EXERCISE Likeable Characters

Discussion in 'DEVELOPING CHARACTERS & CULTURES' started by Minibit, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. Characters are what make a story interesting. The world of Star Trek is pretty cool, but we'd have no reason to want to get invested in that world if it weren't for Kirk, Piccard, Janeway, and all the rest. Characters we like draw us into a story, whether it's published fiction or roleplay.

    It's pretty much a given that YOU like your characters, but how do you get OTHER people to be invested in them and care what happens to them?

    Well, here's some 'what NOT to do's.

    1. Doing cool stuff does not make a character likeable
      "But He/She can do *REALLY AWESOME THING HERE*!"
      Yes, and I bet you can think of lots of jerks who were good at something or other,but having a talent does not make you a likeable person. Especially if they're constantly bragging it rubbing their talent in people's faces. Never rely on a character's abilities or talents to make them likeable!
    2. An attractive character is not the same as a likeable character
      People may be attracted to your character because they are sexy/cute/handsome/gorgeous, but it's ultimately a shallow attraction that will go out the window the second they find their next obsession. There's nothing wrong with a character being physically attractive, but it only counts for so much; for a reader to be invested in a character, they need more than just a pretty face.
    So what DOES make a likeable character?

    1. Be the friend you'd like to have Anyone who spends any amount of time on fanfiction.net knows that people love to insert themselves into universes; this is because we want to hang out with our favourite characters! If your character is constantly being rude, shoving people away, and generally committing acts of atrocity without remorse... not many people gonna want to befriend that, y'know?
      This isn't to say your character needs to be social or even happy most of the time, but unless your character is a villain that people are SUPPOSED to hate, these traits usually put people off.
    2. ROUND UPIf you've been writing for any amount of time, you're probably familiar with the term 'Round Character'. It means a character who has many different elements to their personality, which makes them interesting and impossible to sum up in one sentence. Give your character hobbies in multiple fields. Give them a secretA and insecurities. Find the root of their fears, habits, and problems. Concentrate on WHY they behave the way they do, and you'll find yourself branching into aspects of their life you would never have thought of before; suddenly there's so much more to them.
    3. Soft Spot
      This applies especially, but not exclusively, to the 'Badass' type. By nature, the badass type will spend most of his/her time being badass.
      But nobody wants to be around someone who's always acting like they're way too cool for everybody, or someone who's constantly negative and pushing people away without giving them a chance.
      Even if your character starts the story as a withdrawn badass, seeing a side where they act like a person remind us that they're human, and it appeals to the "I think I can change him/her" ideology that draws fans to the baddies to begin with.
    YOUR CHALLENGE IS THIS:
    Take a character: either make one up now or choose one you've been using for awhile, and look at them objectively; what makes them likeable? What makes people want to follow their adventures and care what happens to them? Would someone want to be friends or lovers with this character if they didn't have their looks or abilities?
    Make a character you think other people will attach to in these ways; hop to it!
     
    #1 Minibit, Sep 10, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
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  2. omg reading your posts feels like im looking at my own RPing learning curve as it goes up and up. >.< and of course the bad habits that sticks and shows up now and then......
     
  3. I think my first character for V:TM, Yusuke, can fit easily here. He's a samurai that fought in the last war of the restoration and survived along with his family and a family friend, a gaijin.
    They decided Japan had nothing to offer them anymore so they set sail to other shores, but naufragated. The gaijin saved Yusuke's life by turning hm into a vampire, and he did so with his brothers.

    Since then, Yusuke has been going around the world looking for a place to call home and where his brothers (who are the most important thing in the world for him) can be safe.

    I think he's likeable because his so honorable, that anything he says is true, because if he considered you his friend he would give his life without thinking if he needs to, and because although i think he is more in the Badass tipe, he's humble and always eager to learn.
    Something i like to add him when i'm using him is that, when the others already know him, when you think you know him as a professional and honorable man that likes to learn and is respecfully curious about everything and even when he is one of the best kendokas alive.... he has a terrible sense of humor and makes stupid jokes when he feels confortable. This comic moments are just a glimpse of humor in his, otherwise always serious face and i like how it puzzles people around and makes him a little more realistic
     
  4. Most characters I design for RP's aren't supposed to function as the main characters. At least I wouldn't put them that way. So following their adventures, I'm not so sure. However, I do have a couple I feel people would want on their adventures.

    I think my most likeable character at the moment is Lux Turrez. The main draw is that he's dependable, and prioritises survival of his allies over the success of a mission. He's a bit of a short term thinker, sure, but after having characters die on his missions Lux has started to feel increasingly more responsible for the people around him. He's not the motivational speech kinda guy, but tries to find smaller and more subtle ways to rely messages. Like, Lux would be the guy who wouldn't talk much about your break-up, but he would take you out to do something crazy to take your mind of things. Then probably go drinking, perhaps not knowing what to say very well, but certainly listening.

    In the RP, quite a bit of this has shown. He's been shouldering an injured character for the majority of the current mission and continued to do so after suffering an injury himself, insisted to teach another character how to swim after he found out she couldn't, probably made the most saves out of any other character in the RP and tried to act like an older brother to a more insecure character, who really need that pick-me-up.

    Lux can be a bit childish in behaviour as he can be oblivious and does love to brag a little, though never to put others down. He's very sincere in compliments and tries his best to find the good in others. Lux is an optimist most of the time, making light of dangerous situations. Humour is something that defines the character both in good and bad ways. He's quick to cheer someone up, but deflects difficult questions and avoids sincere reflection that way as well. He's a bit self-sacrificial, but admittedly he finds it easier to do something about someone else's problems than his own.

    When it comes to something very personal, like romantic relationships, Lux doesn't know how to give himself shape very well, so when doubt surfaces he either isolates himself or quickly falls back into his usual role to protect a more vulnerable core. Lux tries to shoulder a lot of responsibility, but has a hard time opening up himself. He would make a good husband and father; he is reliable, patient and fun (though he might have some issues disciplining children). But his stubborn pride and insecurities hold him back. He needs help on that front because I don't think he'll be able to face those demons by himself.

    Overall I think Lux is a sort of mix between bro and comrade-in-arms, with some very typical male character flaws shielded behind a cabinet of comedy. I think he's likeable because he functions really well as a support character and helps in both physical and mental struggles, but becomes rounded as a person because his most identifying traits are strengths as well as weaknesses.