1. Androxine Vortex
    Offline

    Androxine Vortex Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maryland

    Problems with Original Character Appearances

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Androxine Vortex, Oct 19, 2011.

    Usually when I invent a character, I basically think of the closest character of what I am trying to make from something else and then basically make my own character look similar to that one. Its jsut so i can have a visualization of that character in my head. But my problem is that I find it hard to change that character's appearance that i have in my head, even though it is based off something else.

    Let's say for example I want my character to be some sort of swordsman or warrior and I look at his personality and yadda yadda and for the time being I say, "well he kind of resembles Aragon from Lord of the Rings. So in my head while I am brainstorming ideas and I think of that character, I see Aragon in my head. So even though my own character is mine entirely, I based his base appearance off someone else.

    I believe that there is no such thing as true originality, there is only inspiration. Meaning that any idea you come up with has already been thought of or explored in some way or another so you jsut have to make yours as different as you can and try to be "original"

    So any tips on how to create what a character looks like if you already have a "demo" design set up? It might sound easy to just say, "well just change his clothing and stuff." while thats obviously what I am trying to do, I already have been working with an image in my mind that I have been associateing closely with that Character. If that makes sense to you all
     
  2. suddenly BANSHEES
    Offline

    suddenly BANSHEES Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Messages:
    307
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Admittedly, I do the same thing - sometimes I'll visualize a character in my head as looking like a pre-existing character, even when their personalities are completely different. But I don't think it's a problem unless you're drawing your story as a comic or something, or explicitly say "This character looks just like so-and-so" in your story.

    It's best to keep character descriptions relatively short in writing, anyway - just describe the characters' more predominant features, instead of spending paragraphs rambling about every little detail - so the reader will form their own image of your character in their head. What a character looks like in your mind will probably be different in another person's mind, despite having similar features (like long hair, or a crooked nose; whatever was described in the writing)
     
  3. Quezacotl
    Offline

    Quezacotl Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    342
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Ponyville
    I generally avoid comparing my characters to people, even as a base.

    What does the environment require of the character? How can the character dress to adjust to these situations, what can this character tolerate, what does the character's culture encourage?

    Team Fortress 2 does this very well, if you ignore the obnoxious hats.
     
  4. Goldstein
    Offline

    Goldstein Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with BANSHEES (that's a fun name, by the way.) Don't describe him too much, just rattle off one or two features that makes him distinct, and that should be good enough. People like to fill in the gaps. As for his clothing, when stuff happens, you should reference his clothing naturally. Like how he wipes his hands off on his jeans/slacks/shorts/bare legs.
     
  5. Androxine Vortex
    Offline

    Androxine Vortex Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maryland
    Thanks for the tips. I usually never write in a modern society, its always some sort of fantasy setting so clothing and appearnace are going to be drastically different. But even if I make a character a base for one of mine I guess the reader will visualizemit differently than me, its just that I know who they are based off of, not the reader.
     
  6. ShadowScribbler
    Offline

    ShadowScribbler Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2011
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't think this has ever happened to me. When I make characters up, or well, when I first started to, I usually made up the description in my head, based off on traits I enjoy in people. Eventually I got much better and more diverse, and I picked up the habit of people-watching to be on the lookout of things I would like to see on certain persons. "Casting" my characters as random people or in their defect, celebrities, is something I have done as well. But never based on OTHER characters. Weird.
     
  7. proserpine
    Offline

    proserpine Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2011
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    2
    I don't see the problem with, say, picturing your main character as Aragorn- just don't say the character looks like Viggo Mortensen in the Lord of the Rings movies.

    Physically describe your character as needed. Your reader will form their own images.
     
  8. Bazmann
    Offline

    Bazmann New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2011
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Berkshire, UK
    This may sound a bit funny, but if it is purely physical appearance you are looking at, a lot of computer games have 'create a character' options. The football ones in particular allow you to fully form a face however you want, so you could play around with one until you get a photo fit that works for your character.
     
  9. walshy12238
    Offline

    walshy12238 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2011
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    3
    This is actually really good advice.
    If you're struggling to come up with your own, original characters, just go play an RPG or something like that, and use the character creation option to come up with something that you like.
     
  10. Androxine Vortex
    Offline

    Androxine Vortex Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maryland
    That is a brilliant idea! I have Oblivion and I always thought they realy into detail about getting all teh well...details. Can't wait for Skyrim to come out btw
     

Share This Page