1. shakespear57
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    shakespear57 Member

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    Story based on a character?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by shakespear57, Feb 3, 2012.

    I'm planning to write a story, but I'm planning on creating the character, or several characters, first, in explicit detail so I know exactly everything about them, how they would react in X situation, what they would say to make Y seem less awkward, how they'd go about trying to impress Z or introduce A to B. Every single thing about them. But anyway, thats not what this thread is about.
    Once I have my character(s), how do I go about making a storyline to fit them?
     
  2. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    I am not exactly sure if you are trying to create outlines or character profiles but in my opinion character profiles are good in the basic sense. How they look, their build that way you can always reference them in exposition or times when you make a point of showing an emotion, so as not to say they have brown eyes once and blue eyes next. In that sense, it helps weedle out inconsistencies. Outlines for plot ideas imo is a good idea because it can help drive your storyline forward as you weave those plots and ideas about creating a goal so to speak, firmly in your mind, so you can stay on course in that direction. That is also not saying different plot ideas may arise as you write your story, or you may change one, or completely do away with one. Character profiles on the other hand, regarding personality, imo is sometimes very hard to put down to paper ahead of time because as you write you may find that the pre-concieved personality is completely out of place within the story. As you write, you may find the characters come alive on their own and then you start having insight as to how they act, speak, react, etc. As for me, I do not do extensive character profiles. I do keep a list of characters and how they look for reference. But I let the personalities come with the writing, as I do the same for the creation of the world. I kind of have a mentality of 'I'll cross that bridge when I get there' and as the story unfolds, so does the world and the character personaties, along with other characters that have not been introduced yet that I may have found a need or a purpose for.

    So to really answer your question, I don't nessesarily create a character and develop a story to 'fit' that character. I may start off with one just to get the story started, but I really just write the story and 'fit' the characters as the story itself dictates. People are different though. For example some writers prefer to start with the creation of an ending, to solidify the goal they are trying to attain with the arc of the story. That is just my approach lately and is currently how I am treating the novel I am writing presently. Hope this helps.

    -Ghost
     
  3. jonsnana
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    jonsnana Member

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    It sounds like you are doing something that some of us find the most enjoyable way to write. I design my world. Then give my characters a problem. It is always interesting for me to see how they interact while they are solving the problem. Frequently, I'm surprised. So--take characters...add major problem, throw in minor problems created by their culture(s) and try to write fast enough to get the story down on paper. I never admitted to anyone that this is what I did because all the "experts" said the plot had to come first, until I read an interview and another author admitted to writting this way. I think she writes mysteries.
     
  4. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I write this way too, sort of. I either get the idea for the character or the plot, or usually both. Then I develop them in parallel. As far as the plot is concerned, I find it incredibly helpful to know the general thing I want to explore, the premise of the book, and the way the book will end. Ending is very important to anchor early, because you have the goal to strive towards.
    And then I let my imagination loose on the characters. Soon, this plot world starts becoming populated with people, each of them with personal histories, personalities. And depending on their role, I start asking questions, such as "Why would this person do such and such?" or "What would he or she do in this situation? How would they go about this?" Then the relationships between the characters add another layer of complexity to the plot, by creating subplots as well. And then, I take a step back and see how various characters mirror each other.

    For example, one of my current antagonists "lost it" after the death of her beloved husband. So true love and loss, good quality relationship. As opposed to my protagonist who is struggling with an abusive relationship, she is young, troubled and inexperienced, it took her a long time to realise that what she is experiencing is toxic love. Not noble or true love but jealousy, possessiveness, manipulation, abuse of trust etc. But in all that, my antagonist lost her mind/kindness due to experience of true love because she got stuck in her grief, whilst the protagonist, who never experienced true love, is managing to grow as a person despite that. This is not something planned, but that's how it turned out.

    I have lots of such parallels, my antagonists and protagonists often end up dealing with the same issue, but in different ways, and the way they dal with them determines what kind of character they are.
    That then gives a lot of things to write about.
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you know their characteristics, and have no story idea, try to get the mcs most prominent trait and come up with a problem using this to really put him/her to the test. Find out what their goals are in life and what would prevent them from reaching those, who would stand in their way on the road to happiness or whatever it is that they want.
     
  6. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I like what Tesoro said.

    But sometimes knowing everything about your character isn't a great thing because you hold them back from making changes like people would when faced with hard situations. Sometimes I find even myself in a situation where I'm surprised at my response. I would have imagined I would have acted differently. So my caution is becareful how well you know your characters.
     

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