Character development and creation.

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Reina, Jan 17, 2014.

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  1. Character development and creation

    The character is a very important part of the rp, and in my opinion, even the most important thing in it. See the word `Role Play´ It means that you're playing the role of your character, almost like an actor. Every good story/rp needs good and entertaining characters that make you want to think about them even after you've stopped reading/writing. Shortly: Give your character some depth and interesting traits.

    In general

    I've learnt a lot about character making, and I still suck at it... sadly. But still I've got some useful tips that could be of use for it.
    Even skillful writers have to work to make their characters work. If someone says that they don't, they're not human. It's possible though. And if you've been blessed with that kind of ability, get your ass out of here because you don't need this info, you PRO! Heh, now.. Seriously.

    THERE IS ONE THING that really bugs me when I see people's character sheets. And when I say bug, I really mean it. A lot. I actually never paid attention to it before going to England for a year to study. My `teacher´ nagged about this all the time, and she still claimed that she wasn't stressing it enough. (Yeah right, she can kiss my ***.. ahe.. Sorry.. She's a good person, really.) Now I can't help but think about it all the time. Even I myself have done this mistake, and still continue doing it repeatedly. No can do, I'm not a professional you know.
    Lack of imagination. We're talking about a real issue here. Character making seems to lack a lot of imagination in many rp's nowadays. And not speaking only about this forum, but about every rp forum I've seen. It seems like people want to play it safe, and simply blend in with all the others. Going with the flow though, is a bad, bad mistake. Making characters who are friendly, positive, self-sufficent, and flawless in every aspect. Come on people! I'm sure you have got some imagination inside those heads of yours! Use it!
    It's really boring to see characters with the same personalities, traits and habits in many different rps. Once you've seen one, you've seen them all. Boooooriiiing! Just adding a "dark, mysterious aura" isn't enough. Make the character have flaws, not just some rubbish that would make your character look `cooler´. Make the character realistic! Let him have his own personality! Not a copy of a princess-story's prince.
    For ex. Adding speech problems is a good way to bring some uniqueness to your character. And an allergy of some kind, for example a dog allergy, that makes your character sneeze all the time, makes it more interesting.
    Adding some unliked traits to your character is also very important. No-one wants a perfect little Mary-Sue/Gary-Sue who has no flaws at all. For ex. Nagging, being prejudiced, or having a habit of lying all the time can bring some good spice and balance for the character who has many good traits. NEVER FORGET THE BALANCE BETWEEN THE GOOD AND BAD TRAITS! Being "unflawless" is always better.

    A base to build your character on

    To make a good character, you need a base to build it on to. Some kind of personality type, character history or anything you can use to build your character on. It's something that decides how your character interacts in different situations. Give it some thought and time! Don't try to force, or you'll only be left with hands full of crap.
    After you've found a good foundation, you can start building the rest of the character. It should be easier from now on.
    For ex. If you started with a character, who you chose to be a sociopath, then you can thinking about the character's history. What made him a sociopath? Maybe he was abused as a child by his sociopath father, or maybe everyone that he trusted betrayed him? (Lol, now I used a cliche.)
    what is important, is that your character creation should be fun, and flow naturally. Having a bunch of traits just thrown together isn't going to create anything but a total chaos. Nothing good will come out of it.

    Don't miss this, it's important:


    It kills the whole idea of ROLE play. You're not supposed to write your character's actions the way you would like to react yourself. Think for a moment about your character's personality, history, fears or anything that could affect his way of responding. I'm sure that your co-player won't get angry if he/she has to wait for your post a little longer, because you want to make a good post. The more thought you put into a post, the more details you have, and the more details you have, generally the better your post is.

    Growing your character is important! Don't let him be a rock!

    A rock character is a person who doesn't change at all during the story, no matter what kind of traumatic or earth-shaking events he goes trough in the rp. This kind of character is a bad, bad character. A good character actually learns things from other characters, and does some things later in the rp, that he would have never even thought about doing in the beginning of the story.

    I got to know one person 4 years ago, Sora, and he was a professional in this topic. If I could, I'd give you his number so that you could learn all the magnificent tips from him but for now, you'll have to stick with my information only. Too bad for you and me, I'ven't been in touch with Sora for a while. He was the best rp partner I've had so far in my life. A real pro like I said.

    DON'T FORCE YOUR CHARACTER TO CHANGE, but let things change your character, even fundamental things.

    For example: That sociopath character from before, will in the rp meet people who are trustworthy, and help said paranoid character. A good direction to go with this, is that the sociopath realizes that not all of the people are so bad, and that he becomes more trusting. Having him remain as stoic and paranoid individual the entire rp, even though all the people around him are treating him kindly is just too boring. Letting him change during the rp brings a more realistic aspect to the whole story.

    This is called character development. Not all writers/rpers have it naturally, but it's an extremely important thing in characters. As you know, all good novels and stories have character changing during the book(s), either by learning new things and reacting to things differently that they would have done in the beginning and so on.

    The best way to help your character `grow´ is to put yourself in his shoes, and remember these two magic words: Thoughts and Narratives. When you write your posts, jump inside your character's mind, and play his role like you were him. Don't just write action and dialogue. Write what your character is thinking while he does those actions and speaks those words. Think with you character, think like him. Suck his `character´ into you when you write the posts.

    That's probably the biggest difference between an experienced rper and a newbie rper.
    The experienced writer writes from that character's perspective while a newbie only writes about the character's actions.

    Some good ways to practice character personality development are to: (just a few)

    1. Read A LOT
    2. Take courses and tutorials
    3. Socializing and discussing with other writers/role players
    4. TV programs and movies.

    **1. Reading books is a good way to learn character making. You'll notice chapter from chapter that the character growth is happening. There are also lots of skilled roleplayers here on this forum whose rp's you can read to learn from.

    **2. What else can I say about this, except that it's very effective, and you will surely learn lots of good things from there. Though this isn't something you really MUST DO to be a good character creator / writer. Many worldwide known writers have never took any courses, and they still make characters that are amazing and realistic enough to make people cry for them.

    **3. THIS PART is very important. Socializing with other writers is always good and necessary. Never hesitate to ask your rp partner's or reader's opinion about your work. Nothing is as nice as a good, honest feed-back. It's a writer's second life. No matter what kind of feed-back it is. Of course it's nice to have positive feed-back, but to be realistic, that doesn't grow people as writers even nearly as much as critique does. CRITIQUE IS VERY IMPORTANT, and it makes the writer want to get better. So when you ask for feedback, don't forget to give one back to your co-writer. It always makes a writer happy to get some comments about their works. Don't ever let the critique discourage you. Think of it as a gift from the reviewer, and learn to be better.
    Never give feedback that isn't honest!

    **4. By watching TV, you'll notice that the characters in them change too. They develop in a way or another during the episodes of an program or during a movie(-saga). There you'll see how to make the development natural and also what kind of characters are interesting and realistic.

    Remember that nothing is as effective as practice. You can't get better if you don't write. And remember, even the best writers on our forum have once been newbies to writing as well. Trust me. If you don't believe me, then go and ask one. I'm sure that you'll receive the same answer as I gave you. They've just practiced. A LOT! So never stop practicing and writing!

    Haaah.... This was a long one.. My fingers are spaghetti from writing... I even tried to shorten it up as much as I could.
    Thanks if you really were patient enough to read the whole guide!
    And if you didn't... well I'm not blaming you... *laughs*
    And don't worry. I'll come back one day, and correct the mistakes. I also try to make the guides easier to understand when I'm not too lazy. Since I'm not a native speaker of English, I make lots of mistakes, and sometimes write things that don't make any sense. Hope that it's not all just non-sense blabbering though, and that it helps you even a little bit ! See ya on the next guide! *faints from all the word play*​
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