Post Reply Genius Characters
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15 / M / California
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Posted 9/13/16
So, I have been watching Alderamin on the Sky, and I have noticed a lot of people saying that they were getting tired of all the higher-ups being incompetent. They say that the author is just making Ikta look smart by making everyone around him look stupid. Ever since I was like six and had started reading the Artemis Fowl books, I've thought that to make a genius character, the author would have to be a genius himself. Now that may not necessarily be true, because of course the author has a very different perspective than the character in the story, and there are different ways to make characters seem smarter than they actually are. However, I don't think that is a bad thing, because I think that a genius has got to be one of the hardest character types to make.

Sorry for that wall of text

What are your guys' thoughts on the subject?
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Posted 9/13/16 , edited 9/13/16
The creator doesn't necessarily have to be a genius to make well-developed/enjoyable smart character. I do think that to prove the character is a genius, they need to at the very least be resourceful enough to form the "genius" character traits on or from someone who is one.
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24 / M / St.Louis - USA
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Posted 9/13/16
I think genius characters really shine when they have to out think some of equal or greater intelligence (ie other genius).
xxJing 
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Posted 9/13/16

SirBacon12 wrote:

So, I have been watching Alderamin on the Sky, and I have noticed a lot of people saying that they were getting tired of all the higher-ups being incompetent. They say that the author is just making Ikta look smart by making everyone around him look stupid. Ever since I was like six and had started reading the Artemis Fowl books, I've thought that to make a genius character, the author would have to be a genius himself. Now that may not necessarily be true, because of course the author has a very different perspective than the character in the story, and there are different ways to make characters seem smarter than they actually are. However, I don't think that is a bad thing, because I think that a genius has got to be one of the hardest character types to make.

Sorry for that wall of text

What are your guys' thoughts on the subject?


There are a few ways to make genius characters. The lazy way is to simply make every other character awful at everything so in comparison the main character looks like a genius.

The more interesting way is as was done in Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Code Geass, and Death Note. In these the main characters' had rivals who were almost as much of a genius as them, and then they were all far above relatively competent other people. So you basically had each side one-upping one another for the sake of suspense.

In other shows though, you have main characters one upping everyone for the sake of making the main characters shine.
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Posted 9/13/16
Still, I think it has got to be pretty dang hard to come up with the things that the characters "figure out" and to come up with their plans, if they are actually supposed to be the plans of a genius.
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Posted 9/14/16
If you're trying to make a realistic genius then it'd be hard unless you were also a subject matter expert. Although even then you can sidestep some stuff, like not putting pages of calculations into the story, simply have the genius work it out.

If you're not writing a real life story then you can make a genius relatively easily. As the writer, you're god. You create the world and any situation you want. Your genius has your all-complete knowledge so as long as you can have a relatively plausible reason for him to "know" something or "figure it out" then you're good to go.

Creative geniuses are especially easy, you show their genius by the reactions of the audience.

You can also show genius by their desire for challenge and boredom with "normal life".

It all depends on the situations you can create for your genius to shine in, there's no need to make the people around him stupid.

John threw his tablet up in the air and caught it "My Galaxy Note is such a piece of crap, it's so slow"
Martin caught it in mid-air "I'll sort it"
"You wrecked my last computer, and blew all the fuses in the house"
Martin's fingers moved over the screen, swiping, expanding, tapping "We were 10 and your house had crap wiring"
"So what are you doing to it?"
Martin stared at the tablet's screen "Rooting it" tap "Deleting the cruft" swipe, tap "Downloading the latest Linux Kernel" swipe, tap, tap "Installing Mint" tap "And you're done. One usable Galaxy Note"
"I'm going to take your word on that" John tapped the screen with a wince "Huh?" he smiled "Oh wow, it's so much faster"

Voila, genius programmer, coder, network engineer, sysadmin or hacker, whatever you want.
LokiLB 
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Posted 9/14/16

SirBacon12 wrote:

Still, I think it has got to be pretty dang hard to come up with the things that the characters "figure out" and to come up with their plans, if they are actually supposed to be the plans of a genius.


An example of how to do that that's commonly used in crime/mystery stories is the author has the solution and works backwards. If you know the answer, you can put the relevant clues for your Sherlock type character to find. You don't actually have to be a master of deductive reasoning. A similar approach could be used for a MacGyver type character.

If you want a military genius, you have all of recorded history to steal plans from.

The fact that the author isn't restricted to the amount of time and resources the genius character is makes it a lot easier to write a genius character. The author just has to be willing to do the relevant research. For example, the author of the webtoon Dr. Frost has a list of experts they consult for every chapter.

My favorite approach to a genius character is Ed Elric. He still has to work hard for the knowledge and skills he has, but they are clearly out of the norm.
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