LESSON Secretes to Creating Characters Who Are Actually GOOD!

Discussion in 'DEVELOPING CHARACTERS & CULTURES' started by Alex B., Jan 14, 2015.

  1. GOOD MORNIN' IWAKUUUUUU!! :-)

    In case you couldn't figure it out by the title, I'm going to write out a nice little tool for GOOD character creation.
    We all have those moments when you want to reach through your computer screen and just strangle the living sh*t out of a certain user, because the character that they (supposedly) worked SOOOO hard on seems completely paper-thin, with no actual development. As much as it pains me to say, characters like this are everywhere we look, and they happen entirely too often. And it pains me even more that I am also responsible for this (We were all new at some point).
    So, I am going to show a little tecnique that I learned from a user named "Brovo" (A member of Iwaku for nearly a year, and I still have no idea how to tag people.). He posted it in my thread "Reasons Why No One Likes Roleplaying With You", and I thought that it would be a very useful way to create more fleshed-out characters with REAL personalities.

    Spine (Core): Ideology


    First of all, who is your character? What is his/her purpose in life? What does he/she believe? What are his/her short-term AND long-term goals? What (in his/her mind) is right and what is wrong? Every good, detailed character needs a certain way of looking at things, and develop a series of ideas based off of his/her view of those things. The Ideology is thought of as the character's spine; it holds everything together. Without a view on certain things, there is no core. It would be like being someone who has no set path in life, no views, no beliefs, and no opinions, like a vegetable.


    Organs (Personified): Personality

    The most obvious tool in character creation is the personality.
    "Susan is a very happy and energetic girl. She doesn't like hurting people because she thinks it's wrong. She loves making friends and hanging out with people. She is very easy to get along with."
    This is only one of the VERY MANY personality layouts of terrible characters I have roleplayed with. I'm sorry (not really. ;-)) but this does NOT define a character's outward emotions. If anything, it's a pretty halfed-ass answer if something like this is required in a Character Sheet. Try to dig a little deeper... what is it like when your character is irritated or angry? Do they break things, scream and shout? Do they walk away and try to calm down? What are they like during dire circumstances? Like war, for example: Do they shout orders? Do they run and hide? Will they protect the ones they care for the most? Will they be so shocked that they just stand around, not knowing what the hell to do?
    It's always better to make sure that your character has a more fleshed-out personality. When deciding on a set personality, make sure to ADD IN DETAILS!


    Personality Breathing, Blood Pumping (Expression): Dialogue, actions, reactions.

    With every action, there is ALWAYS a reaction. When that time comes, how will your character react? Let's say that your character just found out something tragic happened to a dear friend. How would he/she feel? He can't just feel "sad" or "depressed". Dig deeper, maybe he/she would feel guilty because it was partly their fault? What about another situation, like... a surprise party? Would they freak out at everyone suddenly screaming "Surprise!" in his/her face? Would they feel relieved that it was a surprise party, rather than a deadly ambush? What if it turns out that your character doesn't even LIKE surprise parties?


    Muscles (Motivation): Motivation.

    Now, time to pick the character's brain a bit...
    We all have goals in life, and we all want to do whatever it takes to achieve those goals, right? So, time for more questions (Yaaaaaaaaayyyy...). What is it that motivates your character to reach these goals (That is, IF your character has any goals...)? Is it to have sweet taste of revenge after hunting down the antagonist that killed the character's family? Is it the very thought of how easy life would be after he finally establishes his own business? Is it to show their parents how responsible they are once they get their first job?
    We all have goals in life, and likewise, we have our motivations. It's a really good idea to give an idea on who your character is, and who they want to become in the future (Even though the roleplay might never last that long...)


    Tissue & Bone (Connections): Biography, reasoning

    Another important feature to sum up your character's overall stature. With the way they are, their personality, their motivations, their goals, their idiology, there should always be a story behind WHY a character thinks/acts this way. Not just: "Timmy was abused as a child, so that's why he has anger issues". Again, DIG DEEPER! Why else would Timmy have anger issues? What did his parents do? Maybe he felt infinite love and compassion for his parents, and they betrayed him when the abuse started (Note: This could also lead to other problems Timmy would have, like trust issues)? Pick out as many details of his tragic past as you can, because you never know what little things can lead up to.

    NOTE: When filling out a Character Sheet and you get to "Biography/History", NEVER put something like "Doesn't like to talk about it" or "Too dark for young minds" blah, blah, blah You can have a depressing background in a CS without speaking of it in character! I see this entirely too often, and it really irks me. IF I EVER SEE YOU DO THIS IN A CS, I WILL PROBABLY THROW BRICKS AT YOU!
    Now to add in a few tecniques of my own...


    1. Just like it is stated many times above. When developing a character, think of why. Why is this important to him/her? Why does he/she think this way. It's also good to also think of when, where, and how. (Remember learning about Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How in English class?)
    2. It's all right to give your character some issues flaws in their personality! No one is perfect, and that should also go for realistic characters! Maybe even add in some disabilities? Example: ADHD, Multiple Personality Disorder, Bipolar, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, etc. It might even add new features to the personality.
    3. A great tool I like to use, is making a character based off of either yourself, or someone very close who's personality you can read like a well-written essay. Add in characteristics to the character from yourself or this person. The more like you or that certain someone the character is, the stronger the connection you can have with the character. It's like speaking with someone who knows your values, your likes/dislikes, your opinions, and your motivations.
    4. Music speaks to the soul. Why not have a certain characteristic based around one of your favorite songs? It also works vice versa, try to find a song based on that one characteristic. DON'T settle for songs of only one genre, because this greatly limits the possibilities. It's not easy finding a Death Metal song that defins how a character loves puppies, or finding a Country song to define how much your character hates the world and wants to murder everyone...


    Final notes:

    [COLOR=#ffffff]Now to finish up with a quote from Brovo.[/COLOR]
    "It's all connected. Omnis sermo sacer est, every word is sacred. In essence: Characters are like children. You need to feed your child a healthy diet: Not too much, not too little, with lots of fruits, veggies, and some meat. A little sugar here and there is fine, but focus on the essentials first. Everything else comes with puberty.

    METAPHORS!" - Brovo
     
    #1 Alex B., Jan 14, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  2. Yeah, the colors kinta fucked up when I posted. I can't really fix it...
     
    #2 Alex B., Jan 14, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
    • Useful Useful x 1
  3. The neon hurts, but you make excellent points. I've seen a lot of writers, my younger self included, that go for a dark and heavy past without fully considering the ramifications of that. One of my very first characters was orphaned at a young age and was homeless for several years. Even years from now, I continue to research. She went from someone who is just dark and edgy, to someone who is edgy because she knows it keeps people away, and she keeps people away because she thinks that they will die and leave her hurt. She would rather be alone and thought a bitch than hurt... and that doesn't even go into various PTSD issues.

    Asking questions and digging deep is everything. Personalities do not spring up from nothing.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Heh... I have a character orphaned when he was very young. But the loss of his family, though it radically changed his life, made him stronger, more open to interacting with others and living life to the fullest.
     
  5. Click "edit this post", highlight the entire post (select all of the text), and click this button.

    [​IMG]

    Then highlight each line or word or otherwise you want to colour and use the colour pallet button. Should fix it, though it'll take you a few minutes to recolour all the things you want coloured again.

    Also, you turned my metaphor into an entire guide. I guess I should hurry and finish my actual guide! :ferret:
     
  6. Thinking of making it compulsory for some members of my German RP-Forum to read this before joining my RPs. :bsmile: