Tag Archives: Characters

I….I Work Out

Actually I don’t anymore. I’m about to change that later this week. My new job has a gym bigger than most gyms I have seen, but I digress.

What I am actually getting at is guilty pleasures and quirky things in general. Do you have a song/movie/book that is a guilty pleasure. Something that you really like but at the same time might be a little embarrassing if somebody knew about. I have posted about this before, but it is something that interests me. Not so much what it is that people find as guilty pleasures, but why they feel they are guilty pleasures.

I’ll be the polar bear and break the ice.

I like this song and I think the video is hilarious, even though it makes my fiancé question a multitude of things about me.

 

**DANGER WILL ROBINSON**

Probably not safe for work, children, and dead pan senses of humor.

 

This probably seems odd to you, fair enough.

Imagine reading a book and a character references this music video or song. Say it is some quirk or guilty pleasure of theirs. I bet you will remember that character, I bet you will color them in a bit more with your imagination crayon. See how that works?

I try, success varies, to instil as much life into my characters as possible. That can mean having them hate cats, listen to weird music, say odd things at the end of sentences.

“I say man, you have a duck on your head, what what.”

“I do not!”

“You most certainly do. I can’t imagine why that would be, what what.”

This is something that Sir Terry Pratchett does very well. In fact this is a real example. Pretty nifty eh?

Anyway, my question to you. What are some of your own personal guilty pleasures and quirks and what are some of your characters. Compare them and maybe you will see something interesting.

 

 

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What Would They Say?

What would your video game characters say? If they all met in a bar and talked about you, what little nugget of insight and bastardization would they say?

Mine would vary.

My WOW characters would say I was epic or lazy ( I never really leveled and alt all the way up).

My Call of Duty characters would say I was a blood frenzied serial killer with unnecessarily perfect accuracy with RPGs and UMPs.

My Tribes characters would say that I talk too much, I made a soundpack for the game and spammed the unholy ba-jesus out of it.

…and it varies from pyromaniac, public exhibitionist, psychopath, defender of women, chicken slayer, pervert, idiot, etc.

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Weird Quarks

Post Strangulation

So you are writing your story and your characters feel a little flat. Know what they need? Quarks. They need these little idiosyncrasies to make them human because guess what, we are all a little goofy and have little things we do that are unique.

An example of a quark? It is common knowledge that Teddy Roosevelt couldn’t achieve an erection unless he strangled a bear with his bare-hands. So what interesting little nugget of borderline insanity does your character have? Do they hate dogs but love cats, what about the opposite? Do they have to get completely naked to use the bathroom? Do they flip a coin to decide if they will kill somebody. A hardened veteran cop who secretly loves Sex and the City is always a good time.

One of my characters is terrified of a specific type of insect, another can’t eat anything on their plate if the food is touching, and another hears a voice that echoes the deep dark thoughts sane humans repress. Can you spot one in this post?

The range of quarks that can be used is staggering.  These little peeps into the characters help the reader feel they are real, interesting, and worth their time.

So what little quarks do you give your characters?

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Loving Your Characters

So I have switched back to my book. I went back over everything I have written and it is still to my satisfaction. I’ve decided to add a few chapters for better character building and started writing POV chapters and one of my characters has taken a death grip over my writing. I have a character named Calve, and he is has two separate personalities. Both are assholes, but in different ways. Two separate people are living in the same body with different tastes, interests, and flaws. I am have more fun writing his chapters and story than I have the main character or any of the others. As far as I can tell, this can yield two things; Calve gets his own book or If I don’t slay the beast he will take over the book.

I have enjoyed writing all the characters in my book, some a little more than others. I feel that each person is distinct from everybody else and their relationships and dynamics are different and interesting that the reader will never feel bored. Granted I am borderline insane, some of the curve-balls I throw are really big.

I have had immense fun thinking about the people in my story and treating them like they exist, because in my head they do. It annoys my other half when I refer to them like they are real people. She hears the name is gets annoyed because they aren’t real. I am probably more out of it then I give myself credit for.

Do your character’s take over your stories? Do you treat them like they are real people?

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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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