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  1. Foxxx

    Foxxx The Debonair Contributor

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    How to character - help or advice with WIP

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Foxxx, May 28, 2019.

    Where do you start when developing a character?

    How do you make characters not sound the same, whether they be narrators, main characters; heroes, villains, or something in between?

    How do you explore the thoughts of characters without boring old "so and so thought", "so and so wondered"?

    I don't know all about you but my characters all ultimately come filtered through my head, so how do you not make them all sound like yourself, the author?

    Do you plot out character arcs, or do you simply start with a motivation and a flaw and pants around?


    Do you experience extreme, paralyzing dread and anxiety when it comes to character? If so, how do you overcome it? If not, why not?

    ---

    Setting of my WIP, The Vale: depression as a place we go to, where the wrinkles of the brain become the trenches.

    Yes. There are trenches. Think of the Great War. This network of trenches is older than any soul there can remember. They may as well have existed always.

    There is the mist. You might as well think of The Mist, except there aren't spooky monsters. It functions similar to the darkness in Metro 2033 if anybody has read that book (probably not, but it's good, and the game is... decent). This mist goes by several other names but they all refer to the same thing, this fog that seems to have sentience, this "abyss" that staring into or breathing in or otherwise being exposed to will assault your mind.

    I'm going for a more psychological thriller here, if you're the type of person who needs a pigeon-hole to get started. I'm exploring some ideas about spirituality as well, but let's just go with psychological thriller since that would appear to be the most dominant aspect.

    To be more specific, an example that I'm exploring is the relationship between faith and meaning and cynicism and nihilism and depression.

    Characters who find themselves in this place called "Arago" don't know how they got there, where "there" is, or who they are. So amnesia. Kind of similar to Maze Runner or whatever. These similarities are ones I'm drawing now to try and help you get a feel for things. They weren't pre-planned or anything.

    Another classic example would be the Lethe river, the waters of which result in "unmindfulness" or forgetfulness.

    There are two primary factions: those who believe it is best to forget there was anything forgotten, and those who seek to remember.

    Main characters: Sammael Morgan, who has taken the role of leading the town and protecting its inhabitants. Seeing the suffering caused by believing that they have been damned, he does not see himself as the antagonist at all, but rather the one who's duty it is to maintain order, keep this mysterious abyss at bay, and (to write it with a ham in my fist) build bliss in ignorance. He sees Father Anthoney and those who share the Father's beliefs as misguided at best, corrupting at worst.

    Father Anthoney. He is the de facto leader of the faction who believes in seeking salvation. He views Morgan as a necessary evil, as much a defender as he is an imprisoner.

    Our MC, who I still cannot come up with a satisfactory name for. Names are, in a sense, arbitrarily chosen but I cannot come up with a method for this that satisfies me. Chosen by who, and how? Morgan is essentially the antagonist to our MC, who after much restlessness comes to the conclusion that he will slowly wither and die if he stays.

    There is a character who I intend to be a personification of this abyss, whom the MC has interactions and conversations with throughout the story. His purpose is not yet entirely clear to me.

    One tangible conflict that I want to build is an increasing faction of people who want to leave, met by increasing measures of Sammael's faction to keep order.

    Necessarily the MC and Sammael have a few supporting characters, but I haven't yet started to so much as sketch them out. They need to have good reason for siding with whichever character.

    For a time the MC is actually a member of Sammael's watch. It is after a period of struggles, losing a companion who was the first person he met when he woke up naked on the beach, saving a young man while on a dangerous expedition to map and regain an area of the trench network, where the MC finally realizes the futility of their struggle.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
  2. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Contributor Contributor

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    Maybe I overlooked them, but I didn't find any specific questions in your post.
     
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  3. Foxxx

    Foxxx The Debonair Contributor

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    You have eloquently pointed out just how lost I am.

    In reparation, I will try to start now (and edit this in to my OP afterward to save the time of others):

    Where do you start when developing a character, Bone?

    How do you make characters not sound the same, whether they be narrators, main characters; heroes, villains, or something in between? I don't know all about you but my characters all ultimately come filtered through my head, so how do you not make them all sound like yourself, for instance?

    How do you explore the thoughts of characters without boring old "so and so thought", "so and so wondered"?

    Do you plot out character arcs, or do you simply start with a motivation and a flaw and pants around?

    Answer all, one, or none. Thank-you for your patience.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
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  4. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Senior Member

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    I'm trying to understand the story, so please forgive my crass explanation below and correct me where I'm wrong:

    You have a group of people, including the MC and named characters trapped on an Island somewhere. They don't know how they got there or how to get out. The island is a physical manifestation of depression.
    Our MC wants to escape.
    The abyss is creeping ever closer but is actually salvation, though no one realises this and it is feared universally.

    Am I even close to getting this right?!

    NC
     
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  5. Foxxx

    Foxxx The Debonair Contributor

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    Minutiae aside, you essentially have the core idea correct.

    From personal experience and reading the accounts of others, I have come to the conclusion (others may not share this and that's totally fine) that depression is something of a Chinese finger trap. As you correctly hypothesized, the antagonists - namely Morgan - are antagonists in well-intentioned ignorance and fear, not conscious malevolence.

    I didn't explain the setting in too great of detail. It isn't really an island but for sake of practicality, you can view it that way without any confusion. I think after the dumpster fire of Lost, I have PTSD about stories placed on islands.
     
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  6. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Senior Member

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    OK excellent! I love the idea. The characters you are asking for help with are going to take a bit of thought - its quite a profound story. :superthink:
     
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  7. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Senior Member

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    Couple more questions if I may:

    Do people die in this place?
    Do people die in the abyss?
    How does Sammael 'fight' to keep the abyss at bay?
    How does Father Tony 'fight' for salvation?

    NC
     
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  8. Foxxx

    Foxxx The Debonair Contributor

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    Thank-you! I couldn't think of this at the time but an easy analogy might be to say it is like the idea in the King Arthur myth, where the grail is found in the part of the forest that looks darkest to them. It is a profound idea but it is certainly not mine and I don't want to pretend to take credit for discovering it.

    I inadvertently found that same idea by watching a YouTube video about the "Arago spot". At the center of the shadow is light. It isn't deliberate but I like thinking about paradoxes and irony and contradiction a lot, and trying to parse something out of them.

    Not sure if this will be of any help, but a co-worker I was talking with said it sounded a lot like Dante's Divine Comedy, and she was spot on. In the same way that Dante was conceptualizing Hell and exploring many of the same ideas I happen to be exploring, I am conceptualizing depression as a place. One difference is that my conceptualization has a slight transient element to it, where as Dante's Hell is an end-of-the-line afterlife, where at best there might be some way to transition between the different levels. My setting is not an afterlife but more like a psychological limbo.

    And I'm not sure how much I would want Father Anthoney to be like Virgil. I don't want him to be an explicit guide, in the same way that Sammael (named after the angel) is not really any sort of self-aware gatekeeper.

    Or to try and phrase the transient element another way, there is a part in the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty where (if I recall correctly) the love interest asks Walter about his daydreaming, "Where do you go? You know, when you... get like that?" And I remember being stunned at how deep a question that is if you follow it enough. I applied it to depression and went from there.

    I hope that might more clearly present what I'm going for here, as I don't think I quite did the best job of explaining it before.

    I will answer those questions tomorrow hopefully, before work. They are very good questions and I am glad you asked them. :)

    I have a solid foundation and understanding for the setting and worldbuilding. Tying that mood and those themes to the characters, and developing their strengths and flaws and goals and inner and outer conflicts with that in mind, is my next challenge.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
  9. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Supporter Contributor

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    You ask a lot of good questions here, Foxxx. Dialogue is my strong point, so I'll answer these two:

    You work in customer service, correct? Listen to your customers' and co-workers' voices, and hear them as music. Different people, while speaking, have different rhythms, tempos of speech, tones, and words. Start with the speed: would this character speak fast or slow? Are they well-educated or not, and what kind of accent do they have? That's the word choice and rhythm. Do they use slang? Contractions? What favorite words and phrases do they fall back on? We all have "signature" words and phrases.

    I think one reason dialogue may come more easily for me than some writers is that I've spent so much time transcribing interviews in my non-fiction life. Seek out and read lots of in-depth interviews of a variety of people, preferably written in Q&A style instead of paraphrasing. Look for old ones to study, because interviews used to be much longer and cover more subject matter than today's interviews. Old Rolling Stone and Interview magazine interviews from the 80's and early 90's are a good place to start, and they covered a variety of people. Whenever I use them for researching non-fiction pieces I'm always astounded at how much longer and more interesting interviews were back then. It doesn't even matter that they're celebrities: Paul McCartney speaks differently than Bruce Springsteen, and that's the sort of thing you're looking for.

    Good luck!
     
  10. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    To add to what @Shenanigator said, regarding dialogue. I find it helpful, when envisioning dialogue, to ask myself about how the characters differ from one another. Instead of focusing on what is being said, focus instead on why they are saying it at that particular time. And keep in mind who they're speaking to as well. Your characters are unlikely to use the same words or tone of voice with somebody they despise as they will with somebody they want to impress.

    This, of course, leads to personality. Are they normally slow and cautious? Are they the sort who likes being seen as knowledgeable? Calm? Enthusiastic? Sarcastic? Are they the sort who sees the world through rose coloured glasses? Or the opposite ...all doom and gloom? Are they the sort of person who speaks before they think?

    Focus on what makes each character different. They may all be in the same situation at the same time, but they won't all be the same people. Make sure they aren't just there to deliver a plot.

    These are obviously large factors, but you can start there and work towards a more nuanced view of each character. The more you 'know' your characters the more you will hear their individual voices.
     
  11. LoaDyron

    LoaDyron Contributor Contributor

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    Hello, friend. :superhello:

    That depends who the character is and which is her/his motive in the story.

    Dialogue is a great tool to explore that, also their internal dialogue. But before you jump on that, I will advise you to know your character in deep: their backstory, culture, behaviour, and so many factors. With this information, you will have so much to explore your character's personality and voice. For example: let's suppose you have a president and a volunteer shelter for animals. You may think they will sound the same, but you are incorrect. With the president character, you will have to a sophisticated language, to the point of making your citizens believe in him/her, or to be confused (and here you can play a little of the character's education level). On the other hand, the volunteer shelter character will have a more casual voice, and this doesn't mean he/she isn't educated, is just in the environment work she can use informal language.

    Just simply say what they are saying in italics, and then make them do something. Example: Crap! How did MS. Craftwodd say about the equation again? She rubbed her pencil on her head, trying to push her brain to think, like a machine. Whereas you can see the character is struggling maths, and not to say, she thought, I made her rubbing her pencil on her head so hard as she was trying to figure for a solution.

    This comes back to your second question. Again know your characters inside from outside, then explore them. I will advise you to do this exercise. Put your characters in a situation: playing cards, domino, telling a story in a campfire; whathever. Then think how they will say and react to each other.

    Well, this a tricky question because generally, I have an idea for a character, which I have enough information about his/her motivation and flaws. Then as the story progress, I can spot mistakes or explore new ideas. But this happens because you write your first idea. What happens to me is, I have this end for a character. Then I write, and while the story grows, another new idea appears, and I rethink if it is good or not. At this point I start to ask, will this character do this right? Is this the right moment? Which such chaos, will he/she or this couple do this right now? If your answer is no, then you will ahve to re-think again, or go back to your drawing board and start over again.

    I'm afraid I do not understand this question, so I'm sorry I can't provide proper help. :superfrown:

    Hmmm... while I'm not familiar with Maze Runner, the part of amnesia, do you know the game Silent Hill 2? If you do, you must know the main character, James Sunderland, which the creatures played very well with his amnesia aspect. I found it very unique and interesting how they wrote his memory loss. If you are not familiar with that, I will advise you to have a look. If you are interested, check these guys: TwinPerfect especially their Silent Hill series: The Real Silent Hill Experience. There's a video where they explain well why James has his memory loss.

    I found the idea intriguing. I'm expecting these two factions to be against each other constantly, but don't make them too much black and white. Make your character question themselves and the ideologies they are in. About MC don't have a name leave it for the end, or just wrote the first name that comes to your mind and then later you can change his name.

    Hmm... why not make the abyss a personification of your character's fears or the contrary? Or both? This character may never have a form and may be on your character's mind; in a sense, it will develop to destroy them or save them depending on the path they choose. Just an idea. :superwink:

    For that experiment dialogue with them. If you see they have no dialogue or little like two or three and that's it, it means is doing nothing in your story, Put that character in the trash. Then when you find that characters ask questions like why he/she is abandoning this ideology? Or why is staying with it? What made him/her leave or remain?

    I hope this helps. Keep on good work and have fun. You have an exciting idea. :superagree:
     
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  12. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Senior Member

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    I've been giving this some thought:

    One universal truth about depression is that no matter how much help, advice or therapy you receive - the only person who in the end can truly help...is you.
    With that in mind, the character in your story who represents the abyss, could perhaps be seen differently by each inhabitant, as an alternative image of themselves - something they need to overcome in order to leave.

    I've not worked out any of the kinks with that idea, just thinking out loud really.

    NC
     
  13. LoaDyron

    LoaDyron Contributor Contributor

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    That's exactly what I had in mind as well, and I should have said that in my post. It's such a great idea. :supersmile:
     
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  14. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Senior Member

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    I think you should go ahead and write the opening for this story, even if all the details aren't worked out yet - doesn't have to be a keeper. Perhaps doing so will illuminate the story and offer suggestions on other characters/ideas.
    I'm intrigued!
     
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  15. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Contributor Contributor

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    Others have answered your questions about characters sounding alike, so I'll weigh in on this one.
    Before I create my main character, I need to understand the primary conflict of my story. I specified "primary" because while it's not uncommon for a story to feature multiple conflicts, in most cases one stands out as being more important than the others - typically the one that comes to a climax just before the story's resolution.

    With that in mind, I create my main character to either be suited, or ill-suited at facing this conflict. For instance, in the Hobbit, Bilbo is ill-suited at facing the conflicts in his adventure. That works because pitting him against foes and problems so far out of his depth is worth reading/watching.

    In contrast, Ferris Bueller is suited at facing his conflict. One could say he's incredible at it. And in that instance his competence is much of what we enjoy about both the main character and the story. And yes, I understand there are emotional conflicts that run through FBDO, and that he's not nearly as suited at solving them - but that's beside the point. I could have just as easily used Geralt of Rivia, Beatrix Kiddo, Sherlock Holmes, etc.

    If I opt to go with suited (and I usually do, as I mostly write action adventure), then I start dreaming up a backstory and concept that justifies why and how they're suited for said conflict. Similarly if I opt to go with ill-suited, I do the same. Though I generally have a wider range of character backstories and concepts to choose from when I decide on ill-suited, as there are usually lots of ways to be poorly equipped/prepared for challenges.

    No matter what type of story I'm writing, that's the early stages of my process for main character creation. My MCs are molded and sculpted by the conflict I want to feature. It likely won't come as a surprise to you to learn that I use the same considerations for conflict when creating settings.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
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  16. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That's a really interesting approach. Simple, but it works, doesn't it?

    Is my character suited or ill-suited for this conflict/situation/dilemma/relationship/goal ...what have you.

    If the character is ill-suited, then the story will be about how the character copes with the situation. By learning and growing. By bumbling through on luck or resilience or unrecognised skills. Or by failing.

    If the character IS suited, then the character must still be challenged by the situation—which is much tougher than the character expected. Or the character is evenly-matched (or even overmatched) by an effective adversary, etc.

    This would be a fantastic way to construct a memorable character if a story is plot-driven, rather than character-driven.

    Great way to look at a story in its formative stages in any case. I think I'll test this method myself. Thanks! :)
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
  17. Foxxx

    Foxxx The Debonair Contributor

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    -A soul dying in this place and that person dying in the real world are one-in-the-same, if that makes sense. I don't know how familiar you are with the movie but it'd be like if Walter Mitty died in one of his daydreams, he'd die in real life. (that isn't how it actually works in the film, but you get the drift)

    -Yes and no. Let me know if this isn't a satisfying answer.

    -The use of flamethrowers and gas. He needs the help of Father Anthoney to help those who fall ill or start to go mad, which is why Father Anthoney is tolerated. Weapons aren't going to cure psychological wounds.

    -To try and convince people that there is such a thing in the first place, and to lead them on to seek it, in a variety of ways. As you mention later about "the only person who can ultimately help you is yourself", Father Anthoney acts as a guide, as a counselor, an adviser, a confidant and so on. But he doesn't do the work for anyone.

    This is a really good idea. I did get as far as knowing the character representing the abyss would be unique to each other character, and would manifest itself in all sorts of different ways, all depending on what exactly the inner-struggle is that's being projected.

    More or less infinitely various manifestations; same singular entity.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2019
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  18. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

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    What about Morgan's fear? Does he know that leaving the town takes you back to the hell of your own reality? What if you were a murderer? Strapped-to-the-bed insane? Dying from a disease? What if it's better 'in here' than 'out there'? What if someone leaving meant everyone goes back, too?
    Would that affect the 'voice' of a character?
     
  19. Partridge

    Partridge Active Member

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    I'm not going to lie, I didn't read your whole post (I've just got up, I've not finished my first coffee). To a certain degree it's impossible to not write through the filter of you, because you are the only way you can see the world. But it strikes me that you don't know your characters well enough. I know exactly what my characters would say, what their facial expression would be, their body language in any scenario.


    I've got to this stage by three ways:
    I treat characters like imaginary friends. When I was writing my last book (pending publication on KDP) if I was walking round the supermarket I'd have my main character, Frank, right next to me. I'd imagine the snide comments he'd make if somebody cut in front of his trolly, the coke induced over-reaction he'd have when he wasn't able to find what he was looking for, how he'd be checking out the arse of the girl stacking shelves, and his general world weariness at having to something so ordinary.

    I play their movies in my mind. Most of my writing is played out in my head, like a film first. I do this while I'm going for a walk, having a bath, washing the car, mowing the lawn, whatever. I can put real time and effort into thinking how they would speak, without having that pressure of a screen in front of me and that little cursor flashing impatiently at me, almost saying "write something, you prick" to me.

    Time. Real characters, to be deep and believable (I think) have to be incubated and grown over a long time, at least six months. Your characters may not grow roots with you until the second draft.
     
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  20. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

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    This! This is what that little blinkin bastard says to me! :superlaugh:
     
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  21. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Senior Member

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    I still say 'go for it'. Write a scene, maybe the start or maybe from somewhere in the middle of the story. Don't intend to keep it.
    This passage you write will help answer the remaining questions you have (and probably raise a few more) but with the new knowledge you may be able to flesh out a lot more detail. Others here have more experience than me, but I don't think working out every detail before you start is always the best solution, a lot of this comes as your characters engage with the story and with each other.
     
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  22. Foxxx

    Foxxx The Debonair Contributor

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    You're right. And I am jealous of you. I don't understand how you could know all that. I wish I could.

    I will try all three methods you've suggested, thank you for sharing them. I also see my story as a movie in my head. Putting these specific characters in a mundane situation like a supermarket is incredibly difficult for me to do, and seems almost ridiculous, but I'll give it a shot. There must be something to it, because you're not the first person I've heard that advice from.

    I'm not feeling particularly well today. Maybe I'll feel more confident in my abilities another day. I hope.
     
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  23. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Supporter Contributor

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    There are ways you can do it, because it's about accessing your subconscious. When you feel better, there's an exercise you can do that can be really helpful. Get very relaxed, almost in a meditative state, then ask your characters questions. After dreaming about these two characters, I asked the one who would later become my MC the simple question, "Who are you people?" and he "told" me his entire backstory.

    Just starting out, you may need to ask your characters more specific questions. If it doesn't work the first time, it's like meditation, so keep at it. But wait 'til you feel a bit better. In a lot of people the creativity center shuts down when we're not feeling well. If that happens, don't beat yourself up. It's just your batteries in need of a recharge, and it'll come back.
     
  24. xanadu

    xanadu Contributor Contributor

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    Character and plot come to me together--I can't have one without the other. So when I'm starting something new, I know what the main story will be about (with minimal detail) and who that story will center around. I'll have a handful of details about the character at the start (some personality, traits, maybe a job or a hobby) depending on what relates to the main story.

    As an example, my current novel came to me like this: a millennial in a fictional part of Delaware County, PA who commissions art on Twitter for income, struggling to find a job in graphic design because interviewers don't see her work as genuine "experience", finds out one morning that an old classmate from high school has died of an opioid overdose. In her struggles to get by in a toxic family situation, the threat of aging out of her parents' health insurance, and simply navigating an adult world that she isn't ready for, the audience soon finds out that she, too, may have an addiction to pills.

    I build from there.

    From the above, I start to build out the world of the story, including the roles needed for other characters. She's struggling at home--I need a stepfather who gives her grief about drawing in her room for "people on the internet" instead of going door-to-door to look for work like he did when he was young. That instantly gives me a POV and character voice to work with.

    She needs a friend circle. I like to keep things smaller, so maybe three friends. I don't start with much, but I have an idea of what I want. Someone who is currently employed, earning a decent living, but is working herself ragged to impress her employers--a foil for my lead. Again, now I have a voice for that character--ambitious, hurried, self-doubting, full of all the motivational slogans, etc. Another friend could be involved in a different kind of art--maybe music. A member of a punk band. That gives me another perspective and another voice.

    In typing that out, I'm noticing that, at least for me, differences in character voice comes primarily from the characters having notably different perspectives even if they agree on some things.

    I just don't bother with the "she thought" or "she wondered" stuff. I write in a fairly close 3rd limited POV, so I just integrate thoughts and narrative as one. An example:

    The bartender scurried away to help another customer. She stood there, beer in hand, eyes drawn upward to the game, unable to look away from the trainwreck happening in real time. Not that she really cared about sports, but still. Would’ve been nice for the Super Bowl win to prompt the other teams to pick up the pace. Hard to believe that World Series was ten years ago. But then again, a lot of things were ten years ago now. She took another big sip. Yup. A lot of things were ten years ago.

    Something along those lines.

    Honestly, I don't know that I do make my characters sound totally different from each other or myself in terms of things like word choice, or giving them catchphrases or specific mannerisms or anything like that. In real life I notice that most of the people around me talk kind of the same. We all have the Delco dialect, the outside-Philly accent, and a similar background. We all get our Rita's water ice with custard and jimmies when we're down the shore. So I don't put too much stock in trying to make it so that you'd know which character was which just from their speech habits.

    Instead, like I mentioned in my second answer, I give them generally different perspectives and let that inform what they say.

    I think I usually know where the character starts and where they're going to end up, and then pants how I get from A to B.

    Nah, I think that having the plot come with the character as a package deal gives me enough grounding to get started, especially since I know anything can change over the course of the story if I don't like the way it's going.
     
    Foxxx likes this.
  25. Kallisto

    Kallisto Ruler of the world... somewhere...

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    Where do you start when developing a character?

    I start with their goals, motives, and conflicts. This, to me, is the very foundation of characters. If the characters don't want something, then there's no reason to even be in the story. If there's no motive behind what they want, then character isn't relatable. And if there's no conflict, or something keeping them from reaching that goal, then the character isn't interesting.

    How do you make characters not sound the same, whether they be narrators, main characters; heroes, villains, or something in between?

    By giving them all different goals, motives, and conflicts. There's also a lot to be said about having characters who are diverse in both culture and their background.

    How do you explore the thoughts of characters without boring old "so and so thought", "so and so wondered"?

    By sticking to one POV character and that's it.

    I don't know all about you but my characters all ultimately come filtered through my head, so how do you not make them all sound like yourself, the author?

    I don't think there's any real way to avoid that 100%, but letting characters challenge you is a good start. Let them have a different opinion about something. Let them have a prejudice. Let them be ignorant.

    Do you plot out character arcs, or do you simply start with a motivation and a flaw and pants around?

    I never do "flaws." I think that's stupid. Oh, don't get me wrong, my characters are very flawed. But I don't sit around thinking about "Oh, I want this character to have x flaw." Instead, I let my characters fail. In order to do this, I have to think of a way that they can fail. Then I have to think of how they react to the failure. Because nothing shows people's flaws more than why and how they fail. And that's where the flaws start to develop more organically as opposed to being forced in there. But most importantly, the flaws have consequences.

    For example, I have a character who I decided that when things fail, she gets angry. She's never angry for anything petty. I wrote her in a way that her anger is understandable, but it also isn't helping. And down the road, that anger begins to have serious consequences.

    Do you experience extreme, paralyzing dread and anxiety when it comes to character? If so, how do you overcome it? If not, why not?

    No, because it's just a character. I've written lots of characters where calling them even two dimensional would be generous. What do I do? I just write another draft. Sometimes even write another story. If you hyperventilate over the thought of failing in your writing, I suggest a new hobby! Because I promise you, your first story is going to suck. The plot will suck. The characters will suck. Everything will suck. But you'll learn so much that you'll write another one and it will astronomically better. Then you'll write a third one and it will be even better than that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019

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