In this post, I’ll share with you a WIP (not by me) and some more on characterization. If you stick around, I’ll have a character form you can use to create more in-depth charries! 🙂
Okay, so here’s a quick bit on a WIP project that captured me (I have a weakness for beautiful music and good stories, okay?) and that I’d like to share with you, as well as encourage you to pitch in and help these guys out. They’ve put a ton of effort into their novel and would like to share their talents with the world.
They’ve even created their own artwork and soundtrack! Tell me that’s not the coolest thing ever.
The music is GORGEOUS, the artwork is FABULOUS, and, from what the synopsis says, it’s bound to be an amazing story!
Click here for more detail on Ingrid: Timeless Tale.
Now for characterization!
I know I reblogged Mirriam’s post on creating in depth characters the other day, but now I’d like to elaborate on that for just a bit. 🙂
Again, I’m not an expert. I don’t claim to be. I’m just trying to convey the lessons I’ve learned throughout the past couple of years and hoping it’ll help someone out.
When I first started writing, I was a bit frustrated with the characters. I wanted them to be like the ones in good books. You know? Where they jump off the page and come to life in your head. Where they’re so amazing and real that you want to want to dive into their world and go on adventures with them.
My characters weren’t like that. They were flat and boring.
And it drove me nuts.
So, how do you create characters that are real, people will like, and are fun to work with?
Well, first off: it takes practice. Just like you’re not going to be the best writer when you first start to write (unless you’re the exception – there always is one, you know), your charries won’t work out perfectly first time off the bat. So, if you’re just starting to write, I wouldn’t worry too much.
Second, you should know everything (okay, not everything. But a lot!) you can about your character. And here’s something that can help with that! It definitely helped me out when I was writing my first novel. Characterization forms. Fill it out! You’ll learn a TON about your babies (every writer calls them their babies, right?)! I’ll include one at the bottom of this post and then some links to a few more. 🙂
Finally, just give it time. As you write, you’ll learn more about your charries, and the novel itself. If things don’t work out first time around, just plow through. It’ll get better. 😉
Okay, so I know I’m not genius, but there’s my $0.02.
Something else that might help is analyzing other characters from t.v. shows, films, books, etc. We’ll check out a few below.
My family enjoys watching BBC’s twist on the classic tales of King Arthur! When I was about 10 years old, I’d get King Arthur books HUNDREDS of pages long! They were maybe three inches thick. I loved Sir Kay. ^_^ I wonder why they didn’t have him in BBC’s edition…
Oh well! Moving on!
Merlin is about, oh, I’d say maybe 20ish? He’s brilliant, and he’s got magic. What’s wrong with that? Well, magic is outlawed by Uther (who should be dead, but we won’t go into the traditional Arthurian legends) and Merlin is Arthur’s servant. If anyone found out that Merlin had magic and turned him in, he’d be burned to death.
He’s witty, but pretends to be stupid for Arthur’s sake (because, ya know, he’s got a destiny to protect Arthur. He can’t do that if he’s dead) and pretends to be just a humble servant, when, in reality, he’s genius, saves Arthur’s life countless times (without the prince knowing it, of course), and is probably the most powerful person in the kingdom.
So, let’s step back a bit and ask ourselves some questions.
1) What personality traits define Merlin?
2) Does he have any strange quirks?
3) What does he like to do in his free time?
4) Does he enjoy serving Arthur and pretending to be an idiot?
5) What does he suffer as a result of having magic, but having to stay undercover in the heart of Camelot?
6) What does he look like?
These are the sorts of questions we should be asking ourselves as we develop our characters. Let’s take a look at two more characters. Can you guess which ones they’ll be? *wink wink, nudge nudge*
2) John Watson
Yeah. I go off on Sherlock so much that I think Watson needs a turn in the spotlight. 😉
John Watson was a soldier. He was also a doctor. By just knowing these two facts, we already know a TON about this guy. He’s got to be tough, brave, great at thinking on the spot, and his brain most likely thinks strategically.
Watson is Sherlock’s assistant and friend. He’s prone to getting very frustrated at times due to Sherlock’s sociopathic personality, but he stays with him.
What can we tell about this? Why would he put up with heads in the fridge, eyeballs in the microwave, and who knows what else lying around the house?
Knowing he’s a doctor tells us that he’s very smart, knows how to handle tough situations without freaking out, and that he can handle blood.
Knowing he’s a soldier tells us that he can kill people and he can handle himself pretty darn well if it came to a fight.
Okay, but what else? He’s haunted by memories of war. He’s gone through a lot, experience a lot, and had his own adventure. Now, he’s back to living life as a normal person and nothing’s happening. He misses the excitement, the adrenaline coursing through his veins, and the sense that he was doing something worthwhile and heroic as opposed to just eating, sleeping, and doing nothing all day long.
Now for some questions:
1) What’s he look like?
2) What’s his personality like?
3) How does his mind work (e.g. strategically and thinking on his feet or ‘how would this make so-and-so feel if I did this?’)
4) What happens to him as a result of missing his exciting life?
And finally, we’ll analyze a superhero. Batman. Yeah… I have a Batman t-shirt. :3
I chose Batman (a.k.a. Bruce Wayne) because he’s a bit different from Merlin and Watson. He leads a double life. So there’s more layers, so to speak, to pull away.
Bruce’s parents die and leave him orphaned. His father was a good man and taught his son to be a good man as well. Bruce sets off to learn how to fight evil and restore peace and justice. What he learns, though, is that people can kill people, but they can’t destroy and ideal. I thought that was such a neat concept!
Fox and Alfred aid Bruce in creating that ideal, that image which cannot be destroyed: the Batman.
Okay. So, Bruce is a billionaire. He’s a good man. He seeks to fight corruption and restore good to Gotham. He puts himself at risk to achieve his goal. What does this tell us? He believes that justice is worth dying for. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t put himself in danger to restore those ideals to the his city.
So here’s what questions we can ask about Batman/Bruce:
1) What does he value so highly that he would be willing to die for it?
2) How does he cope with leading a double life?
3) Does one life have an effect on the other? How so?
4) How does Bruce combat evil?
5) Why would he choose to fight himself as opposed to letting someone else fight in his place?
Does this sort of make sense? If not, let me know in the comments and I’ll do another post. 🙂
And now, for the characterization form!! *drumroll*
Disclaimer: I did not create this myself. I found it here.
And even though some of these questions may be silly, it helps you to understand your charries more. 🙂 The secret is to know them inside and out. (And even then they’ll still surprise you. 😉 ) Writing isn’t easy. Just remember that. 😉
- What do you know about this character that s/he doesn’t know yet?
- What is this character’s greatest flaw?
- What do you know about this character that s/he would never admit?
- What is this character’s greatest asset?
- If this character could choose a different identity, who would s/he be?
- What music does this character sing to when no one else is around?
- In what or whom does this character have the greatest faith?
- What is this character’s favorite movie?
- Does this character have a favorite article of clothing? Favorite shoes?
- Does this character have a vice? Name it.
- Name this character’s favorite person (living or dead).
- What is this character’s secret wish?
- What is this character’s proudest achievement?
- Describe this character’s most embarrassing moment.
- What is this character’s deepest regret?
- What is this character’s greatest fear?
- Describe this character’s most devastating moment.
- What is this character’s greatest achievement?
- What is this character’s greatest hope?
- Does this character have an obsession? Name it.
- What is this character’s greatest disappointment?
- What is this character’s worst nightmare?
- Whom does this character most wish to please? Why?
- Describe this character’s mother.
- Describe this character’s father.
- If s/he had to choose, which whom would this character prefer to live?
- Where does this character fall in birth order? What effect does this have?
- Describe this character’s siblings or other close relatives.
- Describe this character’s bedroom. Include three cherished items.
- What is this character’s birth date?
- If this character had to live in seclusion for six months, what six items would s/he bring?
- What makes this character angry?
- What calms this character?
- Describe a recurring dream or nightmare this character might have.
- List the choices (not circumstances) that led this character to his or her predicament.
- List the circumstances over which this character has no control.
- What wakes this character in the middle of the night?
- How would a stranger describe this character?
- What does this character resolve to do differently every morning?
- Who depends on this character? Why?
- If this character knew s/he had exactly one month to live, what would s/he do?
- How would a dear friend or relative describe this character?
- What is this character’s most noticeable physical attribute?
- What is this character hiding from him/herself?
- Write one additional thing about your character.