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Thread: Making interesting characters

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW satyesu's Avatar
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    Making interesting characters

    I tried searching for this and found nothing relevant. Do you have any tips on the subject?

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW
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    Characters need to do stuff. Have them do interesting stuff.

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  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW Sunflowerrei's Avatar
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    You have to give your characters a personality, idiosyncrasies, interests and habits. What makes people interesting to you? Think about that.
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  4. #4
    Widely Regarded as a Bad Move DanielaTorre's Avatar
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    Honestly, this question is very, very broad. My only response to it is: what would YOU find interesting in a character? When you figure that out, you will have answered your own question.

  5. #5
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    I don't base characters on real people, but I do take things real people say and do and amp it up a notch in a way that fits that character. Perhaps characters are parodies, even if they aren't so much funny as tools for what I want to accomplish with the scene and the story.
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  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW KSavoie's Avatar
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    Holly Lisle has a good character creation workshop for free. Just start there and invent from there! =]

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  7. #7
    Impractical Fantasy Animal sunandshadow's Avatar
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    Analyze why some characters are really interesting to you as a reader/viewer.

  8. #8
    Huh. kkbe's Avatar
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    Making interesting characters
    I tried searching for this and found nothing relevant. Do you have any tips on the subject?
    Yep, that's a broad question. . .

    What the heck. You're at a party. You don't know anybody so you walk over to the nearest two guys. You say to the first guy, "Hi." He nods, takes a sip of his scotch. You say, "My name is satyesu." He says, "Oh. Hello."

    You turn to the second guy. "Hi," you say. He says, "My buddy here's about as interesting as a dead librarian, no offense, buddy." He punches the guy in the arm and the guy's scotch sloshes out, spilling on his jacket. "Oops," he says, smiling broadly, revealing a set of gold teeth. He sees you looking and says, "You're looking at my retirement plan. What do you think about that?" and he punches you in the arm. Hard. But he's smiling and you can't help yourself, you rub your arm and smile right back.

    Who's more interesting? The interesting character does unexpected things. He's got a unique personality. Quirks that set him apart from the unwashed masses. He makes an impression. You might like him or you might hate him, but you won't forget him anytime soon.
    Last edited by kkbe; 12-28-2012 at 04:39 PM.
    From CHERRY:
    I kept at it, eventually developing a tolerance of, and then, an affection for the stuff.
    Why? Short answer: I donít know. Sometimes I need it, sometimes I want it, sometimes I love it and sometimes I loathe it; usually, when Iím seriously loathing myself, which I tend to do because Iím unlovable. How's that for a pathetic generalization? Itís true, though. At this point in my life, nobody on this planet loves David Michael Brandt. What other conclusion could one possibly extrapolate from that statement?


    /my little blog/
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  9. #9
    DenturePunk writer bearilou's Avatar
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    Not only is it broad, it's also very personal. One person that kkbe might find dreadfully boring could be someone I find fascinating.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phaeal View Post
    The first draft is a huge pile of clay that you've laboriously heaped on your table, patting it into a rough shape as you go along. From the second draft onward, you'll cut away chunks, add bits, pat and punch and pinch, until you finally have a gorgeous figure of, oh, Marcus Aurelius. Or a duck. But a damn fine duck.
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  10. #10
    Dangerous Pony SomethingOrOther's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kkbe View Post
    Who's more interesting?
    Trick question: The first guy, who's secretly a dinosaur.
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  11. #11
    Huh. kkbe's Avatar
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    bearilou: One person that kkbe might find dreadfully boring could be someone I find fascinating.
    SomethingOrOther: Who's more interesting?
    Trick question: The first guy, who's secretly a dinosaur.
    See how creative writers are? All it takes to make a character interesting is a little imagination, satyesu.

    And a couple of stiff scotches.

    Prefaced by a couple of stiff scotches.

    From CHERRY:
    I kept at it, eventually developing a tolerance of, and then, an affection for the stuff.
    Why? Short answer: I donít know. Sometimes I need it, sometimes I want it, sometimes I love it and sometimes I loathe it; usually, when Iím seriously loathing myself, which I tend to do because Iím unlovable. How's that for a pathetic generalization? Itís true, though. At this point in my life, nobody on this planet loves David Michael Brandt. What other conclusion could one possibly extrapolate from that statement?


    /my little blog/
    tweets

  12. #12
    Super Procrastinator Kallithrix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kkbe View Post
    Who's more interesting?
    The first guy, who is in fact a dead librarian, recently reanimated but now only speaks in dewey decimal code.
    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."






  13. #13
    Huh. kkbe's Avatar
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    . . ."speaks" being a relative term, as he actually communicates via a series of rapid blinks followed by extravagantly choreographed hand gestures.
    From CHERRY:
    I kept at it, eventually developing a tolerance of, and then, an affection for the stuff.
    Why? Short answer: I donít know. Sometimes I need it, sometimes I want it, sometimes I love it and sometimes I loathe it; usually, when Iím seriously loathing myself, which I tend to do because Iím unlovable. How's that for a pathetic generalization? Itís true, though. At this point in my life, nobody on this planet loves David Michael Brandt. What other conclusion could one possibly extrapolate from that statement?


    /my little blog/
    tweets

  14. #14
    The grad students did it NeuroFizz's Avatar
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    Characters are made interesting by what they do, and how they do it. So, a timid partygoer can be made interesting by how he/she expresses that timidity.

    So have that first guy in kkbe's example respond with that sterile "Hello," but then have him move his hand to the revolver tucked into the back of his pants. Suddenly that boring, timid character becomes interesting to the reader.
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  15. #15
    Dangerous Pony SomethingOrOther's Avatar
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    I think it's a bit of a stretch to assume some random guy at a party has a revolver tucked in the back of his pants.

    Revolvers are old-fashioned; he probably just has a regular pistol.
    I am an actual pony. How can I communicate in English? I have no idea. But I can.


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  16. #16
    Huh. kkbe's Avatar
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    . . .unless your story is a retro-steampunk thingie set in the Wild West, circa mid-1800s.
    From CHERRY:
    I kept at it, eventually developing a tolerance of, and then, an affection for the stuff.
    Why? Short answer: I donít know. Sometimes I need it, sometimes I want it, sometimes I love it and sometimes I loathe it; usually, when Iím seriously loathing myself, which I tend to do because Iím unlovable. How's that for a pathetic generalization? Itís true, though. At this point in my life, nobody on this planet loves David Michael Brandt. What other conclusion could one possibly extrapolate from that statement?


    /my little blog/
    tweets

  17. #17
    The grad students did it NeuroFizz's Avatar
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    ...and even more interesting if it is a contemporary story AND it is a revolver. Remember that interest can be generated in the same way humor can be generated--by having something unexpected happen.

    But you may want to check out the (currently available) Smith & Wesson model 29, and the Smith & Wesson model 10. Revolvers. Better yet, do a google search of "Smith & Wesson revolvers." The list of models is long.
    Last edited by NeuroFizz; 12-28-2012 at 08:14 PM.
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    Agnes Hahn (Psychological Suspense 2008) Medallion Press Silver Medal, 2009 IPPY awards, Horror category
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  18. #18
    DenturePunk writer bearilou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SomethingOrOther View Post
    I think it's a bit of a stretch to assume some random guy at a party has a revolver tucked in the back of his pants.
    I dunno...seems par for the course in a lot of parties I go to.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phaeal View Post
    The first draft is a huge pile of clay that you've laboriously heaped on your table, patting it into a rough shape as you go along. From the second draft onward, you'll cut away chunks, add bits, pat and punch and pinch, until you finally have a gorgeous figure of, oh, Marcus Aurelius. Or a duck. But a damn fine duck.
    Quote Originally Posted by KTC View Post
    1) Write like your face is on fire.
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  19. #19
    Recovering adjective addict
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    There are many character sheets for fiction that you can download from the internet. They might be as simple as listing the character's traits and motivation/goal or as complicated as filling out a detailed questionnaire from the POV of the character.

  20. #20
    I agree with Roxxsmom.
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    Sometimes a character doesn't have to be interesting at all. Consider the "fish out of water" scenario.

  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW satyesu's Avatar
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    Thanks, guys 'n' gals. ^^

  22. #22
    Simplify. frankiebrown's Avatar
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    Hrm, I made a blog post a little bit ago on some things I learned from Stephen King's On Writing. Among them was,

    "Every supporting character deserves an arc. Because in real life, we all think we're the protagonists, even if we're the quiet kid who spends lunches in the library. Want a short-cut to create compelling, multidimensional characters? This is it.
    You don't have to show every single character's arc in your story. As a matter of fact, if they're not relevant to your plot, you probably shouldn't show them. But I think, as the writer, you should know them."
    "To a worm in horseradish, the world is horseradish."
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  23. #23
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by satyesu View Post
    I tried searching for this and found nothing relevant. Do you have any tips on the subject?
    Give them really interesting conflicts.

  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW rwm4768's Avatar
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    What are your favorite characters from other books? What makes them so interesting? Take that and apply it to your work. Don't copy them obviously, but create characters that make you feel the same way.

  25. #25
    practical experience, FTW JHUK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by satyesu View Post
    I tried searching for this and found nothing relevant. Do you have any tips on the subject?
    I'm not certain this is a serious question. How can you say you found nothing relevant? Try typing "character development in fiction" in a search engine like Google and you'll get LOTS of tips and relevant information.
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