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Veni0Vidi0Vici

Just as your character will.

Characters are one of the essential ingredients of a story. You can have characters without plot, but you can't have plot without characters. Every action needs someone to do it and every story has to be told by someone.

People identify best with balanced and believable characters, but they're hard to make. Instead of your character doing everything right, he's got to make a few mistakes. Why does he make them? Is he hot-headed? Impulsive? A compulsive liar? Lusty? Cowardly? But then you think to yourself, is he too bad? Too good? Too cliché? Too perfect?

Talk about your new character and ask for opinions. The more you talk about him, the more you get a good feel for him. We'll give you an idea about what someone other than you thinks of him.

And if actually making a character wasn't hard enough, you've got to know his past, his future, his wants, and more. This is where things can get too embellished, too dramatic and too unbelievable. So ask away! We'll give you a little feedback because anyone can say whether they would believe that character arc or not.

And then you have the actual development. Is this divorce traumatic enough to turn my virgin protagonist into a player businessman with a heart of ice? I want to make my main character less self-centered, but will seeing other victims of the same evil warlord be enough to open her eyes? Describe the event, describe the change and its effect; we'll try to help you as much as we can.

LINKS

****We're still working on this section. If you have any interesting links pertaining to writing a good character arc, characterization, character development, we'd greatly appreciate it if you shared.****

The Universal Mary Sue Litmus Test: tinyurl.com/3k2smxk

2/15/2012 . Edited 7/21/2013 #1
Veni0Vidi0Vici

Post reserved.

2/15/2012 #2
Ruining Hopes and Dreams

Time this thread was used.

*clears throat*

Okay, I'm working on a character. Has no name, no appearance yet, just a personality.

What would you recommend doing with a character that believes that he should never lie? I'm thinking of giving him an "important secret", but how would that change him?

2/25/2012 #3
Blackish

You could go two ways, depending on his decision. Either he goes ahead and tells the truth, or he lies.

Some options:

1) He tells the truth. The truth gets him into huge trouble and revealing it might even be a little stupid, but he does it anyway, because that is what he believes. This would create a rock of a character: principled, stubborn, and reliable. He'd make a good anchor for any reckless, irresponsible characters you have in your cast.

1a) He tells the truth, pays dearly for it, and regrets that decision for the rest of his life. If it's a big enough truth, it might destroy him or make him bitter. If it's a small thing, it would still have some effect on his character; maybe it would make him less principled.

2) He keeps it a secret, but grows to hate himself for it because it goes against his beliefs. If keeping the secret is more dangerous than telling the secret, then he'll have to deal with those consequences as well. He would become even more dedicated to honesty in other matters, because he feels so guilty about not telling.

2a) He keeps it a secret, and finds himself becoming more and more comfortable with telling lies. He becomes a regular liar. If this goes far enough, he might into a 'trickster' sort of character.

3) He tries to keep it secret, but since he's never told a lie before, he doesn't do a good job of it and someone else figures it out. He gets into huge trouble. If it's a big enough secret, he finds that other cats don't trust him anymore.

2/28/2012 #4
Ruining Hopes and Dreams

Thanks! :D

He tells the truth. The truth gets him into huge trouble and revealing it might even be a little stupid, but he does it anyway, because that is what he believes. This would create a rock of a character: principled, stubborn, and reliable. He'd make a good anchor for any reckless, irresponsible characters you have in your cast.

Ooh. This would be good. I'm thinking of adding a slightly unstable character.

He keeps it a secret, and finds himself becoming more and more comfortable with telling lies. He becomes a regular liar. If this goes far enough, he might into a 'trickster' sort of character.

But then there's this as well. :O

I'll have to work some more on his personality, then decide how he reacts. :D

2/28/2012 #5
Ruining Hopes and Dreams

Bringing this thread back from the dead. :'D

So I have a character who doesn't really understand human emotions. How would it be recommended for them to kinda... start understanding?

Like, they wouldn't understand emotions randomly. But they would start understanding certain parts and such.

I don't know if what I'm saying makes sense. DDD:

10/4/2012 #6
S. Flame Eve

I never this this thread existed, until now. 0.0 But anywho...

So I have a character who doesn't really understand human emotions. How would it be recommended for them to kinda... start understanding?

I don't know if body language counts as an emotion but your character can start from there. And she/he is groping for knowledge she/he could, in their own way, use signs and made up movements and ways to understand human emotions better. It could depend on mostly his/her eyes, and ears. Maybe you can have them observe someone doing a regular day act and he/she tries his/her best and mimicing it. XD

That's all I have to come up with. :3 I hope it helped a little.

10/4/2012 #7
Illuminating Rainbow Light
So I have a character who doesn't really understand human emotions. How would it be recommended for them to kinda... start understanding?

I have this same dilemma now with a book I'm writing, and have been trying to write and figure out for a few years now. But what I figured out is what exactly Flame said, so listen to her because she's smart :P

Another way I've been coping with this is by giving her a normal human counterpart-a best friend. My character starts off not understanding humans because (A.) Her brain is wired much much differently than "normal" humans, and (B.) She has never really interacted with "humans" before due to she was in a coma.

But don't listen to me blather on :'D I'm headed to the Mary-Sue thread.

10/4/2012 . Edited 10/4/2012 #8
Ruining Hopes and Dreams

Danke~

This advice is brilliant. :D

10/4/2012 #9
Illuminating Rainbow Light
This advice is brilliant. :D

Even though I didn't help much, you're welcome :3

10/4/2012 #10
Illuminating Rainbow Light

Oh, now I need help.

How do you make sure a character with powers does not become a Sue? I've tried making her aggressive, a spitfire, giving her traits that common Mary Sues do not have (like curiosity, they can always see the obvious), but how do I make sure?

10/4/2012 #11
Ruining Hopes and Dreams

I had this problem asdf. Check the previous page of the Mary Sue thread. You may recognise the much edited character there. :D

10/4/2012 #12
Ruining Hopes and Dreams

Oh, and those Mary Sue tests you can take! :D

10/4/2012 #13
Illuminating Rainbow Light

I'll have to google search one :'D

10/4/2012 #14
breezyVocalist

This is a good Mary-Sue test. It's universal. :D

10/5/2012 #15
breezyVocalist

I have a character (she's a preteen) who believes that she cannot respect adults until they respect her. What do you think I should do with her?

I'm considering bringing in a new character (perhaps a teacher or step-parent?) who doesn't treat her like an idiot like many of the adults she's encountered, and then she has to grapple between her beliefs and the behavior of this person to decide between continuing withholding respect to adults, or respecting them based on this character.

7/3/2013 #16
Veni0Vidi0Vici
Teenage 'tude can get annoying QUICK. It's one of those things that in small proportions is fantastic, but too much annoys readers to death. If this is the main point of a longer story, I work wouldn't read it. If it's a subplot and get character growth is well-written, it could be very good.
7/3/2013 #17
Sextuple Covalent Mo2 Bond
I have a character (she's a preteen) who believes that she cannot respect adults until they respect her. What do you think I should do with her?

Well, it seems to me that she sounds like a prissy eleven year old that was raised by, say, a wealthy family. I'm probably stereotyping here, but I brainstorm like that to think of uses for a character. :3 Um. I think you could write something about her getting into trouble at school. She could justify herself using that excuse, and someone of authority that was bringing her to the office could reprimand her and in turn reprimand the parents (for 'omg raising ur kiddy wrong' or something?). That'd be pretty dramatic I mean. And partially unrealistic.

This is turning more from an idea for a character towards a story, so if I'm stepping on toes or being stupid, just tell me to hush up.

Like Veni said though, I think something involving teenage growing up and teenage attitude like that would be a wonderful subplot.

Also, she can't respect adults until they respect her. Does she have a redeeming quality? Without thicker stuff than just that, you run the risk of making your character look less like a character and more like a plot device. :3

I'm considering bringing in a new character (perhaps a teacher or step-parent?) who doesn't treat her like an idiot like many of the adults she's encountered, and then she has to grapple between her beliefs and the behavior of this person to decide between continuing withholding respect to adults, or respecting them based on this character.

I think a teacher would be much more realistic with this. Or really, any adult that isn't a parent. If it was a parent, she would have grappled between those things a while ago, I'd think. And a teacher would be better for this sort of thing because you could develop their 'relationship' more over time than that of a parent, because kids only see teachers for one year, really.

Know what I'm saying? :p

7/3/2013 #18
thelunaaltar

I'm going through many character struggles right now.

Well, mainly one character struggle for an OC of mine (In the ATLA category, if this helps).

The rest of my OCs (which are supporting characters) have distinct personalities and very different backgrounds, depth, backstories, motives, purpose, etc, etc. But it's for this one character whose personality can literally be described in two words: "quiet nobleman". It's maddening. I mean, if it helps I can tell you the description for his personality I gave him. You know, so you can like pick apart the pros and cons of his personality and stuffs. :/

7/3/2013 #19
Sextuple Covalent Mo2 Bond
Well, mainly one character struggle for an OC of mine (In the ATLA category, if this helps).

I'm not sure what ATLA is, but it's an OC so I'm sure I could help at least a bit!

The rest of my OCs (which are supporting characters) have distinct personalities and very different backgrounds, depth, backstories, motives, purpose, etc, etc. But it's for this one character whose personality can literally be described in two words: "quiet nobleman". It's maddening. I mean, if it helps I can tell you the description for his personality I gave him. You know, so you can like pick apart the pros and cons of his personality and stuffs. :/

Well, this might seem like a stupid question to ask, but do you really NEED that OC? If two words describe the entire expanse of his personality, he won't be very relatable in writing, so toss him if you can. If you can't simply toss him, then try making up Average Joe personality traits with a few outliers. Maybe he's a great golfer with a slightly bad temper. Maybe he doesn't feel sympathy for other characters well, so he fakes it. There are tons of combinations to add depth to your character that would help. I know it's easier said than done, but picking random things from a standardized grab bag really can help if you're able to write all these traits together properly to form the character (with few contradictions in his/her personality, etc.). Sure, if you'd like to tell me the description for the personality you gave him, I might be able to help develop him a little better with you. :)

7/3/2013 . Edited 7/3/2013 #20
thelunaaltar

Well, this might seem like a stupid question to ask, but do you really NEED that OC?

DX Too late for that. And yeah, I guess. He has purposes in the story. Also, sorry for the messy disorganized mess you're about see. It's coming from the notes on my tablet. XD ATLA is Avatar: The Last Airbender.


Personality: Serious, calculating and very observant. Out of all the *Red Warriors (*don't worry about this), he's proven himself to be the brains of the group. Despite being an Earthbender, he would rather chat over a hot cup of tea and talk about politics and weather before he has to even lift a pebble in offense. He's usually quiet, only putting his input where it is needed. He keeps a cool and calm demeanor, especially when in battle. He is a noble, and despite being a wealthy man, he never bothers himself with frivolous things. When the situation calls for it, he's been known to negotiate or talk himself out of a situation and can be very clever and witty at times. During his free time, he chooses to read a book and drink tea with *Chou (*do not worry about this also). He is very neat and organized, and hates getting dirty. Firmly believes if you want things done correctly, then you must do it yourself. Manages Red Warriors spending and finances when away from the *Mainland (do not worry about).

7/3/2013 #21
Veni0Vidi0Vici
I'm the sort if writer who gets the first trait out if necessary and works the rest in return. I agree with taking the OC out if he's not needed.
7/3/2013 #22
Veni0Vidi0Vici
And, of course, I had managed to send that forty minutes AFTER you have explained everything.
7/4/2013 #23
Veni0Vidi0Vici
Probably a self-made man who spends his words carefully. Often humorously insulting another. He is intelligent, charismatic, kind and hard to annoy. He seems sort of like James Bond. I'm not really fond of this sort of character--seems too perfect. I think that if you swapped out one of those virtues for a flaw, he might feel more three-dimensional rather than like a particular gentleman.
7/4/2013 #24
thelunaaltar

Alright, got any ideas? XD

7/5/2013 #25
Sextuple Covalent Mo2 Bond

Oi, sorry about taking a day! I had some things to take care of. :)

Personality: Serious, calculating and very observant. Out of all the *Red Warriors (*don't worry about this), he's proven himself to be the brains of the group. Despite being an Earthbender, he would rather chat over a hot cup of tea and talk about politics and weather before he has to even lift a pebble in offense. He's usually quiet, only putting his input where it is needed. He keeps a cool and calm demeanor, especially when in battle. He is a noble, and despite being a wealthy man, he never bothers himself with frivolous things. When the situation calls for it, he's been known to negotiate or talk himself out of a situation and can be very clever and witty at times. During his free time, he chooses to read a book and drink tea with *Chou (*do not worry about this also). He is very neat and organized, and hates getting dirty. Firmly believes if you want things done correctly, then you must do it yourself. Manages Red Warriors spending and finances when away from the *Mainland (do not worry about).

This reminds me of an investigator sort of character. He sounds sorta reserved, quiet and intelligent. But you've already added a few traits to him, obviously. He's definitely not just one trait like you gave off, you know? :) I agree with Veni in that you should swap out a good virtue for a flaw. For example, instead of being witty, he could be a touch serious and not very funny. I think you should keep the clever part since he's able to talk his way out of a lot of situations.

You could probably even do with adding a second negative virtue or flaw, like bad with numbers, or not the best in social situations. Establish his social standing better. I firmly believe that every character's social standing should be well-known to the writer at least. Plus, it gives endless opportunity for character advancement. Someone who's socially awkward could become more extroverted throughout the rest of the story if the plot involves the gaining of confidence. An extroverted character could become a little shy if the plot involves demeaning the character or the loss of confidence. However, social standing can change from a, to b, back to a, then to c, then to d and back to c. This is why it can be changed a million times: there's a million different social confidences, and I think establishing this with your character would make him a bit better.

7/5/2013 #26
xXRamenMasterXx

I have a character named Moon. I want to use her in a fanfiction, but...

There's too many endings for her!

I need some help on which will develop her personality best. She's sweet and kind, but I want an ending that can turn her rough and bitter, or preferably terrified of everything. Here's some things I were thinking about but I'd like your suggestions too!

1. Her brother leaves her. She comes close to dying in the cold, and many other near-death experiences.

...that's all I have, actually. XD

2/8 #27
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