Pronunciation Guide

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Character Creation -- Part One

I’m going to do something slightly different today!

This will be part one of a two-part series (series?) about characters! Today is “C” for character creation. Tomorrow, I’ll get more into the development aspect.

Characters, in my opinion, drive a story. You can have an incredible plot, a wonderful writing style, and perfect grammar…but if I can’t care about the characters, then it doesn’t matter. I won’t be emotionally invested, so I won’t care enough to read your otherwise awesome story. Everyone has different things they like/are drawn to in a character. For me, I love depth. Complex, interesting, realistic characters draw me in. I hate when “bad guys” are stupid. Hate it. They have no motivation, they aren’t a threat…they are just bad because there needs to be a bad guy. I love a story that shows me how the “good guys” aren’t perfect, and how the “bad guys” aren’t bad in their own eyes.

When I create a character, I start with zodiac signs (haha!). I decide on a specific birthday and age (for main people), or simply a sign and age (for minor people). (Yep, everyone pretty much has an age. I can’t stand not knowing how old characters are.) I use common personality traits of that sign as a foundation. Sometimes I pull character traits from people I know, but I never base a character on a real person. Nor will I ever, ever write a real person into a story. Here’s my vent about that. Once I have a birthday, I decide on appearance. That is relatively easy for this story because I have certain coloring for each nation.

Somewhere amid that stuff, I pick a name. I use a ton of Biblical names in this story. Many of them are taken directly (like Masrekah and Sorek); others, Biblical or not, have to be tweaked a bit to fit the nation’s naming customs/my personal taste (Eidel – Edaliah; Hilkiah – Hikah). Some are made up but similar to real names (Ariliah – Riley, Leah). Others are made up simply to fit the nation (Toritik). For minor characters, the creation often stops here, at least for now.

Around this time, for more important characters, I’m typically already batting around some personality trait ideas. I’m also starting to figure out what role they play in the story, as well as who they might go with romantically (haha!), which helps form a personality. For instance, Sorek is the rebel leader, and I created him to be that role. There were several personality traits I wanted in the rebel leader (ha, and he’s rebelled against all of them, the butt). Once I latch on to a few traits, I delve a bit deeper: into why they are the way they are, what their family life was like, and what happened to put them on the path they are on.

Everything after that starts getting more into development, which is far more fun. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post!

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