Creating Characters – Part 8?

by juliusmsanz

Alright, Creating Characters is back!

Let’s get started right away by pointing out the obvious: no matter how much background or special quirks you give your character, the part that really shines is his/her personality. It’s not very difficult to make a character an orphan searching for the murderer of his/her parents, but why is that path being taken? And how does the character achieve such feats?

It all boils down to that character’s personality.

Now conceiving a personality is not very difficult, but you need to be somewhat consistent. The way I do it is I picture a character type in my head and use personality tests to complement it. Although it should be noted that this is just the first step. Let’s talk about a couple of things here: is the character punctual? Now this shouldn’t really pay a big part in a story, but it gives something to consider on certain key points in the story. I tend to be very punctual, always arriving early, that is because I don’t like making people wait and would be upset if people made me wait an unreasonable amount of time. But this is not the case with everybody, some people have this tendency to arrive late no matter what. Why do they do it? Do they think it’s fashionable? Do they lack a sense of time or just take too long to get to places? Are they just forgetful?

Naturally all these questions pop in my mind, brainstorming, but you shouldn’t stop there, there are still plenty of questions to be asked. Let’s give out yet another example: does the character feel the need to isolate himself/herself every now and then? I do, I need to recharge my batteries every once in a while and like to have my own personal space and moments. Yet some people don’t really need this and can keep on engaging others for a long, long time. Do they do this because they fear being alone? Do they do this because they are genuinely chatters or good people who like to share experiences?

The more personality questions you answer the better feel you have for your character, and that I believe is key. There are 16 types of personalities, these are just basic types and do not mean there are only 16 types of people in this world. Considering each and every one of these questions, and I’ll try to give a little bit of insight on some of the questions, you have a bigger grasp on how the end result could turn into an extremely complex and rich character. We are already past the age of two-dimensional characters, villains need to be more than evil and heroes need to be more than saints.

Now returning to the orphan bit, some people would enlist the aid of the police, others would prefer to take revenge onto their own hands, some would even forget about the situation because of fear or lack of interest. The possibilities are endless. How we do things boils down to our personalities. Let me give you another quick example: when it comes to conflict I tend to avoid it, but there are others that take the challenge head on. Why do each of us have different takes on different subjects?

Take notice of one thing: you do not want to create a Mary Sue type of character, so it’s ok to give the character some flaws, the more flaws he/she has the better, because you can expand and work on those flaws. Think of characters as people; they may be very friendly in small groups, but hate big crowds, they may feel anxious about certain things, the possibilities are endless and we are just scratching the surface here.

Tomorrow will be difficult for me to write a post, but I’ll try to have something.

Have a nice day!