PROJECT Creating Characters from People You (Kinda) Know!

Discussion in 'DEVELOPING CHARACTERS & CULTURES' started by Levusti, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. Hey, guise! It's Levusti here!

    A great thing about stories is that they have characters. These characters are not just a group of people who walk around and "perform" actions. They walk around and "live" actions. Each character is a real person who approaches a situation in a different way, who has a particular view towards any opinion, and who has real likes and dislikes, etc.

    As such, we need to remember not to make a character fit into any mould or a predefined set of traits. It's good to let THEM do all the work.

    So, what do we do if (you're like me and you find that your) characters all seem to act the same? Or if a character very different from the other cast members needs to be made? You'd think it's easy, but it's really easy to make many characters very similar to one another.

    A good way to create a new character from scratch is to make characters out of people you KINDA know.

    Such as:
    • People you see on a regular basis that you don't know (convenience store employees, students, teachers)
    • People you've seen around town more than once (that guy at that store who goes to this store too)
    • People you've chatted with for just a moment (cashiers, librarians, secretaries, bankers, waiters/waitresses)
    • People you've overheard speaking on the phone or in a conversation (the annoying loud ones)
    • People you've seen reading a book (if you can catch a glimpse of the book without being nosy)
    • People you don't know who are the subject of gossip (Ohmigawd you not gon belieeeeve this!)
    Why these people? Because you've already seen a certain aspect of them, you have an idea of how they MIGHT act, but you also have the creative leeway to do whatever you want with them. Don't worry if "this isn't how they would truly act in 'real life,' so it must be wrong!" Actually, you can't go wrong, because you're only using them for inspiration, not direction.

    Even if that's not how they would really react, just leave it alone.

    So the challenge I give you is to make TWO OR MORE SHORT SCENARIOS OF THE SAME THING, but with different characters inspired by people you KINDA know.

    If you have trouble thinking of short scenarios, consider this.
    • Someone cuts the line in front of your character, who has been waiting for 30 minutes.
    • Your character's lover has been caught cheating.
    • Someone creepy is lost in the city and asks your character for directions.
    • An abandoned pet is found and your character discovers it.
    • Your character has been charged twice for a restaurant meal and is trying to get a refund.
    • Your character is eating with a friend and has discovered the friend's ex-lover and the new partner at the same restaurant.
    Remember, your characters are INSPIRED by the other people you've met, NOT DICTATED by the other people you've met. Even if it wasn't how they would "realistically" react, it's alright.

    Just haaaave fun!
     
    #1 Levusti, Dec 19, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
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  2. I love this exercise! Especially when it comes to creating the NPCs of a roleplay, it's easy to get lazy and make them all plain cookie cutters.


    This one is based off of a regular at my coffeeshop! I don't know his name, he's always dressed in vintage worn-out looking clothes, has blond dreadlocks and asks for his sandwich in a recyclable baggie. I saw him with a guitar once, I just think of him as hippy guy


    "Hm?" a warm weight pressing against his leg caused Olly to look down. An orange tomcat was rubbing it's head on his jeans, purring softly.

    "Well, you're an affectionate kitty, aren'tcha?" he remarked, kneeling down to pet it. "You have an owner, boy?" brushing it's neck, he felt gently for a collar, and finding one, he looped his index finger beneath it, sliding around to find a tag as he stroked it's head with his other hand. "Easy there buddy, I just need a look here..." The cat's fur was long, and he needed both hands to hold it out of the way of the tag to read it. "'Oliver' eh? We have the same name!" he smiled to himself as he moved his thumb down the inscription, looking for an address. "Hey, that's not too far from here. Do I have permission to lift you?" He let go of the collar and smiled at it. The cat regarded him, sitting down and licking it's lips briefly. He stood up, and then bent from the waist, gingerly placing his hands under the cat's belly. It simply looked up at him, and so he lifted it up and started walking carefully, as if he were carrying something glass. "Let's get you home."
     
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    • Your character is eating with a friend and has discovered the friend's ex-lover and the new partner at the same restaurant.
    Mika smiles as she devours her pasta with absolutely no direction of grace what so ever. She cough akwardy when her friend wipes a big glump of alfredo from her chin "Honestly can we go to Oliver garden without you looking like you out a baby picture when we walk out , we;re like 16 Im not saying we should act that way though." Mika and her Friend tony both break into giggles. "Just beucase I have a Vagina does'nt mean i need to have manner's like all the other plastic girls at school." she states simply with a serious expression as she grabs the napkin and cleans the rest of her chin off. Tony who was sipping ice tea almost spits it out at the word Vagina "Who's the four year old now." She croons as she shoves a bread stick toward him and he swats back playfully suddenly tony hisses in surprise "Omg Omg Omg, Mika."
    "Frist of all no test talk it annoying as hell and makes you sound to gay and second of all what." she said setting her spoon back down with a pount "Alex the ass is here two tables down."
    Any sense of clam Mika held in her head fades as soon as she hears the word alex "We need to leave then now." she said quickly paranoid he abusive Ex was so close and the worse part two weeks later he had already moved she knew what she would see when she looked back , a blonde little kitten with a short white skirt and pink parka and white tag top her clevage and ass cheeks almost comletely visible as she clung to alex. Mika suck in air and picks up her sweater and rushed out Tony give alex a glare as he pushes out of the booth and follows past her , Mika wished she could just for once have a fun weeked tony had finally gotten her out of house and off the couch and away from the boxes of girl scout cookies but now she wasnt sure if she ever wanted to come out again after all what of alex was tailing her on purpose.


    • Someone cuts the line in front of your character, who has been waiting for 30 minutes.
    Justin chuckles and taps the girls shoulder "Im sorry ladies , it seems you are mistaken , this here is a line." he clears his throat " that there is my spot , I was rightfully here frist and would much appreciate if you would so generously step back an-"
    "Shut up old man." the girl spat then soon go back to their phones. Justin smiles wide "Let me teach you girls somethin." they roll their eyes and ignore him he breathes out of his nose and rubs his hands together "this is the real fuckin word now , And I will tell you what will Occur fifty years from now, when you Cut in line at the Amusement park , Other girls will be where im standing now , they wont ask you to move no they will break into a series of very violent very offense dance move while spiting a very off rythem version of the song beat it by Micheal Jackson, And you know what will happen then, the crowd will surround you all and chant Dance battle, the girls will then further persue to school your little asess with their very wonderful dance moves , and your loss will be so dam bad, that the the rest of the watcher's in the line, will shame you and force you all the way back to the very end , So After schooling you about the future i will once again ask you to move." he said folding his hands together the girls , eye we;re bugged out of their head "Fucking freak," they shot as they run out of line all together
    "Next." the ride attendant calls , Alex smiles widely as he steps forward "Yes." he whisper as he steps past the red line to be strapped into the ride. "Third time on the merry-go round." he hoots pumping his arms up in circle , Parent's shake their head and whisper back and forth as he climbs onto the unicorn for the third time.