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~Something’s Missing~

• NOTE: This is a generally speaking list, again, directed at the major characters of stories/books/movies/television of the modern times. I know there exist characters with these traits; I just think they are rare and should be brought more to attention if you're looking to expand your character diversity and add realism.
• Humility: This is the big one that I think a lot of characters are missing. Lots of the mains I see today don't even have a shred of this or if they do it’s forced into them. How about writing a person who’s naturally humble? These people are amazing. They don’t seek to exalt themselves. They give credit to others.
• Pushover: Unfortunately most main characters I see will push back if the world tries to push them down. But this is SO unimaginably unrealistic. I feel like a lot of people wouldn’t, or they’d try and fail. Some people, if pushed around or pushed down to the ground, will stay down. You can take that metaphorically or however you want to but you can't deny its true. Some people really just can't deal with their life struggles and they may never learn.
• Weak: Too many characters are overbearing and in your face. They’re strong and put up a fight. But not a lot of real people are like that. Being physically or mentally weak is totally normal and it shouldn’t be a shame at all to have your character be that way. In fact I think it should be encouraged. It adds humanity. Not everyone has the will to become super strong either. If they change and become this, then it doesn't count. I’d love to see more main characters who have weaknesses they can't completely overcome but still find ways around.
• Unintelligent: Most main characters I see are clever in some way. But what about having an average or even unintelligent main character? What are you afraid of? That's normal. People want their main character to be smart and strong but I can't tell you how much I’m sick of seeing that. It’s redundant. I wanna see stories focused on people who can't always figure the situation out in time, who aren’t fast enough, but they keep going anyways. They may never get smarter but it doesn't matter. I want to see someone a bit more human!
• Untalented: Not everyone is “good” at something that YOU PERSONALLY hold to be of value. Maybe your character’s only talent is origami. How is that going to help them when the zombies attack? It’s not. But it’s realistic. Not everyone has some kind of great talent which is valuable to the plot. Some people have hobbies but are just mediocre or even bad at them. We’re taught to expect characters to be talented but lots of people don’t even know what they're doing or have a strong talent, especially considering the age you might pick for your character.
• Shallow/Judgmental: Some people are legitimately shallow and lots of stories play this like it’s such a horrible thing when it could make a good major character struggle. Those who judge what's on the outside fast can help them to make quicker general processing decisions on how to act and react better for the majority of the time. Judgment in the most basic usage of the word isn’t always a bad thing. For instance if you judge that I'm a happy girly girl because I have a lot of pink, you're spot on, and just got to know me a little better.
• Under Powered: Gag me, there’s so many over powered characters out there! But how about someone who only has one small ability in a world where other people have more? They might learn to use it but they’ll never be great or be strong. It’s what's on the inside and what they do for others that counts. They’ll likely fail at first but they’ll keep on going!
• Distinct Culture: There is the one token ethnic character on a team (there should be more than just one token ethnic character by the way; have all your characters have a distinct ethnicity), and everyone just assumes he’s the stereotype of what he looks like. Let’s pick Asian. Maybe he isn’t Chinese or Japanese. Maybe he’s half Thai half Malaysian, or even a more complicated mix. That's realistic.
• Mercy/Grace: A character who is truly merciful and not just at an important point in the story is also rare these days. But I guess some people will really not know the value of real mercy until they see it themselves so they find it hard to write.
• Hesitant: A lot of characters go for what they want whether they get it or not. But realistically for some people to get out there and do stuff, you have to drag them into it. Even if their life depended on it they might still hesitate.
• Patience: For the sake of keeping the story going, characters, again, tend to just go for what they want. But some people are more pensive and actually think before they act. Impulsive has become an overused flaw. Even in tense situations, it’s in some real people’s character to remain patient and consider all the options before they act.
• Non Aggressive: Its rare but when you tick some people off, they will turn the other cheek instead of getting into a fight. A lot of characters these days I feel are vicious and ready to tear up whoever ticks them off even if they are considered “a nice person” but not every real person is like that. Some people just won't fight.
• No Temper: Hard to believe but not everyone has a temper either. Characters these days I think are overly vicious, ready to snap at any little thing and go from happy to scary if you so much as tap their shoulder the wrong way. It’s stupid.
• Reclusive: Not all people are in your face, overbearing, and obvious. Some are a little harder to figure out and you may not always be able to even get an idea of what they are thinking and how they are perceiving. You may NEVER know. They don't want to be found or figured out and they won't let you into their life. They’re not someone you can explore. They’d rather stick to the background.
• Pregnant: Tell me how often a character is actually pregnant at the time of the story? No, not the “mom”, or the main character of a teen pregnancy show. No, the main girl of the show where the focus is on something else, and she happens to be visibly pregnant for something related to the plot.
• Failure: I feel like a lot of writers are afraid to show true failure. They want to write a winner but some people lose. It’s real. They think they’ve got it all figured out and are confident in their decision and when it really counts, they have made some error somewhere. They know true defeat and loss, whether on a small scale or larger.
• Coward: I think this would be a good lifelong trait some character can't really outgrow. All characters should have some kind of struggle but this one isn’t always something to be overcome easily or even at all. Not everyone confronts their problems. They might do so with the help of others but not on their own.
• Gentleness: Again, thinking back to all the overbearing aggressive characters. Not everyone is that way. Even characters surrounded by violence will not necessarily give into that thought pattern. Even characters who are beat up. They might realize the true importance of being gentle and taking their time in things.
• Tradition: I’m SO sick of the rebel sob story! Like really! How about a character who deeply respects and upholds tradition? Maybe he’s a bit old fashioned. And no I’m not talking about the stereotypical traditions most people know about. Pick something from a lesser known country or even make up something of your own. Have him uphold this tradition and not break the things by which he stands.
• Fat: I can't recall seeing many main characters who were overweight. But it’s something very real. Maybe fitness is their main character struggle. It’s a very real and normal struggle. Don't have it be something they get over. They can be heroes or whatever they need to be just as well. Being a hero isn’t about strength, smarts, and muscle. Maybe a thin main character gains weight throughout the story and it doesn't come off.
• Serving: I want to see characters meek enough to naturally come by putting others first, even by giving up what they have. Even if it means never getting recognition or what they owe in return. No, not parents. The main character themselves. I want to see a main character who serves the others in a genuine humble way.
• Girly Main: Most main girls I see these days are annoyingly tough and snarky or strong or whatever, even stronger than the guy. Some people may include a token girly girl but she doesn't always get the guy or get to be happy. The main girl is usually someone viewed as strong. Sometimes they have a “hot body”, but they're not really girls. I wanna see girls who aren’t fighters, who love pink, who might be kind of kiddish, who love going to the mall to shop, who care about their appearance, etc. I’m sick of the ones who don't.
• Good Attitude: If it’s part of who they are, they may get upset or whatever but life can't wear down a pure good attitude. Some people will remain optimistic the whole way and nothing can get them down.
• Motivated Villain: Realistically, “evil” people don't believe they are evil. They see themselves as doing what they believe is right. I plan to do another guide later elaborating more on how to write a villain readers can be sympathetic to. Give your villain a real motivation. Most villains I see are flat and unrealistic.
• Genuine: I get the feel that a lot of characters these days are forced or fake, instead of growing into the position you want them to be in. Where is the person behind that mask you’ve slapped onto them?
• Silent Moments: Nowadays movies are just so fast paced with all these colors and emotions and thoughts flying everywhere. But I look back to the 80s movies I just recently watched, and, there are a lot of silent moments where you can tell the character is thinking, learning more about other characters or coming up with an idea related to the plot. Don't think that you as a writer have to have some new information to introduce every five seconds. Turn down the big flashing lights, have everyone get quiet, and show that your character is thinking, perceiving, and alive.
Like all my guides I hope this one helps you and if you think of a valid one to add let me know. Consider this when making your main character or even adding to them. But if you're going to be one of those people who says how this guide isn't useful or how you could have done it better, I don't need to know. Carry on and don't comment. Your comment would be hidden. That said, feel free to talk to me about these or show me that you have main characters that have the above listed traits. I have plenty of guides up already with more on the way. Check em out!
Add a Comment:
 
:icono1sfreeze:
O1SFREEZE Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm not actually surprised that these traits aren't common. But I'm always trying to add traits to my own characters to make them more unique. Not in the "all powerful" kind, but for them to be more human like.
Perhaps I'll take some of these traits and use them, if it would all be alright with you. UvU
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
That's great Yeah I encourage ppl to use them
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:icono1sfreeze:
O1SFREEZE Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh ok thank you then :D
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Yep trying to get them more popular as character traits
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:icono1sfreeze:
O1SFREEZE Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I see. It's a good thing to promote these traits.
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
So how are you doing today
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:icono1sfreeze:
O1SFREEZE Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Not bad, actually. I have finally found the time to start drawing and continuing my story.
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
That's great and good luck
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(1 Reply)
:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Yay
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:icono1sfreeze:
O1SFREEZE Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
^^
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
XD
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:iconshmitytheshmoo:
ShmityTheShmoo Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2017
What's funny is most of my RP characters had a lot of these traits, and they where my favorite parts of the characters. Made them more realistic. 
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
I'd love to know about them if you want to share
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:iconshmitytheshmoo:
ShmityTheShmoo Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2017
I made them a long time ago, so I don't remember much XD. 

Though the one I do remember being my favorite, and one I plan to put on DeviantArt, was illiterate, far from clever, a coward, and FAR from useful in a fight. They where basically the 'moral support' and ran away at the slightest mention of a fight.
I don't exactly know why I chose to give them these exact flaw. It was an adventure RP, so I was at a disadvantage with the character. Glad I did though, they where a lot of fun. 
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Interesting tho thanks for sharing
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:iconshmitytheshmoo:
ShmityTheShmoo Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2017
You're welcome :3
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
XDDD
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
I'm glad to hear that
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:iconanimegirlcorycian:
animegirlcorycian Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
I think there are some anime that has those traits. Like Attack on Titan, there are still some characters who are cowards. Death Note has reclusive characters. Re:Zero has Subaru who has a shallow personality in many cases and he can't always fight since he dies and often goes back to life that he can't tell to anyone. But in other forms of media, I can agree on that.
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
I'm not saying these traits are nonexistant but just exceptionally rare and could use more characters with them for sure :) 
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:iconanimegirlcorycian:
animegirlcorycian Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, okay. I understand. Yeah, I hope there are more like them.
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Cool
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:iconmagicspyglass:
MagicSpyglass Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2017
I'm planning on making a main character that is bad at fighting, who is obsessed with cross-stitching, who will take any hit with no problem, and who is very patient. Her companion will be a fluffy little guy who is pure and adorable, a koala like creature who is pure and who is involved in a plot twist, a old guy who is just there to manage this boat that their in and who hates the main character at first, and somebody else who I have not made yet. Also, THERE SHALL BE PLENTLY OF QUIET MOMENTS IN MY BOOK FRIEND!
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Aw cool
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:iconmagicspyglass:
MagicSpyglass Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2017
I WILL BE POSTING THEIR PICS SOOOOONNNNNNNN
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
great!
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:iconmagicspyglass:
MagicSpyglass Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2017
Oh yea, the main love intrest is gonna be a bird thing who is a knight that is the only one who can fight and she also kindof struggles with showing her feelings, but the reason why is gonna be revealed in the story.
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
a bird thing?
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:iconmagicspyglass:
MagicSpyglass Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2017
Yep, a humanoid bird creature.
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
ok
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(1 Reply)
:iconrylaktyrnda:
RylakTyrnda Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Maybe a fat stupid weak pushover doesn't make for a good hero... you know, because they're fat, stupid, weak, and a pushover. Just saying, I can see why some people (most) might not want to write that. My sister asked me once why none of my characters were overweight. The answer: because they're mercenaries fighting in a war. You can't do that and be fat.
That said, I do have some characters, usually major, that are weak and/or unintelligent. Most of these are good, really, just a lot of the ones at the start are uncommon for a very good reason. They are traits that heroes don't tend to have because having them almost entirely precludes heroism.
Pregnant is also not good for action/adventure. However, it would certainly add an extra layer of danger to any mystery or horror story if the main lead was pregnant.
And oh, for the days when heroes had good attitudes and girls were girls. I think a girl can be a strong action hero and still be incredibly girly, but it's a lost art.
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
Maybe he's fat with a strong later of muscle underneath that's hidden. Weak in the mind, but has a big heart. Pushover, but dedicates his life to helping those that he loves. Anyone can be a hero, if they're written like one. 
Pregnancy is realistic, and it happens. 
I know XD 
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:iconrylaktyrnda:
RylakTyrnda Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Well, I guess it might depend on what image your mind conjures up when you hear 'fat'. And, generally, muscle tends to fade with the lifestyle that causes a layer of fat.
I can see those working, though, but I personally tired of the 'unlikely hero' type of stories a long time ago. I look more for the ones where the 'likely hero' has a hard time of it.
It does. Not to me, but that's only natural. Eh... where was I... ah, pregnancy. I mean, depending on how you do it, even an adventure story can have a pregnant protagonist, I suppose. Action, on the other hand... well, you could. It would just be very inadvisable. And I would think it most probable that pregnant ladies would gravitate away from lines of work that involve carrying an unborn child while fighting alien hordes and whatnot. Sure, sometimes you have no choice, but I do not advise it. Just the rattling of a machine gun, for example, is enough to cause complications.
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
I totally get that fat implies lack of fitness but by the same token, they have extra muscle on them to move the extra weight around in their daily lives. Without ever working out they may very well have more muscle than a skinny person who works out, because moving the weight around is a workout in its own
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:iconrylaktyrnda:
RylakTyrnda Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
That is true, and doing a workout when overweight does burn more calories than when not overweight, but that does little for stamina, a must-have in action and adventure stories.
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
i think it could, depending on the person. stamina could also be in the mind-having the ability to force their body beyond the strength it wants to exert
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:iconrylaktyrnda:
RylakTyrnda Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
That... can work, but is really limited. And most people don't have nearly that level of sheer force of will.
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
yeah, but its possible. ive seen it.
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
I wouldn't advise against it either if it was a real person but an in story pregnant protagonist an offer a real unique perspective on The story
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:iconrylaktyrnda:
RylakTyrnda Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
And I get that, too. But they're not likely to be in the thick of the action. The unique perspective of a pregnant woman, or really any person who would most likely be not at the front of the action, can make for a good story, but when you have too much of that and not enough of stories that actually focus on the action, things can get dull.
A good story about a pregnant woman trapped in a war zone would be some edge of your seat stuff, if done right. But... you don't want that to become overdone. And I really don't fancy a wave of stories of pregnant war heroes.
It's like vampire romances. It's an interesting concept... the first time.
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
any concept will get annoying if overdone, whether good or bad. and heroes dont have to be all action either. maybe its something as simple as an everyday job that helps people and puts bad guys away. its very flexible.
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:iconrylaktyrnda:
RylakTyrnda Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
True enough.
But again, whether it is good or not really relies on the writer above all else.
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
ye
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:iconmiaulink:
MiaulinK Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is terrifying. I look back on many of my main characters and a lot of them never have more than one or two of those. Never once do I remember writing a humble or serving character. The closest ones to the character traits you wrote up were nonaggressive characters, or minimal-temper characters. I don't think I've ever written a pushover, even though I ought to know how they think and feel. Someday, I'll need to fix that.
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
ok cool
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:iconkeizerharm:
KeizerHarm Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2016
You have some really fun tips! Even though, as my main character is physically weak, humble (well, except when he's convinced he's right...) and a big coward, married to a plump, gentle, serving, optimistic lovely wife (who is also pregnant a lot of times), it does of course add to my personal ego to see that on this list :3
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
lol cool sounds pretty good
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:iconthenewlonelyartist34:
TheNewLonelyARTIST34 Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
My character fits one or two of those
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:iconprenncooder:
PrennCooder Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
great :v
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:iconhoneybeegirl94:
HoneyBeeGirl94 Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2016
This is awesome!
I've created my own ocs: fav.me/da3ra7p
I've try making them diverse in ethnicity and sexuality, but I've usually focus on developing some character in them as well.
Though, they're currently aren't fully developed as of now as I have no plot for them. I'm very bad at making fully developed plots, yet great making characters and imaging their designs (I can't draw sadly). I've just lack the idea of a good plot, heck none of my ten main characters aren't even chosen to be the main focused character.
I'm usually more into some sort of action adventure drama family friendship comedy with some romance that doesn't get too much attention of the the main plot. But still I've don't have much clue to with them.
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