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Evolution of Characters:
Does anyone have any characters who have changed a good deal from when you first invisioned them?
Writer's Welcome WagonOf course. Let's say that Bryan and Finn had started out as images, and I've deepened their characterizations over the span of almost two years.
Who's ready to fight for their lives?As detailed in the character origins topic I made a day ago, Derzin was originally a bland slate in the story to have someone wielding handblades. I had the idea to kill him off in the second book, and have him interact with the former Mooks, who are characterized as a Hive Mind barely-organic species, and have him gradually assimilated into their Gestalt because he received a replacement arm. Now he becomes sort of an ascended personality, in a species where any individually is reserved for monarchs, at a rate of thousands per leader
Me and my friend's collaborative webcomic: Forged Men
Easily entertainedKokabiel is a strange case — it started as a morally ambiguous Enigmatic Minion, looking out for the protagonist and its family for its own reasons but otherwise serving its master without question. But as time progressed and it started to develop a rapport with its organic wards, it went from "polite, patient, and utterly devoid of any sort of human morality" to "cranky, arrogant, sarcastic, but genuinely concerned about the well-being of others." Unfortunately, I'm not entirely sure if it was an evolution per se, or just proof I'm not a good enough writer to pull off a character with true Blue and Orange Morality for any length of time.
edited 2nd Apr '13 7:53:48 PM by KillerClowns
Noir Urban Fantasy in which men die for meaningless reasons and the main hero is a clinical sociopath. The protagonist, Fausto Cross, my favorite hero and main protagonist, starting off as a carbon copy of John Constantine. He evolved to get his own personality, but remained a generic demon hunter with Lovable Rogue traits. He got his own personality when I analyzed what it would be the pyschological effects of a man in a demon hunter life, and thus, Cross became a clinical sociopath [In that, he has a severe lack of empathy for everyone and is utterly ruthless] and The Stoic. Essentially, he went from Han Solo to Garth Ennis' Punisher. Quite a brutal shift. Trait that remained: His clothes. Even his appearance shifted, he hair went from blonde to red and he became acquired the muscle mass of a wrestler. The main antagonist was originally a demon called Pain, the torture master of Hell, he was a Generic Doomsday Villain in his original interpretation. As the universe evolved, I noticed he was way too bland, so he went from Big Bad to The Brute. In the literal sense: He's a almost mindless behemoth who serves the actual main antagonist. Trait that remained: The torture master thing. Speaking of the Devil, as I retooled the story, the main antagonist became Leviathan, a general of Hell. In the original version, being The Man Behind the Man was his only character trait, he was a humorless, serious and stoic villain who only occasionally acted in some things, and in a very simplistic way. In the new story, he was amped up to a Bismarckian politician of Hell who is The Chessmaster to end all chessmasters who orchestrated essentially 98% of all the problems in Cross' life, his personality went from serious and stoic to the exact opposite: He's a Large Ham Deadpan Snarker Faux Affably Evil sort of guy. Traits that remained: his lack of fighting skill, Evil Old Folks appearance, and his scheming tendencies were amped up from "a mildly good The Strategist" to "The best The Chessmaster of the 'verse short of God himself".
Mustelidae = awesomeIn my webcomic idea, the Jerk Ass started out as an expy of Babs Bunny. No, really.
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?
Eye'm the cutest!
Does anyone have any characters who have changed a good deal from when you first invisioned them?All of Them. They have all evolved and changed beyond their original designs. Some went from "killed off for a tragic event" one shot to recurring better fleshed out characters in their own right. Some like my main characters changed completely. (For instance in my work, Colonel Barry Smith was much more subdued and quiet than he is now.) Others originally slated to live throughout the trilogy, are fated to die.
edited 3rd Apr '13 7:34:48 AM by MajorTom
"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."
I think the most extreme case for me is on an ongoing project of mine where the character in question has evolved from being the male lead protagonist to a recurring side character to - as of this moment - the main villain/antagonist of the plot. Likewise, he's changed from being the heir of a lord to a Romani outcast to now, being an out-of-the-job tinker. All while somehow filling the exact same role in the plot and remaining true to the core of the character. I foresee that by the time I'm done, he'd have turned into an Eldritch Abomination.
edited 3rd Apr '13 8:34:46 AM by peasant
Who you are does not matter.Samuel began as...somewhat lesser, really. He was both more and less human, someone smaller in relation to the events of the story. He's grown a great deal, emotionally, and in relation to the story. More than viewpoint, now an actor. Manifests the leader's mask pretty strongly though there's clearly something beneath it, perhaps not something pleasant anymore considering some of his reactions when it cracks.
"Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other...and rise."
Thunder, Perfect MindOh, dear... A few of my characters have remained essentially the same throughout the many drafts of my current story, but many have not. I will only single out those than went through particularly interesting or extreme metamorphoses.
edited 3rd Apr '13 10:28:25 PM by JHM
I had a cool dream with something happening to someone and made the character of Michmethah as the person for that thing to happen to. I tried giving her a definite personality with goals and interests and everything like that, but nothing would stick. Then we read The Stranger by Camus in my lit class and I realized I didn't have to give the character much of an obvious personality. She could be extremely neutral and apathetic, and people would think she was weird for it. (Note that this was before I'd seen any examples of emotionless girls. Now that I have, I know that's obviously the personality type I was going for.) As I wrote the story I ended up figuring out Michmethah's personality anyways beyond the emotionless aspect. I knew what she liked, what she wanted, and how she'd gotten to be who she was. I'm finished now and I think I have a pretty rounded character out of it. I think it's my best example of me figuring out the character as I went along.
Oh definitely, my characters did total heel face turns in regard to personality bu the time I managed to write the first few chapters. Lauchlan was originally a cultured warrior with a serious case of stepford snarker and Corbin a blue collar warlock and a native of dysfunction junction both of them ending up stuck in a huge crash of emotional wall against emotional wall. After I started writing I quickly realized that the whole suppressed anguish angle wasn't working, I made Lauchlan sound like a whining mary sue instead of the interesting and sympathetic character I wanted. While Corbin was turning out alright the magic angle was proving too much of a road block, I had to reference and write about it often as it was integral to his character and lifestyle, but it never actually added anything to the story, so I ended up removing them from the swords and sorcery setting all together and placing them in a semi Victorian/Edwardian setting, retooling their characters and professions completely. Now Lauchlan's a bit of a cloud cuckoo lander with no social skills and is rather aspergian. He still has the history, appearance and mannerisms of the original iteration but they've molded him in a different way. The softer character feels much more natural to write, and I feel more confident in my skills to center the story around them. I also think the more soft spoken and optimistic viewpoint acts as a much greater foil to Corbin's cynical world view. In retrospect I wish I'd spent more time hammering them out before I dived into writing though, the first chapters I posted to the interwebs still hold vestiges of their original drafts and it niggles at me whenever I see them. If I can manage it I'd love to take it apart and re write it from the ground up, but if I did I know I'd spend so much time fiddling with it I'll never actually finish their story.
edited 3rd Apr '13 11:43:00 PM by Lockedbox
KWWell, one of my character had a 180. He started out as a care free Chivalrous Pervert. Now he's a "Well Done, Son" Guy who ends up with Zen Survivor.
edited 28th Aug '13 12:52:31 AM by KW
Like fantasy? Like Samurai stories? check this out.
[NUCLEAR LAUNCH DETECTED]Yes, I had. The characters in one of my (unpublished) games were originally robots. Until somebody pointed out the Artistic License - Physics in the weapons. So I had the characters made into Energy Beings from Another Dimension, who had limited control over the laws of physics. Thus, the physics-breaking weapons became justified.
Mustelidae = awesomeLong post ahead:
My "story" setting, which is mostly NSFW furry, had a long trip. My first character was a llama-gryphon hybrid I made at age 14. The llama part was because I liked The Emperor's New Groove. I chucked him quickly because I didn't like the direction the character was going. He had some lame generic fantasy "lair" that I'm sure I ripped off wholesale from Harry Potter just before I gave up on that series. I quickly created an otter version of me, whose name was @. That's right, his name was an at sign. I then changed his name to a variation of my middle name, which is rather standard. I then set him aside and chose to represent myself as a fox/weasel/dragon named Kent A. Cohut (after the "Kentaco Hut", a KFC/Taco Bell/Pizza Hut combo). Then I chucked him because I didn't like him, and whittled him down to a fox named Ferris. Then a blue ferret named Cleveland. (Or maybe those last two were the other way around, I forget.) Then I brought the otter back, turned him blue, and put a beret and black sweater on him. Then he switched back to normal otter colors, stopped wearing glasses, and became taller and leaner, as a means of separating him from me physically. Over about six years, the otter character changed a lot, until I finally settled on his appearance, personality, and attire, only within the past couple years or so. Otter's girlfriend was originally a petite female ferret, whom I was always drawing as a Rubber Woman, getting stretched and tied into knots. That got old, so I got rid of her. Sometime around the blue-otter era, I introduced a female fox traced from random furry art, but I think I only drew her twice before eliminating her. I then created a female kangaroo, who started off more normal-sized and cherry red, then became smaller and teal. I merged her with an older character from the Kent A. Cohut days who was a female kangaroo-armadillo hybrid, and just made a regular female kangaroo. And she evolved personality-wise, too. I think her personality actually cemented well before the otter, who is supposed to be my "main" character. Sometime back when my otter character was still named @, I created a small booklet full of random characters. I drew head shots and created brief personalities for each, but none really took off. One was a goth something-or-other guy with Peek-a-Bangs; one was a two-headed female hybrid of something; and I forget the rest. I don't think I drew any of them more than once, but they were supposed to be part of a comic I wanted to make called Work in Progress. I kept drawing them on and off until about 2005 or 2006, when I just gave up. Looking back at my later drawings, I could see that I was improving, but I just kept getting distracted before finishing a drawing, and frustrated that I couldn't make them look as good as I wanted.
Then my other universe, which I originally conceived in late 2008-early 2009 as a storyboard for a cartoon called Drawn In, which would involve a cartoonist getting pulled into the world he created. The first character I made there was a "jackibou" (like a jackalope, but jackrabbit/caribou instead) who was originally a loose expy of Sally Acorn and Babs Bunny. Like Sally, she wore little to no clothing, and had obvious boobs obscured by fur. The idea for Drawn In had come from the fact that I had just watched Tiny Toon Adventures for the first time in ages, and was trying to emulate its humor style. But I was at a creative nadir — I hadn't drawn in years, so my first attempt at drawing Jillian looked like an 8-year-old drew it. Some time later, around late 2010, I started drawing again after a long hiatus. I drew a retooled Jillian who had a less cartoonish look, and then an otter-bat hybrid named June as a shout-out to The Life and Times of Juniper Lee (which I had just seen for the first time). I liked what I had, so I bounced them back and forth. June originally wore just a giant hoodie and something random on her head; early on, she also had Fish Eyes to emulate Nutty from Happy Tree Friends (with whom she shares a serious case of Sweet Tooth). I found myself constantly going back to the June and the improved Jillian, and liking what I had. Jillian gained a boyfriend named Jerrod who's armadillo/squirrel, and I tried making a fourth character who was a kangaroo/rat hybrid Straight Man, but I just couldn't make him pop. Eventually, this started forming into a webcomic idea, Confused Continuity, with Jillian and June working and living together. Even after I started cementing their personalities, they changed some. Jillian originally had Hair Antennae which I later removed as too distracting. Her outfit also changed a few times — for a while, she was bottomless — before I decided to avert Limited Wardrobe entirely and just have her wear basic clothing. June was originally a little more cartoony, and always wore an oversized hoodie. Then I decided to draw her without the hoodie on as a means of working on her anatomy. Both of them ended up with Gag Boobs, Jillian first, because I was bored and wanted to draw them that way. June stopped putting random things on her head. However, June still has a more noodly body and shorter limbs to somewhat emulate an otter's body.
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?
Exitus Acta ProbatHas happened a lot to me. I think it's a natural consequence of spending a long time working on one setting and set of characters. As you work on the characters they're likely to slowly change to fit better into the story you're developing. For me, the most obvious cases in Forgotten Lore are Zaran and Priest. Zaran hasn't really changed that much from her creation, biggest change being her going from "demon who acts Chaotic Neutral instead of Chaotic Evil as a form of rebellion" to "demon who is Chaotic Neutral because in this setting demons don't have to be Chaotic Evil" (more on that later). However, the reason why she counts is that she started out as two separate characters, who I eventually combined into one. While she retains a similar personality to one of said characters, she lost most of that character's defining traits (some of those traits still exist but are now minor traits rather than defining her chracter). Priest started out as a one-shot antagonist who didn't even have a real name. He's called Priest because that's what he is (well, technically he isn't an actual priest, but a member of an organisation that fights supernatural creatures, who disquses himself as one), and he triest to kill Zaran because, well, she's a demon. He's not portrayed very positively, as he acts overtly zealously and ignores people trying to explain him that he's mistaken. I wasn't really happy with the character being little more than a strawman so I decided to include him in more stories and develop his character. He goes from an antagonist to a supporting character after realising the protagonists and he share a common goal and starts helping them. Although he does have some obvious flaws (mainly tendency to act first and think later), I've portrayed him more fairly in later appearances. Forgotten Lore itself has gone through some evolution, changing focus from more traditional supernatural elements like ghosts and demons to more Lovecraftian, with evil cultists and sorcerers and a certain Eldritch Abomination as the big bad. This has made the remaining traditional supernatural elements seem somewhat out of place, but I haven't been willing to write them out yet (especially Zaran, since she is actually very critical for the plot and I'd have to redo pretty much everything from the scratch if I removed her). And what comes to the demons (I said I'd come back to it), well, the place Zaran is from started as a generic Hell-dimension with deneric demons, and no real background beyond that. However, as I started fleshing our her backstory, I also started fleshing out her world, and it ended up developing into somethign completely different. Although I do kind of feel that the demons being, well, demons is completely incidental now. After they stopped being the manifestations of pure evil you could just replace them with, I don't know, elves or something (albeit elves whose societies are all Lawful Evil dictatorships embroiled in a seemingly eternal 7-way war. So not at all like elves).
Basically most of my characters started out as Mary Sues or Marty Stus (or Suetiful All Among) from other concepts. And later I changed the enviroment around them, and more realistic scenarios needed. For example the guitar-fighting graphic novel started as running more on Rule of Cool than now (originally it had some lame concept, later the Fidesz and Jobbik in here Hungary influenced me and I added neo-nazis as villains), later the lead became a Broken Ace and borderline Ax-Crazy (mostly in his fights) instead of the personality-less Marty Stu. I also had a series of problems (and still has) with the writing of the female characters, then I managed to make them not overly beautiful, and instead make a wide array of looks. But the most radical is possibly my cyberpunk RPG's main character: he was a Marty Stu UP TO ELEVEN (the rest of the characters wasn't better). Originally as a space-opera character (for a FPS game), he had psychic powers, was a great sniper, was strong, a great pilot, etc. Everything that could imagined. Possibly justified that he's a super-human, but still... Now he's a thug hacker, has nothing to do in his life but hacking into other's computers just for fun, until he discovers some government secret. Now he also features some character development depending on your choices in the game (especially as a Lighter and Softer cyberpunk, he can be really heroic).
Wolf1066The most extreme example is the main character from one of my earlier works (as in, I started on it back in the early '80s) who began based on my character from the Cyberpunk RPG game I was playing (so, yes, a major Marty Stu) who was basically an Expy/blatant rip-off of The Saint (but nowhere near as well done) - blithely preying on criminals, shooting villains and somehow avoiding being caught by the (comically inept) cops, going by the soubriquet of "the Black Knight" and operating in a gritty Dark Future version of the town I lived in - seriously, I haven't dared read any of the earlier drafts for well over 15 years as the last time I did had me cringing so much I gave up part way through. The character evolved to become a realistically portrayed Personal Protection Specialist (a.k.a. Bodyguard) - head of a team of bodyguards-for-hire ("Black Knight Security Ltd") and operating under the constraints of the law (mostly). The character's still based on me/my CP 2020 character (my personality but with a waaaaay cooler job than I've got) but with the Stuish/Sueish traits knocked off, realistic flaws, a backstory that explains his outlook on life and a great team of co-workers, friends and contacts. At the same time the Big Bad changed from being a paper-thin baddie with no real motivations (OK, he was a finger-twirled waxed moustache short of being a Victorian Villain) to an intelligent opponent with his own twisted justifications for committing murder and the 'verse shifted from Cyberpunk to Post-Cyberpunk as I removed a lot of the unrealistic aspects. The plot also changed so much as to be unrecognisable, becoming more a Fish out of Water situation as the team of bodyguards found themselves having to act as Missing Persons Investigators (and applying the skills they would normally use to perform an "Advance" to track a missing person). If I changed all the names and removed the "Black Knight" reference, you wouldn't see any similarities between the two at all aside from the fact you could use the word "Cyberpunk" in describing them.
Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
BFS EnthusiastNew Dawn's many characters went through a lot of change.
edited 31st Aug '13 12:12:31 AM by NickTheSwing
Big Bad became more ruthless as time passed by. He was originally more akin to a Corrupt Corporate Executive or a Railroad Baron (hence the name), but his power reach upgraded and he became a Evil Overlord. His character ended up taking inspiration from Josef Stalin and he became less of a Corrupt Corporate Executive and more of a fascist who ruled over half of Europe.
ResearcherAll the time. When I was in school and writing I would based a character on myself and import Cammy from Street Fighter, that character would later evolve to be someone completely different. In college when I got into Evangelion and Resident Evil I had a Rei Ayanami Expy and one based on Rebecca, who these days would be completely unrecognizable. A lot of my characters would begin from seeing something that I like and using that, before twisting them and changing them so that they are their own. That Rei expy for example, I changed the name, I changed their looks, personality, so they were not a...heh, clone. Then over the years in using them I would change this detail, that detail, change the name again, had them evolve as they would were they real people, change over the years. That goes the other way as well. Peter Marsters in my story was modified because I think James Marstars could play the role, there is a bit of him in the character, but he didn't start out that way, he was based on another idea and giving him a basis of who the character is or could be gives sort of a framework in writing him. I think you need to, evolve a character to better fit for a story. Rather than a Bad Ass Action Girl who is not afraid to use guns, modify them so they don't like guns, make them more human, sympathetic, personable. These days I don't really draw on other influences for what I write as I have built up enough to be able to use my own.
The mark of a good story means not feeling like The Angry Video Game Nerd hearing it.
Impudent UpstartDiscussing adapting characters from other settings: I've done very much the same thing. I had a habit of taking otherwise minor characters (especially from video games) and adding them to my stories, only giving them more backstory, personality, etc. Eventually they change so much as the story shifts and is rewritten in my mind they're usually completely different people by the end. The most obvious changes to my cast I've noticed are in two recurring female protagonists I've used for quite a few stories. Vlenn was a fairly bland heroic figure who was always calm headed and the voice of reason, while Saddow was more sarcastic and bitter, and very quick to use violence to solve her problems. Vlenn is now become more sarcastic, and is actually now the better fighter, though she's still the most agreeable member of the group, while Saddow became more introverted and is now the team care taker, though she's still dangerous if she has to be, and most of her snark is now entirely internal.
Nobody wants to be a pawn in the game of life. What they don't realize is the game of life is Minesweeper.
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