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> Writing Characters
post Dec 17 2002, 03:59 PM
Post #1

Queen of the Bowling Alley

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How do you write your characters?

I write mine by a basic character purpose and a general personality, then move into ethics and quirks and interactions, as well as relationship to other characters, speech patterns, manner in different places, etc, as they come up. The characters backgrounds keep changing as the story tells me more of who they are, and physical is never set until I've lived with the characters for a serious amount of time. More characters slip themselves in as the plot gets its patterns set and I realize I need red herrings, etc.

as well, I know some authors have characters based on real people, and was wondering who here does that. I don't, but experiences with real people shape my ideas on characters (i.e. watching my sister so much growng up has slipped some of her into at least one of my characters, but I didn't realize it until a year after writing).



"Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to." - Mark Twain

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post Dec 17 2002, 05:34 PM
Post #2

Reading too much fanfic

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Gods, I'm such an actress.

Voice and dialogue often comes to me first. I really hate writing stories without dialogue. Can't stand it. Appearance usually comes along next, and it's either based on someone I know, or a more-real version of a movie-star.

The dialogue helps define action, which helps define character. It's all a process.

Quite honestly, I prefer writing fanfiction, because the characters are already pretty fleshed out for me. Now, I know that sounds strange from an actress, but it's true. I suppose it's because I like to play with what's already been given to me - I'm not a playwright (not yet at least). I have four books to play with, and a little information from JKR - so that gives me a nice script to spring off.

The character arcs in fanfic have countless - and yet still limited - ways to go, and it's fun to trace them.

So, yeah, the actress who tries to write...

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post Dec 19 2002, 01:45 PM
Post #3

I'm co-ordinating internationally!... help!

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My characters actions, emotions and selfs come from inside my head (as do most of my plots etc) but their names are always clever twists on something I see.

E.g. Kilmorie - comes from Kilmorie Hall in Exeter.
Gerard - a certain Liverpool/England player who kicks butt.

There's no chance of me working Scholes into a fic though. biggrin.gif


PS: Gerard's going to appear in a new fic next year. When next year I don't know though. Ahem: *cough* blag *cough* smile.gif


Elyoda on the NaNoWriMo website

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post Aug 25 2004, 04:46 PM
Post #4

Part of the furnishings

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My caracters come from bits and pieces of me. (Yes, even the evil ones! devil.gif )
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post Aug 31 2004, 01:04 PM
Post #5

It's a Small World After All
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My characters are a strange thing. I have sen many stories and computer games and pick similar characters from these places. I then augment them into the type of character I want, and run with it. For example, a creepy, evil servant may come from Filch or a turncoat can be made easily from Snape. An all-powerful or wise advisor may be teased out from Gandalf.

Once I have the basis of each character, I know what they'll do. I have a brief plot outline in my head, and will know when I need a character to do what. The skeletons then attract flesh as my stories unfold, and not all details will be revealed by the end of the story. I only concentrate on necessary traits and ideas, but the look is important.

I get most of what a character looks like from the basis. However, I will add bits to make them my own, too. But I never describe them fully. I never say "Klale was about 5' 3", about 15st and had dark hair, a hunch back and a slight smell constantly emitted from his rear end". I'll only reveal a bit at a time.

As for plot, I add extras quickly, and spend time on more interesting characters just in case they are needed later on. That way, the reader knows only what is needed about each character at any one time. Then the plot will almost write itself and bring the characters with it.



"To err is human. To completely screw up requires a computer."

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." [Lao-tzu]

"I solemnly swear I am up to no good."
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post Mar 7 2006, 04:47 PM
Post #6

Incessant Writer and Reader

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From: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, USA
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For me, it isn't writing the characters so much as writing the characterization.

To explain that statement: Thus far in my fan fiction writing, I use the already-established characters; Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Snape, Dumbledor... etc. The few new characters I introduce must have complementary personalities (or opposing, in the case of the bad guys) to those characters, so I ask myself, "How would (Established Character) respond to (X character or X situation)?" If the character's interaction isn't 'true' to the characters, the 'willing suspension of disbelief' so necessary to maintaing the illusion of reality for the reader is broken, the reader is disappointed by the break from the established 'reality', and I have failed in my intention to present the characters as if J. K. Rowling herself wrote the piece.


I have had success with some of my 'original' characters that I introduce to my writings, and garnered some small amount of praise for their introduction. Writing them is far easier, as they are my own creation, and thus I can do more of what "I" want with them (I.e., not having to 'match' the writing/characterization). The freedom of expression that this (along with plot) gives balances nicely to having to 'match' the established characters, and keeps me interested in writing.


Robert Waldbauer

Writing is incredibly easy -- one just stares hard at the blank piece of paper until droplets of blood form on ones brow...

Life Instructor and History Maven by trade
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