1. nowordswriter
    Offline

    nowordswriter Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    California

    How do I know if my character is fleshed out enough??

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by nowordswriter, Sep 11, 2011.

    So, my issue is in keeping my characters from being one-dimensional. So I try putting as many contrasting traits as believably possible. Is that the right thing to do? And my main problem is that my characters don't even have a story per se, so when I think about these characters they come in like snapshots in time. You know? Little moments where I get a single characteristic to add to their lists.

    Ex: She likes to hold people but her sister likes to be held. He greets people by insulting them but he would be the first to put his faith in you.

    Stuff like that.

    So, how do I know if they're passable people??

    ((Ahahaha my first time posting my very own thread, is this allowed?))
     
  2. AMasonCarpenter
    Offline

    AMasonCarpenter Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Under the Admin's Delete Key
    I like to play a game with my characters that helps me flesh them out and be more real. I call it WWWD or What Would Whoever Do? Just get your character nice and visualized in your mind and watch tv or read the news or something that will expose your brain to situations and conflicts. Now just imagine your character in the middle of the conflict. What would he/she do? How would your character differ from Luke Skywalker if he/she was there instead of Luke. What would they do if they got evacuated by hurricane Katrina. How would they feel, what would they say. This exercise helps me see my characters beyond the plot of my story and helps make them more real to me, at least.

    Hope this help.

    AMC
     
  3. mugen shiyo
    Offline

    mugen shiyo Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Probably good to just have a rough sketch of your character and then write. Your character will grow with your story most of the time.
     
  4. thewordsmith
    Offline

    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    Bear in mind, your characters are more than just a list of traits and characteristics. Also, it is too easy to know things about your characters and miss the fact that your knowledge is not being transferred to the page. (This holds true to the rest of your writing as well.) And too, you must bear in mind that the same qualities will manifest themselves differently in different people, based on their individual experiences and life history.

    So, how do you know if your characters are 3 dimensional and fleshed out enough? Or are they all basically you or who you would like yourself to be? (Too often, particularly with novice writers, you will find this quality and all of their characters turn into cookie cutter cardboard cutouts) It's a tough call. Do they all have unique personalities? Do they agree on some things - disagree on others? How do they show those feelings? How do they show their happiness? Their fear? Worry? Confusion? Anger? Frustration? Again, each of them will display these emotions differently.

    Get in touch with your characters on something of a personal basis. TALK to them if necessary. No. REALLY talk to them, out loud as though you are having a conversation with another flesh and blood person. It can help you to get to know them better. And, as mugen shiyo alluded, as you write, your characters can develop along with the situations with which they are presented. LET them grow. That, quite often, is the most genuine character development because it comes from your subconscious and not a grocery list.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Yoshiko
    Offline

    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    27
    Just including contrasting personality traits is not enough to make someone believable (nor is it completely necessary). There are a lot of factors that contribute to creating a 3D character: realistic dialogue, motivations, a variety of interests, strengths and weaknesses, body language, temperament, etc.
     
  6. MarmaladeQueen
    Offline

    MarmaladeQueen Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2011
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Cambridge,UK
    It's the action of your story that fleshes out your characters. Characters aren't made up of adjectives or adverbs. I tend to set up biographicial details of my characters - date of birth, who their parents were, where they grew up, what they studied, how and where they met their partners etc (usually using a spreadsheet, because that happens to work well for me) - but that's mainly so that I know that the ages and backgrounds of the different characters work. I rarely include any of that detail in the story; I just need to know it myself. I'm not, I don't think, a strongly visual person so I don't necessarily know what my characters look like.

    That sounds like a very good approach. I probably do somethhing similar within the story I'm writing, but letting the characters develop as the plot goes along can end up ith me doing more re-writing than perhaps would be the case if I put more effort into developing my characters up front.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. nowordswriter
    Offline

    nowordswriter Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    California
    That's a really good idea, I think I'll try that. Thank you
     
  8. nowordswriter
    Offline

    nowordswriter Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    California
    Oh wow, okay. I had, I guess you could say, an inkling that I needed to develop my characters in order to flesh them out. And I hadn't really thought about how the same qualities could manifest themselves differently. I'll keep everything you said in mind.
     
  9. nowordswriter
    Offline

    nowordswriter Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    California
    Thanks you guys for all your responses even if I couldn't reply to each one individually... (would that be considered spamming the thread?) I'm jotting down all your ideas and keeping them in mind.

    Basically to paraphrase:
    1. Develop my characters in situations and really get to know them (i.e. talking to them or trying to imagine how they would react in circumstances A, B, C)

    2. Develop good strong backgrounds for my characters, their history and their lives up until I guess the point in my story where I introduce them (I liked the idea of the spreadsheet)

    You have been a big help, you have no idea. Thank you!
     

Share This Page