Let's all be random, shall we?

Writing Characters (Side tip)

I’m late with my Challenge! But I have a reason. My computer with my file where I write all this stuff is dead at the moment, and I’m waiting for the computer people to come help me out. I’ll update as soon as I can!

On a different note, I’m going to explain my processing of characters and their places in the plotline.

First, a character is created, some people make a character because they need a plot device, and others make the plot around the character. I’m usually the latter, because for me, if the character already has a backstory, personality, and appearance, it makes for a more dynamic, less cliché character rather than plucking someone out of the air because they needed to fulfill a role. I build a better plot when I need to think about why a character is doing something.

That is why I have a bank of characters in my head, sith varying depths of characterization. As I use them in my writing, I sketch them out and fill in a basic profile.

In an awkward and strange angle, the two or three main characters in my stories are the ones that I make up as I go along, using the plot to shape their personality because they are made in the first way, to suit the plot.

Where are they from? When are they? Family? Reasoning? History? Enviroment? Everything must be considered.

Also, I ahorre “disposable characters” comes in with a bang, goes out in a fizzle. If I need to kill someone off, but it doesn’t call for the death of a legitimate part of the main plot, I’ll probably make someone up on the spot, who will be named likewise. If they’re important, you’ll see them many, many times.

However, character deaths should not be taken lightly. A death should be meaningful when they’re an active part of the cast. There should never be a “oh thank goodness he’s dead” moment when someone of importance dies.

Case point: Rolo of Code Geass. SPOILER (We all know of my slight obsession, hush you) Man, after this kid killed Shirley, he got a crapload of hate, everyone hated him. But, DAMN, that few minutes of monologue with Lelouch, and then his death, that was a tearful moment, right there.

Since I watched Geass, I felt the need to plan in advance which characters I need to kill, and make them as likeable as was suitable. Impact, purpose, that’s what characters are for.

Writing villains are no easy task either. Too evil, and they’re no longer believeable, too kind, and people question their validity. So where is that middle ground?

Well, how I try is to make connections. And in a discarded plot bunny, this is what I came up with.

The villain is the old librarian who collects people’s memories through extracting someone’s “soul” and watching their life, searching for the hidden pieces of detail that he needs to create the “Book of Legend”, a book to guide people on becoming a heroic influence on the world by imitating champions of old. Additionally, he needs several body parts in order to create the extraction potion, which is basically prolonged torture, but here’s the kicker;

He’s the one who raised the hero trio, telling them stories of justice and methods of aquiring the power to fight the forces of evil.

Damn, what now? He’s a lovable old man who wants to raise children into people of justice, are we really going to kill him?

Some say no, find a creative way to wrap it up, but I’d say, a few chapters before his death, give background, the why, the how, the what. Make him the most well devloped character for that single glorified moment in which he is vapourized and everyone reading is utterly mystified as to if they should be laughing or crying.

This has turned into a rant about my thoughts on killing off a character… I’ll edit this with more relevance… later..


One response

  1. I have to say I’m quite the opposite. This magnificent plot formulates in my mind and I need characters to act out their role properly. There’s one short story I’m writing, well I was writing, that it was the opposite but then I had no idea what I was doing with the story so I stopped. Especially with this june challenge, I look at the central topic and I’m like what could possibly happen with this characters. I will say one of my main characters, he’s not really chiseled out meaning he does what he does for no reason because I haven’t really defined his personality. The female lead is a bit more fleshed out, believe it or not. By the end of June I hope for them to be as complete as I usually am with characters.

    Death is pretty interesting thing for me when I’m writing because death usually indicates the end of the story I’m writing. I actually can’t think of a situation where it didn’t. Villains….I find them very interesting to write. I think of them as very dynamic and complex characters because their background story tells their unique story of their evil ways.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:06 pm

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