I'm so addicted to these journals now~
Reply
:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner May 28, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I'm really glad you're enjoying them! ;-;
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:iconlyndsey96:
lyndsey96 Featured By Owner May 28, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hehe no problem! They're awesome.
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:iconzinkiedoodle:
ZinkieDoodle Featured By Owner May 28, 2012  Student General Artist
These character trope things you're doing are magnificent. I agree with a lot of the things you put up there. This is really helpful too to me to help fix things in my current and future characters. I'm really glad you're doing these.
Reply
:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner May 28, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Wow thank you Zinkie! :hug: I'm really glad you're enjoying them!
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:icontherandomwho:
TheRandomWho Featured By Owner May 28, 2012  Hobbyist
You got your point there. It's much more interesting to see how the character becomes stronger, with ups and downs of course.

And my TaekWonDo belt is blue, but my tehcniques 'suck', like my teacher said. He's still impressed how I learn so fast and my kicks and punches are powerful, but just the tehcniques suck. That's how it's balanced, and I usually use this as and example when I do my own character, reminding myself, I'm not perfect, so neither should they be.

These things really help a lot, when wanting to make a convinxing character. Thanks for making these~
Reply
:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner May 28, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Your very welcome :) I was a blue point red belt but then I had to quit :(
Reply
:icontherandomwho:
TheRandomWho Featured By Owner May 28, 2012  Hobbyist
Aww, why? Our teacher gives us belts way too easily. I hardly got any positive points in my test. I would've rather passed well and get the belt. It feels... stupid to get the belt from pity.
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:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner May 28, 2012  Student Digital Artist
it was money issues mostly D: I couldn't afford more classes ._.
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:icontherandomwho:
TheRandomWho Featured By Owner May 28, 2012  Hobbyist
D: Too bad. I only have to pay 100 euros year.
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:icontokiball12345:
Tokiball12345 Featured By Owner May 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Interesting....
Nice way to develop a character, instead of just cramming everything at one time. lD

To be honest, I've probably never met/or don't remember meeting this trope.
I'm that slow, orz
Reply
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