History SoYouWantTo / MakeInterestingCharacters

26th Jun '15 6:26:42 AM 1810072342
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* ThisLoserIsYou: A character that's all flaws can sometimes be as annoying or even more so than [[MarySue one with none]] that's the importance of balance.

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* ThisLoserIsYou: A character that's all flaws can sometimes be as annoying or even more so than [[MarySue one with none]] - that's the importance of balance.
6th Feb '14 6:21:13 AM kensu
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Added DiffLines:

However basing your characters on people you know has drawbacks: sometimes people don't like seeing themselves in fiction. Also in the case of an ongoing series, a change in relationship with the author might lead to [[RealitySubtext abrupt changes in the story]]; there are some particularly [[SomethingPositive nasty]] [[ComicStrip/ForBetterOrForWorse examples]].
18th Dec '13 7:13:20 AM Kesar
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However, if a character is solely flawed, this can leave a feeling of sourness in The Reader's mouth. "Why am I bothering with this story? I came here for {{Escapism}}, not to see [[ThisLoserIsYou my own problems reflected back at me]]. I want a character who is ''admirable''. That's where the virtues come in. Having said that, this is why the third word in our heading is '''bonding'''. The Reader responds differently to virtues and flaws. Simply put, a Virtue is something that makes The Reader say, "I wish I were this guy," whereas a Flaw is something that makes The Reader say, "I ''am'' this guy." (We have also just breezed right by the pitfall on the other end of the sliding scale: a character that is all "virtues" is inaccessible because while he's admirable, The Reader does not and furthermore ''cannot'' empathize with him. He is like the moon: awesome, but irrelevant to The Reader's life.)

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However, if a character is solely flawed, this can leave a feeling of sourness in The Reader's mouth. "Why am I bothering with this story? I came here for {{Escapism}}, not to see [[ThisLoserIsYou my own problems reflected back at me]]. I want a character who is ''admirable''. " That's where the virtues come in. Having said that, this is why the third word in our heading is '''bonding'''. The Reader responds differently to virtues and flaws. Simply put, a Virtue is something that makes The Reader say, "I wish I were this guy," whereas a Flaw is something that makes The Reader say, "I ''am'' this guy." (We have also just breezed right by the pitfall on the other end of the sliding scale: a character that is all "virtues" is inaccessible because while he's admirable, The Reader does not and furthermore ''cannot'' empathize with him. He is like the moon: awesome, but irrelevant to The Reader's life.)
23rd Sep '13 12:06:30 AM Fireblood
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* RapeAsBackstory: If your character suffers from RapeAsBackstory, don't treat it lightly. Being violated in such a way tends to have mental and social effects on someone. How they treat, it should be an integral part of their character.

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* RapeAsBackstory: If your character suffers from RapeAsBackstory, don't treat it lightly. Being violated in such a way tends to have mental and social effects on someone. How they treat, treat it should be an integral part of their character.
19th Aug '13 11:05:13 AM lordGacek
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19th Aug '13 11:05:09 AM lordGacek
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However, whilst appearance and apparel may add to a character, they shouldn't ''define'' the character (unless they really ''are'' that vain), and it definitely shouldn't take a whole paragraph to describe. A dress is different to jeans; a short red dress is different to a long black dress. You don't need a paragraph describing [[HypocriticalHumor the creamy pearls encrusting the hemline in a]] [[PurpleProse lustrous paisley pattern, the elegant soot black lace encircling cuff and neckline,]] [[OverlyLongGag the smooth and shiny raven's wing black satin with a marl-effect finish, the daring and revealing slit to the thigh, the elegant midnight black bow adorning the]] [[SophisticatedAsHell butt]]. That sort of thing just tends to frustrate readers, unless they're actually ''looking'' for CostumePorn. Be sure to add tentacles where necessary.

to:

However, whilst appearance and apparel may add to a character, they shouldn't ''define'' the character (unless they really ''are'' that vain), and it definitely shouldn't take a whole paragraph to describe. A dress is different to jeans; a short red dress is different to a long black dress. You don't need a paragraph describing [[HypocriticalHumor the creamy pearls encrusting the hemline in a]] [[PurpleProse lustrous paisley pattern, the elegant soot black lace encircling cuff and neckline,]] [[OverlyLongGag the smooth and shiny raven's wing black satin with a marl-effect finish, the daring and revealing slit to the thigh, the elegant midnight black bow adorning the]] [[SophisticatedAsHell butt]]. That sort of thing just tends to frustrate readers, unless they're actually ''looking'' for CostumePorn. Be sure to add tentacles where necessary.
CostumePorn.
12th Jul '13 11:08:49 PM nombretomado
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In your story, you will typically want at least one character who is Admirable ("I wish I were this guy") and at least one character who is Accessible ("[[AudienceSurrogate I am this guy]]"). They are not required to be separate; HarryPotter, for instance, has both Access and Admiration traits, which is why he works as not only the hero of his eponymous franchise, but its primary narrator. In fact, as previously mentioned, it is best for ''every'' character to have both traits. If you've studied any fiction that's come out of Hollywood any time recently, however, you'll know that they've missed this memo--Creator/MichaelBay in particular has been unable to figure out Access traits for over a decade--so let's start with the basics of having at ''least'' one character who is audience-accessible.

Going back to HarryPotter for a moment will also let us notice something very interesting about Access Traits vs Admiration Traits: they are subjective. What are Harry's traits? He's courageous and quick-thinking under pressure; as early as the first book, Albus Dumbledore praises his "[[NervesOfSteel sheer outstanding nerve]]". He's intensely loyal to his TrueCompanions; since both his mother and father are dead, he is understandably protective of the people he has chosen to be his surrogate family. He's kind of a ''jock''--his scholastic efforts are desultory, and his main appeal amongst his classmates is the fact that he's a leading athlete. He is quite selfless, insisting on putting himself in the line of fire lest someone else get hurt. And he is the possessor of some form of PlotArmor: when Voldemort, the BigBad of the series, used a magic spell on him that kills anyone it's used on, period, end of story... it didn't kill him. He became [[TheChosenOne The Boy Who Lived]].

to:

In your story, you will typically want at least one character who is Admirable ("I wish I were this guy") and at least one character who is Accessible ("[[AudienceSurrogate I am this guy]]"). They are not required to be separate; HarryPotter, Franchise/HarryPotter, for instance, has both Access and Admiration traits, which is why he works as not only the hero of his eponymous franchise, but its primary narrator. In fact, as previously mentioned, it is best for ''every'' character to have both traits. If you've studied any fiction that's come out of Hollywood any time recently, however, you'll know that they've missed this memo--Creator/MichaelBay in particular has been unable to figure out Access traits for over a decade--so let's start with the basics of having at ''least'' one character who is audience-accessible.

Going back to HarryPotter Franchise/HarryPotter for a moment will also let us notice something very interesting about Access Traits vs Admiration Traits: they are subjective. What are Harry's traits? He's courageous and quick-thinking under pressure; as early as the first book, Albus Dumbledore praises his "[[NervesOfSteel sheer outstanding nerve]]". He's intensely loyal to his TrueCompanions; since both his mother and father are dead, he is understandably protective of the people he has chosen to be his surrogate family. He's kind of a ''jock''--his scholastic efforts are desultory, and his main appeal amongst his classmates is the fact that he's a leading athlete. He is quite selfless, insisting on putting himself in the line of fire lest someone else get hurt. And he is the possessor of some form of PlotArmor: when Voldemort, the BigBad of the series, used a magic spell on him that kills anyone it's used on, period, end of story... it didn't kill him. He became [[TheChosenOne The Boy Who Lived]].
5th Mar '13 1:32:24 PM SeptimusHeap
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Sometimes people plan their characters from the backstory onwards. Say you have a main character Bob, who (like most other characters) has someone he cares about-- [[DeadLittleSister let's say, a younger sister]]-- suffer a DeathByOriginStory. [[ILetGwenStacyDie He felt that he could/should have done something to prevent his sister's death]]. Because of this, he constantly feels the need to protect people, even at his own expense. See what we've got already? He's selfless, loyal, and maybe a bit dim.

to:

Sometimes people plan their characters from the backstory onwards. Say you have a main character Bob, who (like most other characters) has someone he cares about-- [[DeadLittleSister let's say, a younger sister]]-- sister-- suffer a DeathByOriginStory. [[ILetGwenStacyDie He felt that he could/should have done something to prevent his sister's death]]. Because of this, he constantly feels the need to protect people, even at his own expense. See what we've got already? He's selfless, loyal, and maybe a bit dim.
9th Dec '12 4:18:50 PM Wynne
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Art tends to reflect RealLife; characters are no exception. [[WriteWhoYouKnow Basing characters on people you know (whether you like them or not)]], or would like to meet in RealLife will help you make your characters feel like ''people'', and will help you avoid the more cliché characters [[{{Expy}} (that are often based on other author's works)]], and remain original.

to:

Art tends to reflect RealLife; characters are no exception. [[WriteWhoYouKnow Basing characters on people you know (whether you like them or not)]], or would like to meet in RealLife will help you make your characters feel like ''people'', and will help you avoid the more cliché characters [[{{Expy}} (that are often based on other author's authors' works)]], and remain original.
2nd Sep '12 11:21:11 AM FELH2
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The personality is the single most important aspect of your character, you may disregard or have a bad quality on the other traits like appearance and backstory. If your character doesn't have an interesting personality, he or she won´t be interesting at all even if the other traits are great.

See SoYouWantTo/DevelopCharacterPersonality for more.

to:

The personality is the single most important aspect of your character, you may disregard or have a bad quality on the other traits like appearance and backstory. If your character doesn't have an interesting personality, he or she won´t won't be interesting at all even if the other traits are great.

See SoYouWantTo/DevelopCharacterPersonality for more.
more.



In your story, you will typically want at least one character who is Admirable ("I wish I were this guy") and at least one character who is Accessible ("[[AudienceSurrogate I am this guy]]"). They are not required to be separate; HarryPotter, for instance, has both Access and Admiration traits, which is why he works as not only the hero of his eponymous franchise, but its primary narrator. In fact, as previously mentioned, it is best for ''every'' character to have both traits. If you've studied any fiction that's come out of Hollywood any time recently, however, you'll know that they've missed this memo--MichaelBay in particular has been unable to figure out Access traits for over a decade--so let's start with the basics of having at ''least'' one character who is audience-accessible.

to:

In your story, you will typically want at least one character who is Admirable ("I wish I were this guy") and at least one character who is Accessible ("[[AudienceSurrogate I am this guy]]"). They are not required to be separate; HarryPotter, for instance, has both Access and Admiration traits, which is why he works as not only the hero of his eponymous franchise, but its primary narrator. In fact, as previously mentioned, it is best for ''every'' character to have both traits. If you've studied any fiction that's come out of Hollywood any time recently, however, you'll know that they've missed this memo--MichaelBay memo--Creator/MichaelBay in particular has been unable to figure out Access traits for over a decade--so let's start with the basics of having at ''least'' one character who is audience-accessible.



We'd also like to hearken back to the previous topic of "HiddenDepths." "CharacterDevelopment" as a process is typically understood to involve the character themselves moving forward along their evolutionary path... but this is an overly narrow definition. {{Static Character}}s can be stars too; in fact, there is an entire ''genre'' of fiction, the {{Tragedy}}, that absolutely ''relies'' on the character being Static, on being unwilling or unable to acknowledge their FatalFlaw until it has already tied the noose round their necks. Note also the brilliant evolution of characters in ''{{LOST}}'', which depended so strongly on FlashBack. The characters may be Static today, but they weren't ''yesterday'', and we explore not where they are going tomorrow but where they were yesterday.

to:

We'd also like to hearken back to the previous topic of "HiddenDepths." "CharacterDevelopment" as a process is typically understood to involve the character themselves moving forward along their evolutionary path... but this is an overly narrow definition. {{Static Character}}s can be stars too; in fact, there is an entire ''genre'' of fiction, the {{Tragedy}}, that absolutely ''relies'' on the character being Static, on being unwilling or unable to acknowledge their FatalFlaw until it has already tied the noose round their necks. Note also the brilliant evolution of characters in ''{{LOST}}'', ''Series/{{Lost}}'', which depended so strongly on FlashBack. The characters may be Static today, but they weren't ''yesterday'', and we explore not where they are going tomorrow but where they were yesterday.
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