1. Leonardo Pisano
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    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

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    Samples of believable characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Leonardo Pisano, Feb 18, 2011.

    I am looking for a book (or website/pdf) with a large variety of sample characters for inspirational purposes. Books/web articles on how to do it are abundantly available, but I am on the look out for concrete examples where appearances, traits, styles, clothing, etc 'fit together'. Tips anyone?
     
  2. Terry D
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    Terry D Active Member

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    Read The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy, and 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King.
     
  3. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    I just look at people walking around in the real world. Some of them are quite believable. ;)
     
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  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Dolly Parton songs - they are wonderful short little character studies.

    There are other songs like Jessie by Joshua Kadison, You're Nothing Without Me from City of Angels, Sunset Boulevard by Andrew Lloyd Webber and someone lol and I am sure many others lol but brain is mush today. Basically if you look at story songs you get a wide ranging group of short character studies. They all introduce and round out a character in a short space of time.
     
  5. Dante Dases
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    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

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    And life doesn't always just throw up 'normal' people. Only by listening, watching, engaging in conversation, etc, will you get a real understanding of people to the point where you'll be able to write a believable character. Especially as everyone has their quirks - some of which are more than a little bizarre (such as the girl I was talking to in the SU the other night). There is no such thing as a conventional person in real life beyond those who are so obsessed with looking good for other people but not necessarily being themselves (considering they're a character type all of their own, they shouldn't be discounted).

    The best characters are those who have layers. It's how those layers interweave in the narrative that matter.
     
  6. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    Quote of the day....

    That said, making a believable character is not so complex. People are imperfect no matter how much they appear as together. Conversly, the biggest wreck could be the most together inside themselves. Key is, don't write the cliche of a personality and also don't be caught on traits that are supposed to make them unique for the sake of being unique. People are product of where they came from. Before writing a character, think about how they got to that point in there life. Even if it doesn't all appear in the writing. If the person has anxiety issues. Whether from biololgy or experience, these things affect peoples life experience and also what their actions would be in the 'current world' you are writing about.

    How describe these traits as a writer, yes.....read. If you a looking for little tiny snippets to spoon feed that to you, good luck. Many have said, just read. You can't get a sense of writing the breadth of a character without reading them in full context.

    I would suggest Steve Martin's, Pleasure of My Company. It is almost entirely a character study an not terribly long. Very well done.
     
  7. matwilson
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    matwilson Member

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    Playrights are the best at developing character.

    Take George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. Watch it on Youtube and then read the play -that will help you learn a great deal about character development.


    When you read it after watching the actors play the part, the words come alive.
     
  8. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Another Steinbeck masterpiece is East of Eden, which happens to be my favorite book of all time.
     

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