LESSON Character Building

Discussion in 'DEVELOPING CHARACTERS & CULTURES' started by The Mood is Write, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. Happy 1k posts to me! In celebration, here's an experimental guide to help people make and develop characters. This is NOT the only way to work on them, but it might be a good idea to try for those who have tried other methods and had difficulty. Feel free to post your results and your own tips!


    • A lot of people start with an idea or appearance they like. This guide is no different. If you don't have one, try playing with doll makers or random generators until something sparks.

      Doll Makers
      Doll Divine
      Recolor
      Rinmaru Games
      Azalea's Dolls

      Random Generators
      Seventh Sanctum
      Chaotic Shiny
      Feath's Bookcase

      I do not suggest browsing the internet for pre-existing images, because sometimes artists don't like to see someone claiming their art as their character, even if it is properly sourced. If that is your preference, though, I do suggest sourcing all art used, including a link if you can find one. I cannot stress enough that you should not edit art found on the internet. This can lead to a lot of difficulty if the artist is possessive!

      With this, you're ready to start the next step.

    • Now, once you have an image or idea that excites you, it's time to pull up notepad, google docs, or some other platform for taking notes. Write out your first impressions—what can you tell about their socioeconomic level? Age? What about their basic personality? Do they have a motive or goals yet in your mind?

      If you can't answer the last question, it's time to pause. A motivation or goal can be simple, but it is vital for later. Make a note to add their motivations later, and with what you do have, start to expand. Don't worry about names or birthdays yet, and instead concentrate on things like their current position in life. Are they a CEO? A drifter? A princess?

      Once you have their current position, add their personality and age to the statement. Perhaps she's a middle-aged CEO who's gentle and patient until someone earns her wrath, for example. We'll work on developing this one as we go.

    • So, you have your basic character summary now. It's time to take another look at them.

      Start with their motivation. For my example CEO, let's give her a motivation that's simple: she wants her company to avoid bankruptcy. It's time to think about what led to that motivation—the backstory. Why is her company on that verge? Take a few moments to think it over and list a few options. She could have just inherited it from a parent or other loved one. She could have been involved in a massive lawsuit. Perhaps the popularity of her product has dwindled to nothing, or her company had a huge recall.

      With your list of reasons for that motivation in mind, start planning out what happened that their motivation is a need for them. From there, simply build backwards, and continue not to worry about a name—save that until you get to their birth, and look at their parents and how they've raised the child (if they did) for the sort of name they would give.

      Now you have a name, backstory, motivation, and summary of their current self. Take a few notes on their personality based on their backstory, and now look in the other direction: the future.

    • This is the hard part. What are you expecting in a roleplay involving this new character? How can life get in the way of their motivation? What can their backstory offer for future difficulties?

      For the CEO, her company's difficulties stemmed from her mother losing the fight against breast cancer. Her difficulties stem from being inexperienced in her new position.

      From that, she could have a board of directors that want to take advantage of her naivety, or she could have to deal with subordinates who aren't supportive, or even attacks from the media.

      Take those ideas, and look at how they can be used in a roleplay. Does she have to hire a consultant? Will a mass quitting mean she has to hire all new staff? Perhaps the police get involved to stop the board of directors after she calls them for something they can't technically help with?

      These are not only your conflicts, but plot ideas. Take note of your favorites after a bit more fine-tuning, and then get playing!


    I hope this guide was helpful. I just hope that you remember there is no such thing as a right way or wrong way to create, and that this guide is probably not the best way for you, but it may offer insight you might not have had before.
     
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