Posts belonging to Category Character image

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 [...]

Characterization Exercise: Retelling and Reaction

A long time ago, I suggested an exercise in which the object of the game was to come up with a character’s retelling of an event, in voice. But no story is told in a vacuum, and few are told without someone to hear them.
For this exercise, then, choose two characters and one event. It [...]

Reprise: Four Ways to Show a Character’s Skill Without Having Her Use It

Originally posted on June 30, 2009

One complaint people often have about bad writers is that they claim their characters are good at doing a certain thing or have a certain interest, but there’s next to no evidence in the text that it’s actually true. Characters who love books [...]

Showing Politically Skilled Characters

Let’s face it, intrigue is fun: it creates cerebral rather than physical conflicts, gives the audience a chance to match wits with the characters, and leads to some of the best sneaky maneuvering and one-liners a fictional setting can allow. Then it gets tangled up with politics, and things get really interesting; a politically skilled [...]

Reprise: Awesome Vs. Better Than You: A Character Continuum

Originally posted on March 24, 2010.
I find there’s a continuum over which powerful characters (either compared to the PCs in a game, or compared to the world in which they’re in) tend to fall. On one end, you have the characters who are truly Awesome; one can envy them, but they’re much [...]

Distinctive Silhouettes in Prose

Yesterday I talked about distinctive silhouettes and why they’re important in comics and other visual media. My question, thinking about this, then became “What’s the prose equivalent? How do we manage distinctive silhouettes when we’re limited to words?
The first thing we need to remember is that for the prose silhouette, most aspects of appearance aren’t [...]

Distinctive Silhouettes

One of the panels I attended at Comic-Con was Bryan Tillman talking about character design—or more specifically, visual character design. I came, I saw, and needless to say, I started thinking about how to apply what I’d learned to prose, to the point where I ended up following up on the jokingly oft-repeated exhortation to [...]

Characterization Exercise: Code of Conduct

One of the toughest things about a relatively new character can be figuring out where their boundaries and obligations lie—which is a pity, because those can be the fastest way of making a character interesting. Shinali recently poked me with a solution, based on her regular quoting of Gibbs’s Rules: write the character up a [...]

On the Corruption of Fictional Bureaucrats

Corruption. It’s one of those dark things that we like to use to make antagonists out of characters who really don’t seem like the type to go into full-out villainy, pretty much as soon as we step into a setting that screams out “bureaucracy”. They’re evil HR managers, embezzling accountants, stock traders with inside information—they’re [...]

Antagonists and the Details That Redeem Them

This was inspired by (and, in fact, supposed to be a comment to, before it turned post-length on me) the recent Hathor Legacy article “Pride and Possession”. In it, Gena responds to seeing a debate on whether or not Mother Gothel might not have been so bad after all (I’ll admit, this concept rather scares [...]