1. Largeman
    Offline

    Largeman Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada

    HE'S ALIVE! HE'S ALIVE!.... Is he alive?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Largeman, Aug 1, 2009.

    Of course, anyone can create how a person can look, what they do with their time, how their childhood was, But how do you actualy make that character come to life?

    I've already written my opening two chapters but i just don't feel like one of my main characters is real enough yet. He hasn't quite bloomed. He seems so faked. I don't want my characters to seem faked. My other two characters have become so real in the writing. I can see them living out their lives. One of them is a middle aged man, and another in a senior man. You'd think that as a teenage writer, it would be easy for me to create the teenage character, but i just can't make it.

    Do i just have to keep writing him until i finally see something real in him?
    OR
    Do you guys have any techniques that i could try? Maybe shock him with a volt of electricity?
     
  2. Rumpole40k
    Offline

    Rumpole40k Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    7,290
    Likes Received:
    54
    Location:
    Paradise City, Street of the Gods
    Keep writing and rewriting him. Focus just as much on revisiting old pieces you already have finished as creating new scenarios for him. Your character is probably envolving right before your eyes. It is usually a very slow process that only becomes obvious in hindsight. WHat you are doing now is akin to caving a statue, you are still busy removing all the parts of the block that aren't part of the final piece.

    Don't give up,

    ~R
     
  3. Edward
    Offline

    Edward Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    Messages:
    312
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Virginia
    Start answering questions about him. Go online and take those cheesy personality quizzes as if you were him. Think about his history, even the parts that don't matter to the novel.
     
  4. Elistara
    Offline

    Elistara Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Australia
    I never could answer those personality quizzes.. and my strongest characters just grew. Though I do admit, one did feel kind of bland until I thought more on his past, how he grew up, and what traits that would have given him, and how they affect not only himself, but also those around him.
    Think about why he is the way he is, change the way he is to suit, if you like, until you have something that feels more alive to you.
     
  5. Largeman
    Offline

    Largeman Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Thanks, that personality test seems interesting. I'll deifitely try it. And Rumpole, I loved that analogy about the statue.
     
  6. Gigi_GNR
    Offline

    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    12,143
    Likes Received:
    250
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    What I do with my characters is give them traits and habits of people I know, or things I think are cool. For instance, the twin brothers in my story are based on my brother and how annoying he can be.
     
  7. cybrxkhan
    Offline

    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Messages:
    423
    Likes Received:
    13
    Look into your character's inside. In other words, try to figure out their motives and reasons behind doing things. WHY do they act the way they do? What things may have caused this?

    Anyone, for example, can say they have a character who is quiet and introverted. But if you want a deeper, better character, you'd have to ask yourself WHY is the character introverted? Maybe, unsurprisingly, that character is shy and doesn't like social interaction, because of bad experiences during childhood. Or, maybe that character is actually a cynical stoic, who believes everyone is a moron and doesn't deserve to live, so why should he talk with people? Or perhaps that character is not really introverted, but hiding something in order to protect themselves or others.

    Even these examples above are just the surface of the iceberg. Once you find the reasons for something, you may even need to figure out the reasons behind the reasons, and the reasons behind the reasons behind the reasons - but you pru obably may not need to go too deep, unless if you're writing a literary novel.

    The point here is, once you figure out the reasons behind a character's attitudes, behaviors, and so forth, you can easily figure out other things about that character. If your character is introverted because they are a cynical misanthrope, then probably they may have few or no friends, and naturally they'd have bad social skills. Maybe they have no motivation to do anything, because they hate everyone, and they live an isolated existence. Because they are isolated, they have to learn how to survive on their own, so they know how to cook really well or something.

    The possibilities can be endless, once you figure out deeper truths and secrets about your characters. It certainly has helped me.
     
  8. seta
    Offline

    seta Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    2
    I'm too drunk to read the whole thread, but from the OP I get the idea that this is about the characters in questions appearing to be "real" - correct?

    One thing that I have noticed is that a character only needs to be "emotionally real" in order to be loved and admired and respected by a reader.

    For instance: If a character has a family or flaws or anger or any broad spectrum of emotions, then it becomes a well rounded character. That is when it seems "real" to the reader. Of course the same applies to film and cinema.

    E.G. - I have a character which I introduced at the same equivocal point that Han Solo entered the original "Star Wars". The problem is that this character still feels flat to me. I figured out that the reason is because I haven't discussed ANY emotion from this character. I have alluded to his family, but he's been a rock the whole time - coldly detached from the situation. He was angry when he was first introduced (a bar fight) but there hasn't been anything since other than light humor. He's just not credible as a human being.

    I hope that I'm somewhat on target... ON TO BEER THREE!
     
  9. LordKyleOfEarth
    Offline

    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,249
    Likes Received:
    80
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX. USA
    I find that, when I get stuck, I try to side-write a short story (or a couple of them) about that character's past. It may have no bearing on your current work, but it lets you develop the character past. You see how they react in different situations and through those, you learn who they are.

    Be sure that you take time to make them human. Give them real faults and strenghts. Darth Vader was a vile, evil, machine, but he still had human traits. We learned WHY he was what he was. Despite being despicable, viewers/readers could emphasize with him. That human to human connection is what will make them feel 'alive'.
     
  10. ravin.sawhney
    Offline

    ravin.sawhney Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    India
    You meant, you want to make those characters alive in your story, yes you can do this.
     
  11. Largeman
    Offline

    Largeman Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    YES! The character has finally been born. He just dawned on my a couple of minutes ago while making tea. Every aspect of his being just fell into place.

    I read this book that said that you need to find out what is most important to your character, then you know what's at steak. I just figured it out so vividly.

    BTW that book was called Bird By Bird (Some instructions on writing and life by Anne Lamott.

    Thank you guys for the help.
     
  12. HorusEye
    Offline

    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Denmark
    Yes, let your character sit in a car with Tyler Durden at the wheel, and you will know their innermost desires before the ride is over ;)
     
  13. Psyrin
    Offline

    Psyrin New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    A good way to write a solid character is to know more about that character then you could ever write into your story. Make it all up. Know what his life is like, what he wanted it to be like, and why it is or isn't how he planned. What are his obstacles? Plan out his history, his childhood, his hobbies, his dreams and let his experiences guide his personality. We are all a product of our experiences, so think what your character must have gone through to be the person he is. How can you add small details into the story to bring this to life?

    A big part of bringing out your characters is how they interact with others. Use your other characters to strengthen another character. Also, as real people do, characters may change with new experiences and influences.
     
  14. Lalis
    Offline

    Lalis New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    Messages:
    0
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Brazil
    What I would do is base your character off a person you know, like a friend or a relative. Usually makes the characters much more lifelike and a thousand times easier to write.
     

Share This Page