1. Headintheclouds
    Offline

    Headintheclouds Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0

    Characterless

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Headintheclouds, Jun 26, 2011.

    I've been working on a story idea for a while, doing research and figuring out some of the plot. However, I have a major problem. My main character is currently a blank slate. I don't know who she should be. I don't know anything about her. Normally I have at least a basic idea of my character, and I can develop it from there. But this time I basically have no idea who my character should be.

    Can you think of anything I can do to develop my character?
     
  2. Laura Mae.
    Offline

    Laura Mae. Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    UK
    Put your character in the 'situations' that will occur during the story and see how they react. Don't worry about trying to get the character to behave in a particular way because your character is a blank slate, so you have so much more freedom in which to develop her.
     
  3. Suadade
    Offline

    Suadade Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2011
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Sweden
    If you're telling the story from the point of view of your main character, then something to consider is how you want the story to be experienced. The things that happen in the story will be filtered through the character's eyes, and depending on the character's personality the events will take on different shape and tint. You know? So how your character responds to what happens is just as important as what happens.
     
  4. JeffS65
    Offline

    JeffS65 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    Right now you have a setting and no story. You have outlined an idea. The characters are the story. If you don;t have them, you have little more than a vibe, if you will.

    Not trying to be harsh but I've been finding as I've been reading in this forum for a while now that I see folks get caught up in the the parts of the story that are really only the context of the where the characters exists and forgetting about the most important part, the characters.

    Characters need to come first. Stops creating a world and start focusing on who and how the story is going unfold.

    While you understand this by your post, you need to think about why a reader is going to read about your world and it is only fro whom is in it. What are the reasons the character exists in your world? What are the character's fragilities that make them compelling? Why are they the main characters?
     
  5. -oz
    Offline

    -oz Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    The Great Sandy Waste
    To piggyback on what Jeff wrote and to quote John Brunner, "The raw material of fiction is people. The essence of story is change."

    It sounds like you've created the change, but that change has to happen to someone. Figure out what you want your character to be and how she will interface with the change, but be sure to show her going through the change and how she deals with it.

    Create a character, then as Laura Mae suggested, write scenes from the story, or create a short side story to see how the character reacts. If she reacts like you want her to, start writing the story AROUND her, don't just tell the story through her. She experiences the changes you write, she doesn't just see them passing by.

    Hope this helps a little bit. Have fun!
     
  6. WriterDude
    Offline

    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Messages:
    738
    Likes Received:
    37
    Location:
    Icy cold wastes of Hell. Aka Norway.
    I agree with this, though I would set her in situations she's not likely to find herself in normally. If she sees a person drowning, what would she do? How would she react if her house was on fire? How would she react if she won the lottery? Stuff like that helps, and can be quite fun. My personal favorite? What would your MC do is killer klowns from outer space attacked your home town? :D (inspired by the movie "Killer Klowns from outer space".)
     
  7. Daydream
    Offline

    Daydream Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Messages:
    562
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    In another dimension.
    Theres character development forms you can download online and fill out. Those help alot in my opinion. Also just daydream about your character. I find whenever I'm travelling somewhere putting on my music and just daydreaming about my book helps loads.
     
  8. JPGriffin
    Offline

    JPGriffin Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2011
    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Connecticut
    To reiterate, the characters should be the number 1 priority in a book, since they'll be the narrators and/or "driving motives", if you will, behind the plot line. So far, you have a map. Now, I'm no geography master, but a map is dull to me. What I like to see, and what readers will want to see, is what happens on the map, including the characters and the ongoing issues.

    Myself, I have about 8 or 9 characters that are homeless. As of now they've been juggled between plots and have yet to find a permanent place. BUT, when the time comes, they're going to fit in like a jigsaw puzzle and the story will basically sell itself. If I had the same number of maps, plots, et cetera, it's going to be harder to build in a character that will fit in, since they have to conform.

    Take your character, give her a temporary name, and figure out how she sees her world. As Laura Mae said, put her in a situation, and see how she would react. That's going to give you the most lifelike character, which will give you the most interesting story.
     
  9. Laura Mae.
    Offline

    Laura Mae. Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    UK
    Sorry to hijack this but Daydream do you know the links to any good character development forms? I've searched hundreds but none seem to fit my characters, do you think you could help? I'm also quite fond of the savable ones or ones with prompts. Thanks in advance :)
     
  10. Leonardo Pisano
    Offline

    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Messages:
    453
    Likes Received:
    13
    FWIW, I use enneagrams to create characters with consistent traits and psychological profiles. It's also a great way to make them naturally interact with each other.
     

Share This Page