1. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    Character Profiling

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by ChaosReigns, Oct 28, 2013.

    There has probably been 1,000,001 threads on this topic but im going to ask it

    how can you get an in-depth character profile, i mean like aside from the basics would there be a set formula on what you would use.

    i know my main characters (theres 3 in this particular story) names, hair colours and eye colours, even their hair styles to some extent, and their races (ones an elf, one a human, one a dwarf) but i dont know much more than that.

    any help would be appreciated
     
  2. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I don't honestly know what you're asking for. You mean personalities and such?
     
  3. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    personalities, mannerisms, thoughts, reactions.

    i really dont have time to go too in depth as this is for NaNoWriMo and i need a quick understanding of them that isnt too permanent
     
  4. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    1) pick a reason for why the character exists (helps the MC escape, gives a quest item, love interest, helps the character grow, etc.)
    2) give them a virtue/vice
    3)exaggerate it to the point of a comical level (Kitty from that 70s show is my prime imagery)

    That should give the character a strong sense and adding mannerisms and speech/actions to that virtue/vice should be a snap.

    Or think of Snow White from OUAT, she is about forgiveness. Prince Charming is protection. Emma is independence. Hook is loyalty. Regina is wrath/vengeance.

    A simple quality can give the characters quite a bit if you expand on it.
     
  5. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I don't know of any formula, no, and I would think that using a formula would (possibly) make the character a little too... cliche? I don't think that's the word I mean but it's been a long day, lol.

    I think that you just have to think about the characters...

    Elf - does s/he have a complex about being small? (This applies also to the dwarf), is he friendly, helpful, etc. or is he irritable, nasty, self-deprecating, funny, a joker? Mannerisms can be anything from always calling people 'dude' to picking their nose when no one is looking, to rubbing their nose when they're nervous, etc.

    It's going to be quite difficult for anyone to help you, really, since there really isn't anything to go on. I would think about where you want the story to go and how the personalities will both mesh and clash, and how to make all of that work for you. I'm sorry since I don't think this is terribly helpful, but I also don't think I can be with the limited information you've given. :oops:
     
  6. ChaosReigns
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    http://nanowrimo.org/participants/zakira-salem/novels this is the piece in question, i hope this helps you a bit, the character speaking in the exerpt isnt one of the MCs, the elf who is MC is standing in silence at this point, and the elves im thinking of, are of a similar stature to the ones that Tolkein wrote about...
     
  7. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Well I would think that the you've got a start for the elf right there. Why is his hair so long? Is it rebellious, is it for a purpose (I won't shave my beard until they re-open Hooters type thing), is it because he's been too depressed with everything happening in his world to notice what he looks like and is shocked when it's pointed out to him? Just answering that question alone would tell you a lot about him....
     
  8. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    the guy whose hair is long is human, the dwarf is proposing that he gets it dreaded like his, the elf mc is not so sure, and this side character that speaks, she is relaying a message from the elf council that he can do as he so wishes with his hair...

    MCs
    Dwarf: Male, long dark dreads and dark eyes
    Human: Male Long blond hair, green eyes
    Elf: Female, mid length mousy brown hair, teal eyes

    does this help at all?
     
  9. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're right that there have been many threads on this topic, and I'm going to give the advice I always give: Character sheets/profiles are not all that useful. I think they're okay in spending some time on them if you really just can't write and you want to spend time thinking about your characters. (Some people think they are a complete waste of time and should not be used at all.) They're certainly not worth stressing about, though. For the most part, it's going to be irrelevant what hair and eye color or hairstyle your character has. It's not even always that important what their name is. What you really need to know are their personality traits, and that you can only discover by spending time with your characters through writing scenes with them. They don't even necessarily have to be scenes that will appear in your story. They could be totally outside the story, or something that happened a long time prior, maybe even when the characters were children.
     
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  10. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Sorry. When you said a dwarf was talking and the elf was standing by I thought you meant he was the one the dwarf was talking to. Either way, all the questions I said before? Apply those to the human MC.

    The biggest thing I think you need to work on is why are they together (I assume they are). I know why, but why is it them? And what do each of them bring to the table as a benefit, as well as what do they lack that the others have to cover for? That's going to be the most important question you have to answer and the rest of the traits should follow after quite easily.
     
  11. ChaosReigns
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    Thank you for the advice, the reason hair is brought up is that its a bit more of a culture/race thing in my story, and i need to have a character that has some kind of conflict somewhere that later helps him further.

    @Trish the trio are together because the human saved the ruler of the country, and both the Dwarf and Elf are indebted, the dwarf is leader of his people and the elf is one of the rulers family, i wont reveal what the MC got in return for doing that, but he has ability to keep the country in good stead, and has help from the other two as they all have skill sets that are able to help them further in the story...
     
  12. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    You have an excellent foundation here. All you have to do is figure out how they get along. That will give you all of the personality traits you need. I'm not sure what you're worried about, you seem to have it well in hand.
     
  13. ChaosReigns
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    what im worried about is that ill lose sight of the characters i start with...
     
  14. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    See.. to me? That's just something that may or may not happen. Stories evolve, characters evolve, and you have to just roll with it. It's important that they do evolve, in fact. I think you'll be fine.
     
  15. ChaosReigns
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    i hope so, this piece is no small undertaking, im used to horror, im not well acquainted to Fantasy, and this is my NaNo piece... ive updated the excerpt a bit more to have all of what of i have written i should have posted all of it to begin with to make more sense of it
     
  16. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Um, don't really see how the eye color is important unless this is masturbating material or something...
     
  17. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Well Dwarfs are known to like to drink and fight. They usually seem to have an identity complex because of their height. These are just a few things I can come up with off the top of my head. Just take some of your past experiences and work from there.
     
  18. ChaosReigns
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    just how i roll when thinking up the characters, i try to get their appearance right in my head before i get anything down, and yes that includes eye colour, no this isnt "masturbating material" *shudders* its how i work, there may be some passing mention of it when i write the story... but really it just serves as a purpose for me to picture the characters appearance
     
  19. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Seriously? I guess that's the difference in some writers. I almost always mention eye color. I think if you want someone to picture your character it's important. I have a thing about eyes though, so you know, I could be the oddity in the room. In case you can't tell, lol.
     
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  20. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Like getting you grounded. Fair enough.
     
  21. ChaosReigns
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    yep, so i get at least an idea of who im dealing with here
     
  22. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    I just always imagine my chracters as actors.

    My current cast of main characters for my NaNo:

    Olivia Wilde as Grace Lawton

    [​IMG]

    Taye Diggs as Reggie Carmine

    [​IMG]

    Kelli Giddish as Sarah Jacobs

    [​IMG]

    Jai Courtney as Wesley Davidson

    [​IMG]

    So that's how I do it, I have their personalities in my head too.
     
  23. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    Wait...you don't yet know how to create a character that a reader can identify with and you're going for NaNoWriMo?

    Forgive me, I mean no insult, but it appears that you have the cart so far before the horse that the poor nag can't be seen.There's a lot more to writing a novel than getting a good plot idea and heading for the keyboard. A scene in fiction for the printed word, for example, isn't at all like a scene on stage or in film, so if you don't know the differences and how a writer handles that, how are you going to create fiction that pleases a reader? You can't create a vibrant scene of you don't know what a scene is. If you're not up on why a scene-goal is necessary, and why, will you include one?

    Yes, you can spent a month banging on the keyboard and creating a novel, but if it's your first, the chance that it will be viewed with a smile by an acquiring editor is damn small, given that most people write, polish, and put aside a half million to a million words before they sell anything. And that being the case, let me propose an alternative.

    Since you've already committed to spend the month working on fiction, why not spend the time you would have used typing in learning the techniques and tool usage that the pros take for granted? Then, when you do sit down to write that novel it will be from a position of power, with your tool kit filled with the same tools the pros use. And, you'll be using them from a position of knowledge. win/win

    On the subject of character interviews, some things to take into account:

    When it comes to things like appearance, what matters is to be consistent. If you choose the look that seems to fit the situation we meet that character in, when you place that character into play, just record that so you can refer back to it.

    As far as your character's internal makeup and landscape, you can only create that beforehand if you have the plot done in deep detail. You're going to change their makeup and past, as necessary, in any case. When something unexpected comes up and the characteristics you've chosen makes the character unable to do as you desire, because of the personality you assigned them, you'll toss the original. Why not "discover" their past and characteristics, as necessary, as they react to the events they face? Only you need that background data because the reader is looking to know what's happening, not what once happened. If the protagonist never has to design anything who cares that he has an engineering degree?

    Why not? I ask because it sounds like you're concerned that people will steal your idea. And if that's your concern forget it. Ideas are easy. It's writing well enough to make the reader turn the page that's a bitch. Look at it this way. Were you to give a lousy story idea to someone like Stephen King he would write something that would keep you turning pages because he writes well. But were he to give the vast majority of people who belong to this site the plot to his next novel, the result would be rejected before the end of the first chapter for the same reason 99.9+% of submissions are rejected: the novel wasn't written on a professional level.

    So again we come to the same point: to write like a pro you need to be a pro. And that takes commitment to not only write diligently, it takes a thorough knowledge of all phases of writing fiction for the printed word.

    My personal suggestion as to what to read begin with these two articles. They'll give you an idea of some of the techniques that are available. Then, if fter chewing on them a bit they seem to make sense, hit your local library and call in a copy of Jack Bickham's, Scene and Structure. You'll be glad you did.

    http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/scene.php
    http://www.be-a-better-writer.com/scenes-and-sequels.html
     
  24. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    @JayG I'm going to respectfully disagree with the majority of this post. Being uncertain does not mean she's not capable of figuring it out or handling it. Honestly, I think a lot of the doubt, nervousness, and uncertainty new writers here feel is due to posts just like this one. The ones that tell them they're not good enough to do something, they're taking on too much, you can't do this, you can't do that, but if you insist on doing that you MUST do it THIS WAY. It drives me a little bit nuts, I have to say.

    She's got a decent plan, good ideas, she needs confidence and support - not a smackdown (IMO).
     
  25. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I can't believe my post was so quickly ignored. Give me a fantasy race and I can easily give you a personalty profile. Ready...Set..Go!
     

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