Creating Characters From A Simple Idea

This process is based from what works for my own personal manner of novel writing. This is not set in stone, and you are free to disagree with my viewpoint. I have no qualms if you don’t appreciate these ideas.

Characters

“Wait, you start by creating characters, and you build the story around them?”

Yes, such ideas seem treacherous, I know, but these beautiful beings of my own creation decide the story for me. I honestly have no choice but to start with my characters. When I first begin, I find something very peculiar about my manner of creating characters. Even though such behavior is never intended, I always have a theme running behind a certain group of them! I use a simple method to create my main hero and my main villain. It might be easier to understand if I showed you step by step.

First, I start with a singular concept. This concept could be anything, from snakes to air, from blood to roses. Today, I’ll start with something ridiculous that will probably make you think I am crazy for picking:

The color red.

“What? You can’t personify red, it’s a color!”

Watch me personify it, bitch. I’ll personify it twice!

The second step is to find the positive connotations with it, and the negative connotations.

Positive: Romantic, young, lively, eye catching, often associated with beauty, passion, energy, and is the color often combined with gold to show heroic costuming. Holds a fair amount of fire’s good associations. Is considered the most emotional color.

Negative: Is the color of anger, pain, and hate, is often considered a color of lust, the color of blood, when combined with black it looks evil, the darker shades are often associated with evil. Holds a fair amount of fire’s negative connotations.

So, let’s make a hero and a villain from the same source! The next step is pulling a few good traits from the associations and a few bad ones. Nobody appreciates an unbalanced character, am I correct?

Hero: Ruby Williams is a young woman from the bustling city of New York City in the United States. She is very energetic, romantic, and is passionate about everything she does. She has a particular love of flowers. She finds it difficult to keep calm in any situation, however, and has a temper that nobody wants to be on the receiving end of. She also happens to be a bit of a flirt, and is always lusty.

Villain: Rosalyn Jameson is a young woman from Philadelphia who recently moved to New York. She has suffered a lot during her lifetime thanks to her young abandonment. She is resentful toward others who are leading fulfilling lives, and is always livid when somebody is behaving in an affectionate manner toward their family. She is very beautiful, but is also a ticking time bomb of emotion.

That, dolls, is how I create characters. From there, they sort of add to themselves quirks that I write without noticing until I look back.

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The Chosen One Sucks: why I hate Foretold Heroes.

“And on the night of the full moon, he shall rise to save us all from the dark lord’s rule…”

Well forget you! What if my Chosen One doesn’t show up? What if the dark lord is a nice guy with a wife, two kids, and a pet dog, and it’s just that everyone else in the world was scum anyways? Huh? … Oh, sorry. I didn’t see you.

I’ll be blunt. I hate prophecies, prophets, and generally all the stupid Chosen Ones who are either perfectly perfect or are obviously not Chosen One material. I don’t believe in Chosen Ones, and I sure as Hell don’t appreciate stories involving them. It really just is a cheap way to get your character involved in the story. I really hate it when people writing fanfiction do that. It’s not that I don’t write fanfiction- I do, honestly, and I love doing it, too- but geez louise, can we not have that mystical prophecy to force your OC into place?!? Here’s my three reasons to hate the Chosen One, and three ways to avert my bitter hatred using a chapter or the ending.

I’m the only one for the job!

So, let’s say your Chosen One is, well, chosen. Well, let me just say that I hate the idea of a Chosen One, because if I was apart of that world, having my hopes placed in one person would turn me into a terrified wreck. What would the point of fighting back be if the Chosen One died? If they are the only one able to stop the dark menacing bad guy, then what if they die?! Does that mean they lose?

How to avert: Either have a group of Chosen Ones, or have it so that the Chosen One simply leads them to victory, but does not make the killing blow on the Big Bad.

I’m the Chosen One- this must be my story.

I hate the Chosen One anyways. Why do I have to see everything from his point of view? Do I really need to follow him around, listening to his annoying Chosen-One-liness? When stupid happens, it happens. I am also tired of having the team leader or the new guy as my POV. That’s an overused manner of writing. Must you constantly write from the big shot’s point of view, thinking it to be original when everyone else does it too?!

How to avert: Try taking it from his best friend’s POV. We probably like his best friend more anyways! Or maybe the romantic interest? Just choose somebody besides Chosen One, Omnipotent Leader, and Fresh Meat for your point of view. It might be refreshing to see the less-than-special friend outshine these guys.

Hero For Hire: Must have twice or more the necessary capability or must be the least likely person ever.

Do we really need to have mister perfect rule the story? This is where my anger towards fanfiction comes in. Though sometimes well executed, this whole Prince Perfect being the Chosen One concept is the worst thing in history. If your Chosen One thinks he’s awesome but he’s not, you earn serious respect from me. However, there is a hero on the opposite spectrum of a very different sort: the male  version of Bella Swan, this Chosen One has zero skills, the brains of an infant, and is basically the most pathetic person ever. A lot of the time, everyone brushes off their entire failure personality as cute and quirky. What the hell is with the person picking these heroes and their friends??? Everyone hates these types just as much as I do!

How to avert: Try basing your Chosen One off somebody like, I don’t know, Jack Sparrow. Sure, he’s a loser, but he’s a loser with talents. To explain more… I suppose what makes a good hero is a hero who is not exactly everything the cast was dreaming of, but they have something that can be worked with for sure. They have skills that are useful, but they could use plenty of improvement, too. Put your readers in suspense!

Bruised, Battered, and Broken: Writing Pains (1/3)

Admit it: everyone enjoys making their characters feel miserable and making them scream for mercy. At the least, I do! Of course, I enjoy watching real people’s minor suffering, so I might just be insane. That’s besides the point, though. Without pain and suffering of some sort, we can’t have an interesting plot. Nobody wants to read about happy sunshine and daisies constantly. To make those happy moments all the sweeter, we cause mayhem, misery, and destroy these characters. My favorite parts are gore and pain.

We won’t cover gore in this, however. That’ll be saved for a different three part writing tutorial. For now, we’ll focus on broken bones and bruises, stiffness and soreness, bruises and blisters. The things that don’t kill us, but certainly don’t make us feel stronger for it.

By the way, I am only speaking from experience. I am pretty good at writing pain since I am always falling, breaking bones, or smashing into something. Clumsiness is actually a pretty good tool for writing. ._.

Level One: Minor Issues

Bruises

Bruises are not the most pleasing of pains for our obviously sadistic readers (deep down, everyone is a sadist, and we all have ill will toward somebody) who crave more, but it’s a good start when we don’t want our younger readers seeing blood and other examples of pain. It should never be too vivid for these unless your character has never experienced a bruise before. Young characters, angels, and the like would fall under that category in my opinion.

When describing a bruise, describe it as a slight ache, dull and not exactly prominent. The coloring of a bruise will not form on the spot, and it can take up to half an hour to truly take on that unique shade of purple it always has. Sometimes, the bruise is colored in, but it doesn’t really hurt or sting. Sometimes the bruise just doesn’t feel anything.

Example:

My eyes flitted to the side, observing the bruise on my hand to avoid looking my cousin. Punching a wall hadn’t been as good an idea as I thought at the time. It was buzzing with slight pain, dull and slow. I never really paid it much mind until now. It didn’t realize it was even there a minute ago. I brushed a hand over it, thinking that it stung when I touched it.

Light Cuts

It’s the  cut that I personally favor of the minor issues category, with the sickening blood flowing from it like- wait, sorry, I’ll save it for the example. These aren’t the kind that leave scars. These are those horrible paper cuts that we all hate. It seems like the small cuts are more painful than a full on slashes across the arms.

When describing them, it helps to make sure the character feels the slice as soon as it happens, because unlike the bruise, blood loss seems to naturally catch our attention, probably because it’s more dangerous for us to bleed than bruise. The sensations are usually sharp, short, and they fade away fairly quickly. Usually, they get irritating, and the character is probably annoyed by it.

Example:

I hissed as the knife accidentally slashed my palm, and I dropped it back into the sink without thinking about it. That smarts. The small crimson drops slowly welled around the wound, and I sighed, ignoring the stinging. Slowly, I wrapped my hand with gauze, and I blinked as it started to be less painful and simply became a small irritation. It was an insect buzzing in my ears.

Prompt: Writing The Useless(?) Junk

When you write about a character, particularly the ever-important one that we all love, the main character, we need to get to know who they are. Today, we’ll focus on just that. When you open a person’s closet, doesn’t it tell a lot about who they are when it comes to whether they’re sloppy or neat, whether they can actually organize things or not, and plenty more, such as what they like.

Well, even your characters have a wardrobe, right? Unless they’re ancient tribal types. Then I don’t know what to tell you about this exercise.

Anyways, write about what their friend found in their closet on the spot, no matter what weird stuff pops into your head. You might be as surprised as the time that I did this for my character named Jarvis. Apparently, he somehow became a DC fan and also has an obsession with eating pork rinds, since there were like eight bags of them in his closet. Also, as I expected from him, he kept a knife in there. These were eventually placed into his personality, and he has a lighter feel to his normally intense manners.

I hope you enjoy the prompt, which I bolded, underlined, and italicized at the same time.

Match Made In Hell: Angels and Demons.

Angels and demons. Those fantastical characters who are in a literal holy war with each other. When playing the normal bad guy just isn’t fun anymore, you call upon a demon or two to make things fall into chaos. With supernatural powers, who can’t wouldn’t have a fun villain. Wait a second, no mortal could possibly eat this overpowered devil! Cue the angel(s) singing awkwardly as they walk in like a bunch of bada**es.

Tip 1- Let’s Be Friends… Not.

Demons and angels aren’t known for their friendliness to humans. After all, they’re unable to birth children. Wouldn’t you be pissy if you had no way to have kids, even if you hate those spoiled brats? Angels don’t even have a gender! Don’t feel back about making them be mean to your human characters. Particularly since demons hate humans anyways.

Tip 2- Not Picture Perfect.

Angels obviously must be pretty, nice, and perfect, while demons must be the worst people ever, right? Wrong, people. Angels and demons are boring if they act like they should. Sure, make your villain a demon, I’m not telling you to flip the spectrum on its head. Just don’t make the demon pure evil. Also, angels need some flaws and issues or they’re just those pathetic extras who die. Nobody likes perfection.

Tip 3- Just Because.

I really don’t think angels and demons do things because they can. Obviously, demons will do it for sh*ts and giggles, but angels need a good reason to get off their tail feathers and start working. Angels don’t just stop you from dying just because they felt like it- they’re probably placing bets on how painfully you die! Remember, angels want babies, and their daddy, God, didn’t give them that. Unless He ordered your character saved, an angel is probably saving you so you will settle their issues with a demon or something. Nobody, not even angels, work for free.

Tip 4- “Screw You…”

Angels and demons do not get along, thank you. That’s why they’re always screwing each other’s lives up. Let’s not play nice when it comes to angels and demons on the same team. One of them will play dirty and try to force the other off the team somehow.

Writing Main Characters

Writing Main Characters

When you write a character, you want them to be remembered, especially the main character. They need to be unique, special, and altogether the most easy character to understand as the writer. When you create a main character, you have to truly understand him or her. Sure, you need to understand all of your characters, but above all, the main character needs to be understood as a person who lives in this world. Here are some tips to get a good main character.

Tip 1- The name.
Yes, I know you’ve read this tip a million times, but if you were watching a fantasy movie and the main character’s name was Joseph Vasquez or something normal like that and yet he was from this fantasy world, would you really believe it next to an entire group of characters with unique names? You also would never even consider naming your office worker character Yukesokoi or something that obviously wouldn’t belong. Don’t tell me I’m wrong, either, since that would just make it laughable.
No, Janet is not a suitable sci-fi name unless you can explain why names stayed the same.

Tip 2- Sweat the petty stuff.
I know I sound like I’m obsessive, but I know everything about my characters, from their favorite color to their third favorite pie flavoring. Knowing the little things about them makes them seem like real people. You have preferences of your own. Why would your character be any different? A good idea is to sweat the petty stuff and think of what would be in
I will now list my example.
Marco Hewitt, my newest addition to my characters, when I imagined his closet, owns three navy blue button ups, a white bathrobe, two red t-shirts, a green sweater vest his grandmother gave to him barely on the hangar and covered in settling dust, a plaid tie, a pink, and a pile of dress socks in the back, along with that missing manuscript page from the novel he was working on two years ago. Does this actually give you any information?
Yes, actually. There is.
Marco leaves his socks on the floor of the closet. There’s also a page from a manuscript, and two ties. He is disorderly and doesn’t know how to organize things. Another point made is that he has a sweater from grandma. I’m not sure what it means, but nobody has a sweater from grandma at age 23 unless the grandma has died.

Tip 3- Which one is he?
“Carl has brown hair and brown eyes.”
You don’t say?
If you describe your characters anything like I do, you take up a good seven lines on the page doing so. I sometimes wonder why I even want to do that, and then I turn around and realize that everyone would be clones if I didn’t go into such description. Every character has their own defining characteristics on the outside. Example:
“Marco looked back and held back a gasp of horror when he saw a man sitting on his windowsill, dirty blond hair cut short, though the front was all spiked up. He had this devil may care look to him, his clothing being a leather jacket with a black shirt, some dark jeans, and a pair of Chucks. He was propping his elbow on his raised knee, the other hanging down lazily, while his head rested on his fist. His eyes were a shade of liquid gold. They were halfway closed, as if he had been observing the scene for hours.”
Alec has a unique appearance, and is one of three main characters. Who could not find him in a crowd of people? He had been described fairly easily to have a naturally loose feeling, as suggested by his manner of sitting, and even if that wasn’t enough, he had a full description of his hairstyle and unique eye color.

Tip 4- Voices in my head.
I beg of you, don’t give him a generic voice. You could identify all of my characters just by the way they speak. They each have a certain manner of speaking applied to their voice, one that only a similar character could be mistaken for.
Say you asked out my characters for ice cream and they all agreed. Each of them would have a different response.
“Mmm.” Always busy and rarely having the time for words, Rusty was probably doing his paperwork, as usual.
“Sounds fine, but why me? Do you have some sort of intent?” Meredith is not quite as unfocused, though she has to wonder why you would ask her, and it causes her to be suspicious, as always.
“Yeah, whatever, sounds sick.” Alfred is more of a laid back person than either of them, and he couldn’t ever sound anywhere near as suspicious or as spaced out as either.
“I think that’d be alright, I’ll see you there.” Malik is an entirely different character than any of them, being the sweet medium that isn’t too shy or overly playful.
Each character has unique reactions, and none of them should sound too similar unless they’re brothers or sisters, and even so, who can say whether they’re anything like each other?

Pre-posting greeting

Hello, my name is Brittany, or NotAGuardianAngel. I am going to write a blog on, of course, writing. Sometimes, I feel the other bloggers do not touch base at, like characters when they mourn. If you ever wish for me to do a post on a topic, simply let me know. It will become a reality within the month, flat out guaranteed. Ciao for now!