Friday, August 13, 2010

Writing #2

I originally had an idea for this second post in my "Writing Series" but as I am currently running on five hours of sleep, I can't seem to recall it, so...I'll wing this post instead. Hope you all don't mind.

Anyway, the topic this time is Characters.

Characters are often essential in any piece of writing, whether they be human, a creature, or even an object of personification. They are what helps the story move along, the glue for your paper, the ink for your pen, the binding for the book, well, I guess you get the point. Anyway, what I am getting at is that characters are important, as is their development throughout any sort of writing.

Sometimes, developing a character can be easy, and other times it can be a downright pain in the butt. In times where the character just seems to flow from your pen, congratulations! We've all been there at some point, I'm sure...or, almost sure. And, I'm also (almost) sure that we've all experienced the times where we have practically had to sit there and wrestle our characters out of our pen and force them onto the page. It takes minutes, hours, possibly even days to drag their stubborn rears out, and, sometimes, when they finally are out, they want to be difficult. That's right, you had this great idea and now the character won't fit that idea anymore. Horrible, right? Well, maybe not so. It can give you a great opportunity to re-think the situation, the particular scene, maybe your character just wasn't meant to do that sort of scene, not yet at least. Maybe in time, after the character has been developed more. Something I have learned is that no matter how long you write, you will always go back and read it and want to possibly rewrite at least a part in your book to make it sound better. But, I digress. Back to characters.

There are many different styles to character creation. When I first started writing, I would make them a brief bio (because I'm a dork and role-play and read manga and when you're role-playing, you make a Character Bio, and when you're reading manga, sometimes the Character Bio's are thrown in between the chapters. XD). Anyway, (have you noticed yet that I like to use that word a lot in this post? =D)...I would try to make a bio, which would consist of:

Name: First & Last
Age: ?yrs
Height: ?' ?"
Weight: ?lbs
Hair Color: ?
Eye Color: ?
D/O/B: ? (I used this one once or twice.)
Style: ? (How I wanted my character to dress.)
Weapon: ? (As my main category of writing is fiction fantasy, there are usually swords and stuff. =D)
Brief Bio: ? (A bit about the character I was writing about.

But as I continued to grow as a writer I found that I personally do not need to construct a bio of my characters anymore. I picture them as I will and go from there. I am a very hands on person. I don't like to organize things sometimes, but when it comes to my story, I know where all the files and notes are. I just am "eh" on some of the "laying out" issues that comes with the development.

Another way to write about your character, to get them started, is to set them, let's say, modern day, in a restaurant or cafe around you. How would they react? That sort of thing. I mean, there are many ways to create characters and one can try many different ways until they find what is comfortable for them, but do not feel like you have to be limited to that one way, you can always breach out and try new things. I once had a teacher who said something along the lines of, "Choosing a career is great, but don't think you are limited to just one. I have worked many different jobs and have had much fun. When you limit yourself, you can only go so far." I can't recall her exact words, but it was something along those lines. =)

Question #2 of the "Writing Series": How do you make up your characters? How many do you often have in your stories? A few? A lot? Would you try a limited cast of characters? Or a larger cast?" Do tell! =D

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  1. That's how I like to develop my characters - writing common everyday scenarios from their POV.

  2. I've got tons of characters in my book, just shy of an overload. ;]

  3. I use a growth method to my characters. My protagonist began as some hotshot warrior delegate who'd been exiled from his people for murder. While he is still a shunned little fireball, it's no longer the case that he's a hotshot. But this is largely due to a massive worldbuilding element that I added in on my 3rd draft of the manuscript. While I've been doctoring my first manuscript for nearly 5 years, 3 drafts later have proved that a strong hero can be built not by outlining their life or scene-setting, but being a pantser.