Roll A D6 and Character Building

Here is an awesome video, it is a parody of Like A G6.


Character building, it can be fun or it can feel like being bikini waxed continuously, but in your head. Sometimes it is easy and the character just flows from thy finger tips, other times you might be writing a character and have zero experience in their strifes or generally what has made them the way you want them to be. So here is a little something on how I build up my characters.

1. Not different, but different. I make my characters as unique and different from each other as possible, even if they are the similar. In my science fiction novel I have seven characters thrown into the same situation, I do a little back traveling while moving forward with the plot that explores each character. Sort of like The Canterbury Tales, but much darker and messed up. I have two characters that are soldiers, they have lots of military experience and are very structured. To combat the similarities I have literally made the military experience their only common ground. One character, Calve, has two separate personalities, I hesitate to say schizophrenic because it is more like two people in one body with separate memories and interpretations of the past. One is slightly psychopathic and the other is protective and overbearing.  The other soldier, Reed, is a commanding officer with a huge chip on his shoulder, he has been rejected by society and would just generally like to see the universe burn from all the injustices he has suffered.

2. Ungodly amounts of research. The amount of time I put looking into military structure, lifestyles, PTSD, and lingo might have amounted to enough time to have written my novel three or four times over. That is just for two characters, the others are completely different. Add in some science and astronomy and the time reading other books, articles, science journals, and poking around on the internet is staggering. In case you are wondering, it makes the world of difference. Stay organized and keep a firm grip on your material and it shouldn’t be daunting.

3. Break their hearts. Seriously, in order for your characters to be interesting, they have to evolve. The most effective and engrossing way to carry out this is to put your characters in a good situation, make them feel warm and tingly inside, then pull the rug out. Drop them in some shit and push them to make hard choices, push them outside their comfort zone. Make their decisions hard, impossible, and unpredictable. Then slip in the knife of justification just a little further, the one that has always been poking the reader in the kidneys since the beginning, those little snippets of your characters that you sneaked in the middle of a paragraph that was thought to be irrelevant.

4. Find your weakness. Find the part in your character building that is lacking, find the part that you cannot push into the realm of imaginative release that irks you at every turn. Latch onto that spot and figure out why it sucks. Figure out why you can’t make it feel real, and build on it. No, you don’t have to use it but write through it anyway, you can trim and toss out later. Over time as you practice you will find you are getting better and better at it. Before long with enough effort it won’t be this giant overbearing monkey weighing you down in the muddy waters.

5. The Most Important. Ask yourself How, Who, What, Why, When, and Where. Regardless of if you are an Architect or Gardener, do this continually and incessantly. You will save yourself lots of headaches.



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