1. CuppaTiwa

    CuppaTiwa New Member

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    Creating Traits for Multiple Characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by CuppaTiwa, Dec 30, 2016.

    I'm writing a script for this comic I've had in my head for almost a year now, and I'm almost done with the characters. But here's my dilemma...

    I want to seperate this comic for another one planned by having numerous characters instead of a set cast and random background characters. Not to mention the main setting is a small town with a boarding school. As of now, I have a list of the trait outlines for 56 student characters, but I'm struggling to figure out 56 more.

    I know, "You don't have to do this, you have enough." Is probably going to be a main thought. I don't care, that's not my main concern. I would just like help figuring out ways to make more trait outlines, or maybe having some suggested to me to use (which is very unlikely)?

    Just to get started, I'm going to post the aforementioned list here to give an idea of where I'm going with this:

    Kate Chopin "K.C." Jasper + Relaxed & down-to-earth, but has hidden stress.

    Lari Patad + Opposite of her brother.

    Vania Torsion + Can answer almost any academic question

    Manjushri Subcere + Can silence anyone before they say her last name - why doesn't she like it?

    Akitiri Luci Tanaka + Loves anything to do with horses, very loyal to her friends

    Mark ??? + A complete enigma

    Riasha Zhau + Snob and perfectionist

    Miles Robbern + Athlete who is very nice and oblivious to admirers

    Serena Benatar + Wants to be a rockstar

    Pepe Rameher + Mute.

    Greg Maltose + Paranoid

    Inessa Keys + Obsessed with army stuff, slightly rude if you're on her bad side.

    Beth Fetian + Best groupie at concerts.

    Frieda Sauvage + Wheelchair-bound, but her laugh can be heard from a great distance

    Chelsi Doting + Obsessed with Shannon, love crazy.

    Maxine "Max" Somoi + Doesn't give a @#$% about anyone or anything

    Jacan Riechtwie + Always gets in trouble - somehow

    Walden Dawid + Shortest student, underestimated but strong

    Archie Yahola + Funny and talented in certain arts, doesn't want to be rich

    Zekiel Lanfrey + Glum, blunt.

    Henry Mitsuru+ Currently breaking out of his "shy and outspoken" personality.

    Tanner Ridire + Overly positive and remarkable memory

    Charles Derry + Complains a lot

    Johann Lawade + Seems chill, but likes to reference innuendo

    Sadie Dirigere + Annoying

    Simone Nahya + Everyone's best friend - loudest "cheerleader".

    Laelynn Amisoutien + Clumsy, always late, etc, but is very upbeat and positive

    Hershel Greystone + Very serious, but can be a sweet heart.

    Geoffrey Guiana + Interest in plants and all things natural.

    Nye "Nia" Doting + A complete flirt.

    Colbert Stossen + MAJOR speech impedement

    Teressa Caffy + Obsessed with coffee

    Rebecca "Becca" Fieus + Shy and quiet, but can potentially outgrow her quirks.

    Natasha Unevrap + Seems"poor" but comes from a very wealthy family.

    Yu Jackson + An actor who is rarely seen on campus.

    Xander Wibbman + ...Your "normal" weirdo.

    Leah Muller + Obsessed with tea

    Louis Lachenqual + "Clown"

    -six people- Dudley Kenji, Ellen Yuna, Joe Shinsuke, Lloyd Yasuki, Laura Meena, and Pat Kenzo + Never separate, hyper

    Dami Procyon + Neat freak and germaphobe, but overall is pretty normal.

    Dylan Orkheisthai + Always rocking very loud headphones or earphones.

    Cammy Olera + A sweet girl, but only says a few words at a time.

    Keitel Chapssey + Will build anything for anyone, hangs around construction sites WAY too often

    Boris Patad + Irresponsible, accident prone

    Marie Koenigii + talented scientist - loves Curry

    Renald Kenaf + Acts high, but is actually very tired and happy.

    Ernest Ireture + Way too relaxed about things.

    Stella Greystone + Hyperactive, and is bit of an unaware troublemaker

    Floyd Burgundy + acts nice and proud, but is a liar and coward

    Tadita "Tad" Zaharias + Sports enthusiast

    Shannon Steel ♂ + Mistaken for a girl, and will hang out with people if he respects them enough.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  2. Seren

    Seren Writeaholic

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    Hmm, if any of these are your main characters, they need to be fleshed out more and be having additional traits applied to them before you even get started on another cast of characters. Still, here are some resources I use when I get stuck. I look through these lists and see if I can identify things that I think fit my character, but I would never have actually thought about before.

    http://www.fiction-writers-mentor.com/list-of-character-traits/
    http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/a-book-comes-to-life/articles/201094/title/characterization-50-random-character-quirk-ideas
    https://anthonyowens.wordpress.com/2007/10/17/100-character-quirks-you-can-steal-from-me/
    http://www.jillwilliamson.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Character-Hobbies-and-Skills-Brainstorming-List.pdf
     
  3. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Welcome to the site!

    1) I've found that characters having enough traits that each pair of characters has at least one similarity and at least one difference is more effective than each character only having one defining trait

    but 2) that is a lot of characters :eek: Just because there are 112 people in the school doesn't mean that there need to be 112 characters in the story if the story isn't long enough for everybody to get the chance to do something memorable.

    How long is the comic supposed to go for?
     
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  4. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    This doesn't really seem like a useful exercise - I mean, 112 little tidbits about different people isn't an effective tool for building characterization, and 112 different characters would just be boggling to a reader, especially when they're all as thinly drawn as these.

    Realistically, with only a single detail being mentioned for each character, you'd probably have some overlap - like, on this forum alone I can think of several members I'd say could be classified as "glum, blunt", "Obsessed with army stuff, slightly rude if you're on [their] bad side" and "clown", and I'm probably only really familiar with 20 or 30 forum members...
     
  5. halisme

    halisme Contributor Contributor

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    I call dibs on glum and clown.

    Amyway, unless your planning on doing this for years, starting with a small roster, phasing new characters in and removing others when they're no longer necessary, this is far too large a cast to be handled. I'd recommend trimming the amount down.
     
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  6. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Unless you have 2-3 other people working on the story, I would recommend culling things back a bit.
    I have to agree with @BayView and @halisme , that you are taking on a way too big a cast.
    It will overwhelm your readers, with the massive amount of characters that they have to keep track of.

    There is a point you are getting a little to far into things when citizen #4 has a massive backstory,
    and then they get eaten by citizens 1-3 for not being as important as #4.

    A better example would be trying to name and share equal parts of an entire army.
    It would be a massive undertaking, and be overwhelming.
     
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  7. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Why would you want so many characters? And why would you want to create so many characters rather than actually working on your story? Coming up with a hundred character names and assigning them a character trait or two, sounds more like procrastination than writing. You already have more characters than you need or that a reader will be able to invest in and keep straight.
     
  8. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I'm with the others 56 is about 50 too many, you don't need more you need fewer... maybe combining some of those you already have is the way forward.

    I'd suggest looking at whether these traits give you a good reason to have the character... if they dont (like obsessed with coffee) bin that person and assign the trait to someone else. Also one or two character traits is not characterisation.

    Characterisation would be (e.g)

    xyz=Loyal to her friends, but a complete bitch if you're in a relationship with her. The loudest cheerleader, face of an angel, brains of a flea. Always miss popular, obsessed with coffee , opera, and penguins.

    abc = in a relationship with xyz but cheating on her with her sister, the biggest jock in school, years of steroid abuse have fried his brain and made him unpredictable and angry. Hates tea and coffee only drinks energy drinks which make him even more iritable
     
  9. CuppaTiwa

    CuppaTiwa New Member

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    Ah geez... I have a lot of questions and statements to answer. I expected the answers I got, so I'll do my best to explain myself before I get more replies.

    I forgot to mention that I was planning on killing of some characters, and some might include the main. The current main is K.C. Even when K.C. dies, she'll play an important role in the story both within the minds of her friends and physically. Only a certain number of the 112 characters will be focused on, and other minor characters are more important than others. Some of the extras from the 112 are there just to give the universe a sense of realism: no one is a generic background character. Every character in the background is either important, or not. One may even take the reigns of the main character.

    Then here's the argument about how I'm describing the characters. Yes, I know saying things like "Obsessed with coffee" won't cut it. I just have them there so I can pull more things from them. Take Leah, who is "Obsessed with tea". Why is she obsessed with tea? There has to be a reason why she's emotionally attached to tea, and there is. She has an arc - but not as a main character. She is the manager of a cafe, which specializes in serving tea. Across the way is a competing coffee shop, where Teressa works as the owner's daughter. This coffee shop brings in more customers than her own, which causes Leah to have a personal vendetta against Teressa. It appears that Leah is just an irrational girl, but her anger isn't anger. She's upset, and there's a driving force close to her heart that makes her feel this way. So with every simple trait, there might be a huge string of answers as to why this character acts the way they do - whether they are given in hints, shown, or never hinted at or shown.

    When the main character switches, some extra characters might be pulled into the spotlight, some might not. One of these exceptions is Becca, who is the first main character's roommate. She becomes the last main character in the end, but on the way she is no longer is a main supporting role. Sure, she's shown as less important now, but her character evolves. Once she becomes the main character, the deaths of her many friends affect her personality.

    I mentioned this takes place in a boarding school in a small town, correct? I could either stick with my plan, or I can stick with my 56 characters and have the other 56 on the sidelines. What I'm trying to say is that when a character dies, they will be replaced by one of the extra 56, which are in the school's "Home School" program. It could balance the deaths of other characters out. These home schoolers might be mentioned, make a cameo appearance, become a character in the cast, or never mentioned or seen.

    One last thing. I have another comic planned which has a completely different structure. Instead of having numerous characters, there is a set cast with limited numbers. Instead of dealing with an otherworldly threat, it deals with a physical one. Instead of focusing on the current main, every character (mostly) shares the spotlight due to the small number of the cast. So I might want to start with this one first before dealing with the bigger challenge.

    I'll be back to reply to everyone's critiques when I see some.
     
  10. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Have you ever read a book with 56 (or more) named characters regularly interacting?
     
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  11. CuppaTiwa

    CuppaTiwa New Member

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    No, I havn't. I see the point you are making, but I have seen similar cases of shows and games using many characters; such as "Life Is Strange", which has a main cast of characters with supporting and background characters - some have backstories if you invest the time to find out. Then there's "Gravity Falls" and "Steven Universe, which is a similar case to the video game I mentioned. I would also add "Jojo's Bizarre Adventure", but I hardly know enough about the show (the comic wouldn't continue for THAT long of a time - that would kill me).
     
  12. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    I have plans for a series with ~100 named characters, so I do kind of get where you're coming from. The thing is, I have so many characters because it's laid out as ~30 novel-length stories, most of which contain a main cast of ~2-6 regulars and introduce about as many newbies each book. It adds up. But almost all of the newbies are one-offs who were designed to have mini arcs that compliment the main cast's arcs, then aren't important again.

    As a result, rather than just filling out a roster (though it felt like that at times ...), they're all built around certain traits and events that are, narratively, their purposes. What are the narrative purposes of your large cast? What does each person need to accomplish? What traits do they need to achieve those things?

    If you can answer those things, it should help you develop them. If they don't actually serve purposes other than to fill space, I don't see the point, and I can only recommend figuring out how many characters are actually necessary - it might still be upwards of a hundred - and developing them as needed by the story.
     
  13. CuppaTiwa

    CuppaTiwa New Member

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    Thank you so much for your solution! I think I'll do something similar to this. Maybe I can stick with the first 56 for now and make designs for potential characters when I need extras in a scene. I'll also make a simplified story-line outline and have a list of filler events that will happen throughout the story. I can't wait to continue the script once I get my laptop charger back.

    I'll still check this post when I get e-mail notifications only because I'm curious if anyone else stumbles here and replies.
     
  14. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    If only a certain number will be foccused on you only need to characterise these ones - the rest are supporting cast.
     

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