Help with creating characters?
Jordan Mcdonald Asked: Help with creating characters?
Hi, I have spent a lot of time crafting out concepts for my fantasy story that has a lot of neat ideas full of potential to expand, However I seem to always run into the problem of building great concepts and not having the ability to place characters in the story.
Of Course I have some ideas on personality and appearences but I cant seem to get started or settle on one character and slot them into an event related to the surrounding world nevermind developing intriguing goals.
So I was wondeirng if anyone here had any tips that could someone in my position, thanks.
the overall theme revolves around treasure hunters entering rifts to different worlds for powerful objects, this is seen as illegal and the government search for these as well to find resources, however the intentions are shifty. I want to main to be a treasure hunter or meet the hunter somehow to solve mutual problems and fulfill their goals entering different worlds and uncovering conspiracies. any ideas are appreciated.
The story also carry a manga feel to it if this helps.
Also how could I explain that sparse % of the population have things such as snake genetics, monkey tails etc. I have some ideas but a fresh perspective could help.
Sounds like it'll be a good Story, good luck
I think this is common among SF/F writers – One agent said SFF authors write bad query letters because they'll spend the whole letter describing the world, but barely mention the plot or the characters!
If you already have personality and appearance down, then focus on goals, conflicts, and stakes.
Goals: what does the character want? Only external things or internal as well? (love, respect, etc.)
Conflicts: What is stopping the character from getting what they want?
Inner conflict:does the character want two things that are in conflict with each other? (example: treasure hunter wants treasure to pay his son's medical expenses, but he also wants the love of a woman who would hate him if she found out what he was treasure hunting.)
Stakes: what will happen if the character doesn't acheive his/her goals? If the answer is "nothing much," you need to raise the stakes.
Imagine describing the plot as though you were talking about someone you knew: "I know this guy who's a treasure hunter. He can go to other worlds through rifts. It's super dangerous, but he has to. His kid's sick, and he's got no way to pay the medical bills…" It can help get you out of the world-building mindset and into a stories-about-people mindset.
Character Development is a major source in driving a successful and enjoyable read, and most of the time, it can be a tediously difficult process.
As a writer, I have found numerous tips in creating characters that feel real within my stories. Below are my most favorite.
J.R. Tolken, the author The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, is famous for writing backstories. He created an entire language for the Elvish people of his books, a full rich history, maps, and texts describing the lands/culture in great detail. However, most of this lavishly expressed information, never appeared in his actual works. They basically solidified his world and merely resonated within each chapter os his story. And yet, you can tell that THAT made all the difference.
One of my favorite Tolken ways to prepare characters for a story, is create two people to fill out the following criteria:
Then, write a short, quick story having both characters converse. For example, if your two main characters are a boy and a girl, (lets say the boy is rebellious and stubborn while the girl is quiet and nervous), put them in a random scenario (eg. after school detention). Let the scene play out on the page and see how the encounter flows. Usually, the story begins to write itself and you've already begun to develop the characters. Once you transfer these newly deepened people to your story, it will suddenly feel like theres a backstory between them. Also, many new personalities will have automatically developed just within your short and you can add them to your character profile.
For example, here is a one paragraph conversation I have now just written based on my rebellious boy and shy girl in detention.
"Is this your first time here?" The boy snorted, kicking his feet up to rest clumsily against the desk in front of him. His hands were drumming an unfamiliar tune against the chair seat ,which was tipped precariously on two wobbling legs.
"I-I guess," the girl responded with a quiet shrug, avoiding his gaze. She stared down at her fingers and hoped he wouldn't ask anymore questions.
"Noobs are always fun," he continued, "They're so squeamish."
She kept her mouth taunt but the boy only grinned at her reddened cheeks.
"So, this IS a big deal for you!" he laughed.
"No it isn't!" she suddenly blurted. Eyes wide, the girl quickly clamped her mouth shut again, turning to glare down at her sneakers.
He tipped back further in his seat. "You know, this goes on permanent record" he waggled his eyebrows teasingly.
"It does?" the girl asked, blinking. Her heart thundered inside her chest.
The boy laughed again, stomping his feet against the linoleum floor. "Yes. And its a big dark mark next to your college application!"
Already by this segment, you can tell the girl is not only nervous and shy, but gullible and scared of being embarrassed. She does well in school and does not like getting into trouble. Also, you can see that the boy is risky and thinks himself hilarious with little inside jokes. Together, the chemistry looks like it could potentially lead to a friendship.
Now, if you incorporate these little facts into a possible real novel (lets say) about two conflicting best friends with very different personalities, you've already suddenly established how they met and their usual chemistry.
This way of creating new characters is my personal favorite because the scenarios write themselves out. You could even throw in little references to your small scene in your real novel (ex. "That girl over there is Melissa Harvard. Believe it or not, her best friend is Gregory Helph. Rumor has it they met in detention three years ago!").
Whats great about this tactic is most of the time, the short stories you may create don't play how you would have expected, thus making the characters feel more real.
If you still don't find this way an easy solution to creating unique characters, you could always base the character of someone you really know well. My brother is a tall lanky boy with an annoying habit of pulling on his nose when he's stuck on a English problem. If you build your characters off real people, because you already know how they'll act and all their personalities, its easy to see how they'd react in certain situations.
My third suggestion is to base your character off another character in a favorite book. I used to love Anne of Green Gables when I was younger and often wrote little "fan fictions" based off her misadventures in Narnia (I loved Narnia back then too). The story completely shifted from the usual and suddenly I had a series of short tales about a quirky red head who lived in a wintery wonderland. This is great because you've already grown up loving the character in another's story and all you have to do is incorporate them into your tale.
Hope this helps!
What are your character ideas? Boy or girl? What year is this?
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