Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Jonathan Mukuasa, Aug 14, 2013.
I'm creating a samurai warrior who is named Kenichi Yamamoto. He's from Feudal Japan.
You mean can we write your story for you?
No, but I just had an idea, write the book you want using crowd-sourcing technique of some kind. Not sure this is the forum for it but you could try.
I think he means he gives us the very basics of a character and he wants us to flesh it out for him. If that's the case, Jonathan, I suggest you try these websites:
And there are many, many more out there. It may be that character bios are your weakness, but until you start trying to create one yourself, you'll never get better at it. Every writer has a weakness, but they always strive to turn that weakness into a strength. I suggest, Jonathan, that you do just that!
Write some random scenes involving your character and get to know him. Character profiles aren't all that useful other than for some specifics like eye colour and such, which you could forget.
In terms of personalities - I mean, if someone asked you to describe your best friend, what would you say? Whatever adjectives you use, you know in your gut that it is not enough - none of those words ring true to you because a person is so much more complex than a list of adjectives.
I have created character profiles in the past and it's never helped me. What did help me was writing about them and putting them into scenes. I have a sense of my character, I know what they might do, and the more I write and probe the character, the more things I realise about them and I become more and more certain in the way that I perceive them.
Perhaps try using a phrase - what kind of guy is he? Don't say "violent, kind, brave" or whatever. For myself, my main character is like this: he's always trying to do his best for everyone, and feels like it's still not enough. That sums him up about right. The rest of him is more complex, but from that standpoint, you have a good idea of what he might or might not do - much more so than if I'd given you a list of adjectives.
Whilst I respect that you have a different method, I have to disagree; everybody has their own way of creating characters, and using character bios really help me. Once I've established their basic features, I dream up the sort of character I want (loner male hero, for example) and then once the questions on the bio starts, my ideas start flowing too. It's weird, but it works.
I'm not denying that writing scenes are also excellent for discovering a character's personality, but don't rule out anything just because it doesn't work for you. And I'm not at all trying to sound harsh or superior.
Lol. Oh it doesn't matter to me which method people use, and I'm happy for you that character profiles help you
Personally though, to be honest, if you're not going to remember the things you've put in your character profile, then how likely is it that you'd incorporate it into your character when you come round to writing them? Basically I say this because frankly I never remember what on earth I've put in my character profiles. Profiles are good for factual details, and they're really only meant as a basic template - the bare bones of your character. It's just novice writers tend to base their characters entirely off of these profiles, and it doesn't work because it's only a template - it's the cardboard cut out that you now have to build upon.
I'm not implying you're a novice - I'm just saying it's the novices who try to create their character entirely off of profiles, as though their character is complete when the profile is complete, when in fact even if you use profiles, they are only the foundation and not the finished thing.
But indeed, we're in agreement here - no method should be ruled out. Whatever works for you, works
EDIT: btw, there's of course a chance I've been using character profiles wrong. Wouldn't rule that out either lol.
Sure. Kenichi Yamamoto, frozen in the arctic ocean during a voyage to the Americas, was revived 3,407 years into the future, where she was given a full organ sex change and a one way ticket back to Feudal Japan in order to impregnate his former self and ensure the continuation of his own birth (he is his own father.) The story should take place a year later, when Kenichi must set out to see, as a pirate, to sink the Japanese ship that harbors his own self.
Kenichi resents the fact that he doesn't have a proper father, and that in the far future, sushi becomes abolished because it's bland and too expensive. Therefore, on the battle field, he is extremely violent. His only desire is to destroy. Also, the long exposure to ice left his face freeze dried, so he covers himself head to toe in black armor and a helmet which he never removes. He is an excellent horse back rider, great friends with the Mongolians, and carries a light saber he obtained from the future.
The danger with character sheets is that they can artificially limit you and not only hamper, but harm your writing. As Mckk mentioned, the way to really get to know your characters is by spending time with them, which means writing scenes for them. I think character sheets are okay, in certain circumstances, and they can be a way to think about your character if you can't or don't feel like writing at the moment, but want to think about your story. The problem comes in when you sit down and answer all these questions about the character without really delving into the character or giving significant thought. For example, you decide that the character has a dog. But later on in the story, it evolves that your character has severe allergies and can't be around dogs. Well, what do you do? Do you ignore the character sheet or the story evolution? What if you decide the character has no siblings on the character sheet, but later on in the story it works well and is necessary that he have a sister? Are you prevented from adding the sister in because way back at the beginning, you sat down at your kitchen table and thought, ahh - my character's an only child.
I think they can be a good kickstarter, and they can be helpful in prompting you to think about the character, you should never become beholden to anything you decided on a character sheet. Anything that emerges will be more realistic and natural than something you decided before writing a lot of the story.
Oh no, you have me all wrong: I use character profiles first, then once finished I let the character simmer in my head for a while. I also tend to get to know my character as I'm writing the novel. Am I weird?
Not weird at all. I do the same thing. During the early stages I write all my characters down in my book of notes. I do this, particularly, if there are alot of characters. I need to get them down, concretely, before I can proceed. When I write I want to write, not be like "John Hills is...wait no his name is going to be jake right? No john, because it makes me sense with his brown eyes. Brown eyes? He should have blue eyes you idiot!" ETC. Once I get the bare-bones down I start imagining scenes, maybe right a short story that's a prequel. But I really do have to get them down first. Writing helps me memorize the specific details about them I need to rememer. Their personalities are fluid and subject to change as I write.
I remember being in the 4th chapter of my novel and writing about a minor character I hadn't made a character sheet for. Looking back I gave him 2 different names that changed throughout the chapter. How annoying!
That's a cute way of telling someone to go f*ck himself
Frankly, I've tried the snowflake method which involves writing down detailed char-bios, but I found it tedious: I have an urge to fill in all the fields, and it ends up pretty random at the end (I really don't care for most of my chars' fav colour) But it's great that others can use it...I'd still recommend on customizing these char sheets for your own use (char's relationship with his mother may be well more important than her nickname
What kind of a character is this Japanese samurai? (I think that said, that he is Japanese and a samurai narrows down some points in his biography ) ...mainly, is he a focal character or a supporting background char?
Separate names with a comma.