Knowing Your CharacterIn a storywhether it be told on stage, on screen, or in printknowing your main characters inside and out helps create a well rounded and interesting plot. It also makes writing them easier too. In this guide, a companion to To Create a Character, I'll attempt to help put skin and flesh on the bare bones of a character, to create "character," and to discover things about them that youthe creatornever knew.
Exercise 1: Interviews
One of my favorite ways to get to know my character is to interview them as one would a celebrity. The interview can be general, just asking about their life, likes, pet peeves, etc. or it can be prior to or after a significant event (i.e. just saved the world, just won the World Cup, recently defeated by protagonist, etc.).
Here's a list of interesting things to ask your character:
- Do you have any pet peeves?
- What do you think of [insert character here]'s opinion on y
To Create a CharacterAre you starting a story? Do you have an incomplete, flawed, or no character at all? It's happened to me many times and in my struggles to perfect my creations, I have learned a few things. I present you with seven easy steps with a challenge each to get you thinking.To Create a Character4 years ago in Writing More Like This
Grab a piece of paper and a pencil. Let's start
Step 1: Past
When creating a character, you must first establish a past. Even a person with amnesia has a past, they just don't remember it. Pasts are important, they show what shaped the person and why they are the way they are today.
If your character has a scar, why? If they have amnesia, why? If they have a phobia of water, why?
Remember one thing: there is always a reason.
Challenge: Write a brief story (vignette) of your character's past to familiarize yourself with the way things were.
Step 2: Appearance
You may have a certain idea, a vague idea, or no idea at all as to how your character will look. First, think of their
The Naming of CharactersFirst of all, we don't need this surface-value, wishy-washy crap. I'll show you what I mean, so here's a form I used to give out when accepting OCs for stories a long time ago (ah, back in the days. I truly forgot how fun writing without bounds used to be--you know, writing for your own satisfaction with things like outrageous Sues, blatant cliches, and genres that I have worn out for a year or two. I still do it sometimes, but I can't bring myself to get too heavily into the story because I know it would be really bad to anyone else. I DO miss writing about fantasy journeys, though, but I really wore that out when I was younger, so right now I'm getting into fantasy-without-the-magic. Technically, historical fiction for my own world).The Naming of Characters4 years ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
Anyway, carry on.
Character Creation TutorialCharacter Creation TutorialCharacter Creation Tutorial6 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
How to effectively develop a realistic and likable character for novels and fanfiction.
Table of Contents:
I. A Name
II. Physical Attributes
III. Style & Personality
It can be assumed that developing a plot and storyline is self explanatory. If not, you can find another tutorial for that. This tutorial will focus primarily on the thought-process of creating new characters with depth.
I. A name is the first step. Try to match the character to their name, or somehow integrate the character's name into the storyline or progression of the character's maturity and personality. For example, a character who is dark and moody would probably not be named Star unless this contradiction holds some meaning in the story. (In a comedy it would have a nice effect, but in a drama or serious story, not so much).
If you can't think of a name you can go to places like babynames.com or google for assistance
Character MotivationCharacter Motivation5 years ago in Writing More Like This
Everyone's heard that characters should have goals, something they want and must strive for, overcoming obstacles and antagonists in order to obtain. Because, well, a story is the record of your character's journey toward achieving a goal.
While all of this is true, I think a lot of writers lose sight of an even more important aspect of character. That is, motivation. Sure, you know what your character wants.
That's the gist of motivation. What is the psychology and reasoning behind your character's goal? If your character is driven to make money, is his motivation greed? To pay off a debt? To support his family?
Motivation is your character's emotional connection with the reader. When the reader comes to understand why your character has set out to achieve his goal, they will understand your character in human terms, relate to him, and become invested in what happens to your character throughout the story.
Without a clear motivation, your character's goals don't mean much. So wha
How to Make a VillainHow to Make a Villain.How to Make a Villain5 years ago in Writing More Like This
Okay, keep in mind that everyone has their own way of going through characters, and villains especially are very much your own thing. You're going to have your favorite class, most likely, and you're often going to stick to it. (And sorry folks, this is an ACTUAL tutorial - there are enough joke ones out there already, funny as they may be.)
One thing to generally keep in mind, however, is the tragic past - avoid it. Seriously, people, nobody likes it when the villain gets whiny. Which isn't to say that they can't have a tragic past, but it's very easy to send it into whininess, or cliché. A bad boy villain character who keeps it all locked up inside really isn't any better. There are several options, though, I'll be listing only the ones I'm familiar with around here.
Classic villain - These have a lot of subclasses, and can range from stupid to serious, but they're basically the type you'll see in old movies. The evil scientists, or power
Character Cliches to AvoidCharacter Cliches to Avoid (Like the Plague)Character Cliches to Avoid5 years ago in Writing More Like This
This tutorial-suggestion love child will be split into two parts :: 1 for cliches that should NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVUR be done by anyone, and the second part being ones that shouldn't be done by beginning writers.
Section One: The Black Plague
These are character cliches that are so overdone that they should NEVER be done anymore. EVER.
Not a lot to say on this one. There's nothing worse than reading a piece of writing though with a main character or side character that never got the character development that they deserved.
This is my name for characters that never change through the series/work. Your character should always grow with each obstacle they're faced with.
Characters with Atrociously-Spelled Names
Let's just say that if I have to get out the pronounciation guide to get through the first half of your character's name, it shouldn't be done.
DO's and DON'Ts of OCsDOs and DONTs of Creating OCs.DO's and DON'Ts of OCs6 years ago in General Non-Fiction More Like This
I'm not a brilliant or fantasmically talented writer, but I know a decent OC when I see one. Or at least a non-crappy one.
I think we know how this works. Here we go
1. DO Try to vary your OCs personalities. In the real world, if everyone had the same awesome, flawless character, life would be mind-numbingly BORING. Also, not everyone is nice/horrible/depressed/energetic all the time. (Unless, of course, you want to use that as a flaw.)
2. DONT get too hung up on making profiles for your characters. Profiles are for procrastinators who want to make a fantastic character without getting started on the actual story. I was guilty of it too, before I realised how boring filling out the same form over and over again was.
Try describing them in the story, THEN make notes to help you remember stupid boring details like their star-sign and eye colour so you dont accidentally change them halfway through the st
5 Steps to Organize Your NovelWhat You'll Need:5 Steps to Organize Your Novel4 years ago in Writing More Like This
A basic story idea
Printer (preferably laser) with plenty of paper
Three Ring Binders (2) with separating tabs
Build Your World and Characters
For most writers, this comes naturally. If you're having some issues, there are plenty of tutorials, guides, aids and groups available for assistance. For the purpose of this guide, you should have your world built and at the very least your main characters devised. Having secondary characters planned will get you bonus points!
Print Character and Plot Sheets
Each character should have their own sheet (keep the backs blank, they're a grand place to keep extra notes and page references). It's not necessary that you fill out every single line of the character sheet. Fill out only what is necessary for the character/plot. Feel free to add to the sheet as your write, too. The
Character Tips 2 - PersonalityCharacter Creation History and PersonalityCharacter Tips 2 - Personality4 years ago in Other More Like This
So, you have the body of your character, but it's only the body. It has no life or personality yet. This will hopefully help to give it one.
Creating a history is not often fun or easy, but what has happened in your character's past will affect their personality. Of course, like with everything else, there are traps that you can fall into. Some things are horribly overused, it's not illegal to use them, but just keep in mind that they are really common. Whatever you do, don't have an overly sad past, and I don't mean that they can't be orphans, or be abused by a parent or partner, because it does happen in real life (sadly). Just don't have every single thing happen to them.
Example: "Growing up, Amy was never happy. She had been orphaned at the age of 5 in a car crash. She was soon adopted by a family who seemed nice at first but then they started to abuse her. She would cry herself to sleep every night bec
Motivation for NovelistsMotivating myself to write and keeping that motivation throughout a writing project is one of the biggest challenges I face as a writer. I get the impression a lot of other people struggle with it as well.Motivation for Novelists4 years ago in Writing More Like This
There are a lot of tools out there such as the Write or Die program and National Novel Writing Month designed to keep you motivated, but they're just gimmicks in my opinion. Writing takes a lot of time and effort, and we as humans need a very compelling reason to exert ourselves in such an extreme manner. A timer or deadline typically isn't good enough.
The only effective long-term motivator is a real, tangible reward. Finishing a novel is a great reward, but the gratification is too long coming to really work as motivation. So what reward system will actually keep you writing and rewriting until you can call your project officially finished?
Well, there's always chocolate. Aside from that, the only compelling reasons to keep writing are that you will literally go crazy if you don't
How to Create a Character: Protagonist Edition.How to Create a Character: Protagonist Edition.4 years ago in Writing More Like This
Have you ever caught yourself reading a book, manga or watching a TV show and wonder how the creator could come up with such a realistic character? Well, whether it'd be an anthro, anime or real-life character, characters take time to think through. In this tutorial, I will tell you just how to create that realistic and believable character! You can also use this tutorial to think through the characters you've already created in order to re-vamp their appearance and personality!
There are 3 important aspects to a character, they are: personality, design and purpose. Characters lacking one or more of those aspects may come off flat and boring. Personality is how the character acts and interacts with other characters. The personality is what gives your audience feelings for your character. Design is another important aspect. Their de
How to Introduce a CharacterThe classical Movie Introduction Sometimes, you get a hero. Not over time, but right at the start this is your hero. He's confident, he's suave, and he always packs his shaving cream. Somehow he always manages to get that beard just right, despite the fact that you've never seen him trim. Everything about him is admirable, and you just wanna follow him like a little puppy dog because that's how AWESOME he is.How to Introduce a Character4 years ago in Writing More Like This
it might work, but you still shouldn't do it. It's one thing for movies, where you can simply follow someone's action across the screens. In books, you want the closeness that only seeing the character fall on their face time times just to get it right once will bring.
The stumbling introduction - sometimes, your character stumbles into the wrong thing at the wrong time. Or the right thing at the right time, perhaps, but if you want a good story you should probably make sure it ends up worse for them than it would have otherwise.
Oh, sure, things
Unstick your Plot - A guideThe Random Encounter The Guide to Moving Your Story ForwardUnstick your Plot - A guide4 years ago in Writing More Like This
The classical random (there's always a classic.): This is the sort you see in just about any old RPG, or RPG comic, and probably most current ones as well that person or thing you randomly meet so you can be sent off in a random direction and never have to meet them again.
Yeah, it works well enough for games I suppose but I don't recommend it in a story get around it wherever possible. One thing I saw in the Wheel of Time books (by Robert Jordan) was having the rumors and such be heard OFFSCREEN, and delivered to the characters by someone they know. You still get your information, but without the useless extra faces.
The only real reason to put in someone random is for some bit of symbolism, as a general rule, so unless you wanna get real deep or are prepared for your readers wondering if the old farmer is actually a reference to an ancient Norse God you might wanna avoid the classics.
Character Tips 3 - ClothingCharacter Creation ClothingCharacter Tips 3 - Clothing4 years ago in Other More Like This
So, your character has a body, a life and a personality. The thing is, they're still naked! Well, this should solve their problem.
Before we decide on their clothes, we need to figure out what they actually do for a living. This is important because, apart from their personality, this will decide the type of clothing your character will wear. For example, a princess will wear a lot of fine dresses and have a lot of jewellery whereas a peasant will have patched up clothes and little to no jewellery. A business man will wear a suit to work whereas a person working on a construction site will wear jeans, steel toed boots, a shirt, a high vis. vest and a hard hat.
Basically, position in society and career will determine what your character usually wears.
How Personality Fits In
Appearance is influenced by your personality, not the other way around. For example, an outgoing person will more likely reveal more skin than a shy per
How Not to write a Mary SueHow Not to write a Mary Sue4 years ago in Writing More Like This
How Not To Write A Mary Sue
So, what is a Mary Sue? It is used as a form of criticism in literature and refers to an idealised and somewhat "perfect" character that appears to have no flaws or if they do they are so limited that all the "perfect" characteristics overwhelm them making the character "flat." Mary sue often refers to a young female protagonist and male "Mary Sues" are often called "Larry Stu".
From my experience most Mary Sues are written in non-published works usually by young writers especially in fan-fiction. However there are a few Mary Sue writers who are actually published (sadly). It shows a deep lacking to create perfect characters unless it's done for satirical purposes.
So why should you avoid writing Mary Sues? Simple, perfect is boring!
We don't like perfect, we don't want perfect! Ask anyone in a relationship to list the positives traits, charms and idiosyncrasies of their partner and I guarantee at least one will be something that is weird, annoying, bizarre
Choosing a Companion: A GuideChoosing a CompanionChoosing a Companion: A Guide5 years ago in Writing More Like This
Alright, you've got your hero, your villain, your damsel maybe even a style of transformation and a monster too. Wanna know what comes next? No idea, yet! You should have figured out your companion aaaaaaages ago.
There's very little that's more important than a good companion. Whether it's to lend support or kick them down, no hero can do it alone. Even if they really wish they could.
The Loyal Companion: Most, though not all, companions fall into this overhead. Otherwise, they'd stab them in the back and run the moment they could. (See further down for that.)
This is basically the companion that stands by the hero's side through thick and thin, a Sam for a Frodo. Whether this is because of a deep friendship, a sense of honor, or a secret relationship between the characters is all up to you and your audience's imagination. Frankly, the reason matters less than the character themselves - this is the one you don't wanna mess with. When the Loyal Companion is hurt, t
Pre-Writing and Brainstorming.Pre-Writing and Brainstorming.3 years ago in Writing More Like This
Writing is a multi-step process. If Shakespeare were to just write whatever he wanted to with no prior planning, well we probably wouldn't know who Shakespeare is today. Writing takes time, thought and a lot of organization in order for it to come out as one, cohesive work. In the midst of your random scribbling, many of your ideas may seem to be jumbled and in-cohesive. This makes it hard for you to really get your ideas in motion. How do you fix that? Well, the ultimate way to ensure flow with writing is to undergo Pre-Writing and a little organized Brainstorming.
There are several, critical points to Pre-Writing. For each point, write down whatever it is that entails of it.
~Why are you writing? Where do you plan to take your writing? Make sure you have a deep reason as to why you are writing. Wi
10 Quick Tips: ProseFor the short of time, patience or remaining-eyesight: here is a quick, ten-point tutorial for better prose.10 Quick Tips: Prose4 years ago in Writing More Like This
The points are drawn from books, articles, casually-offered-advice and my own experience. Much like the Ten Commandments, they aren't all concrete rules. Just things to strongly keep in mind.
1. Vary sentence structure.
-> In particular, avoid starting every line with "I..." or "He..."
-> Try to vary your sentence length too.
2. Don't repeat words within a sentence.
-> Or too many times in sentences that follow each other.
-> Avoid repeated use of character names by using he/she where possible.
3. Avoid adverbs.
-> They clutter sentences and there's usually a better way.
-> Ask yourself, "Does this add any new information?"
4. Swap "which" for "that" where possible.
-> This is black magic. It just sounds better.
-> Also avoid "however".
5. Make pairs of adjectives different.
Character Tips 1 - AppearanceCreating Characters AppearanceCharacter Tips 1 - Appearance4 years ago in Other More Like This
Here are a few tips to create the body of your new character. Appearance defines your character almost as much as personality. I hope something will be useful to you.
Is your character muscular? Tall and thin? Short and round? I think about body shape as basically height and weight. There are three basic body types that are also useful to know:
1) Ectomorph This is a delicate build. Pretty much tall and thin, there are more angles on these bodies than curves. Limbs and neck are also long and shoulders tend to be small. They often have a flat chest. Ectomorphs tend to have fast metabolisms.
2) Mesomorph A more athletic build. This type is more muscular. They have broad shoulders, a narrow waist and wide hips. This build gives women an hourglass type shape, with more curves than angles. Mesomorphs gain muscle easily.
3) Endomorph A rounder build. The abdominal area is more dominant with a high waist and n
Essentials of a Short StoryEssentials of a Short Story5 years ago in Writing More Like This
Essentials of a Short Story
Quotes raped from a critique of Nathanial Hawthorn's Twice Told Tales by
Edgar Allen Poe - 1837
Edgar Allen Poe, celebrated as one of the finest short fiction writers of all time, was also a literary critic. These are bits of his wisdom on writing short stories, gleaned from one of his critiques.
"The true critic will but demand that that the (story's) design intended be accomplished, to the fullest extent, by the means most advantageously applicable " -- Poe
Poe's Prerequisites -- in a Nutshell:
To deliver fullest satisfaction, a short story should be structured:
1) To be read in one sitting.
2) Using a deliberate number of characters and incidents.
3) With words restrained in style and tone.
4) All done that should be done, with nothing done which should not be.
Poe's Prerequisites -- in DETAIL
A short story should be structured:
1) To be rea
The LAYERS of FictionThe LAYERS of Fiction5 years ago in Writing More Like This
"If you have Action and Dialogue, do you really NEED Description too?
What is the difference?"
The Layers of Fiction
"Himawari-chan, I have your lunch!"
"Here you go Himawari-chan!"
"Thank you, Watanuki-kun!"
"You are very welcome, Himawari-chan."
"I see. Of course. Thank you, Yuuko-san. Do I need to tell you what she said?"
"No! No, you don't, and I don't want to hear it! I don't need a freaking baby-sitter!"
"Yuuko thinks you do."
"That's her! Not me!"
"Are you a fortune-teller?"
"No! Of course not!"
"I'll come get you after class. I'll get the instructor to let you wait while I practice."
"What? No! I said I don't want to wait !"
"You gonna eat that?"
"Yes I am!"
"I do not, not, NOT take orders from you!"
This is "Talking Head Syndrome." There are no dialogue tags, because I don't use them.
Character Tips 4 - MagicCharacter Creation Magic and AbilitiesCharacter Tips 4 - Magic4 years ago in Other More Like This
If you are creating a character for the fantasy genre, more often than not, they have some kind of magic. There are all kinds of magic, but some planning has to go into it.
How did they get it?
There are many ways your character could get their magic. It could be given to them by some higher power, it could be genetics, or they could use a magical item and have no real power of their own.
I'll start with genetics. If this is how your character got their power then somebody else in their family tree somewhere should have the same power. It wouldn't have to be in their immediate family since it could be recessive (just like I am a red head with green eyes whereas everyone else in my immediate family has brown hair and blue eyes, I take after my great-grandparents), it could skip a few generations before showing up again. Also, since magic is basically part of your character's genes in this type, they cannot gain both of their pa
An Unkindness of COMMASAn Unkindness of COMMAS5 years ago in Writing More Like This
I SUCK at commas big-time. I tend to pull a "Mark Twain"; I sprinkle them in wherever to break up the monotony of the sentence. This article is my attempt to hammer the rules into my brain.
An Unkindness of COMMAS
What the heck are Commas for, anyway?
Besides abusing the sanity of the writer, the comma exists to help readers organize information in a sentence. It makes all the stuff the author is trying to say easier to swallow. Without them, sentence bits and pieces collide into one another causing confusion; rather like a train-wreck, though not nearly as exciting.
Just in case you'd like to know who made up all these comma rules, I got most of them from Strunk & White's "Elements of Style" the grammar handbook used by every publishing house in America, and a few overseas. The rest came from my editors.
To get a good idea of how commas work, let's take a look at what they are supposed to do -- and some major