Reviews for Aspects of a Character
Written chapter 2 . 9/15/2009
all of these are great things to keep in mind, so thank you for writing this! it can be hard to write a believably flawed character, because it's just too tempting to make a character perfect. i'm glad you highlighted that in this chapter. there's more to character building, though, so I hope you add more to this.
XIII Dragon chapter 2 . 5/8/2007
This is really interesting to read. There are somethings I've considered while others that I've never thought of.
CyberDragon10K chapter 2 . 4/3/2007
"I sometimes have the co-ordination skills of a drunken wombat—yes, I have walked into a lamp post. While sober"

I see your wombat co-ordination and lamp post, and raise you a lapse of concentration and a small tree along the side of a busy stretch of road. :P

Mary Sues are character archetypes I've known of for ages, although I (in my infinite creativity) referred to them as "perfect" people. Perhaps my characters are guilty of several instances of "Sue-ism". I've yet to tally them all (as I have yet to introduce most of them), but I'll be keeping this in mind. Thank you very much so.

I like the use of Content Headings this chapter, rather than the Generic Headings you slapped on the first section; makes it easier for the reader to understand. The writing throughout the entire piece does exactly what it sets out to do. You could've made each section parallel by repeating the "FACT:" bid at the beginning of each. I was rather saddened that the convention was abandoned/not used enough. :'(

You should honestly paste the link to the Mary Sue Litmus Test within this chapter as a future revision; it just seems so incoherent when you've labored tirelessly to create this essay, and yet dump a garbage truck full of hypocrisy when you say "google it". That's the lazy man's way out (and YOU are a woman if my 5 minutes of browsing your writier's log were fruitful). :P

Here it is (because it irritates me to the enth (is that spelled right?) degree):

My final thoughts? Throw in the chapter where you dissect and discuss villains one day. Also, please address clichés in more detail; I realize you're mortified by their overusage, but perhaps addressing "proper" (or in the day and age... "different") usage/approaches would add more credence than simply saying "They are beyond cliché and belong only in the realms of satire and parody." Are you sure you're turning down a stray dog? It could always be a Brian Griffin. ;D
CyberDragon10K chapter 1 . 4/3/2007
Hello there, I seem to have stumbled upon yet another essay of sorts. :P

Having gone through the process of re-envisioning a story several times within the last few years, it's amazing how much I can relate to what's being described. I'm most guilty of the name schemes, particularly the pronounciation bid. I honestly haven't thought so deeply into my characters (or at least, not in this manner), so it's definitely a surprise to consider those "lingering" aspects.

"Experience is the mother of knowledge." I was reminded of that quote at the end of your age section after thinking of it once while reading The Mubling Sage's essays. Food for thought? Perhaps... it seems to be a point all you vixens are conspiring to promote. :x

Perhaps if you have the time, could you take a look at something of mine? It's not terribly hard to find, and I seem to be stumbling upon countless women with a (how shall I say) "gift" for writing (so much that all I find are their essays about HOW to write).

Part 2 coming right at you...
Edcrab chapter 2 . 10/2/2006
I really quite like this essay, and it's nice to see it's dedicated to a particular part of writing...

Mary Sues are ALWAYS found in these kind of guides, but I must admit I got a smile out of your content, and the points are as valid as ever. I suppose mentioning that was pointless- bit like saying that you had the audacity to mention characters in a character essay, heh.

Looking forward to updates, and I do believe I've found something else to plug alongside Jave Harron's work when I start making references!
Vivix chapter 2 . 10/2/2006
I think "building a character" is starting to go a bit off track...
Siyaa chapter 1 . 9/16/2006
Ah, Writing Help articles. I do so enjoy Writing Help articles. I find my characters are almost unique, though they do tend to lean towards characters I've read about, so it's nice to have advice on original age part was right on. So many times I have come across character's parents who act like they're sixteen. And, sometimes, that fits. But most of the time its just annoying. - Looking forward to the next chapter!
Pink Cigarette chapter 1 . 9/9/2006
Nice. I've been recently changing up names and personality tweaks of my characters, trying to make them all fit in some way or another. This really helps.

Awaiting the next chapter!


P.S. I'll be sure to check out that essay by Eyetk, as well.
Caplock chapter 1 . 8/27/2006
Refreshing to see someoen taking time out to help others. I can honestly say this helped me a little, with the name and age of my character. I didnt have to change the name, but i didnt check to see if it fit with the environment. Thanks.
IdidntThinkso chapter 1 . 8/3/2006
Thank you very, very much for the advice, I'm just starting out with writing so I need all the help I can get! _
Chaos A. Mendel chapter 1 . 8/1/2006
This could potentially turn out to be a really helpful guide! I have to agree, however, with the previous reviewer who said "Literal names very often do have to do with personalities. Charles Dickens did it for practically all his characters!"

One thing you may want to add, though, is NOT to start creating a character with a name. For example, you may like the the name John, but when you start writing you subcounsciously turn him into an asshole (because your ex-boyfriend's name was John and he dumped you for some blonde, and thus you think all Johns are assholes). People have preconceived notions about names, so they need to think about their character's personality BEFORE they pick a name. At least that's my opinion.

I must concur with the experience tip. I've been having trouble in my own work - I'm afraid my middle-aged adults are turning comical and my young adults seem like teenagers. If you're writing from the perspective of a 30-year old supporting three kids and working an 8-hour shift 6 days a week, you better have been in that situation yourself!

Great info, Alankria!

(P.S. Just got back to writing, I'll be posting some new chapters soon, so watch for them.)
Vivix chapter 1 . 7/30/2006
You talk about cliche names and then use 'Trifmara?' Hypocrite much?

You say names shouldn't reflect personalities, but that's only true in the real world. Literal names very often do have to do with personalities. Charles Dickens did it for practically all his characters! (Although, his names are original concoctions, not simple adjectives)

And I wholeheartedly accept the 'writing characters your own age and gender' idea. Much too often I can tell that a 14 year old female wrote a male part because HE ACTS JUST LIKE A 14 YEAR OLD GIRL. Angry part over.
SwordoftheKing chapter 1 . 7/28/2006
For a basic character guide 'tis a good start... One thing I'd suggest adding, though is that people have the GENDER correspond to what they're doing, not just the age- especially depending on the time period/world in which the character is made. (Though genderal deliniation is less of a thing anymore, it's still a basic fact that there are things one gender, as a norm, prefers to do or not do.)

And a slight note- just because parents don't know a child's personality when they name it doesn't neccesarily mean that the name won't match the personality. In fact, name's have a tendancy to impact some people- thus slightly sculpting their personalities TO match as they age. So long as it's not too far overblown, a little bit of name-personality matching can actually cause the character to be more realistic.
temblance chapter 1 . 7/4/2006
With you being one of the more 'professional' writers on this site, I am definitely looking forward to reading your thoughts on characterization in this column. What you said in this chapter was a nice introduction, though I would have loved to hear more. I guess that's what upcoming chapters are for.

I absolutely love creating characters; I think it is my favorite part of writing. So thank you for starting this- looking at characterization from another perspective is sure to help anyone.
JaveHarron chapter 1 . 5/21/2006
Fun new column. I see I've got some competition. *cue shifty eyes* I'll be sure to stay tuned to new entries.
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