1. Chelsea
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    Chelsea Member

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    Character

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Chelsea, Jul 2, 2015.

    What questions do you ask yourself when developing a character? Still working on mine and trying to get deeper into his thoughts.
     
  2. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think character development is largely influenced by their actions.
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I don't start out with my characters completely developed, just the basics - what they do and why they're in the story. Then, as the story grows, I flesh them out, and as the characters grow, they influence the story.
     
  4. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    I generally look for (or purposefully program) the inherent contradictions that cause internal tension - usually between people's background and their desires but not always.

    I have:
    A devout Jain (antimaterialistic religion) who's a professional fashion blogger.
    A small town girl trying to hold onto her values despite moving to the city and getting a job in TV news (big tension there)
    A housewife and young mother hiding her past life as a tattooed, purple-haired rocker-chick.
    A former covert spy who can't re-adjust to having a family and an identity.

    All about tension.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015
  5. Chelsea
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    Chelsea Member

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    I like the idea of an inherent contradiction. Thinking about my characters I realize that they already have some.
     
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  6. Kallisto
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    Kallisto Active Member

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    1. What is this character's goal, motive, and conflict?
    What does Katniss from Hunger Games, Atticus from To Kill a Mocking Bird, and Jonas from The Giver all have in common? They all have a goal, a motive, and a conflict that's very personal to them. They are doing things for a real reason that we can all relate to. Katniss just wants to save her sister, because Prim all she has. Atticus wants to raise his children with morals and honesty, and feels he can only do that if he's living by morals and honesty, even if it's hard. Jonas has been taught his whole life to care for his community, and he realizes that, for their sake, he can't let things continue the way they are.

    2. Describe your character without saying what they looked like, what clothes they wore, what profession they are, or what their role in the story is. Describe them as though you were speaking to someone who never read your book.
    This prevents artificial development of characters where you have for example, "This guy is the tough assassin type. He's tough because assassins have to be tough." Um... okay, why is he an assassin to begin with? Or "She's the queen, so she has to act all regal." And then there's nothing else to the character. They're just there.

    And finally, the single most important question I ask.

    3. Do my readers see these things in my book?
    I can sit there saying til the cows come home, how great my main character is in my book and how you're going to get feels when you uncover her tragic backstory and you're going marvel at her awesomeness and pretty soon all the cosplayers are going to be dressing like her because she's just that cool... Nice. But what if they don't? Me going through these questions for my own character, only let me know I'm on the right track with my character. It doesn't tell me if I accomplished what I set out to do. It is very possible that I might be saying, "My character has this conflict" and my readers are saying, "Uh... yeah, I ain't seeing it."
     
  7. AlcoholicWolf
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    AlcoholicWolf Contributing Member

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    Have a Parkinson style interview with them. Write it down. Ask questions, then let r character answer them.

    "So tell me, Mr Aedam... How did you come to be the hero you are today? Where does your story begin"

    "It began in the courtyard of the Castle Delphine. By no means a large castle. Not at all. In fact, as castles go, it was more of a watchtower within a curtain wall. But it was home. That's all a castle is, really... A fortified home. And I wouldn't have traded ours for the world. Unfortunately, fate did that trade for us. When we lost Castle Delphine, it was the world which came for us."
     
  8. james82
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    james82 Member

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    There's a lot of things to consider and one thing that I feel every writer should consider when it comes
    to their main character/protagonist is the "pinch" or the moment in the story when the MC
    is fully committed and realizes that they HAVE to achieve their goal. The scene that involves
    the pinch will become one of the most important scenes in the book/script, and it's
    something that could and does easily get overlooked.

    For example, a line a dialogue could be enough to initiate the pinch, something that the MC
    hears which gives him/her this motivation, realization. Or of course it could be something visual.
    Either or, it should be there and is in every good story.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2015

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