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  1. Vanthu
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    Vanthu Member

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    Help creating character

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Vanthu, Jan 29, 2016.

    Okay, I am planning out a story. I have basic personalities so far for 5 of the 6 main characters. I just don't know what to do with the 6th. So far, I have his name, Cornelius Ecclesius Reginald "Cero" Oostergooster III (a really fancy and weird name, but I don't care, nobody else is going to see it), and part of his backstory. He is 15 years old, and is from Boston, Massachusetts. He recently moved to a new (fictional) country called Famenta. He is half Dutch and half Indian, is gay, and taking a business class. I don't know what he should do. So far, the other main characters are a shy nerd, a hipster, an outsider, a really feminine girl, and a scene person. What should he be like? I need ideas.
     
  2. King Arthur
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    King Arthur Banned

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    Sounds like the other characters are clichés, and his name is really not good. Hilarious strange names are things like Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps, Tuppy Glossop or Cyril Bassington-Bassington. Cornelius Ecclesius Reginald "Cero" Oostergooster III sounds silly. Sorry.
     
  3. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    If you don't have any idea of who he is as a person, is he actually necessary for anything? (Besides carrying that fantastic name, of course.) I had a main character in one of my projects for almost a year before realizing that he never actually did anything important and that I was just looking for an excuse to kill him off or write him out, so I cut him entirely. Well, I moved him to a super small, brief supporting role. Same difference really. Is there some reason you need six main characters?
     
  4. Vanthu
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    Vanthu Member

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    Yeah, I know. I don't really share my stories that much, so I don't really care how weird some of the names were, and how much of clichés some characters are. I just needed to think of different ideas for some characters, and I will see how it all turns out. And I just needed a kind of embarrassing name for him just because I felt like it. And I just thought "Hey, maybe he won't be the only Cero" for some reason. I was probably tired.
     
  5. Vanthu
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    Vanthu Member

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    Oh, well Cero is necessary to the plot. The story is about him moving there and the main character is helping him with various things. I don't know why I needed 6 main characters, though. I knew I needed the main character, one that moved there, and the other two it is a very complicated and strange story that I don't really want to say, plus I had character ideas to assign to some of the characters. Then the main character needed a best friend, and the 6th I really don't know why.
     
  6. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Okay, so, if he's necessary to the plot, how so? As in what things does he do/cause to happen in the plot? Maybe you can sort of extrapolate what sort of person he is from what kinds of thing he does. Honestly, I typically have pretty good ideas about who my characters are from go, so I probably won't be much help. Maybe my post over here where I was talking about archetypes and dynamics would help. I realized I was just about to say all the same things so it's probably easier for you to just read it over there, and give a look over some of the other posts too. Think about where he's from, how he grew up, what events would have shaped his life and made him who he is today.
     
  7. MichaelP
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    Simply think it through. Extract his personality from known facts, sort of how a detective might go about it.

    We know he:

    (a) has a weird name.
    (b) is 15.
    (c) is half Dutch/half Indian.
    (d) is gay.
    (e) loves business.

    He's a teenager, so he's still developing emotionally, which means that, like many teens, he's prone to exaggerated emotions--exaggerated self-esteem issues, angst, and so on. But he has a very bizarre name, so he gets made fun of in school. He grew up in a multicultural home, and being mixed race gives him a foot in two worlds, but this may also be a source of bullying as well. Between the name and the race thing, he has had few opportunities to make friends. His being gay is probably kept secret out of shame and fear; maybe his parents wouldn't approve and/or maybe the bullying would increase. He spends many hours alone reading and studying his business. Maybe he has dreams of running a business one day?

    Personality:

    --ambitious/grandiose self-fantasies
    --possibly materialistic (if he likes business so much)
    --shy/asocial
    --timid
    --low self-esteem/ashamed of certain things/prefers to avoid conversation, or at least deflect the focus from himself
    --loner/prefers solitude/being around people drains him
    --prone to anger
    --has self-pity ("why me?")

    Hope this helps :)

    And here's a tip:

    Show the personality. Show it through the character's actions, speech and thoughts.

    Never give info dumps on personality!
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016
  8. Holden LaPadula
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    Holden LaPadula Member

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    Clichés are inevitable. After all, as stated again and again by Thomas C. Foster, there are only so many stories and so many characters the world of literature can create—only one story. In order to avoid this the best I can, I take one unique characteristic that people don't harbor too often and I develop upon it. So looking at your character, he is gay. Wonderful. Before an image of a flamboyant gay boy comes to mind, stop yourself and flip it in another direction. So perhaps he, being a business-person, is pretty formal and serious. Now slap on some irony to make him interesting. Maybe his family is conservative and dates his boyfriend's sister in front of his family. Perhaps he's bad at math, great at photography, but wants to be practical and goes into business, also wanting to please his parents. Perhaps that irony in his skill will miraculously lead to his success.

    Good luck!
     
  9. Catrin Lewis
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    On the other hand, the image of the shy, persecuted, bullied, gay-multi-ethnic-etc., etc., kid is overdone, too. Yeah, kids do get bullied for a lot of things, but it's not nonstop, everywhere, all the time. If it is, there's a hell of a lot of wasted money going into public school anti-bullying programs.

    And we're talking Boston, anyway. Urban Boston, right? A high school in a city like that would be reveling in its diversity.

    Anyway, @Vanthu, if you really want to stick with the grandiose name, I could see a kid like that expanding to live up to it. Maybe he doesn't think it's embarrassing at all. After all, he's the third of that name; it's in his blood, and it would be whether he's gay or not. A lot of kids take business classes in high school: these days it's practically required. Your Cero would be taking a cyber class on economics from Harvard or MIT. He's got the old Dutch trader in him from his dad's side, the Indian entrepreneurial spirit in him from his mom's, and he likes nothing better than to come up with brilliant new schemes to get ahead and make money. It's who he is and what he's about-- half Dutch, half Indian, and all-American. But then he moves to Famenta (Why? Parent's new job? Exchange student?) and his enterprising ways don't go over well. Maybe there his homosexuality might get him in trouble, too. His whole identity is threatened. What does he do? Or, if he isn't a main-main character, what do the main character(s) do to or with or for him, and how does he react?

    You've got an outline sketch of what he's like; let your imagination take that material and develop the implications. It can go all sorts of directions, and only you know which one will best forward your plot.
     
  10. Sileas
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    He's a sunny, happy person who doesn't always notice people around him until they try to interact with him, and then he responds. Always has just a hint of a smile on his face. He gets the bad rap of not really caring, which isn't true. He does care a lot---it's just his calm, happy nature that gets mistaken for "frivolous". He's quite intelligent but feels absolutely no need to prove this to others, and is happy to help others with their assignments (within reason). He tends to finish assignments first, and except for his nature, people would secretly dislike or even fear him because he always gets up and hands in his test first in the class. But he is known to not look down his nose at others and in fact has a refreshing, curious habit of being "blind" to rank--treats adults and fellow students/kids in the area alike.

    ...howzat?
     
  11. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I let the plot help me decide some of my character's personality. What do they need to be for the story to work. I never just think of my character apart from the story as that feels like a waste of time. For instance - Harriet the Spy - because of her peeping and her spying and her writing the writer makes her arrogant, headstrong, opinionated and unapologetic. I doubt she came up with these things apart from the story. A shy kid would never think of climbing into some strangers dumbwaiter to watch them. And had she thought about making Harriet shy it would be a detail she'd need to ditch.

    Plot details, setting and actions help to decide on the character's personality.

    We could toss out a lot of ideas but for the most part a lot will be pretty easy. He's gay so he's bullied, or flipside he isn't - nobody cares that he's gay. Given that we don't know your plot or setting the ideas probably won't be of much help.
     

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