Posts belonging to Category Characterization

Choosing a Main Character

This was supposed to have gone up a week ago. I don’t know why it didn’t.
A lot of us writers have it easy. We have one strong character idea and are ready to center a story around them, or we have a strong plot idea and just need to design a character who can [...]

Characterization Exercise: Where Is This Problem Going?

I blame the US government shutdown for this one. If I hadn’t been tracking it, trying to figure out whether I’d be out of work (and then, when I’d go back to it), I’d wouldn’t have gotten suckered onto far too many comment threads. (Curse my curiosity!) If I hadn’t been looking at the comment [...]

Weaponized Weaknesses

I’ve talked a lot about the kinds of things a character can turn into weapons—but then there’s one of my favorite ways, one that backfires easily, but that works spectacularly. What happens when a character uses her own weaknesses as part of her arsenal?
Things get interesting.
Part of it is just the effect. A character uses [...]

Exercise: Ten Questions

Sometimes, you have a character (or other story element or feature) who just isn’t coming through. Sometimes, you have a person—in your audience, in your game group, wherever—whose take on what you’re doing you just can’t figure out. And sometimes, you can get these two things to cancel out.
In some order, choose yourself a character [...]

Degrees of Backstory Characters

Into every character’s backstory, a few characters who aren’t the backstory’s central character must fall. They don’t live in a vacuum, after all. (And if they do, they’re probably pretty boring characters, and lack verisimilitude. Even hermits usually had someone who raised them.) That doesn’t mean they’re all created the same, though.
Overall, backstory characters are [...]

A Short Thought on the Visual First Impression

They say that a writer should research and backstory and take all the notes in the world, then file them all away and only directly reference about 10%, with the rest leaking through in dribs and drabs as the narrative progresses. I begin to think that the people who describe their character stepping into the [...]

More Characterization Catalysts

Yesterday, I talked about factors that might affect how easily someone can backstory a character. Pretty much as soon as I’d finalized the post, I found a few more.
Minimum requisite information. Some worlds just seem to demand a better idea why people are what they are and do what they do than others. If you [...]

Characterization Catalysts

Over the break, I found myself involved in three new games (long stories, all of them), so I found myself doing up characters for all three in the span of about a week—and all of it was right smack dab in the middle of another noveling attempt, meaning that I was, in different ways, working [...]

Reprise: Secondary Character Exercise: Someone Else’s Story

Originally posted January 27, 2010.
One of the biggest problems people often see with secondary characters is when their creator doesn’t take much of an interest in them. I’m not saying they suddenly need to steal the story, but it helps to spend a little time in their heads, make them more than [...]

Ravyn Freewrites: I Want

It’s fascinating how important a phrase “I want” can be.
In many of the stories I read, “I want” just isn’t a thing. The characters have vague desires, yes, but most of what they end up going for is more “Do not want” than “I want”. Reactive rather than proactive, unless they’re the antagonists. It’s something [...]