background preloader

How to Write a Character From Start to Finish

How to Write a Character From Start to Finish
The best fiction is about a character who changes in some significant way. The selfish brute learns to put others first. The woman marrying for money decides to marry for love. The career ladder climber learns to cut back on his hours to enjoy his family. We love to see characters transformed. —by Jeff Gerke Most of the time, main characters in fiction are changing for the better. But there’s also room for characters who change for the worse. Perhaps most intriguing of all is a “bad” character who flirts for a while with the idea of being good, but then decides that his true self is on the dark side of the street. Of course, not every story has to be about a character who changes. Whether your protagonist ultimately turns toward or away from the light will be up to you, but we’ll look at ways to send her on a journey in which she’s transformed. The Inner Journey In fiction terms, a character’s transformation is called his inner journey or character arc. The Nexus The Seeds of Change Related:  Character DevelopmentDevelopment

How To Write Great Characters | Special Interest | WritingRoom Great characters don’t just happen, they are more than just written-they are born. Scarlet O’Hara, The Wicked Witch of the West, Beetlejuice, Mary Poppins, and Tony Montana all had obvious needs, wants, fears and idiosyncrasies that made them unique and recognizable. And although they live purely on paper and film, their characterization is built with such realism it is as if they could be the nanny next door, the spoiled brat in the big house down the street or the Mafioso in the neighboring town. DRAMATIC FUNCTION: The dramatic function of a character is part of the story’s logistical structure. GIVE THEM LIFE: You should know your character like you know yourself. MIX AND MATCH STEREOTYPES: Is your character lacking that extra little pizzazz that makes them truly pop. RESEARCH: So you have created the perfect character- a Dragon Slaying Knight; he’s young, handsome, noble and afraid of fire.

Creating Great Heroes and Heroines by Anne Marble What is a romance novel without its characters? OK, to be fair, what is any novel without characters? What Makes a Great Hero? We'll look at the hero first because, let's face it, most women read romance novels because they want to read about the hero. So what does make a good hero? Good Traits Naturally, your hero should be heroic. When most people think of romance novel heroes, they think of larger-than-life swashbuckling heroes. Still, the best romance novel heroes have one thing in common: they are devoted to the heroine. Even if your hero is a rake or a bad boy, he still must have good traits. Flaws Just like all fictional characters, your hero, no matter how lovable, should not be utterly perfect. What types of flaws can the hero have? If you can write a completely despicable hero and redeem him, more power to you. Most romance heroes aren't quite so flawed, and no wonder. The hero's background should dictate his flaws, as should the needs of the story. Things to Avoid

Writing Mentally Ill and Insane Characters You can't go through an archive of fiction on the Internet or a collection of roleplaying profiles for long without finding a character who is supposed to be mentally ill, or "insane," or something. However, many of these characters are based in huge misunderstandings and misconceptions about how such things work, and some of these misconceptions are harmful to real people with mental problems. So, here are some things to know and do when it comes to trying to write such a character yourself. Know what it means to be psychotic, insane, and mentally ill. First, the term "psychotic" refers to someone who has a severely warped perception of reality due to an underlying disorder. "Insane" is a legal term today. Now, society is full of people who will label people insane or crazy at the drop of a hat. These people are of course wrong (and cruel, if they use the terms in a derogatory or dismissive sense) in labeling others thus. Some common myths and misconceptions addressed.

25 Ways To Fuck With Your Characters - StumbleUpon As storyteller, you are god. And to be frank, you’re not a particularly nice god — at least, not if you want your story to resonate with readers. A good storyteller is a crass and callous deity who treats the characters under his watchful eye like a series of troubled butt-puppets. From this essential conflict — storyteller versus character — a story is born. Put differently, as a storyteller it’s your job to be a dick. It’s your job to fuck endlessly with the characters twisting beneath your thumb. And here’s 25 ways for you to do just that. 1. Gods have avatars, mortal or semi-mortal beings that exist on earth to embody the deity’s agenda. 2. The audience and the character must know the stakes on the table — “If you don’t win this poker game, your grandmother will lose her beloved pet orangutan, Orange Julius.” 3. Impossible odds are a powerful way to fuck with a character. 4. Drop the character smack dab between two diametrically opposed choices. 5. 6. This one? 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

Name That Character: Top Ten Tips There are a plethora of movie character names that become everlasting brands in American culture: Rocky, Yoda, Forrest Gump, and Shrek to name a few. And when it comes to naming characters, you want to choose wisely, which is no easy task. Literature: Lennie Small: the mentally disabled but physically strong protagonist in John Steinbeck’s 1937 novella Of Mice and Men. Drama: Willy Loman: the elderly salesman lost in false hopes and illusions in Arthur Miller’s 1949 play Death of a Salesman. Film: “The Dude”: the unemployed L.A. slacker and avid bowler in Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1998 film The Big Lebowski. Steinbeck’s Lennie is a gentle giant who is “Small” of mind, with a simple dream of tending rabbits. Choosing the right name for a character is key. There’s a lot in a name, and the perfect name can make a world of difference, so here are some helpful tips – the Top Ten Dos and Don’ts – in naming characters. Tip 1: That Reflect Personality Tip 2: Choose a Name by Meaning

Things To Know If Your Character Will Be Augmented Or Experimented Upon Far, far too many stories and backstories where characters are experimented upon or augmented rely on characters doing things that almost no real person with any sort of sense would do in their positions. So here are some things to know and keep in mind about scientists, the scientific process, and a few other things so you can make your own stories more plausible. There is a big difference between an experiment and a project. To put it simply, an experiment is a test intended to result in new or expanded knowledge about something or to verify a claim or suspicion about the way something works or behaves. It isn't about simply doing something you're not sure about and hoping to get a result you like, but is about trying or testing something and learning from whatever results you get, whether they're the ones you hoped for or not. In fact, learning and progressing from one's failures and mistakes is a huge part of the scientific process. So, in summary...

Writing Sympathetic Morally-Ambiguous Characters Let’s face it: real life doesn’t neatly sort itself into tidy little good and bad/right and wrong piles for our convenience and ease of mind. Very often we have to face situations that force us to consider our values and what we really believe and why we believe them, or force us to pick what we can only hope is the lesser of two evils. If what we write is to accurately reflect reality, then this this fact cannot be ignored. On the downside, morally ambiguous characters who aren’t handed well can quickly become obnoxious and even repugnant. First, your morally-ambiguous characters need not, and probably should not continuously angst and bellyache over each and every less-than-spotless action. However, the character should have to grapple over major decisions where the implications of each choice are understood by the character.

How to Create Good Personalities for Your Characters Edit Article Sample Character DescriptionsCreating Personalities for Your Own Characters Edited by Secretive, Julia Maureen, Flickety, Ben Rubenstein and 19 others You're on a plane to a distant country to visit some weird old relatives you are somehow related to. Ad Steps Sample Character Descriptions Creating Personalities for Your Own Characters 1Start with a simple profile including these categories: Name, Age, Gender, and Occupation. 6Continue developing characters until your story is finished. Tips Keep the characters true to themselves. Warnings Don't copy off other characters in different, already well known books, such as Harry Potter.

Writing builds character. | Andi Marquette Hi, peeps! If you’re headed to the Left Coast Lesfic Conference, I’ll see you there! I’m slated to do a workshop on character. That is, developing them. So I’ve spent some time thinking about how to create and convey character, how to capture it, and how to hold on to it and make it arc logically and effectively. I’m one of those writers who thinks that setting is absolutely key to your story. If you’ve decided on a setting for your story, and you’ve got a rough idea of a plot and some rough ideas about characters, then start fleshing out your main character. The big, existential question is always: Who is this person? source So let’s dissect that. 1) Name? 2) Where does your character live and is that going to be the main setting of your story? 3) Place of origin? 4) Age? 5) Background? 6) Occupation? 7) Personality traits? 8 ) Who else is in your character’s life? 9) What does your character look like? 10) Habits/quirks? Final thought on that? Go forth and write! Like this: Like Loading...

Character Development Create and Write Better Non-Protagonist Characters (NPCs) For the purpose of this article, the term “NPC” and “PC” shall refer to “non-protagonist character” and “protagonist character,” respectively. Not only will they refer to PCs and NPCs in the traditional sense (“non-player/playable character” and “playable/player character”), but also to to non-protagonist characters in non-interactive fiction (eg, TV, books, movies). The reason being, the advice in this article applies to both RPG NPCs and non-protagonist characters in non-interactive fiction, and some forms of roleplay (eg, fandom and play-by-post roleplays) can blur the distinctions between the two. They need to be treated as people with their own lives, and not merely as stepping stones or obstacles for the protagonists. Many times, NPCs aren’t treated as actual people who have lives, dreams, and problems of their own but as little more than walking, talking objects that have little purpose other than helping or hindering the heroes somehow.

Character Trait Chart Character Trait Chart and Personality Components It can sometimes be helpful to make a Trait Chart for each character. This is especially helpful during the early stages of character development, before the character becomes as real to you as your mother. There are several charts of this sort available, some extremely detailed and some containing only facts and figures. I've tried to make one that includes the most important traits to help you visualize your character, both physically and emotionally. To use this chart, print it out and make a copy for each of your characters. Full name - a character's name is very important. Besides the character's official name, we also need to know what he is called (and, perhaps, what he prefers to be called). Date of Birth/Age - we should carefully consider assigning our character a birthday. Height - this doesn't need to be specific. Hair - keep in mind the character's ethnic background in assigning hair and eye color. Smell - everyone has a smell.

Related: