1. jenslullaby27
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    jenslullaby27 New Member

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    ok, so now what?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by jenslullaby27, Jan 30, 2009.

    hi!

    well, I have developed a basic storyline (more like general ideas for a story,very vague)...Now I am just stuck on how exactly to develop characters, fully fleshed characters!...i believe in order to get really into developing more, i need my charcters well thought out!

    I am new at this, but its something already dear to me and very fun to do!....Of course I've started a couple of works, but never actually finished them, i think it was because my characters were missing something? life,perhaps....i dont know....any suggestions?
     
  2. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    The first rule of writing is to write. That being said, the more you write, the better you'll understand your characters. Start writing, even if your characters feel wooden and the dialogue seems stale. Just start. I actually wrote one story 13 times before I truly was able to get inside my characters' heads.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As general as your question is, why not just start reading threads under this forum (Character Development). That should give you some ideas to try out.

    Also, think of books you've read that contain characters that seemed particularly real to you, and who changed significally in the course of te story. Reread those books, and pay attention to how those authors built the character before your eyes.
     
  4. jenslullaby27
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    jenslullaby27 New Member

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    wow! 13 times?!!!! and after that your characters actually flourished??!
     
  5. jenslullaby27
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    jenslullaby27 New Member

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    thanks, yet again...that was a great point, i will check out some books in which its characters actually felt real!
     
  6. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    Yeah. You see the first time I ws just trying to finish the story. The subsequent versions slowly became less and less about the plot (which I had down stone cold before the fifth version) and more about the characters themselves. BAsically I have two rules that I always follow.

    1. Always finish a story (it eventually trains your brain to see all stories through).

    2. If I don't believe that the characters actually have their own voices and motivations, retry the story.
     
  7. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    Wanna give any details?
     
  8. jenslullaby27
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    jenslullaby27 New Member

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    interesting! those two rules are very good to follow, i hope you dont mind me following them from now on as well?!
     
  9. jenslullaby27
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    jenslullaby27 New Member

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    On the books with "real" characters??
     
  10. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    On the characters for your story.
     
  11. jenslullaby27
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    jenslullaby27 New Member

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    well, the main character will be a girl who has to go through having a mother accused of a sex crime....the confusion of whether believing her mother's plea of being non-guilty or realizing she probably is...also finding out certain things of her mother's past while the trial is going on....

    the other characters are so far: her mother, her twin brother, younger sibling,estranged father, aunt, victim and victim's family.
     
  12. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Two writers come to mind when I think of character building, and they are Mark Twain, and Stephen King. Although, Mark Twain didn't write the best endings, and Stephen King does not pace his stories that well, they both write well developed characters that seem real to me.

    As far as I'm concerned, Tom Sawyer and Jack Torrance are real people. But then again so is Christopher Snow. Hmm, so is Paul Muad'Dib.

    I think about what made these character's stand out from others. Christopher doesn't change much, yet to me he is a real person. Jack Torrance changes a whole lot. I don't think change is what makes characters real, or Christopher would not be real to me. I think it is getting inside their heads that does it, knowing their thoughts about big things and little things. Also, knowing their secrets. It's how they interact with others, and how others interact with them. It's how they talk, but It's mostly how they think.
     
  13. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    The first step to building anything, whether it be a character, a plot, or a house, is to ask yourself questions. There's a character interview thread around here that does exactly that, but I think it's getting a little crowded over there. You can do the same thing yourself; it's easy, fun, and will make you think a little.

    I'll use your main character, the girl, as an example:

    * What does she look like? [This actually isn't as important as you might think, but it's a good place to start because it gives you something tangible to hold in your mind while you further think about her.]

    * Why does she wear ____, or why is her hair ____, or where did she get that scar on her ____, etc, etc? [Question her appearance. Here's where you actually start developing character. Remember, everything serves a purpose. For example, she may be wearing running shoes because she likes to run, she runs because she's trying to stay in shape, and she's trying to stay in shape because she wants to impress someone. Every answer should provoke new questions; it's a never-ending chain, follow it to its source and you will find your character's true self.]

    * What's an average day like for her? [Start placing your character in scenes. These don't have to be scenes from your story; everyday life scenes work just as good or better. Basically, you want to see what she does in certain situations, especially situations involving other characters. You'll find yourself developing an opinion of her, such as "wow, she's a total jerk," or "she's really a nice girl," or "she's really quiet," etc. Once this happens, she's basically a real person (at least in your mind).]

    * Where did she come from? How did she get here? Who helped or hurt her along the way? [These are the basics of developing a past. By this time, she should already have at least the vague outlines of a personal bio. You don't need to write a detailed timeline, but you should try to pinpoint critical moments that mean something to her -- moments that made her who she is today. For your story, her relationship with her mother will probably be important, so keep a close eye on that.]

    * Blah, blah blah. [The neat thing about questions is you can always ask another one. If you've done all of the above and still don't feel she is developed enough, just keep going. It'll happen soon enough.]

    Good luck. Hope this helps.
     
  14. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    For me, characters come first, then story. I don't bother thinking up a story idea and then populating it with characters created for it. I think of characters, and then, as I get to know them, their stories emerge and turn into the story I want to tell.

    The best way, IMO, to get to know a character is to spend time with them. Get in their head. Roleplay. Don't be afraid to make believe or pretend, because that's a good way to get to know a character, by "becoming" them, if only mentally. Don't be afraid to spend time getting to know your characters before you write them--writing stories was never about doing things instantly. Development can take a long time. I've known my characters for years, decades, and I'm still learning new things about them all the time. How do I get to know the most about my characters, develop them best?--by writing the story and seeing how it goes. And by putting myself in their place.
     
  15. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Tehuti, I do that. I sort of do both. I always have characters in my head. And I always have plots in my head. I throw different characters into a plot to see which ones will make the plot the most interesting.

    That way it is exciting for me as I write. I am curious to see how they will solve problems.
     
  16. jenslullaby27
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    jenslullaby27 New Member

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    thanks a bunch you guys! this really has helped and i cant wait to put these ideas to practice.
     
  17. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    Your best characters are going to be ones that you are inspired to create, and that you actually WANT to exist. Characters you LIKE.
    Not a single one of my characters came about because I sat down and thought, "Well, I should make a character."

    They were fabricated in different ways:

    1. I would be writing, and have a situation spontaneously happen wherein a new character is introduced. The character would intrigue me, as I would create a personality on a whim. Being interested, I would then flesh him out, and have a new character.

    2. Names. Certain names elicit a mental image of a character, particularly, the way he looks, but also it would often tell me what the character's base personality is. Building upon that, I would have a new character.

    3. If there is a type of personality you like, perhaps a person in real life; your mother or father, or a friend. Maybe there is a personality you like, but you know no one who matches it. Invent a character around it.


    And, et cetera.
     

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