1. ProbablyInsane
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    ProbablyInsane New Member

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    My steps on character development

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by ProbablyInsane, Dec 15, 2012.

    I write many stories, and every story needs characters. And since that means I need characters, I have developed my own way to make up my own characters. First I come up with a name. How about, Blake Trent? Ok, so Blake Trent is my character's name. Next I get an age. How old is Blake? Blake is 20 years old. Ok, now I decide to make up his appearance. What does Blake look like? Well, Blake is 6'2 and strong. He has sandy blonde hair and ocean blue eyes. Blake has many scars, including one one his right cheek. Well, now I have a good idea of what my character looks like. How does he act? Well, he is a prankster and always likes to laugh. Sometimes though, Blake picks fights and that always gets him in trouble. So, I ask myself those questons and some others depending on what I am writing about. If I write a war story, then I also ask myself what gun he uses and his preferred "fighting length". So, yeah, that's my way of character development. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to say them.
     
  2. TALLULAH
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    TALLULAH Member

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    Firmly believe that everyone has their own approach to writing. Was curious to know if, after deciding all these specific physical aspects, does it lead you on to the next step in writing the piece? If so, is it the conflict in the character's life? Does some other character spring to mind next? Does the title of the piece occur to you?

    The creative process is so fascinating to me. Read somewhere that Charles Dickens always came up with the title first, then wrote the story. My credo is: go with your gut!:)
     
  3. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I come up with the names as the characters appear. Everything else develops from there.
     
  4. ProbablyInsane
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    ProbablyInsane New Member

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    Well, I usually already have my idea for the story, the name of it and I do the characters next. I will usually do the main characters towards the beginning of production and then I will add them as I go.
     
  5. Night Herald
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    Night Herald New Member

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    My characters typically manifest out of thin air. That is to say, the first thing I do is to visualise their appearance. I very rarely sit down to create a character, they just pop up without an invitation.
    They aren't even necessarily connected to a story. Sometimes they get a place in a narrative I'm working on, other times they are the fundation of a new one.
    After appearance comes their personalities, their traits and so forth. Who they are, essentially. This happens more or less by itself, though I often visualise these characters in different situations, usually at least one fight scene, and make them conduct dialogues with other characters. This all happens in my head, nothing is written at this point.
    Then, I try to give them a place in the world. Families, factions, jobs, titles, ralations to other characters, and so on. It's usually around this point they start getting names, but not always.
    Alongside this entire process, they've usually ended up with a role to play in the story, as well as a backstory which may or may not be included in writing.

    To me, it's a very smooth and organic process, and it's one of my favorite aspects of writing. I love it :)
     
  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I don't bother with names or looks first off as I find it constricting - we all have pre-conceived
    notions concerning names and looks and it can influence the shape of a character, box them in.
    I pick a gender, an age - put them in a situation that requires them to have an opinion and
    decision to make - that will tell me who they are. I give them a long term goal, a fear, a quirk, an
    interest. Then comes the name and looks because by that time you already have the character -
    and it's much easier, in my opinion, to label something when you know what it is.
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    All my stories start with characters. I get characters before the plot - plot is basically what the characters do.

    It usually starts with an image - a mental picture of a character in a situation. One of my favorites of the stories I've written started with the image of a tall, gaunt, balding man on a fairly desolate, rocky plain, crouching down to start a campfire and using his old, battered hat to shield the fire from the wind until it got properly going. The man's horse was grazing nearby, on grass that grew only by the small stream the man had found to camp by. This was a very powerful image for me. I started asking myself questions: Who is this guy? What's he doing out there on this plain? Then the answers came to me: He was a man suspected by his people of being a sorcerer (though he was not), and he was fleeing from some of those people who wanted to kill him for it. A man looking for a place to live where he won't be hunted. The story grew from there.

    I didn't mention his personality in that paragraph, because he goes through an arc. I had an idea of what he was like before the story started, but I found his personality and how he changes during the writing. That's my usual method.
     
  8. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Due to the massive size of the new world I created, for the first time I sat down and created the characters. I kept the appearances of my former characters, but "killed" them off as being false people, memories and personality meant to allow the real people (4 sisters) to grow up without their enemy finding them and killing them. Now that they have their memories, they became new characters completely.

    What I did was sit down, and write out general, not specific, characteristics and skills. Ok this one was engineered for this skill, this is what they're good/bad it, and this can be some of their personality. I don't like to "pre program" personalities on paper.I'll put their basic tendencies down, and then let them go from there. With my character's being humanoid aliens, who's race seeded Earth with DNA to create Homo Sapiens before the alien race suffered genocide, all I really needed to do were minor changes physically to them.

    With that done, I just put the plot together and let the four grow biologically. I had created their appearances in a novel (or "baby" as King and others call it) I 86'd, so I had that already. Since my four are genetic sisters from when they were engineered 100,000 years ago, they have all the memories from their previous lives 100k years ago, and it makes for interesting comedy relief watching them argue with, or crack on, each other. One does something and it starts an argument on the com system in the middle of a fire fight. So, they're sitting there, taking on the enemy and arguing at the same time-and the humor actually worked with the scene.

    Now that my writing philosophy has changed, they're perfect character for me. I've moved from the bang-bang high levels of violence to going into a more pacifistic direction. However, it's taken a lot of battles and something extremely jolting to my MC 1A character to push the motion.

    So I just thought over some things from the anime "Aquarion" and let the imagination grow into a completely different set of characters and universe. That's my way, I get inspiration from all sorts of sources before writing.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that for me...
     
  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Do you mean that everything else develops from the names of the characters? Are you saying that if they had different names, the story would be different?

    I'm just trying to get clarification on how important the names are to you.
     
  11. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, I just mean that as the characters appear, I choose a name for them. That's it. Their development occurs as the story is written - ie, I don't think about them before I write them. I learn about them like I do a new neighbor.
     
  12. TheDeadManStands515
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    TheDeadManStands515 New Member

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    Never really thought of how I create my own characters, they just pop out. And the style of the name varies greatly if you're referring to regions. For me, I create a 3D model of what my character looks like a site that I use, after that point, I have a full visual idea of what they look like. It comes in handy because I'm more auditory learner than a visual. If I try to build something without having a picure in front of my face, my auditory skills get in the way, and it all just becomes a total mess. For example: I created a character called Exodeon Salviej a while back(the 'J' is silent, by the way). I built his avatar was what I did first, I gave him digital camo pants(white and gray), Vans that have wings on the side of them(black), and I gave him a white tank top with a white vest over top of that. I get the base clothes set out, then I work in the minor details; Accessories, tattoos, peircings(I gave him snake bites, a tattoo on each shoulder, an angel on the left shoulder, and a tribal band on his right bicep, then I gave him a blood vile necklace). Then I add in skin tone, eye color, eyebrows, and hair. (Silvery, wavy hair, gray eyebrows, his eye color is a silver-ish gray with tribal lines running out from the pupil, and he has pale skin) After that, of course, I give him a weapon to use in the story I have beforehand planned out(depending on what story it is). Exodeon Salviej gets a scythe, now, to add him into the story. Well, for starters, I give HIM a story. The blood vile necklace carries the blood of his arch enemy Roensaark, his scythe has a helpful demon soul trapped within it, and his eyes allow him to see across all spectrums, such as purgatory, heaven, and hell, or demons even. Now, what's his voice sound like? Well, he's been alive for as long as he can remember because he was created as the second grim reaper by heaven and hell alike. His first contact would have been with the English, so...British accent that shows only when he's drunk because he lives in modern day New York, New York USA. When I look at his avatar closely in the 3D model, I think of a name that would best fit that style of clothing, and his personality, and backstory; Exo- meaning outside, and then just a random suffix "deon." As for the last name, the J is silent, so it gives it that spanish type feel to it. Overall, the name seems to be majestic at first glance, I want it to seem like this because he was at one point, a royal guard for a castle back in the 1700's.
     

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