The Universal Mary Sue Litmus Test Stuck with a case of massive writer's block? Has your muse gone on indefinite hiatus? Or are you just bored? Check out the random generators - with a click of a button, you can create characters, names, settings, items, and more for your creative works! The Universal Mary Sue Litmus Test How to use this test: First, if you're unsure of what a Mary Sue is, please read this page. Answer all questions for which the answer is 'yes' or 'technically yes' unless the item mentioned is so commonplace in the universe you are writing for that it doesn't really make your character remarkable or unusual. If your character is a role-playing character and the only reason you can answer 'yes' is because of other players acting of their own free wills (IE, everyone has their characters throwing themselves at your character's feet and you've done nothing to force this) do not answer yes to the corresponding question. Part 1 - All Characters Questions that pertain to all characters everywhere.
Seven Common Character Types Seven Common Character Types by Terry W. Ervin II Fiction writers employ a variety of characters while weaving their tales. Beyond the standard definitions of protagonist (the main character in a literary work) and antagonist (the main character or force that opposes the protagonist in a literary work), recognizing the types of characters and the parts they play while reading an interesting story can add to the experience. In addition, a fuller understanding of the character types and their uses can increase a writer’s effectiveness in weaving his own fictional tales. Confidante- someone in whom the central character confides, thus revealing the main character’s personality, thoughts, and intentions. Example: In a story, Melvin Sanders is a detective on the trail of a serial killer. In this example Chops is a confidante. Dynamic Character - a character which changes during the course of a story or novel. In this example Ebenezer Scrooge is a dynamic character. Copyright © Terry W.
10 Days of Character Building: Wrap Up Character Bio Sheets A bio sheet is a way of keeping track of a character’s physical description, traits and attributes. This method is familiar to anyone who enjoys role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. Using a Bio Sheet gives you an excellent reference point to go back to when you need to remember key information about your character. Defining Characters By Their Roles There are specific roles that characters fall into when you are writing a story. Building a Character Using Multiple Perspectives This technique helps you to build relationships. Key Questions This is a simple list of questions that provide insight into your character and how your character fits into your story. Basing Characters on Real People We often draw inspiration for fictional characters from people we know in real life. A Day in the Life Once the events of a story kick into motion, main characters are pushed outside of their boundaries and comfort zones. Interview Biography Possessions Brainstorming
Handling a Cast of Thousands - Part I: Getting to Know Your Characters by Will Greenway Few writing challenges are greater than doing justice to a large cast of characters in a novel or story. In fact, the difference between simply doing them justice and handling them well is a significant level of effort in itself. Sadly, this is one of those writer conundrums that is often best resolved with a "Don't do that if it hurts" solution. Getting a grip on your cast Cast members are reoccurring characters who are pivotal to your story. Aside from your main cast, there will be supporting roles, and often dozens of walk-on or cameo characters. Least significant, but always necessary, are walk-ons and cameos. Because of the limited time these characters spend in the frame, writers tend to make them more exotic, giving them odd quirks or ticks in order to make them interesting. Beware of "extras" with aspirations of star status. Don't promote these exotic latecomers to cast status. Casting couch -- criteria for success A viewpoint character carries a heavy onus.
It's Not What They Say... by Mary Cook In fiction writing it's the dialogue that lifts your characters off the page. You must ensure your writing is strong enough for the task. It's not what they say; it's the way they say it Speech has a natural rhythm, like music. You can tell a lot about a character by his verbal mannerisms. One person might use "you know" a great deal, while another opens nearly every sentence with "Well". Punctuation is almost as important as the words. Punctuation is also important from a style point of view. Don't use the exclamation point too freely. You can learn a lot about realistic dialogue by eavesdropping on other people's conversations. Don't be tempted to write with a regional accent by introducing strange spellings. Anyone who has read Somerset Maugham's Liza of Lambeth will know what I mean. For example, the following dialogue on the subject of childbirth could lead the reader to think Maugham couldn't spell or was writing in a foreign language: Cut out the superfluous words.
Web Resources for Developing Characters When developing characters, many writers use personality traits that they see in themselves and in others, such as friends, family and celebrities. A new source of material and information that can help you develop characters is the Internet. The Internet offers some unique resources for character development, such as psychological testing websites, baby name databases and other reference sites and databases. These websites certainly weren't created for writers developing characters; nevertheless, these site are extremely useful for writers. Psychological Resources Psychological websites can help writers learn the underlying principles of behavior that motivate or cause people to act as they do. Psychological websites can also help writers because they explain common personality traits, people's reactions to loss, illness, stress and tragedy and they often provide case studies and examples. Biography Resources Biography resources can be a great help to writers. Naming Characters
Establishing the Right Point of View Establishing the Right Point of View: How to Avoid "Stepping Out of Character" by Marg Gilks Return to Characters, Viewpoint, and Names · Print/Mobile-Friendly Version "Dalquist was shaking with rage, tears streaking down her face. Yikes! If you can see what's wrong with this excerpt, congratulations. What's wrong with the above excerpt? Paragraph one is ambiguous. Every scene should have only one POV character, and everything must be filtered through that POV character's perceptions. But, isn't it so much easier just to tell the reader what character X is thinking, rather than trying to show it in ways the POV character (and thus, the reader) can see and understand? Let's look at that again, and we'll see a hint: isn't it so much easier just to tell the reader what character X is thinking, rather than trying to show it in ways the POV character can see and understand? Yup: "show, don't tell." Yup: characterization. "Lexas didn't turn around. There's no confusion here. Find Out More...
Character Chart FAVORITES Color: Music: Food: Literature: Expressions: Book: Quote: Expletive(s) (swears): Mode of transportation: HABITS Smokes: What? How often? Drinks: What? SELF-PERCEPTION One word character would use to describe self: One paragraph description of how character would describe self: What does character consider best physical characteristic? Immediate goal(s): Long range goal(s): How does character plan to accomplish goal(s)? How character react in a crisis (calm/panic/etc.)? Jewelry? Owns a computer? © (c ) copyright 1990-2011 Rebecca Sinclair ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Authors Note: I worked hard on this. ~ Permission is granted to LINK TO the Fiction Writers Character Chart. ~ Permission is granted to print out a copy of the Fiction Writers Character Chart FOR PERSONAL USE ~ Permission is NOT granted to copy and/or use the Character Chart in print and/or electronic form (including the internet) without express written permission)
Tami Cowden | Author I am happy to say that The Complete Writers’ Guide to Heroes and Heroines is now available on Kindle! And even better – so is Fallen Heroes: Sixteen Master Villain Archetypes! What are the Sixteen Master Archetypes? The word "archetype" was coined by Carl Jung, who theorized that humans have a collective unconscious, "deposits of the constantly repeated experiences of humanity.... a kind of readiness to reproduce over and over again the same or similar mythical ideas...." The observations my coauthors and I made are that there are recurring character types who have starred in story after story, entertaining and informing the human experience for millennia. At his or her core, every well-defined hero or heroine is one of the respective archetypes. But beware when trying to decide what archetypal family to which a character belongs. I am serious – what the character does is not the defining element. “Any archetype can do anything – the question will always be why.” Top
Character Chart for Fiction Writers - EpiGuide.com If you're a fiction writer -- whether you're working on a novel, short story, screenplay, television series, play, web series, webserial, or blog-based fiction -- your characters should come alive for your reader or audience. The highly detailed chart below will help writers develop fictional characters who are believable, captivating, and unique. Print this page to complete the form for each main character you create. IMPORTANT: Note that all fields are optional and should be used simply as a guide; character charts should inspire you to think about your character in new ways, rather than constrain your writing. If this character chart is helpful, please let us know! Looking for more character questionnaires / charts? Science Fiction Writer Robert J. Sawyer: On Writing — Dialogue SFWRITER.COM > How to Write > On Writing: Dialogue by Robert J. Sawyer Copyright © 1996 by Robert J. Sawyer. Writing convincing dialogue is one of the hardest things for new writers to master. Here's the kind of dialog you read in many beginners' stories: "What happened to you, Joe?" Here's how real people talk: "Christ, man, what happened?" See the differences? Also note that in the first example, the speakers refer to each other by name. A few other features of real human speech demonstrated in the second example above: when relaying to a third party a conversation we had with somebody else, we usually only directly quote what the other person said; our own side of the conversation is typically relayed with considerable bravado, and the listener understands that what's really being presented is what we wish we'd had the guts to say, not what we actually said. Now, which of the above examples is better? "Christ, man, what happened?" "Interchangeable?" Profanity is also important.
Medieval Names Archive This collection of articles on medieval and Renaissance names is intended to help historical re-creators to choose authentic names. These articles were gathered from various places, and some of them appear elsewhere. In all cases, the copyright on each article belongs to its authors. For frequent users, we offer a compact index; but please read the following introduction at least once. What's New Choosing a Medieval Name Choosing a medieval name is easy: Open any book on any aspect of medieval history, and there will be some names. To be honest, it isn't that easy. at least not if you truly want an authentic name. Good and Bad Sources It's also easy to get led astray by bad sources. Many people in the Society have written articles to help you choose an authentic name. The Problem Names Project Some names that many people think of as common to the Middle Ages or Renaissance are either purely modern or otherwise problematic. You can help! Table of Contents Personal Names in Specific Cultures
Interviewing Characters: Follow the Energy - Conversations with Dale On November 13, 2007 I ran out of plot for the NaNoWriMo novel I was writing. I had no idea what to write next. That’s not uncommon for NaNo novelists, but I hadda do something to jiggle myself loose. In NaNoWriMo, word count is everything, and I couldn’t afford to fall behind. So I tried something I hadn’t tried before: I interviewed my characters. Well, that turned out to be more interesting than I’d anticipated. I didn’t use any pre-planned questionnaire. Instead, I did what I do in many real-life interviews: Follow the energy. Ask a question that invites the character to tell me something newListen for emotional intensity in the answer. Rather than describing this process in detail, I’ll let you read the interviews as I conducted them, unedited. Some background: The novel involves a time loop. In the first plot, Dan Roberge murders his wife Faith and her lover Zorem. The interviews: In the second plot, Amy Anderson saves her son from drowning in a pond on the family farm.