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How do you create your characters (process...)

Discussion in 'Writer's Circle' started by Midnight Melody, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. Midnight Melody

    Midnight Melody New Member

    I know everyone has their way of creating a character, what is yours? I think writing it here might help some people :) I have all sorts of notes and lists that I created to help me make up a character. I usually get inspired by tv series, books, video spots, my dreams hell sometimes even by adds. so I make lists with what jobs the characters could have, characteristics, things they might like or dislike and so on and on it goes.

    I have a whole box full of 'flash cards' in different colors on which I described different characters :)

    But enough about my crazy habits xD what is yours?
    Bye bye and have a nice day!
     
  2. lil_kreen

    lil_kreen Member The Evrensel Conflict GM

    generally I decide on a general form factor for the creature I want to make or a type and go looking for images/concept art that strike me as fitting that well enough. Then I reverse from the image to produce a character with the archetype based on the depicted content.
     
    Midnight Melody likes this.
  3. cr0w

    cr0w New Member

    I would immediately start with thinking of the context of the roleplay itself; is it a violent futuristic dystopia? or a subtle fantasy? From there I would think of how I would want to play my character. I usually like to play the major antagonist of the roleplay without trying to force that onto everyone else :p I would pick the traits that can suit this and keep them in mind. A basic outline of the personality would immediately follow. I'd keep that in mind too and work on history, items, powers, etc. I like to do personality at the very last because it can change from working on the above. I would then find a snappy looking picture :)

    TLDR:
    Context of roleplay
    Role of character
    History and paraphernalia
    Personality
    Image
     
    Midnight Melody likes this.
  4. Alecto

    Alecto From the Blood of the Sky

    Oh, interesting question! I never really thought about my character creation process before... I usually just go with whatever I feel is right and end up with a character a day or two later.

    But I guess, what I do first is look for an image I can use as an inspiration (pinterest is a goddamn lifesaver), then I decide the actual appearance and personality. I tend to use the rule of 'one good trait and a bad one to complement that' or vice versa - for example, character A is nice but they can be too nice that they become a bit of a doormat or they're taken advantage of. Or um, one of my favorite types - very amiable, quick to make friends, but finds it difficult to maintain long-lasting friendships.

    Then I make a timeline, with a few key events and smaller ones that lead up to said key events and the actual start of the roleplay. Then that's pretty much it. I like adding some quirks too, but those are additional stuff that I only do if it feels right.
     
    Midnight Melody likes this.
  5. Nilum

    Nilum A Curious Man Benefactor Absolutely Fabulous

    Step 1: What's the plot? More specifically, what's the conflict in that plot? If none exists, scrap this entire process--the story is doomed to fail, abandon ship.

    Step 2: Look at existing cast of characters, if any exist. If none exist, default to a variation of the everyman protagonist + one other role for mixing purposes. If the everyman protagonist exists, adopt two of the following roles in a hybrid mix: Mentor, romantic interest, rival, compatriot, foreigner, ideologue, skeptic, spiritualistic, and so forth.

    Step 3: Take my two role combo and build a history and skillset that reflects it. Something that type of person would gravitate toward naturally given the setting. (Eg: An everyman protagonist probably has down-to-earth fairly normal skills. Romantic interests tend toward supportive types of skills. So forth. A lot of this is setting-dependent.)

    Step 4: Knowing their history, general personality from their roles, and skillsets, describe what they'd probably look like. Start with eyes, hair, and skin, and end with clothes, jewelry/tattoos/scars, so forth. Always include some item of significance for the character in question, unless their world view would dismiss such things as irrelevant. Even if it never comes up, it's a useful ace in the hole that I can wield to foreshadow aspects of a character's weaknesses, or demonstrate an element of their ideals or history.

    Step 5: I know their appearance, history, personality, and skillset. Now I just need to give them a motive as to why they want to see the conflict in the plot resolved. Again, lots of ways to do this, and heavily dependent on setting.

    Step 6 (Optional): Depending on how well fleshed out the world is, I might throw in a couple of subplots in too. Like making political changes in the system they live in, or uncovering a mystery in the world along the way to solving their conflict.

    And with all of those steps done, I have a character of depth waiting at the gate to go and have fun with.
     
    Red Coil and cr0w like this.
  6. Mnemosyne

    Mnemosyne Confectionary Queen

    My go-to character creation method is probably a bit odd to some people, but I'll go ahead and share anyway, just in case it helps someone else out. I will also use and example character that I will be creating step by step in order to illustrate my process.

    Step 1: What is the most important feature(s)?
    I know the title of this step is phrased kind of weird, but it's hard to explain in a single sentence. Is there one (or more) defining element(s) in the context of the story that the character will depend on? Make a list of one to maybe five important traits you want your character to have. Say, for example, you're creating a character to fit into a Lord of the Rings-ish setting (this is my go-to for examples since it's so popular that a lot of people will understand what I mean.) Now, what elements are there that could make or break a character?

    Perhaps race? And elven character would be very different from a dwarven one, and both would be radically different from a hobbit.

    Or occupation/ status? Is your character a warrior? A magic-user? A hunter/tracker? A merchant? Etc. Are they impoverished? Middle-class? Relatively wealthy? Or are they perhaps even a noble or ruler?

    Or maybe the most important part of the character is a main personality trait. Are they hotheaded or rash? Or cunning and calculating? Kind and loving? Innocent? Trusting? Or suspicious and distrustful? Humble, or arrogant? Brave? Cowardly? A natural leader, or a total follower?

    This list is by no means exhaustive, of course. There are plenty of other defining characteristics that you wish to feature in your character. This is just some examples to illustrate my meaning.

    Example Character: As I am thinking about my character, I decide I want her to be elven. I also want her to be a warrior who does not have much money. So, my list would be:
    • Elven
    • Warrior
    • Poor

    Step 2: Combine/ Build on Features
    In this step, the idea is to take the main characteristics you want in your character and figure out how they will work together, and then flesh out just a little more detail. In other words, take your list from the previous step and use it to write a paragraph about your character. Follow a distinct trail of logic. Certain characteristics go together. For example, age and experience level. And experience level could tell you certain things about the character's personality. Etc.

    Example Character: My character is a warrior who doesn't have money. So, she could be a mercenary looking for any job that will pay her. As she is elven, she has a very long lifespan. So she is probably older than most around from the shorter-lived races. Thus, she has experience. But I don't want her to be old by elven standards. So compared to other races she is skilled and wise, but compared to elves she is young and naive. Her experience compared to other races means she would probably be paid more when hired by someone other than elves. So she likely fights out among the other races. She would be one of the oldest people there, so she is probably a leader. Because she is relatively confident she will live longer than everyone around her, she tries not to get attached to anyone, so that she does not have to deal with the death of a friend/love. So she will probably come off as a bit cold and distant. Thus, my paragraph would be:

    [Character Name] is an elven warrior, nearing 100 years of age. She has had no luck making her fortune among her own people, so she ventured out into the wider world, selling her skills and a mercenary to the highest bidder. Her age and experience have earned her a position of authority in the regiment she is currently employed by. She is respected as a skilled tactician and swordsman, but is not very well liked by the other soldiers, who view her as being cold and aloof. In reality, though, she is simply keeping her distance so as not to form friendships, because she knows that as an immortal she will likely live longer than them, and she does not want to subject herself to the sorrow that would be caused by the death or a friend or lover.

    Step 3: Name the Character
    I'm sure some people are wondering about the placement of this in the process. For me, I try to come up with a name that has a specific significance and meaning for the character. Thus, I wait to choose a name until I flesh out my first introductory paragraph for my character, so I can look for something that fits the concept I am going for. I explained my naming process in a post in a different thread, so I'm not going to go to in-depth on that here. If you're interested in that, though, you can find it in this thread.

    Example Character: I decide to use a name inspired by Greek mythology. I find that Myrina was the name of an Amazon (a warrior woman), and I decide to use that name for my character. I also find that there were battlefield spirits called the Androktasiai. Thus, I decide to name my character Myrina Adrokasai, altering the last name to suit my tastes, while still being close enough to the original that it has some meaning to me.

    Step 4: Decide on Appearance/ Picture
    Now, and only now, is when I will go look for a picture for my character. I almost always try to use an image for character appearance, because when it comes to written descriptions, I don't know if my partner will visualize it the same way I do. So I sort through google to find pictures I like that I think suit the character I have in mind (for me this is usually one of the longest steps in character creation). If I don't find a picture I like, I will instead picture how I want the character to look, and try to describe it as precisely as I can, making sure to include plenty of detail.

    Example Character: For my example, I'm going to use an image for the sake of simplicity. Rather than add the picture to this post twice, I'm just going to include it farther down when I put everything together.

    Step 5 (Optional): Add to Personality/ Backstory
    This is the part where I tend to get pretty creative. My basic character information, along with the image, often inspires me to create a very dynamic character. I add more elements to their personality, specific likes and dislikes, etc. I also create a backstory that explains how they got to where they are at the start of the story. However, I don't always share these in character information at the beginning of the story. Oh sure, I often include at least some of this. But it's always fun to sprinkle in some surprises here and there, and let the other writer get to know my character as we write the story. And I often tend to develop facets of their personality based on certain situations that come up in the story, as well as come up with creative additions to their backstory. Hence why I say this is optional, at least in the beginning. So I'm not going to add all this to the example character, just to keep this a bit easier.

    End Result:
    So it's now time to put everything together. This is the character I have created:

    [​IMG]
    Myrina Adrokasai is an elven warrior, nearing 100 years of age. She has had no luck making her fortune among her own people, so she ventured out into the wider world, selling her skills and a mercenary to the highest bidder. Her age and experience have earned her a position of authority in the regiment she is currently employed by. She is respected as a skilled tactician and swordsman, but is not very well liked by the other soldiers, who view her as being cold and aloof. In reality, though, she is simply keeping her distance so as not to form friendships, because she knows that as an immortal she will likely live longer than them, and she does not want to subject herself to the sorrow that would be caused by the death or a friend or lover.



    Ahem. And that's the end of how I create my characters. And about time too, huh? I know that was a lot of writing. But anyway, I hope you'll find it helpful!
     
    MonMon and Silent Masquerade like this.
  7. Raffia Kiryuin

    Raffia Kiryuin Nothing to see here humans The Evrensel Conflict GM

    Hmm i don't exactly have a set step by step system on making characters but first i read about a universe and do an google image search for something fitting on that theme and build my character based off of an image i like. Later the characters appearance may or may not change as the character is built. Usually images help me imagine how a character would act and what type of a person they are. if i put it in steps my process is rather simple.

    1) Read some lore about the universe that character is supposed to be from or create your own universe. then decided what they could do in that universe and what would be their end goals.
    2) Do an google image search on characters that would fit into the universe and the chosen role of yours.
    3) once you have found the image you can use that if you wish to build a characters personality maybe a super power if they got one. specialty... an image shows ALLOT about a character.
    4) With personality and ideas on what your character is good at and their end goals in place just write it all down in categories and adjust as needed to fit better with some aspect of your character you want to be more prominent.
    5) now its time to add detail and explain things much more clearly so others may understand your character. this is where you can also adjsut the characters appearance if you don't want to use that image or just stick to what you got in your image.
    =================
    Example
    =================

    Universe: Boku no hero academia
    What they gonna do there: A first year student...should start off pretty strong and grow even stronger as time goes on

    So this is an BNHA character the universe has its own little sets of rules a character should follow.

    Quirk: So i found an awesome image of an liquid nitrogen girl and will use that. it already has the heroes outfit in it so you already know the loadout of support gear your character would use.

    Now comes the harder part of actually building the character. for me its deciding their name is always a challenge.

    Name: Tracy Carter
    Superhero name: Absolute zero
    Nickname if there is one: Frosty
    Age:15 ((since its supposed to be a student so they should be relatively young))
    Gender: Female ((the character can be based off of a male char but then you would have to build your own appearacne later))

    Appearance: ((Now comes the appearance. this is where you decide if you wanna use the image or write your own. in this case im using the image Which will be at the bottom of the post.))

    Personality: ((i have an idea of her abilities and what effect they would have on her life style which in turn impacts the personality.)) Tracy is a polar opposite to her Quirk and is doing her best to always be friendly and cheerful which at times can be very difficult. Many fear to even go near her and way less even want to talk to her. This reluctance to interact with Tracy is slowly being affected by as er usual cheerful nature can often times turn stone cold and emotionless. almost as if the person no longer was a person but a machine.

    Quirk: ((so we know its liquid nitrogen based and we can see all the gear. lets do some research on what liquid nitrogen is and what its useful for.))
    Liquid nitrogen: The user of this quirk is in total control of the nitrogen they create as the breathe in the air and convert it to liquid state within their body which then is leaked out through the skin. Usually the nitrogen is stored in tanks for later use the user has limited supply and has no control over how much or how fast they generate the liquid nitrogen. The user can freeze boil and control gaseous form nitrogen at their will. Freezing is especially useful for making nitrogen ice swords armor or shells for the cannon. liquid state is good for do cold burn damage and be non lethal in general. Gaseous form could be best used to suffocate fires or smoke out a villain by removing the oxygen content int he room they have hunkered up in. Lastly the users body temperature at the core is usually at -240 Celsius but can reach the absolute zero and the skin temperature is -196 degrees Celsius, the boiling temperature of liquid nitrogen.

    Bio/History. ((This is another part i struggle a little with so i usually leave it vague and have it form in the background as the character develops and reveals it bit by bit.))
    Born int eh icy depths of Siberia Tracy was unusually adept with the cold and loved it way more than even her mother that was supposed to be the towns nicknamed ice queen. The discovery of her quirk truly came in as a shock at the age of four when one day she woke up in a room flooded by nitrogen and frozen to the point it looked like the room had its roof torn off in a blizzard. From that day on Tracy's interactions with people wend to a decline. at the school people avoided her even the local bullies were terrified of her. as time passed She heard about a new heroes school being built in America and was accepting international students. Thus after a long time of thinking and planning she set off on a new path. To prove to the others that she could be a hero and help people despite the innate danger of her quirk.

    So this is how i create a character and an example of a simple character that has plenty room to grow and expand. I personally don't like laying out every tiniest detail before hand and leave no room for character development because all of that would change the moment other people and their characters come into play. They might save Tracy from turning into a stone cold hero who's set on the path to becoming a villain or they might drive her further into the rabbits hole and make her into a villain way earlier than planned.

    ((lastly here is the image i promised))
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Well for me, i just go with the flow of the roleplay. If i am feeling VERY creative, i use my avatar and create the character based on that. But i can create any character i want in a few minutes, and i just roleplay as that. All it takes is imagination :3
     
  9. Red Coil

    Red Coil Energy Storage

    Step 1: Like @Nilum, the first thing I do is examine whether there is an RP with a plot that I'd enjoy participating in (and would thus like to create a character for) and thereafter I take a glance at the potential cast of characters (to see if there's a niche I'd like to fill).

    Steps 2-4 are quite idiosyncratic and I'm not sure they would be helpful to anyone else.

    Step 2: Drink lots of tea or coffee
    Step 3: Take a nap, usually I end up having some interesting dream or thoughts as I barely edge along consciousness
    Step 4: Write down notes while half-awake

    The following step is pretty logical.

    Step 5: Wake up properly and actually sit down to do some proper writing
     
    Nilum likes this.
  10. Trande

    Trande All genres, all settings.

    1) General concept (Steampunk? Superhero? Loser?)
    2) Appearance
    3) Personality (How do I make my character unique from all the other characters with the same concept? How do I make my superhero’s personality different from Spider-Man or Batman?)
    4) Backstory

    After that, I think up some quick skits to further cement the personality. Not necessarily written down, but run them over in your head.
     
  11. Silvir

    Silvir Member

    hmm character creation often goes very fast for me.
    When i find an RP i like or start on a story idea i often get a feel for a stereotype i want to fit into that story. From there as the idea kind of just forms in my head i start looking for an image that fits him or her.
    As this progresses i read trough the Rp a few more times and write the character togheter.

    about an hour later i have a character done and ready. Of course i will expand uppon it beyond that based on plotting with fellow writers and what else my mind churns out for the character before approval. :)

    If i have a person to bounce ideas with while doing that i think i can even do it in half the time since it helps me focus my thoughts. >.<
     
  12. PrinceSamzee

    PrinceSamzee Inhuman, Lemon Blooded. Still Alive. Somehow.

    I create my characters by simply finding or discovering something that inspires or intrigues me, and next, letting my mind run wild. Due to where I live this has led to a lot of Religiously Inspired Characters, including the & Sins and their Counterparts, the Antichrist, and a Priestess capable of bestowing the 10 Plagues on any Family Name. I've also created a surplus of other characters simply by using no real method at all other than aimless thinking. But for characters I specifically plan, I usually just scrawl ideas in a notebook and pick-and-choose.
     
  13. Bad John

    Bad John New Member

    I meditate a basic image of the person, come up with a name that fits them, along with whatever theme I'm going for, then I mull over and pair down ideas until I know how the character would react to certain stimuli. What hurts them, what traits they embody, where they need to grow, etc.

    I think up scenes where they're the star, or where they're in the background. What their input would be, what they're willing to do, how they'd die if they made a mistake. I just chew on all that stuff while I'm bored.

    I also think up how they'd perform comically in a fourth-wall breaking parody situation.
     
  14. Snowtwo

    Snowtwo Member

    This is going to sound weird, but unless I have a very clear idea of what I want to use (like, say, I really want to play as a hunter from the back woods and the like), what I do is employ an RNG and a character generator system. I'll sit down and work through it, making my decisions at random and stopping to think about how I really feel about it. Did the dice say my character is an only child? Well, that doesn't sit right with me so maybe they aren't? The dice are now saying they have two sisters and a brother. That feels a bit overkill, maybe one sister and brother and we can make the brother antagonistic! Just keep going, letting the dice give you an answer and you deciding how you really feel about it. If you like what they say, keep it. If you don't, what do you feel they should be saying instead?
     
    Vardoger likes this.
  15. Breakneck

    Breakneck New Member

    Personally, I see what the contect is and from there I try to figure out the asthetics. After I have a reasonable idea of what they look like, (Are they human? Creature? Do they have any cybernetic enhancements or aspects to them?) , I try and figure out a vague profession and how they got to that point. After that usually comes backstory. Any other nuances I try to save and define as they interact with other characters.
     
  16. Moonie

    Moonie New Member

    I often tend to focus on the background of a character, then their personalities and quirks.
    I like to try and get into my babies heads, see what makes them tick and what makes them enjoy the life they're living and ultimately give them some goals that they can set out to achieve. I tend to go pintrest and make an aesthetic board to help set the mood for a character, as I find it just helps out to lay out my idea's that I have for them if I'm just not in the mood to write lists and tables of detail. I don't always need to find an image that suits the character, but sometimes it does help to do a little looking around to see if anything might spark up some idea's!
     
  17. Space_Candy

    Space_Candy Active Member

    I tend to listen to music and almost create a character off of the music's feeling, or just play around with fashion styles I enjoy
     
  18. Alissa Ming

    Alissa Ming Wandering Storyteller

    I typically start by creating a world, then creating characters that fit into a world. Sometimes I have an ideal character in mind, and will create the world around the character. My sheet often looks like this.

    Name:
    Gender:
    Powers: (if applicable)
    Abilities/Skills:
    Family:
    Personality:
    History/Background:

    Recently, I've started adding
    Sexual Orientation:
    Genre:
    Universe:
     
  19. Blondie

    Blondie New Member

    I am still very new to RP. But, in the past my characters in my short stories were often inspired by dreams. I would get an idea for a story, and then focus on it at night, and dream about it. I get a lot closer to my characters and my story after/if I dream about it.
     
  20. Windstormugly

    Windstormugly Eater of Time

    Ah, creating characters, I both love and hate doing that, because I end up with too many left unused, not that I ever stop ^^

    My creation process depends very much on the planned usage of the char. For RPs and Tabletops I'm not GMing I'll aim for that one wierd idea or concept and then let it grow. If any connection to other chars or settings is important that will come second to the initial idea. Everything about the char is tailored to enable that idea, The name fits with the image, the personality fits with them and the presentation the idea would give. The backstory leads up to it and so on. The process can take from the seconds it takes to write it, up to days if I have to puzzle it inside the setting in a particularly convaluted way. I tend not to enjoy making allowances when it comes to said chars, I had an idea, and I see that idea ahead.

    Now, creating a char for an original story (short), the story somehow end up with a "main character". Even though I more often than not am much more interested in the idea of the story and only need the char as a tool to run it. The char is again made to fit the idea, but now as a narrative tool, how will this idea or concept best be explored, what kind of char is needed to find themselves in these situations. Sometimes the char themselves is the idea or concept and then the world follows.

    I have a bigger overarching story that I write, for this I once again need characters. But they are no longer simple tools, they are parts of the whole, and as such they need to become much clearer in my mind.
    The name often goes pretty quickly, I have a knack for coming up with truly horrendous spellings that can't be pronounced properly.
    Age is irrelevant, most of these chars have to be immortal by reference. (exactly how will have more to do with their origin)
    Where does the char come from, as in what kind of world located where and when.
    What domain of beings they belong to do have some impact, which can become an issue if I have to creat a whole new species or kind of existential organism.
    Appearance of the char is a bit of a problem for me, I either find an image online that I think fits enough, or I make haphazard descriptions.
    Powers that are existentially tied to this chars fundamental concept, maybe relocation of existential stoff.
    Abilities and skills that are more mundane, often within a graph of martial, biological, technological, mental, magical and spiritual aspects.
    How the life of the char has led them into the big picture is important because it somewhat defines what kind of faction they belong to.
    The things they do and strive for often come logically from the former parts but if it doesn't it'll have to specified.
    Personality of chars is a state of mind, and it can take weeks or years before I feel satisfied with that, using and reworking the char and any stories and lore regarding them usually helps.

    ...

    I mean, that up there is how I view my char process, but apparently I have another process according to that annoying best friend of about 10 years.
    Step 1) template Locke Lamora
    Step 2) what mood am I, splice in
    Step 3) what is this char bitter about
    Step 4) in what way will this char be passively aggressive towards its surroundings
    Step 5) get fixed ideas about the char
    Step 6) create the absolutely most annoying quirk the char could possibly have (slow think talking inducing the most untrustworthy visage ever that I didn't realize the char had for about a year in one case)
     

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