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 Character5 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 Characters5 years ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
Anyway, carry on.
Character Creation TutorialCharacter Creation TutorialCharacter Creation Tutorial7 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
DO's and DON'Ts of OCsDOs and DONTs of Creating OCs.DO's and DON'Ts of OCs7 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
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.
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
Character MotivationCharacter Motivation6 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 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 Character5 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
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 Novelists5 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 Make a VillainHow to Make a Villain.How to Make a Villain6 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
Choosing a Companion: A GuideChoosing a CompanionChoosing a Companion: A Guide6 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
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: Prose5 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.
Unstick your Plot - A guideThe Random Encounter The Guide to Moving Your Story ForwardUnstick your Plot - A guide5 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.
Pre-Writing and Brainstorming.Pre-Writing and Brainstorming.4 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
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
How To Make Your Own OC You may have wondered how people come up with Original Characters with a functioning personality in the past. You may have also left your mouth agape when you saw someone have their Original Character react negatively to a spider at one moment, then hug their spider anthro friend in the next. Well, it's really a simple process that requires one thing so rarely used these days; thought. I'm expecting you have a general idea of your character at this point and are seeking to deepen or improve their personality now. If so, you can skip a few steps.How To Make Your Own OC7 years ago in Writing More Like This
Step one: Build a base for your character.
All things are built on a strong foundation.
Find the center of your character's mind, their motivation in life, and their drive to keep breathing (if that is indeed what they do; not all characters are human).
Something simple like "Survival," will more than suffice, as an existence like this will lead to self-conflict of yearnin
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
Essentials of a Short StoryEssentials of a Short Story6 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
World Building Formula pt. 1-2World Building FormulaWorld Building Formula pt. 1-27 years ago in Writing More Like This
Section 1: Real Life Influences
Before we delve into creating an imaginary world, we must understand the importance of using real life influences as a base. No one can imagine anything not based on real life.
The best way to start creating or to fine-tune an imaginary world is to find influences from our world to be inspired from.
If a fantastical world has cargo full of imaginary species and magic or alternate laws of physics, the reader needs something, at least a few principles, that are the same as Earths so that they have grounding in your story. Theres a fine balance, as many wise writer types will say between patronizing and keeping your audience in the dark enough that they want to know more. The correct balance allows them to understand without confusion while being drawn on through the book by suspense.
Section 2: Nature
Reality, or at least what we perceive as reality, is probably the most key factor in what w
Advanced CHARACTER CreationAdvanced CHARACTER Creation6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Advanced CHARACTER Creation ~ for Fiction
Hero ~ Villain ~ Ally
There are three essential characters in every story. There may be any number of side characters, but in traditional Adventures, and Romances of every stripe (erotic or not,) the main conflict is usually, if not always, a TRIANGLE of complimentary opposites.
Translation: You could tell the whole story with ONLY these Three Characters; perhaps not with any real detail, but you could still do the entire basic plotline.
I'm sure you're familiar with the names Hero & Villain or Antagonist & Protagonist already. Those are pretty darn standard. However, always there, though seldom named is a Third character, the Ally -- the Companion to the Hero or Villain.
The Invisible Character: the Ally
The Ally's function is to be the Middle-Man, the nay-sayer that presents an opposing view t
Punctuation BasicsPunctuation Basics8 years ago in Writing More Like This
Writing is like math. If you dont follow the right formula, you end up in a state of mass confusion. Synonymously, punctuation is like following a map. If you miss the street signs, youll end up completely lost. The following is a list of common English punctuation marks and their most basic functions. Contrary to popular belief, there are no exceptions to these rules. Breaking them has never been in style.
The most common English punctuation marks include the following:
. = period
? = question mark
! = exclamation point
, = comma
= quotation marks
; = semicolon
: = colon
- = hyphen
( ) = parentheses
. . . = ellipse
Wow, thats a lot of symbols! So, how do you use them as you write? Here's a quick and dirty list.
1) Every sentence must end in a period, question mark, or exclamation point.
2) A comma signifies a pause, distinguishes betw
The Wasteland AKA the MIDDLEThe Wasteland AKA the MIDDLE6 years ago in Writing More Like This
The Trackless Wasteland known as: The MIDDLE
The middle (of a story) KILLS me. I freeze when I have to decide which way things are going to go, and how, and that happens during the middle for me.
Middle, middle, middle... It's the Slough of Despond!
The Middle is where I usually fizzle out.
The middle is DANGEROUS territory.
Why? Because the Middle of a story is where you have a million-and-one options, a million-and-one directions to choose from, and a million-and-one ways to really show off your writing skills.
The Middle is also, where you have a million-and-one opportunities to really screw up your story for good. Opportunities that will send you spiraling into ever tightening circles that eventually jam you into a corner you can't get out of. In short: get you Lost in your own story.
You KNOW yo
Plots and Plot Twists.Plots and Plot Twists.4 years ago in Writing More Like This
What is a plot? A plot is a series of sequential events that make up your story. Sure, anyone could have told you that. But, how to write one? How can you make something this simple extraordinary?
Plot is comprised of 3 different parts; beginning, middle and end. Think of it this way this is how the problem started, this is how we fix it, and this is how we fixed it. Make sense? As long as you stick to this simple outline, it will be much easier for you to create your plot. Plots are also comprised of other parts; the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
The Exposition: This is the very beginning of your story in which your characters and some important themes are laid out. Describe the setting; time era, place and who the characters are. Describe to the audience just WH