Character Creation Guide - Tips

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Character Creation Guide - Tips

Post  Kaylia on Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:56 pm

Character Creation:

When I create a character, I don't start with the looks, or the name. The looks and the name (for many) is what kills characters from early age, because it doesn't matter how cool your characters looks, its what’s on the inside that counts.

Stereotypical example:
A red head with glasses. A bookworm, good at classes, shy and timid, bullied by classmates for being a 'know it all'.
Dissect this person, and honestly all I see is what I read on the cover. Boring.
Its like saying all people with blond hair are angels, and all with black are demons, or all with red hair are nerds, and everyone with glasses is a geek. Everyone with muscle is thick in the skull, and all the spindly thin bastards are gay.
Its fuck-off boring. (and noooooo, I did not just hint manga fan-girl obsession! I DIDN'T!)

Me example:
To me, a decent character has nothing to do with the skin you zip them up in, its all to do with the insides, the psychology! What’s going on inside that little head! That heart!
I always make very extreme characters, that’s because I love to go to the limits and see if I can pull it off without making a totally unrealistic character.
* Korra, for instance (in this incarnation of her.), is my Anger at the injustice of female rights (in any era), she is the one who would speak up when normally people stay quiet. (like telling the prats on the bus to Shutt the hell uppp! and what ever. Shouting at someone when they walk into her and don't say sorry. Or punching someone when they're rude to her. A role model to me, if only I could speak my mind when I wanted to!) Korra is my vision of Strength, female arrogance and Ferocity. If someone came at her she wouldn't hide, she'd kick the whore in the nuts and laugh herself to sleep about it.
* Raiden (who sadly only one of you knows.), is my extreme version of complete and utter Insanity (not the friendly kind, the serious, I will murder you in your sleep kind.), Terror and male arrogance. He is the kind of person who would murder a squad of military purely for the joy of it, and wouldn't lose a moments sleep over it. He's the kind of person you would want on your own side, and not on the opposing.
* Lolinda (who sadly no one really knows, but maybe she will come into the light one day.) is my extreme personification of Love and Kindness, Selfless giving and receiving nothing in return. She is the kind of person who would pick you up time and time again if you fell, and expect nothing back, even if she hoped desperately for something, anything in return. She's the person that would jump in front of you and take the hit, and still manage to get up afterwards.
- I haven't told you what these characters look like, but already there is a mass load of things to tell you. Who can tell me, that any of those characters are 'stereotypical'. Lolinda, in her original form, has blue skin and green/blue hair, but she could fit into any skin I put her in. She could be the geek, the skinny lesbian, or a muscular no brainer, and no matter what skin I gave her, she would Still be the most caring woman one would meet.

I always make my characters personal to Me, because I couldn't make a character based on something about Phzaleir, or Emerald Goddess, because I don't know their experience, or their story. I could listen to their story, but no matter what, I would automatically personalise it to fit myself.
Say, someone got hit by a car and survived. No matter what, I wouldn't be able to say how Phzaleir would react, or Emerald, but I could know how I would react.
So when creating a character, I take a part of myself, and I totally blow it out of proportion, I stretch it and make it as extreme as I possibly can. I make Reasons (Cause and Effect reasons) and make a back story out of it.
(See Korra's History if you're interested in one of my Back Stories, to explain why she is how she is.)
Then, normally the bloated, extreme thing I set out with, has been dulled down and contained into a more reasonable looking thing, though perhaps with some seriously sharp edges and interesting turns. (Because the Cause didn't make such an extreme Effect, normally.)
Then, we have the beginnings of a Thing, normally a gender, but sometimes not. And when you have started sculpting this thing, warping it and bending it and creating its story, its reasons and its habits, its wants and its hates, its loves and its reactions. You have a form, ready for skinning and naming.

Skinning and naming is one in the same, in a way. You can’t really skin and name a character before its moulded into shape, unless you‘re really skilled with bending the rules. I still don’t really name a character without having a picture of characteristics first, unless they are minor characters that are passers by, or parts of a world system. (characters that exist, but you don’t really see or play unless circumstance demands.)

People have a hundred ways of naming a character, but I will tell you mine.
I have several ways. Normally I look back at the intended character, and think 'What are You?'
What makes this character who or what it is?
Tip questions to pose your character mould:

I start with the Element, Colour and Shade, and then Strength, in that rough order.
Earth - Red - Dark - Anger
Already there is a picture of the character basics, I always seem to fall back on Anger because its such a massive part of me and my past.
This person isn't Light, there's something under the surface. (though, bare in mind that every element can have many different colours, and every colour (and shade) can have a different meaning completely and every factor makes a difference in the other all picture - Anger can be turned into Strength.)
)Earth: Green, Brown, Yellow, Red.
)Fire: Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue.
)Water: Blue, Green, Grey, White.
)Air: Yellow, White, Orange, Blue.

A name is important to the feel of a character, a name with many sharp letters, or many smooth ones, makes a whole difference. And until you become familiar with the sharp and smooth sounding letters, its hard to tell why one name sounds harsher than another.
To me, a smooth, sharp, and harsh sounding letters:
Smooth letters:
Sharp letters:
Harsh letters:
Etc. Etc.

A skin also comes into it, with the discovering of elements, but skins aren't so easy to pick, since they can be different with every persons likes and dislikes.

Tips for Back Story thought:
There are some topics that come into a character’s past, that make a difference of the over all out come, a few listed here:
Birth Place
Child Characteristics

Childhood Friends / Pets
First Time (Kiss - Sex - Relationship)
Living Circumstance
Teen Characteristics

Living Circumstance
Likes - Dislikes
Alignment (Good or Evil)
Attitude - Behaviour
State in Society (Wealthy or Poor)
Mental State (Positive or Negative)
Physical State (Well or Ill - Fit or Unfit - Disabled or Able - Wounded or Spry)

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