Club Blitz
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Tegh

Do you have problems making robust characters that are easy for readers to identify with?

Have you seen good characters go to waste and want to help bring them back to the spotlight they deserve?

Then you're in the right spot. Here we'll discuss a few tips and pointers on how to improve your characters. Whether you would like help on a character in one of your current stories on FP, or on one your just starting to dream up, we'll see what we can do.

(Keep in mind, either if your requesting help or are the person responding to a request, that there is no right or wrong answers here. Take what you get, mold it to your own ways of doing things, and hopefully...become a better author lol.)

3/7/2011 #1
Frap

Marvelous idea....Thank you for posting this up. Now I'll step out and leave idle chatter for the Blitz.

3/7/2011 #2
Tegh

Thanks Frap!

Exercise 1: Try to find a story on FP that has, what you consider, great character depth and feel. Then explain why you felt that way. Did the character come to life? If so, then how? What did the author do to bring about that feel?

Once you've got your story and reasoning worked out. Explain it here, and drop a link to the story!

(We all need good examples to work toward! I still do this with almost every book I pick up to date...)

3/7/2011 #3
Frap

Even better idea...Man you go boy! Woot!

3/7/2011 #4
Tegh

Lol, thanks again. I'm going to try and post an exercise for each section every week. Give people something to work toward lol. Plus...good way to promote other works. (I'm a subtle one hehehehe...)

3/7/2011 #5
Frap

I like your style.

Ahem...Make it so number one....LMAO!

3/7/2011 #6
Frap

http://www.fictionpress.com/s/2869771/1/

I had something typed then a thing happened and it just deleted what I typed so....

The main thing is that it is the imagery is masterfully written in the way that it describes sin. The picture is really neat if you can see it and it also was set up during a time that seemed so medieval and well it's just so inspiring what someone can do with a great vocabulary. The writer was to the point and it also gave such depth that she told about mans rise and fall, morals, religion, and so many different things in this one passage I was blown away. Now I'm a visual reader so with every word I looked at the character became visible to the point they were in the room with me.

If you can get shivers from a piece or listen to the actual characters voice speaking and not your own then you have mastered a skill level that will certainly profit you.

Is this how and what you wanted us to state Tegh?

3/9/2011 #7
Frap

This is just a portion of the story, but you have to look at the whole and the picture to get the full effect.

"Can you play for me?"

A sinful little grin, and she took the lyre to her b***, sat on the the leaves, legs folded primly under her. She strummed the strings with a bone plectrum, winding a melody that was like butterflies and the footfalls of the cat. He was enthralled.

Night folded the woods into a treacherous place so that he could not trust even his own heartbeat. His own life could betray him to the snap of the predator's bite. His eyes remained vigilant in the darkness, and he mused that light reflected in his eyes the same strange way they would do with wolves.

She slept like a fox. There simply was no other way to describe it. He imagined--perhaps there was even expectation--that she grew a bushy tail, that her face turned pointed and whiskered, and her dark hair turned into scarlet fur. He did not sleep that night, for he, like everyone wise, knew that one should never trust a fox.

This is so laced with awesome imagery and description. That's why is is one of my favorites.

3/9/2011 #8
Lasfter

Great find Frap! I truly love that story for its imagery and vagueness. I love how it challenges you to think about things, instead of stating them to you. And the imagery, wow! I particularly loved the metal forest in the beginning.

Using all the animal references, he really made her seem like a predator from the beginning. The character was beautifully developed using very flavourful diction.

3/9/2011 #9
Frap

There's another story I ran across lurking about other forums, but I can't find it right now, I'll post it up as soon as I can but yeah, if I ever learned how to use imagery, I think my stories would be on a whole level of awesome. But right now I'll settle for mediocre. I have to tighten up with my vocabulary. It's sorely lacking.

3/11/2011 #10
surfercharlie25

Something I find helpful in regards to character development is a trick that I learned that William Goldman, one of my favorite authors (He wrote the novels Marathon Man and The Princess Bride, among others; he's also written stage plays and screenplays) uses: I cast my story or play in my mind with actors, living and dead, then I try to imagine how those actors would play my characters. It really helps me out.

Here's my cast for my western play I mentioned in the brainstorm thread (none of my characters have names yet):

Outlaw: Richard Widmark (he died in 2008, so, sadly, he can't be in the play)

Woman: Kristin Chenoweth

Marshal: Gene Hackman

Son: a young Haley Joel Osment (like, Pay it Forward young)

Outlaw's gang: Lee Marvin, William Sadler, Jason Robards, Warren Oates

3/18/2011 #11
ladygris

What a fantastic idea! I tend to model my characters after a character I've seen on a TV show or movie. Sometimes. Other times, I see a picture of a model or singer and dream up a personality for them. It varies based on the story. ;-)

3/18/2011 #12
Frap

My stories and characters are developed through song and mostly mood. I think the other ways of developing a character are pretty neat and I plan to try it to help with my writer's block. Sometimes, I see things on t.v. and think what would my character to in a situation like that.

3/18/2011 #13
Tegh

While I like the idea of actors playing the role you're making, I don't think I'd be able to get enough out of that. Maybe I just don't watch enough tv or movies lol. I get all of mine from the easiest source out there...people i know! lol

I mix and match characteristics of all the many people I've known and, since i know how some of them react with one another, it makes it real simple to write. When that fails me...well there is always one character partially built on myself. Come on...you have to admit that writing what you would do if all this fantastic stuff was happening to you is not only easy, but really fun. Plus I seem to be able to grasp the details easier with those characters since I'm try to describe what I, or one of my friends, would see or feel while doing whatever it is.

3/22/2011 #14
RedX9

hmm I have something to contribute here. does anyone know about the different relationships between an older sister and a younger brother? The typical one for me would be the older sister is the brains of the duo while the little bro would be the goofball. The girl will always "lecture" on their little bros. An example would be the RPG series of Final Fantasy 4 "parom and palom"

I want something out of the box. how do you think I should develop my duo? the girl is a white mage while the boy is a swordsman

5/29/2011 #15
drazer434

Totally depends on the characters of the two, and their ages and the different in ages between them. If they're both in their twenties then the age difference is not going to make a significant difference. What ages are they, and what kind of characters do you want them to be? I can't really comment on what the dynamic between them would be without a bit more information, otherwise it could be practically anything!

5/30/2011 #16
RedX9

around the ages of 14 to 16. the girl is a white mage and the boy...argh I don't know. I want him to be a swordsman but I just don't know now. I don't want the typical sister and brother relationship. I know its vague. Her personality is calm but childish at times while his personality would be of a goofball

5/30/2011 #17
drazer434

Hmmm I really don't know, it is hard when it isn't your own character. I think there are a few forums on fictionpress that can help with dialogue play and characterisation. I think that perhaps in your case it could be the old sister getting frustrated with her young brother's goofball personality, and at the same time the younger brother not understanding why his sister won't let him goof off or something like that. That would make sense given what you've said.

5/30/2011 #18
BolognaGuy

I'm struggling to shed light upon the backgrounds of the minor characters in my story, Let Me Out. As the story uses a third-person limited narration style, I tend to focus most of my description upon the main character, Drake. Do you have any advice as to how I can bridge the gap between my narration style and my minor characters?

6/10/2011 #19
Frap

We can try to help you out but can you give us more info.?

6/13/2011 #20
RisanF

"Something I find helpful in regards to character development is a trick that I learned that William Goldman, one of my favorite authors (He wrote the novels Marathon Man and The Princess Bride, among others; he's also written stage plays and screenplays) uses: I cast my story or play in my mind with actors, living and dead, then I try to imagine how those actors would play my characters. It really helps me out.

Here's my cast for my western play I mentioned in the brainstorm thread (none of my characters have names yet):

Outlaw: Richard Widmark (he died in 2008, so, sadly, he can't be in the play)

Woman: Kristin Chenoweth

Marshal: Gene Hackman

Son: a young Haley Joel Osment (like, Pay it Forward young)

Outlaw's gang: Lee Marvin, William Sadler, Jason Robards, Warren Oates"

-

Yeah, sometimes it helps to have a "model" for a particular character. My characters are often composites of lots of things in the real world, from stuff on TV to comic books. It's good when I need a character voice to have a particular "sound."

6/23/2011 . Edited 6/23/2011 #21
A Fire Rose

Bologna Guy -- Assuming I understand your issue right, perhaps have more interaction with your minor characters. Get them in discussions and situations where an aspect of who they are is exposed either in dialogue or action. Perhaps read something Leo Tolstoy wrote, like Anna Keranina. He planned the entire lives of their characters. You can have a narrator that describes the background of each character, but that happened more in classics than it does now.

And Lee Marvin is a weird dude. At least, when he plays villains.

10/9/2011 #22
surfercharlie25

And Lee Marvin is a weird dude. At least, when he plays villains.

I know; that's why I chose him :) Lee Marvin played villains better than anyone. Marvin is seriously one of my favorite actors; he stole the show in every movie he was in.

10/10/2011 #23
Rumors of War

This is one reason I was drawn to this forum I'm getting ready to write something totally different from stuff I've written before. This new story will center on a Teenage Girl about 17 years old more or less beholdin to no one likes to do her own thing (hunts, rides motorcycles, dates when she wants and only lets things go as far as she feels at the time.) I'm working on creating this character right now, and any help would be welcome.

5/27/2012 #24
Amiigan

One thing I found really challenging and offered a new perspective was writing POVs from my female characters. It really took me out of my comfort zone, especially when writing about who they're attracted too (and IMO, even writing from a lesbian's perspective is different than a straight male).

7/26/2012 #25
Rumors of War

I happen to be a guy, and I think my biggest challenge is writing about an 18 year old girl. My four stories on fiction press cover different aspects of this gir's life. I had to rely quite a bit on information talking to girls about things and actual situations. I try to be as accurate as possible, butI'm not a girl, and in the end I'm still guessing.

7/27/2012 #26
Amiigan

@ Rumors of War. Same boat here. My approach has been to base them off women I know, and again ask questions. I also once had a bunch of female friends sit me down and give me an hour long lesson on how women and men communicate differently, as they ripped a part a letter an ex sent to me, lol. I completely misinterpreted it.

8/4/2012 #27
Tegh

Ah, the age old question: How to write for a character of the opposing gender. The short answer is...you really can't. But, you can certainly come as close as possible. The best thing to do is what Amiigan said (sit down and ask questions). Another good thing to try is write it up, and take it to someone you really trust (that's of the opposing gender) and start grilling them. If you were in this situation would you think like that? If not, why? What focus' should I be writing about? etc etc. Any and everything that comes to mind. You'll find that after trying this a few times...you just might get close to the right mindset ;)

9/14/2012 #28
csacasc7

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7/21/2013 #29
Lynn K. Hollander

If your characters are in the hormonal stew that rages in children from 13 to 26, they can't think straight and you can't write them as if they were adults. (Beyond adolescence, heading toward 30, gender roles fade into adult responsibilities.) For teens peer pressure is very strong; as is a drive for independence and a fear of change. Once the writer has figured out what societal/family pressures the adolescent character is subject to, the writing is easy. It's the analysis that takes careful thought and consideration.

2/10 #30
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