Ross Geller Is Ruining My Script

by limebirdlaura

My brain is turning to mush.

OK, not really. But I am in the middle of Script Frenzy right now, so my mind isn’t quite running at full speed at the moment. Also, I seem to have caught a nasty bug and the only thing I can find in the house is some generic cold and flu medicine that expired two years ago…my mom said it was OK for me to take so I took it. Thanks Dr. Mom!

Anyway, I digress. Script Frenzy. It’s uh…well, it’s going. I won’t say it’s going well, but it’s definitely going. I’m starting to get behind on my page count though, so I definitely have a lot of catching up to do before the month is out.

I was talking on my personal blogΒ the other day about a character in my script that is giving me a bit of trouble. The script itself is a ghost story, based on my grandparent’s house. Their house is definitely haunted. I don’t care if ghosts really aren’t real, their house is still haunted. I’ve always wanted to write a ghost story about their house, so I thought why the heck not use Script Frenzy as my excuse?

I started my story out with a young woman who’s leaving behind her life to move back into her grandparent’s house. So the first few pages were basically setting up her life – her job, house, relationships, etc. She had a (and let me try to be polite here) “friend with benefits” that kept popping up from time to time. I named him Ross. I had absolutely no reason to name him Ross, it was literally just the first male name that came to mind.

So I name the guy Ross, and suddenly I’m picturing Ross Geller – a character from the TV show Friends, played by David Schwimmer. Ross Geller’s character is pretty geeky and nerdy. Trust me, I have absolutely nothing but love for geeks, I am one, I’m married to one, I pretty much live in geek heaven. But there was always something about Ross Geller that got under my skin. And since I had Ross Geller in my head after I named this random character in my script Ross, I began to hate my character!

I ended up abandoning the whole love story sub-plot and went straight into my ghost story part. Since I could never get Ross Geller out of my head, I just stopped writing about him. I need that section for the time being, just to keep my page count up until Script Frenzy is over. Β Once April is over, I’m scrapping Ross and starting over with Act 1.

Has anyone else ever visualized a character and then grown to hate them? Were you able to fix the issues, or just end up scrapping the character?

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25 Comments to “Ross Geller Is Ruining My Script”

  1. FIRSTLY! I used to be a pharmacy assistant, so don’t ever ever ever take medicine that is that out of date, or I will come and give you a good telling off. It’s really dangerous. Bad Laura!

    Secondly… great post, it seriously made me laugh. I could imagine you getting really annoyed with your character! haha. I haven’t encountered that yet, but I can see how it could happen. I think if I got so frustrated I would have to scrap them completely, otherwise I’d get angry.

    Good luck and keep on truckin’!

    • Eeeek OK I won’t take anymore. I was hoping it was OK because it wasn’t opened yet. Don’t hurt me! It’s my mom’s fault, yeah blame her (Kidding mom, if you are reading this πŸ˜‰ )

      Thank you πŸ™‚ I have completely abandoned Ross. I kind of liked the way he started out, maybe once I’m done I can go back to the beginning and whip him into shape.

      • haha, no way! Open packet or closed packet doesn’t make a difference. It’s the way the drugs break down! *slaps wrist*

        No problem, if it was just a novel or script etc I’d say go back and revise him later. However, as you’re going for a short space of time, you don’t want anything distracting you or derailing you. If you think you can keep going with him as is, then go for it. However, make the change now before it’s too late! πŸ˜€

      • Down the drain it goes. I promise I won’t take anymore.

        I think I only needed Ross for the opening few pages. The main character did intend on leaving him – I just sort of left him a little earlier than I thought I would. Instead of an actual transition away from him I sort of went one second with him there, the next PLOP he’s gone! I would like a male character for her in the beginning, just not this guy. I need some of your fun expressions to describe him… but I’m pretty pants at thinking at the moment! hehehe

  2. Can you do a character sketch? Give him a new name, describe him so he looks nothing like the “other” Ross, give him habits that are totally nothing like what the other Ross would do?

    I once had a character that refused to be nothing but evil. I wanted to flesh her out a little, make her more human and she wouldn’t budge. She just got worse. So, I revised her character sketch. By basically tearing her down and building her back up I was able to get a different angle on her which helped both of us. I was able to get to her good side (that she’d been keeping secret from me) and then I just rewrote all the scenes with her.

    I also wouldn’t simply revise the moments with your Ross character, if you have the time/energy to do it. I would completely rewrite them from scratch. But if you’re hating your character you really ought to deal with it sooner rather than later…

    Good luck!

    • Thanks for all of your advise Kate πŸ˜€ I think I like the way the character started out, and he actually had a few lines where I patted myself on the back for (which.. probably means they are terrible …) Right now he’s not showing up but I think I definitely need to do what you said, write out a character sketch and rename him something else and give him some character boot- camp or something.

      I’m glad you finally got onto the good side of your character. They can sure be ornery sometimes!

    • err… advice.

  3. You could change the character’s name to Spartacus – but I guess that conjures up other images…

  4. Honestly, I’d have the same problem with a Ross, too. When you first mentioned your character’s name I immediately pictured him as Ross Geller. It’s not your fault; it’s Friends’!

    I really like 4amWriter’s advice above. Only other thing I would add would be to find another physical match. It doesn’t have to be “new character looks like Justin Bieber” but if you can imagine him as looking kind of like someone else, it might help to give you a more positive overall image of him as a character.

    • Thank you! That is a good idea. I’d definitely have to avoid making a character look like Justin Beiber, unless I wanted him to have a gruesome and untimely end. When I rework the section that has “Ross” I’m going to think really hard about what I want him to look like, so he doesn’t turn into someone annoying again..and the name totally has to go.

  5. Haha, made me laugh! Hey, maybe you could write a script about Ross Gellar being trapped in a story! Maybe not, but names are so difficult because we have so many associations with them from real life – even if I read a description of a character, they will be forever be associated with that girl in school I didn’t like!

    • Oh that could be funny! I know what you mean. It’s kind of like once you know someone’s name, they “look like” that name.

  6. DO. NOT. SCRAP! Having a hate-worthy character is so valuable to storytelling. It makes them compelling! Possibly work in some dramatic point-of-climax to the story to make him more likeable, or at least more sympathetic. Sounds like it will make a great read!

  7. Before I reach that point, something about the story offers resistance. I’ve gone 35 pages in and abandoned over such push back, more a reflection of things inside me warning me to leave it alone than of a character despised.

    • Thankfully I only needed Ross for the first few pages (around 10 or so) and was able to just move forward with my story to a point that I can go back and fix Ross, or rename him or turn him into someone else. Thanks for the comment πŸ™‚

  8. That is annoying. I have done this, but no with anyone famous, just a man I know, and I really disliked him and ended up writing a villian when it didn’t start out that way.

    • Oh I bet that could create a really good villain if you suddenly get inspiration from a person you really dislike.

  9. I’ve not had this problem, but I see two ways of dealing with it. OWN your hate for the character. Make it so that anyone who hears/reads/sees the story will hate the character. After all, there are just people like that sometimes.

    The second thought it to go back and name him something else. Maybe Russ. yeah, you THOUGHT he was Ross, but really, he’s Russ. Maybe it’s something entirely different (Earnest, Flavius).

    Just had one more thought. You could just leave the name out until you’re done. I don’t know why I didn’t suggest this earlier, since I do it all the time. Right now my MS has things like King XXX, Queen YYY, and Province XYZ. When I figure out names for everything, I’ll use find/replace all. That way, I can see what the character does and then find a good name.

  10. Reading some of the comments above, I feel compelled to add something more to this discussion.

    One of the things I enjoy about writing is that I can use all the names I love/hate. The first time I thought about naming a person, it was my child. Obviously, you don’t want to think of the evil girl from school when you say your daughter’s name, even if you really like the name.

    For me, writing is a chance to use names I like but have bad associations to “adjust” the association. It also allows me to use an association for “theraputic” purposes (“haha see how you like being hit in the head with a baseball, you jerk!”). Of course, there are also names that I love but would be bad with my last name or have bad associations for my husband. In writing, we can use WHATEVER names we want. It’s quite freeing after trying to name a human child. If you mess THAT up, you have to fill out forms to change it. If you mess up a character’s name, you just use the delete button or your eraser!

    Besides, I couldn’t name a kid something like Eustace, but I can name a character that πŸ™‚

    • Sorry I’m so late in replying, I’ve been under a rock this past week it seems!

      You are SO right about the names. I am terrible about naming characters! I wrote my Nano novel and had no idea what to name the main character, so I just named him David because that is my husband’s name. The character is a little, so it didn’t seem weird to me (and still doesn’t), but I’m not sure, maybe some folks would think that’s strange. I never call my husband David though, I call him his last name (which is now my last name of course but darn it it wasn’t when we first met πŸ™‚ ) But I think that’s why it didn’t seem strange to have a character as the same name as my hubby, because I don’t really associate the name David with him.

      It’s kind of strange how strong of a connection we can have with names.

  11. The bad thing, I think, about how I write is I can’t remember ever NOT liking a character I made. I always do. Even the baddies.

    • I know what you mean! With the novel I have finished I have a dad character that started out mean and just horrible and by the time the novel ended I felt sorry for him so he started going soft. It was a Nano novel and I’m actually working on all my issues with it, like that character, so I can make him properly evil again.

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