Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 31
  1. #1
    First Lieutenant StargateMillennium's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Behind You
    Posts
    558

    Default Developing characters

    So you make your own character or you take some secondary character that never got flushed out. What are some good way to develop them? Yeah, I tell their backstory over time and show how they interact with the others, but I'm wondering what are some methods that make the characters truly speak to the reader, make them likable to the point people would want to see more of them.


    Stargate spin off series: Stargate Millennium
    https://www.fanfiction.net/u/5580179/StargateMillennium


  2. #2
    Alyssa Ogawa neela's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Underneath the Northern Lights
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Developing characters

    I put them in situations where they're forced to react in a way that shows one or more aspects of that character's personality, quirks, backstory, mystery, etc. However, it depends on what kind of aspect that is. For instance, if I wish to showcase a character's ability to handle pressure, I create a stressful situation or something that demands quick thinking. If I want to show what kind of values and beliefs that lie at the core of their being, I find a situation where they're confronted with either a similar value or an opposite one (in both scenarios, they get the chance to confirm what they believe in, either by agreeing or disagreeing with what they're confronted with). And if said situation can also showcase an inner conflict of sorts - such as the conflict between duty and any other fundamental moral values - that's just great for character development.

    I don't know exactly what it is that makes characters likeable enough that people want to see more of them, but for my own part, I like to see complexity and contrasts. I like to see characters struggle and to have multiple sides to them, because it's in those complexities that we can get a sense of realism. Often, I have an issue with characters that become too one-sided, or 'flat', because then they're essentially just filler and perhaps not that necessary for the story development itself. When characters have many sides, or are 'round', the story can be affected in many - even unexpected - ways. Such as if the character you thought all along would have someone's back in a tough situation instead backs out because they're scared - that's story development right there. It gives the writer an excellent opportunity to explore their complexity and for the character to do some soul-searching (aka growing opportunity) on his/her own. (At the same time, it's a balancing act to make such a sudden turn appear natural and realistic, or at the very least believable/understandable, so the aftermath of such an action would be paramount.) All in all, I'd try to write the story from the character's POV (third person, not first person) and do a mix of show&tell the reader what's on their mind. I also typically change the POV from scene to scene so that we get different perspectives on a character, which I think can also make for some interesting observations. For instance, if I'm just in the head of the character, that can be a bit too much - even if you can be brutal and withhold some of the character's own thoughts so they don't overanalyse & overexplain things - and I need to switch the scene to the other character's POV to analyse their actions instead.

    Anyway, those are just some thoughts of mine.
    "If I should die, think only this of me: / That there's some corner of a foreign field / That is forever [Earth]."
    Earth is gone, but Atlantis must survive... Apoca!fic. Post-Season 5. John/Sam.

  3. #3
    You call that a glowstick?
    (Moderator)
    Skydiver's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    54,862

    Default Re: Developing characters

    Tell some scenes from the character’s POV, which allows you to give insight into why they do what they do or how they feel about it.

  4. #4
    First Lieutenant StargateMillennium's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Behind You
    Posts
    558

    Default Re: Developing characters

    Thought I'd come back to this. But what about depth? How should I add depth to a character? Or at least in a way that the reader would feel like they are a real person.
    I mean, I have character traits, character history, and even moments where they would seem to behave differently than they normally would because of their beliefs. But do people actually feel these characters?


    Stargate spin off series: Stargate Millennium
    https://www.fanfiction.net/u/5580179/StargateMillennium


  5. #5
    Lieutenant General
    Member Since
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    19,747

    Default Re: Developing characters

    Re-purpose tools used by HR departments and managers. Rather than to analyze real-life people to make better workspaces, use them in reverse to build up characters. Motivation, leadership style and how they respond to authority themselves, typical decorations, etc.:

    Johari Window, to think about what your characters know about themselves, what others know about them, and what they don't know about themselves or each other:
    https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qim...b0c33469fdeaa7

    SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats for the character):
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWOT_analysis

    DISC personality profiles (Dominant, Influential, Steady, or Complaint. People vs task focus, active vs reflective):
    http://forensic-psychology.net/wp-co...ge-768x673.png

    Myers-Briggs personality types (Introverted vs Extroverted, Thinking vs Feeling, Sensing vs Intuition, Judging vs Perceiving):
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...riggsTypes.png
    Last edited by WraithTech; April 27th, 2018 at 06:34 AM.

  6. #6
    Captain
    Member Since
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mapleleaf
    Posts
    1,980

    Default Re: Developing characters

    I've gotta say I just write. I take the character and write a scene with him or her. If this is a character who's meant to be a major character, turning them into something other than "the tall one" is easy. If it's not, they stay a minor character.

    Seaboe
    If you're going to allow yourself to be offended by a cat, you might as well just pack it in -- Steven Brust

  7. #7
    Lieutenant Colonel Az'ryel's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2012
    Location
    somewhere between the light and the dark
    Posts
    4,140

    Default Re: Developing characters

    I always find it easiest to just listen to what my characters want while I am writing, they do a pretty good job at developing themselves if you let them take you where they head

  8. #8
    First Lieutenant StargateMillennium's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Behind You
    Posts
    558

    Default Re: Developing characters

    Like, I'll take one of my characters for example.

    Uh, I guess I'll use Flight Lieutenant Charles James Martin. Australian sniper. Very open and friendly. He works with a lot of people who only know Australians through stereotypes and he'll make fun of for that to the point he'll say 'crikey' for no other reason than just get a laugh out of people. He loves movies and videogames and if he sees somethings that reminds him of something from those media, he'll straight up say it. He'll call out tropes and crack jokes. Martin grew up in a very rich and very loving family that always encouraged morality and doing the right thing. No dark backstory. He had next to no troubles as a kid. And that became an issue itself as a lot of people tended to look down on him for that. That became his motivation for joining the military (also earning the lowest income in his entire family), to show that people should be judged by who they are, not what they were born into.
    Martin is also very idealistic, taking the 'morally high ground' in almost every situation. He appreciates his boss, Terra Nova, for listening to him though it also creates arguments with his teammate, Steven Chen, who prefers practicality even at the cost of morality.

    Like, I've shown all this, but I want to make sure the reader...well...feels it. I want to make the readers want to see more of this character simply because they like him.


    Stargate spin off series: Stargate Millennium
    https://www.fanfiction.net/u/5580179/StargateMillennium


  9. #9
    Lieutenant Colonel Az'ryel's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2012
    Location
    somewhere between the light and the dark
    Posts
    4,140

    Default Re: Developing characters

    well, you see sometimes, you say more with what you do not write about a character than with what you actually say. Let their character be shaped by their actions as you write and not so much by what you actually tell about them
    an important thing about how to make the readers feel something is to let them realize certain facts about a character themselves by what you do not say...let the character speak for himself to the reader, and let them decide if they like him.
    If you, I do not know if you aim for that, want the readers to like him, and try too hard to make him the flawless good guy and hero everyone should like, that can either succeed or annoy people to the point were they actually do not care to know more about him
    As wired as it sounds. let him be himself, don't try things to hard or it might become awkward, the best thing to do when writing is not worrying too much were it ill go and when it ill go there, just let it happen.
    To me personally, I find it bad if I get the feeling the writer pushes me into a certain direction from which to look at their characters and does not want me to see another thing about them, when I feel they aim for making me feel a certain way about them and no other

  10. #10
    Lieutenant General
    Member Since
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    19,747

    Default Re: Developing characters

    It sounds as though he is well-developed and relate-able in that none of us want to be judged for the class into which we were born and we want to distance or escape from a certain image. That is compelling.

    Your description of him fits a lot of this checklist: http://www.ian-irvine.com/on-writing...ng-characters/

    That desire to prove himself could also become a test to him: maybe he could face a decision point where he feels tempted to prove himself. Knowing his past and motivation, readers would want to know what he will do, similar to Rodney in Grace Under Pressure having to confront and work through claustrophobia. That characteristic about Rodney becomes compelling when the plot highlights and challenges it.

    EDIT: Agree with Az'ryel on showing the character through their actions.
    Last edited by WraithTech; April 27th, 2018 at 02:42 PM.

  11. #11
    Playmaker VampyreWraith's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 2010
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    12,756

    Default Re: Developing characters

    Quote Originally Posted by Az'ryel View Post
    well, you see sometimes, you say more with what you do not write about a character than with what you actually say. Let their character be shaped by their actions as you write and not so much by what you actually tell about them
    an important thing about how to make the readers feel something is to let them realize certain facts about a character themselves by what you do not say...let the character speak for himself to the reader, and let them decide if they like him.
    If you, I do not know if you aim for that, want the readers to like him, and try too hard to make him the flawless good guy and hero everyone should like, that can either succeed or annoy people to the point were they actually do not care to know more about him
    As wired as it sounds. let him be himself, don't try things to hard or it might become awkward, the best thing to do when writing is not worrying too much were it ill go and when it ill go there, just let it happen.
    To me personally, I find it bad if I get the feeling the writer pushes me into a certain direction from which to look at their characters and does not want me to see another thing about them, when I feel they aim for making me feel a certain way about them and no other
    ^I agree with this particularly the parts in bold. I absolutely loathe when I feel as though I'm being manipulated into or flat out being told to like a character. Everyone isn't going to like your character no matter how hard you try and I think if you try too hard, it'll show, and you'll end up with a character most people hate. People like different things and find different personalities relatable. I think the best you can do is let them develop naturally though their interactions with other characters and show their inner thoughts (sometimes even with little things) in different situations.

  12. #12
    Lieutenant Colonel Az'ryel's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2012
    Location
    somewhere between the light and the dark
    Posts
    4,140

    Default Re: Developing characters

    I guess that uneasy feeling about characters comes with the writers trying to push you in a direction so bad and force something to be a certain way. It's like with other kind of arts, if you force yourself doing it it often results in something that is far from what you actually can do. I found arts, and writing work best when you do them when you feel like doing it and not go writing or develop characters because you want to...it is more a thing you have to feel like doing, otherwise it feels kind of "hollow"

  13. #13
    Lieutenant General
    Member Since
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    19,747

    Default Re: Developing characters

    Agreeing with Az'ryel again. Whatever you do to develop your characters, it should also make you appreciate your own characters all the more. Otherwise, writing them will become a chore.

  14. #14
    Lieutenant Colonel Az'ryel's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2012
    Location
    somewhere between the light and the dark
    Posts
    4,140

    Default Re: Developing characters

    Though, sadly whether that works well or not so well to deliver what you want to deliver to your readers however is the part where talent comes in, it cannot be trained, since it is the part of writing that requires the writer to put their heart and own emotions in
    One can try to describe tons of things and state something about a character so often, if it does not really feel that way, or if you as a writer do not feel that way about a character, they will just appear flat.
    Some of delivering that comes with writing style but the other part, the more important one comes with the skill to grab your reader by their emotions and if you do not feel them while you write, it will not work well

    What I can give as a tip though is, and I guess that also goes into the same direction as WraithTech meant by appreciating a character is, they are developed well and are believable if things that you let happen to them shake you as a writer. If you blow up your main character and the thought of them being dead or injured does not make you cringe or even cry, I would recommend you try to rewrite them from the start
    Last edited by Az'ryel; April 28th, 2018 at 08:03 AM.

  15. #15
    Lieutenant General
    Member Since
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    19,747

    Default Re: Developing characters

    Quote Originally Posted by Az'ryel View Post
    If you blow up your main character and the thought of them be dead does not make you cringe or even cry, I would recommend you try to rewrite them from the start
    That is deep and so true... and why the audience rallied for Carson.

  16. #16
    Lieutenant Colonel Az'ryel's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2012
    Location
    somewhere between the light and the dark
    Posts
    4,140

    Default Re: Developing characters

    Quote Originally Posted by WraithTech View Post
    That is deep and so true... and why the audience rallied for Carson.
    My eyes still get teary if I think of Carson and that unpopular episode to everyone who liked him a lot, but it is that I guess every writer wishes to happen about their work. That they managed to make such things stay in the mind of people, because it proves their characters were not just flat and easy to forget

  17. #17
    Captain
    Member Since
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mapleleaf
    Posts
    1,980

    Default Re: Developing characters

    Quote Originally Posted by Az'ryel View Post
    Though, sadly whether that works well or not so well to deliver what you want to deliver to your readers however is the part where talent comes in, it cannot be trained, since it is the part of writing that requires the writer to put their heart and own emotions in
    Sure it can. It takes practice, and effort, but it can be learned/ trained. Talent is mostly practice and listening to criticism.

    Seaboe
    If you're going to allow yourself to be offended by a cat, you might as well just pack it in -- Steven Brust

  18. #18
    Lieutenant Colonel Az'ryel's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2012
    Location
    somewhere between the light and the dark
    Posts
    4,140

    Default Re: Developing characters

    Then it is not talent, then it is training and effort but not a thing which some people naturally possess. That thing which divides a good writer from a brillant writer.
    Telling good from brilliant though is a personal thing which everyone will see different
    Last edited by Az'ryel; April 30th, 2018 at 09:34 AM.

  19. #19
    First Lieutenant StargateMillennium's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Behind You
    Posts
    558

    Default Re: Developing characters

    Quote Originally Posted by Az'ryel View Post
    well, you see sometimes, you say more with what you do not write about a character than with what you actually say. Let their character be shaped by their actions as you write and not so much by what you actually tell about them
    an important thing about how to make the readers feel something is to let them realize certain facts about a character themselves by what you do not say...let the character speak for himself to the reader, and let them decide if they like him.
    Well, you don't have to worry. I'm not a big fan of telling what the readers should think (hence why I'm here asking cuz I have no idea if my showing has any emotional impact). The sniper thing is easy enough. Martin gets a sniper rifle, observes the landscape through a scope, and in a fight he is told to go to the back to snipe. His backstory I had him tell trying to convince another person that they should not be zealously attached to a position just because they were born into it. That individual in particular was a foil to him since she lost everything because she tried to always take the moral high ground. And his morals tend to come on display arguing with Chen, taking the more noble and 'paragon' side.

    Quote Originally Posted by WraithTech View Post
    That desire to prove himself could also become a test to him: maybe he could face a decision point where he feels tempted to prove himself. Knowing his past and motivation, readers would want to know what he will do, similar to Rodney in Grace Under Pressure having to confront and work through claustrophobia. That characteristic about Rodney becomes compelling when the plot highlights and challenges it.
    I like that idea. Maybe a situation where he is with either a person or a group of people look down on Martin because he had an easy life. So he begins taking even crazier ‘moral high grounds’ just to prove himself. But would he go nuts? (Like, taking some absurd roads and having his teammates call him out on it?) Or is it something he just brings up in an argument with the person?


    Stargate spin off series: Stargate Millennium
    https://www.fanfiction.net/u/5580179/StargateMillennium


  20. #20
    Lieutenant General
    Member Since
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    19,747

    Default Re: Developing characters

    Quote Originally Posted by StargateMillennium View Post
    But would he go nuts? (Like, taking some absurd roads and having his teammates call him out on it?)
    He might. That's part of the fun. The characteristic can be a strength (propelling him to do his best where others might not be as brave) but also can be sometimes a weakness (if he takes too much of a leap and then has to correct for any missteps, as you hinted). Lots of plot possibilities for that personality trait!

Similar Threads

  1. HBO is developing another WWII miniseries
    By Gen. Chris in forum General Television
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: January 25th, 2013, 10:30 PM
  2. Developing OC Tollan Names
    By StargateWatcher in forum Fan Fiction
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: March 21st, 2011, 09:15 AM
  3. Developing OC Nox Character Names
    By StargateWatcher in forum Fan Fiction
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: March 18th, 2011, 12:33 PM
  4. Replies: 12
    Last Post: January 22nd, 2009, 01:43 PM
  5. Need help Developing story for fan comic
    By Elite Anubis Guard in forum Fan Fiction
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: January 26th, 2005, 08:14 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •