How Do You Develop Your Characters?

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How Do You Develop Your Characters?

Post by jsreed5 » Mon 14th Mar 2011

Mods, if another thread about this topic already exists, or if this belongs in another place, feel free to lock it or move it or whatever.

I've written fanfiction about Artemis Fowl for a number of years now, but for a long time I would simply sit down and write something cold, without any prior character development. About two years ago I came across this thread, which then inspired me to do my own psychological analysis of Artemis and Butler. Since then, I've noticed that my writing has remarkably improved.

Nowadays, whenever I get an idea for a story that involves characters I haven't used before, I write a character sketch beforehand. In it, I try to describe as much about them as I can, and I also develop (and write the sketch itself in) the writing style that I will use for their story. I've found that this helps me greatly in figuring out finer plot details down the road, and helping to keep the characters, well, in character.

So now I'm curious to know: what do you guys do for character development? Do you write a character sketch in which their personality, appearance, etc are firmly established? Do you just start writing and see how the character emerges after you're done? What helps you the most?

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Re: How Do You Develop Your Characters?

Post by Bang Your Drum » Mon 14th Mar 2011

Movign this to other.

I draw my characters often, so that ehlps me at least picture them....
..I can't say much on how a I devlelop my characters because I often make the information up "on the fly" when posting character stats or concepts..then I flesh out/refine them.
I mostly draw inspiration from media be it books, comic, or even music. I also base my chracters on facets of myself. For example I wrote a story about a girl a serverly depressed girl an an austic boy who fell in love, it wasn't pretty love, it was kidna of messed up. But the stroy represented my deression and austsim owrkign at the same time in unioson as they clashed with each other...


That's all I can really say on the matter, it's really hard for me to explain how I do it.
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Re: How Do You Develop Your Characters?

Post by seriouslyblack » Mon 14th Mar 2011

For me, I mostly think of my basic plot. Then I fit characters in, putting in personalities as I go along. I know that's wrong, but not developing my characters lets them kinda develop on their own.
But my main characters always already have a personality from the beginning, even a vague one.
Like I knew from the start that Christopher(who you don't know, a story I'm writing)would have major anger issues, but I didn't know until halfway in that Ericwould be the most annoying boy ever. He came up, I started writing stuff he was saying, and he turned annoying!

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Re: How Do You Develop Your Characters?

Post by burningice » Mon 14th Mar 2011

I'm fairly new to all this writing buisness, but here's mine.

I'm not very good at writing dream worlds or whatever, (which is where all my stories take place), so I pull them from others, i.e. A:TLA. Then it starts as a daydream. I've been daydreaming about Akane and Hayato for a while (my main characters) my daydreams take shape into the basic plot, etc. But my characters are usually almost completely developed by the time I start writing.

So I'm just starting to write Storm, but it's happeing.
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Re: How Do You Develop Your Characters?

Post by JLHxXxX » Fri 18th Mar 2011

Character sheets. LOTS OF THEM!

So, when I get a story idea, the first thing I think is "Characters?"

Now really, I'm the type of writer who gets ideas as I go on, so usually there's tons of scribbles, and crossed out personalities to change. But description's are what I need. I basically just.... create the character in my mind with the plot alongside with it. My thinking process is very.... furistic, so I usually never stick to the original idea, but its nice to see the better ideas i come up with!
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Re: How Do You Develop Your Characters?

Post by Battery » Fri 18th Mar 2011

I do the opposite of 3D, actually. Usually, my stories actually start with a really good character. Something just pops into my head, usually based on someone I know or a historical figure in some way, and I run with it, and then the story comes in when I think of something that fits them.

For example, the main character in what's going to be my April WriMo novel is named after the philosopher Thomas Hobbes, and has similar thoughts on human nature. With the human nature business came a basic idea for a post nuclear apocalypse civil war, and so on and so forth :)

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Re: How Do You Develop Your Characters?

Post by crazychick » Mon 28th Mar 2011

I nearly always come up with the story outline before I come up with the character. I'll create a mold for the character and fill it as needed. Then I'll just add finer details as a story progresses. :) For me, I'll have a big long history and story, even a personality for a character. But the name just has to come to me. I can't force it. Believe me, I've tried.

Like for my April WriMo novel, I had the entire plot constructed (minus final details) before I finally created the main character. I even had all the minor characters planned out. ;) And then the name hapenned: Taulor. :p

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Re: How Do You Develop Your Characters?

Post by hiholly123 » Tue 29th Mar 2011

JLHxXxX wrote:Character sheets. LOTS OF THEM!

So, when I get a story idea, the first thing I think is "Characters?"
That's what I do, too. I have a Taken binder for all my character sheets, pictures, maps, extra info, and maybe even interviews with the characters to really get an idea of what's important to them and how they feel about different things.
Except sometimes, I come up with characters ahead of the storyline. Like, I'll just have a bunch of character sheets with no story to them; just characters that I haven't found a place for yet. So I end up forming some ideas around the characters, though mostly it's the characters around the idea.
Anyway, a character sheet would include stuff like: Name, age, personality, physical description...just like an RP character sheet. :)
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Re: How Do You Develop Your Characters?

Post by faerimagic » Tue 29th Mar 2011

I daydream about them. How they would react with the plot, their relations, personalites, quirks...
Then I try to write it all down so I won't forget.
I have a hard time visualizing characters, so I try to draw them sometimes. This is usually the hard part.

I start thinking about WHO they are, and WHY they are important to the story. Then I go into their history on HOW they came to have the personality they have. WHAT are their quirks, WHEN they appear in the story,and WHERE.

Think of the 5 W's and 1 H. They're really helpful, in my opinion.
Plot notes are also helpful. What I do is right down the important stuff, and everything connected to it. When I see it written down, then the plot sequence makes better sense in my head.

In order of appearence is Dreads, Belle, Phalaka, Tamakiko, and Harmonia.
I was bored, so I wrote descriptions for all of them. Just scroll down each of their pages to see their random histories.
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Re: How Do You Develop Your Characters?

Post by Opal's_Clone » Fri 1st Apr 2011

I think about them as I go to sleep. And I pretend to be them.

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