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Character Struggles & Creative Despair

Alice

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Hey guys,
so this is me basically calling out for your help and creativity because I've been over this a million times and just can't figure it out. This thread will pose two questions I'd love for any of you even vaguely interested to please please offer some insight on. I'd really appreciate it if you'd let me know your thoughts.

Content
As some of you may know, I am pretty much obsessed with Oscar Wilde and anything he's ever created (minus his kids, that is). Now, obviously, one of his most iconic characters is likely to be familiar to many of you in some form: Dorian Gray.
Here's the deal: I've wanted to play the lad for legit years, but every time I start thinking on it, there are two problems that come up that I simply cannot find truly satisfying answers to. These problems are as follows:​

Dilemma 1 (Minor): Canon
This is the less relevant problem here, and one much easier to solve, but I would like to inquire about people's general preference here just to have somewhat of an overview on how you guys feel about this.
Dorian Gray exists in many versions and ages and representations. Now, I am mainly familiar with 3 of them (4 if you count Chilling Adventures of Sabrina but that one's much less likely to be happening at all, sorry, though I may consider it if you guys happen to be crazy over this one in particular for some reason). Obviously, if I'd wind up writing him, I'd have to decide on a canon version of him.
I am too lazy to add pictures, bare with me.

Option 1: Oscar Wilde's 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' -
the one and only original! That's right. This blond, narcissistic, wealthy, idiot brat of a lad is Oscar Wilde's very own creation. Whiny, self-obsessed, easily impressionable, and quite wicked, this young man is the Victorian London aristocratic youth we all know and love (and love to loathe, I guess). Beautiful and charming, he goes about life taking all he desires and never suffering the consequences. Intrigued by drama and sin, this once pure and innocent boy has chosen the wrong company and found himself chasing life's cruelest and most immoral pleasures.
Of course, just like all his counterparts, he is immortal, forever youthful, and has his soul trapped in a painting that suffers his decay in his stead.

Canon Point: Now, I'd likely take this stupid boi from the part in the story when he first discovers that his painting bears the traces of all his cruelty and age, and he is suddenly unbearably tempted by the idea to make use of that. As such, he would be on the verge to his moral collapse, tempted by sinful pleasures but still showing traces of fearful awareness for just what this whole sitution means. This allows the opportunity to have him steer either way, really, and dip into both cruel and kind directions depending on whom he'd come to get close with.

Appearance: In the original, Dorian's curly-blond and blue-eyed. A young man 20 years of age at this time in the story, with a soft blush to his cheeks and an irresistible charm of innocence to him. He's pale-skinned, wealthy, and of exquisite taste. A devil-to-be in disguise of an angel.


Option 2: Penny Dreadful; (Reeve Carney) -
A much different, much more mature version of the original, this one is also played by Reeve Carney many years older than the blond lad from the novel, and long since comfortable with his own wicked nature. The painting is a steady part of his existence now, and he revels in its decay in his stead.
Charming, smooth talker, and still very much young and handsome, this Dorian is still a narcissistic criminal but no longer is there any trace of an impatient, whiny brat. Instead, he's a man of culture and class, quite mysterious and poetic, and very much always on the lookout for new exciting sensations.
He's tried drugs and sex and murder, and he fears nothing but an eternity in boredom. He will not be swayed to turn to kindness and innocence again, and the presence of his soul's decay in a hidden painting doesn't bother or scare him anymore, and it hasn't in a long time.
He's intelligent, eloquent, charming, and always an interesting conversational partner - but also manipulative and dangerous, for he may have already planted an idea in your head and you will never have noticed.

Canon Point: Since I haven't watched the show in a while, I'd probably take him from the beginning as I don't remember the later seasons as precisely as the first one. Perhaps I'd take him from around the time he meets Vanessa in the botanical garden or something along those lines. He's a bit less of a mad, cruel beast at this point; not yet as entirely absorbed in his thirst for control, connection and superiority as he is in later seasons.
Though I can definitely also see appeal in taking him from much later, when he's already teamed up with Lily/Brona.

Appearance: Well since he's immortal and unageing, he's still assumed to be around his early 20s, but - as in most his media versions - he's dark haired and dark-eyed in this one. Still slim and handsome though, but much less on the innocent side. Rather he makes his best attempt at appearing ~mysterious~ and elegant; the kind of person one would be curious to talk to upon sight


Option 3: Dorian Gray (2009); (Ben Barnes) -
It's been ages since I've watched this movie but I wouldn't mind rewatching it I guess. I can't say much about it because I frankly don't remember much, but I believe it stuck close enough to Wilde's original.
Again this Dorian is dark-haired and dark-eyed, though somewhat more youthful and innocent looking than his Penny Dreadful counterpart. He's one hekkin' pretty boi with a clearly vicious streak who may be handsome but doesn't quite sell the "innocent-angel" part as well.
Stylish, charming, selfish and ever-curious, he still very much falls into the general character layout of Dorian Gray as we know him.
I'd really have to rewatch the movie to decide on a canon point but I assume I'd also stick somewhat closer to the beginning.


Option 4: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina; (Jedidiah Goodacre) -
The latest season of this show was a fucking mess if you ask me, and while the show itself is entertaining enough, I don't care for it too much. However, Dorian continues to be an interesting enough character, though in this version he's unsurprsingly even further from the original.
He still has a corrupted portrait but that's about it. He's probably pretty old though I believe they never tell just how old. He is the owner of a gentleman's club for warlocks, and is fond of sin, class, entertainment and beauty. He's, as his other versions, a skilled keeper of secrets and possibly has a thing for Satan himself.
In this version he himself is a warlock - but, true to the original, he remains blond and bright-eyed, and somewhat of an unbearable brat.
No clue on canon-points, I'd probably have to skim through the show again for that, but once more likely from somewhere towards the beginning since I started liking the show less and less with its further seasons.


Now then, we continue on to:

Dilemma 2 (Major): Plot
This one is really the main issue here, and if you only read one part of this whole thing, this is the one.
This is what has prevented me from writing Dorian all those years ago, and what has continued preventing me to this day. But I am dearly hoping it is not something that can't be fixed.
To put it plainly: I have no idea what to do with him.
Yup, it's this plain and this horrible. I have absolutely no damn clue what I would do with him, any of his versions, in Pandora. Of course, he'd continue indulging in whatever pleasurable thing he can get his hands on, and he'd continue trying to meet and converse with interesting people to try and ruin them, but .. none of this seems like enough of a driving point to actually risk it.
He's a character I adore to bits, his aesthetic is outrageously appealing, but most of his conflict and story takes place within himself, which makes it rather difficult to try and find a plotline for him to follow in Pandora.
I've briefly considered apping him on Reverie instead for those of you familiar with the forum, but making him a champion seems really unfitting, too, though at the very least that'd give him purpose, I assume (and he could always abuse the missions/quests for his own wicked interests? maybe???)​

Conclusion
Basically, I'd love some advice from you. Any advice, really.
I'd love to hear which version you'd prefer, too, but if you don't care about that at all, then that's fine.
However, I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on possible storylines or plots or even brainstorms that you believe might work and be worthwhile enough to steer this character towards - be it random ideas for certain developments you believe might work well for him, or your own character(s) whom you think could be interested in a guy like him and provide some purpose/plot for him revolving around said character(s). Or just your advice on coming up with plots, whether it's necessary in the first place, or whether you think it's a waste of time to app a character I have no development ideas for at all.
I'll take anything, really.​


I apologize for the ridiculously long text, but you all know I suck at keeping things short (my apologies). I'd really really appreciate your thoughts on this, as vague or as specific as they come - really anything that comes to your mind regarding this pile of sentences I've just thrown your way.
It's really quite late here and I'm super tired, so I also apologize for how messy this likely is.
Thanks so much for your time, guys <3​
 

Steel

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Hey, Alice! Muse struggles like this can be quite a hassle for sure, but the character of Dorian Gray always fascinated me, so I wanted to offer my two cents.

Personally, I think the Dorians I’d like to see would be either the Penny Dreadful or the Ben Barnes ones. Like you said, the Ben Barnes one sticks closest to the original without Dorian being too “whiny” but of course still being “bratty” like the original, if memory serves me? And the Penny Dreadful one has that aura of mystery and seduction to him, which sounds like it would be fun to play around with. Idk anything about the Sabrina show, so I have no opinion on that version of him.

As far as plotting is concerned, I don’t think having a very solid plan matters in the short term? I chose most of my characters just because I liked them, and plots and development occurred along the way. While I agree it’s good to have a rough idea in mind for how a character starts out, my suggestion would be to wait and see how Dorian meshes with people and gets a feel for things, and then work on developing more long-term things with him.

Of course, this would all depend on which version of Dorian you took. If you took him from early on, you could have him try to worm into the good graces of those who could provide him with the thrills he seeks, or even interact with people who’d be more likely to try to steer him back on track? Or, if you want to choose a more mature, self-assured and manipulative version of Dorian, he could even grow to become a major player in the criminal underground, seeking any way to cure himself of his boredom.

At the end of the day, I think it it all depends on what you want to get out of writing Dorian. Do you want to play around with his moral dilemmas? Do you want to play around with him manipulating people? While both are facets of the same character, I feel they’d be very different based on that criteria alone. Do you want to write him younger, more naive and teetering on the edge of swaying either way? Do you want to write him already confident and self-assured and set in his ways?

What would you enjoy writing more?

I hope some of this helped! <3
 

Jace

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i just wanna start by saying i totally feel this struggle, i've had the same issues with a lot of characters i've loved in the past but genuinely, echoing what steel said, sometimes all it takes is your passion for a character to keep plots going! not always, ofc, but a lot of the time they'll find a way as you go so don't worry too much about that, i know i for sure would love to write w a dorian because he's an interesting character that i think could mesh well with some of my characters

i personally love the penny dreadful version of him because reeve is Very Good with that role, but agreeing with steel yet again, the ben barnes version would also be really interesting to see in pandora. steel honestly worded everything far better than i could've, but i just wanted to throw in my support and let you know that no matter what choice you end up making, i hope it's one you enjoy and i'm sure you'll do amazing things with him <3
 

GhostOfHalloweenPast

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heya! :3
I too would like to add some cents to this, especially on the whole not knowing what to do with a character but wanting to write them dilemma.

usually, when I app characters, I too prefer to have at least some idea of what I want to do with them, if only so it's less likely for me to realize I shouldn't have picked them up in the first place bc now I have no plots to write. but not all characters I app, I app bc of plot reasons. I have a thing for picking up muses (at times) bc of certain characters I'm longing to write them against. in fact, Raphael, Max, Alice, Margo (and Vlad now) all ended up here bc of other characters already on the site that I wanted to write them with. mostly canonmates in all fairness, bc that's always a lot of fun, but not always just bc of those. I do end up dropping characters, usually, not bc of a lack of plots, but bc of a lack of characters to write them with - and no, that's not the same or innately linked akldfg.

what I'm trying to say, is that maybe it'd help to look around the forum and see which characters are currently there and maybe you get super inspired! if anything, they might provide a stepping stone to a plot that can carry Dorian even without necessarily sticking to writing with the same characters?

I also wanted to add that I'd adore writing Vlad against him, bc of the sheer amount of years Vlad's existed at the point in time I'm taking him from, and the contrasting differences between him having to choose immortality to save his wife and son and country and seeing that it was worth it but didn't turn out like he's initially planned to - and Dorian choosing it out of naivety, then temptation / curiosity, then indulgence / bc he's gotten a taste of it (if my memory serves me right, pls correct me if not); and how they chose to use their obtained eternal youth. if you're interested in that. ^^ and like. vampirism sounds like something to me that he hasn't tried yet, idk.

I technically only watched the 2009 movie (and started reading the original), so that's all I can give my opinions on, and I quite liked Ben Barnes in that role as far as I can remember (I was 14, in all fairness, so that doesn't necessarily have to mean a lot. but still something. akldslkgfh. you get the point.) can I also point to Jakub Gierszał as a possible faceclaim, if you'd rather go for the blond/blue-eyed types that seem quite innocent but can also, like, not be?

either way, I wish you good luck with this! :3 I'd love to read you write him.
 
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Alice

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I MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE KIND OF FORGOTTEN ABOUT THIS
Oops. forgive me pls.
BUT

Thank you for all your perspective and advice - I really appreciate it. I've been back and forth on this, and your encouragement, as well as your insight into whom you'd prefer to see around Pandora, really does help me.
Also, you're right - you made me realize, yet again, that I tend to take everything much too seriously (except for the stuff I probably should be taking seriously, that is), and it's probably okay to just toss a character into Pandora and see what comes along (it worked just fine with Orpheus so far, after all).
It was hardest to decide on just which version I'd prefer writing, since I am fond of all of them for different reasons. But I've now decided to play two versions simultaneously! Being on two different forums luckily allows for that.

I think the time I took to consider also gave me some idea of how I could start him off and try to get him involved with stuff on a smaller scale without stressing myself too much over a solid plot layout.

BASICALLY - thanks to all of you for your feedback. I really appreciate it a lot, and it was quite helpful!
I'll roll with the Penny Dreadful version on Pandora, since this also just happens to be the one I've nearly convinced myself apping several times.
We'll see what happens!

thank you! <3
 

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