How to create a character.

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How to create a character.

Post  Jimothi on Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:41 am

I've been giving this some thought, and figured I would share how I think is the best way in which to create a plausible, non-mary-sueish character in which to play. I've read a mountain of books before, and only recently dug a little deeper into the structure of character creation. I read a lot around on the internet for ideas on how to bulk this post out, too, so here you go:

So. Starting off, I wouldn't suggest starting your character creation with a name or a physical description.
Reason being, you may already have preconceived ideas about certain names and body types. So, if every 'Bob' you ever knew was a douchebag, without getting to know your character called Bob, he instantly carries a lode of baggage you may be unaware of, which may subtly influence his actions or development. Alternatively, if you've had your heart broken by handsome men or beautiful women in your life, you may have a tendency to make your good looking characters douchebags and bitches.
This of course doesn't apply to everyone.

Also, if you have a name and a physical description right away - Jane Doe, 23, blond with bright blue eyes, great legs and a habit of flipping her hair out of her face when she's frustrated - you're going to be tempted to look no deeper than her appearance. When she gets into trouble, you're going to fall back on that hair-flipping thing, and she's going to do it so often she'll be bald by the end of the year.

What you can start developing your character with, though, is a need, compulsion or a problem.
A good place to start, is to say 'This character wants ____ more than anything else in the world'.
Ask yourself, what does the character want, and not want. Usually, in good character creations in books, you'll find that the main protagonist (your character), will have to overcome what he or she fears in order to gain what he or she wants the most. That's a good way to go, and makes your character seem more.. realistic, by having realistic ambitions and fears. Of course their reasoning can be tied in with their backgrounds, but you don't need a background just yet.

When choosing fears, try to choose something that you have experienced yourself. Some call it bad roleplay, with getting too involved with your characters and making them smaller versions of yourself, but let's say I take the fear I felt when I was in a car accident. That can translate to the character when they're up against a cliff with an army of angry murlocs chasing them. It makes you able to play the fear all that more believably. If that makes sense. Smile
Also, don't rely on quirks of your character. It's better to put those in later, rather than sooner, I have found.

Some more do's and don'ts:
Empathize with your character, but do not sympathize with them.
Empathy and sympathy are two sides of one coin - empathy is understanding, while sympathy is an affinity you share with your character that creates change, allowing the character to affect you. You must feel empathy for the characters you create, both the heroes and the villains, but you can never feel sympathy. In other words, you have to understand why your characters do what they do, but you can't let that understanding tempt you to ease their suffering, or let them take the easy way out of situations, or experience sudden miracles that remove their obstacles.

That's all I can think of for now, but I'll throw some more up when I think of them. That should hopefully get you started, with a few things to take into consideration whilst creating a character.

- J
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Jimothi

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Join date : 2010-09-12
Location : Hearthglen.

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