1. Maro1
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    Maro1 New Member

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    Character Development help please

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Maro1, Oct 25, 2012.

    I have a general idea of my plot will be like, I think it is better to start with the characters first, I have nearly completed character but 90% based on another T.V. show character...I don't know how to make things more original I was hoping someone here could give me some help on how to create a character and how to make them more original.

    I am new to novel writing, I always wanted to write a novel since I was little, and I think my chance to do so is now.

    Thanks
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I happen to agree that it is better to start with characters first. Characters are very important, some would say more important than plot. I am a bit concerned, however, that you say you have a character that is based on a television show character. An already established fictional character (or real person, for that matter) can be an inspiration for a character, but you should not base one of your characters on another.

    There have been other threads about this, and I have given this advice before, but for me, the best way to develop characters is to spend time with them. You spend time with them by thinking about them and primarily by writing them. Write some scenes and see who else shows up. Put your character in a situation -- he gets home from work and goes inside. Who is waiting for him? How does he feel about arriving home? Is he happy to be home or would he rather have been at work? What does he do? Follow him through the evening or through a day and see what he tells you. The characters are original just like people are original -- through their own particular thoughts and feelings.
     
  3. randomme1
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    randomme1 Member

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    Based 90% off of a TV character? That's sort of bad, but normal. It is a good start, but now you have to make him/her unique.

    There are a couple threads you should look at first, but I will try to help you now. Try taking that TV show character and see what traits about him/her you like about them. Why did you base your character off of them? Once you have done that, try adding some other characteristics in there, or even take some characteristics from another TV character and throw them in there.

    Try this example:
    I am going to base a character off of Bugs Bunny. Why? Because he is funny, he likes insulting his rivals (Elmer Fud, Daffy) and he likes dressing in disguises. Now I am going to throw in some Peter Griffin. Again, why? Because he is a moron, and he likes coming up with insane plans that are way too complicated.

    So now I have a funny moronic character who likes to insult his enemies, likes disguises and comes up with complicated plans.

    Now after you have a character you need to figure out how he reacts to situations. Example:

    My character comes home to find someone towing his car. What does he do?

    He decides to put on a police outfit and is going to try and arrest the guy towing his car. But what if the guy doesn't believe him? Then my character will call the actual cops and act like they are backup. Well what if they come there and they don't want to arrest the guy towing the car? Then my character will tell the cops that the man is carrying illegal drugs. What if they search him and don't find any? Then my character will say that he swallowed the drugs. Then he will convince the cops to take the man back to the station and search him.
    Ofcourse this would never work, then my character will look like an idiot and end up kicking the man in the nuts and stealing his car back.

    Now this is not good enough for a novel, but do you see what you have to do? Try adding in some new traits from another character, or come up with your own. Then ask what your character would do in certain situations. That is only the beginning, but once you do that it will get easier. Remember, it is your character that makes your plot move forward. Make sure your character has some interesting trait that will cause a conflict.
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I hate to do this, but I have to disagree with much of what Randomme1 said, at least with respect to basing character traits on other characters or merging several characters together. I really think you need to create characters organically, not as melds of two characters. If that's done, the characters can appear flat and look like you melded together two characters.

    He is right, however, with respect to figuring out how he reacts to specific situations. But don't do it based on what the tv character would do. It has to be on what your unique character does. I don't think it's so much determining you have a 'funny, moronic character who likes to insult his enemies' and then using that basis to figure out what he does. I'd say its the exact opposite. You see what he does, and from that you may determine that the character is funny, moronic, and has a tendency toward insult.
     
  5. randomme1
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    randomme1 Member

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    I agree with you chicagoliz completely. I was just giving the OP advice based on the fact that he already had a character based off of a TV show character. I create my characters from scratch as well, my example was not the best. I was just trying to give him a starting point so that when the OP had atleast a shell of his character he could go back to those previous threads and use that advice just a little bit better. It is a hard obstacle making your main character, especially if you are new.
     
  6. sharonwagoner
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    sharonwagoner Member

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    I am in no position to give advice on fictional characters, but it seems to me the people posting are driving at what motivates a character. Why do they act as they do? I do know psychology.

    For example: is Bugs Bunny a wise cracking clown to keep others from teasing him because he grew up in a tough neighborhood? Is he staying in charge by keeping others off balance? His Bronx accent makes me think he grew up in a tough neighborhood.

    A real person, Cornelius Vanderbilt, was a tough guy because he had to fight for everything he had, since he grew up in poverty. He also was a very inhumane person, even when he gained very great wealth and power. I think he took his upbringing in a dog-eat-dog inhumane environment with him.
     
  7. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not sure I follow your concern, Chicagoliz. So what if his character is similar to something from a T.V show? The plot, and other characters, will define what we see from that character, and how the character develops.

    For instance, if I took the character of King Arthur and made him into a CEO of a major corporation, based him in our time period and culture, gave him an up to date name, I think he'd be original enough.
     
  8. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well I have the same struggles myself, so I can't offer much advice. However, I have realised recently that labelling my character never helps.

    People always talk about character profiles, what does your character like to eat, what music he likes, etc. These details don't help me - I make them up and then a week lately promptly forget it all. Then I tried giving them traits, "He's cheerful, sarcastic etc" - and again, they're just words that are forgotten. I almost never write my characters the way the profile says, but then I end up with the same characters over and over again!

    I'm still working on it, I haven't found a solution myself yet, but the way I "see" characters when I read a good book, for example, is actually more of a feeling. I never see the characters in my head, I never have a face, I simply have a feeling about them, a kind of energy or mood the character brings and their names alone could evoke that mood/feeling. The character, for me, becomes a complex idea without words to pin him/her down, but like it's hard to describe your best friend but you know exactly what he/she is like - it's like that for me when I connect with a character from a book.

    So step 1 - don't label your character with traits.
    I have yet to work out step 2. I know it'll be based off of the way I feel characters, but haven't got it worked out yet.

    Well, hope my musings may have inspired some good ideas anyway!
     

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