1. Ellsbeth
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    Ellsbeth Member

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    Bonding rituals

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Ellsbeth, Jun 13, 2013.

    I'm creating characters at the moment and I'm quite jealous of all these threads talking about 'their character said this, wanted that' etc. The closest I've ever come to making my characters real was using one to practice writing dialogue and by the time I finished I realised that my intended Hero/ Hero's love interest character likes being an evil bizznatch instead.

    (she's accusing and bullying a servant girl for stealing her favourite silver medallion when the defiant servant slaps her. So she orders her hand maiden to hold the girl while she retrieves a large pair of shearers and cuts off four of the servants fingers. My character then orders the hand maiden to take the girl away and places the bloody objects into a collection of fingers housed in a small box in her dresser. Which turns out is sitting next to a rather suspicious looking silver medallion.)

    but as I said I was only practicing dialogue. Apart from that I want my characters to hang out with me and cant get the bond happening.

    So my question is, What are your bonding rituals for your characters? Assuming you were asked to create a brand new character right now.
     
  2. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    If bonding rituals between yourself and your fictitious characters are common amongst authors then I'm way out of the loop

    Create your characters, give them personalities, , let them run wild, they'll full-fill your imagination's commands
     
  3. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Start by asking the obvious questions: name, age, hair colour, etc. This will help you to visualise the character. Once you've done that, ask your character 'interview' questions such as 'What's your favourite movie?' and 'What would you do if a dog chased you?' You can make up your own or look on the internet for these.

    Now you can write a dialogue with your character and another character, or for a bit of fun, with yourself! I heard someone say to do a 'day in the life of...' with your character. Try to make it mundane, then do another day when something exciting happens (although writing these days has nothing to do with your story, unless it sparks ideas!). Getting this far, you should know both the looks and personality of your character, and this means you are beginning to 'bond' with them. Finally, think about them most of the day. On the bus, when you're eating breakfast, when you're waiting at the doctor's. Ask yourself where this character began, and if you already have the novel's story in your head, ask what you think the character will do after the events of your story, assuming they don't die. It doesn't have to become a sequel. Just be friends with your characters. Ask things you would ask a good friend: 'How are you today?', 'What did you think of the basketball game last night?', 'What book do you want to read next, then?'

    Live with your character as if they are right there next to you, at all times. Soon you will, as you say, bond with them, therefore making your novel or short story far more emotional and well written. If you care about your characters before you write your actual novel, then you will care for them even more when you do begin. They will not be fictional; they will be real, and that really gives your book a punch when good and bad things happen to them.

    Sorry for the long post, but I hope this helps. :)
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Mine go with me when I walk my dogs. I don't think I'd want to bond with your finger cutter though, maybe that's the problem. :eek:
     
  5. nevari
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    nevari Member

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    I'm not so sure I "bond" with my characters.. Rather I see it as giving them life within their world (Story) I think the story writes the character at times.
    I often hear people say what sort of author could create .. so and so.. blah blah and be "normal"? Well, its all about imagination and where/when etc. you can take that imagination.
    I can write something sweet and kind one moment and evil and sadistic at another. Doesn't mean I'm all sweet or ~cut someones fingers off~. :)

    Give them life and let them live and the bonding I'd say leave that to the others within the tale. I care about my imagination and that will show with the characters.
     
  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not so sure I'd call it "bonding" so much as "getting to know them." But, in any event, it's really just doing what you've already done. You spend time with your characters by writing scenes featuring them. I'd say it's not so much interviewing them as following them around. Write scenes that you don't plan on using in your m/s - scenes from just before the start of your story or from his childhood or young adult years. The scene where he was on his first date with his spouse, or the scene of the last dinner the m/c had with her fiance. Follow him home from work or school, noting how he gets home (drive a car? bus? walk? subway? flying saucer?), what his home is like, who else is home, how he feels about that person being there, who he wishes was there, what he does upon arriving home -- eat dinner? Who makes it? What does he have? Does he eat with anyone? What does he do afterward? Does he talk to anyone -- in person, via phone? text? email? online chat? handwritten letter?

    You've already done this in your dialogue writing practice. Go ahead and do it some more. Have her talk with someone else -- friend, mother, boyfriend, brother, etc. Follow her thoughts before, during and after.
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm going to get the brickbats for this, but...

    I don't make 'friends' of characters. The story I want to tell comes first, then I chose the players who will move that story forward. They each have a purpose. They are chosen to play a role, to make events occur, or to represent a concept or idea. Who they are, in the metaphysical sense, is dependent on their roles.
     
  8. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's interesting reading about the relationships some writers form with their characters. Mine are mere tools in my box, they have jobs, they do them and the quality of their work is ultimately down to the reader. That's as far as I 'friend' them so I'm kinda with Wreybies on this
     
  9. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually, I'm fairly certain that some of my characters would not like me.
     
  10. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is no secret. It takes a long time to conceptualise and then visualise a character. It happens at the same time as the story. Whether you work from the outline or straight writing, after some time, as your story starts to make sense, so will your character.
    Every character has a story to tell. Find that story and you'll bond with them.
     
  11. Ellsbeth
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    Ellsbeth Member

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    Hahaha great info guys and thank you im hearing what your all saying :D (and the finger cutter was supposed to be the cool headed warm hearted take her home to meet your mother sort of gal. Well apparently not anymore!)
    I'm going to keep up this this scenarios idea I think it will help me. thanks
     
  12. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm the exact opposite of Wreybies and erebh. I don't start with a story; I start with a character. The story is what the character does. If I started with a story and just inserted puppets into it to play the roles, I wouldn't feel like a writer, I'd feel like, well, a puppeteer.

    So the character and the setting come first. I put my character into a situation and start writing scenes about him. These scenes aren't necessarily going to be part of the finished story, though they usually help me generate ideas for what the story will eventually become. At some point - as I've gotten more experience, this point comes earlier and earlier in the process - I figure both the character and the story out. I think, "Here's who he is! Here's what he's doing! This is my story!" Then the scenes I'm writing come into sharper focus and start being part of the story.
     
  13. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm with you, Minstrel. I love to create characters. Seriously love it. I have a much harder time coming up with a plot for them. Everything I write is character-based.
     
  14. Juju Bagdasarian
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    Juju Bagdasarian Member

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    I see this thread is how adults justify having imaginery friends . Rofl :D
     
  15. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, it totally is. I love my imaginary friends.
     
  16. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I think both methods come to the same end and each can suffer from pitfalls that need to be avoided. Since I come from the opposite camp, my prejudice (yes, I admit, a prejudice) against the character-first method is that I fear it will end in a story that is meaningless, that tells me little more than a Scooby-Do adventure. Is this always the case? Absolutely not, of course. But when I look through the spyglass from my end, that's the pitfall I see because it does happen. That is the natural pitfall of that method. And I know that the those who do not espouse the story-first method see the pitfall of a preachy story played out by cardboard people. Does that always happen? Absolutely not, of course, but I know when they look from their and of the spyglass, that's what they see because that is the natural pitfall of that method.

    In this, I feel there is no right and wrong. There are two ways through the maze. :)

    *Cue the person who will now correct me and say that there are, in fact, many more than just two... * :D
     
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  17. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I find that if I come up with a character first, the story and plot blossoms depending on the character's personality and daily life. But in general, plot comes first for me, however I do like creating my characters once my story is in place. :)
     
  18. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Not from me, you won't. I won't get into the chicken/egg argument of whether characters drive the story or the story shapes the characters, because I've done both, sometimes within the same story. But the idea that I have to somehow "bond" with a character, as if writing were some elaborate exercise made up by a VP of Human Resources for a company that hasn't caught the downsizing bug, yet...sorry. I create my characters and I use 'em.

    Of course, that doesn't mean that some of them don't get their own ideas. But then, that's how subplots are born.
     
  19. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You're right. I only said I would feel like a puppeteer if I worked like that. (Also, I'd probably feel horrible about myself, like I was guilty of enslaving people who have every right to be free. I'm a little weird that way.)

    But I'm well aware that many others work differently from the way I do, and write great stories doing so. I'll do what works for me and you'll do what works for you.

    Thank you, by the way, for pointing out so succinctly the pitfalls of both approaches. That will be useful for many novice members here, I'm sure. :)
     
  20. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm the same way. Except I don't feel like I create my characters. More often than not, my characters create themselves.

    Most of my inspiration comes from my dreams. I get one image, just a snapshot of a location, and my entire story somehow comes together.

    For example, I had a dream a looonngg time ago about a hotel in Florida. I don't remember what the dream was about. I just remember the hotel. And it's been in my head for months upon months. Just the hotel. A two-story, pink stucco building with iron railings on the second floor balcony and couches and chairs in the courtyard. That's all. Two days ago, I finally decided to use that in a story. I had nothing but that hotel. But when I made the conscious decision to use it, my character just exploded in my head. An 18-year-old girl was fed up with her parents, so she ran away to this run-down hotel to hide from her parents. She got a fake ID with a new name and an older age so that she could work in a beachside bar and make extra cash. She's been hardened by her life and has decided to avoid as many life experiences as possible.

    I don't know why it's so easy for me to make my characters. It just is. My characters are people to me. They are all different, they are all real. I don't need to struggle to come up with their backstory. It just comes to me. The hardest thing for me is plot. lol
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't have any... i don't need to have any emotional connection with them to make them work in a story... why do you thnk you need to 'bond with' your characters?
     
  22. Ellsbeth
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    Ellsbeth Member

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    1. I have no friends :D

    But in all honestly I feel like it would give more depth to any possible work I might create. Apart from Luari (who I've been writing scenarios for recently and starting to feel like she is a real person.) My characters all run around meeting each other and I'm loosing motivation because I honestly don't care what happens to them.
    So I feel in order to give them the credit they deserve I need to get in touch with how they are feeling, otherwise I've noticed I care more about the next 'super amazing character' idea then the 20 million 'puppets' (as someone put it) laying under my bed.
     
  23. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    This is why some of us prefer to go the other route and populate a story with characters rather than construct a character around whom a story will hopefully evolve. It's kinda' like Hollywood. You can be an agent with a coral of actors for whom you are trying to find the right script, or you can be a screenwriter with a script auditioning actors to fill the roles. Some of us prefer to be screenwriters.
     
  24. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    double post
     
  25. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I feel oddly close to my characters because I reuse them so often. I love them, they are my friends. Friends who are often murdered as I feel like it. Don't think I have a ritual though. If I make up a character, put them in a story, and like them, I start to care about them.

    It feels really weird though, caring about fictional people.

    I do think it helps to have some form of bond with them. It inspires you to create a better story for them. The characters I like have deep background stories, have a bunch of interesting stuff happen to them, have complex relationships, etc. The characters I don't give a crap about... they are lucky if they live past the first chapter. However, you definitely need some of those characters as well, so it's not a bad thing.
     

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