Ever want to hear the Nostromo from 1979′s Alien for 12 hours?

bowtie-wearing-alien asked:

Hello! My problem is that I have a storyline and plot but not characters - I just have empty shells but they're not well-developed. I've tried filling out character charts but they still feel very fake and unnatural to me. It's the first time that something like this have happened to me because I usually have the other way around: I have characters but no plot. Could you give me some advice how to get my characters to come alive?

Tl:dr: Don’t fret. Maybe your story isn’t about the characters at all.

Once upon a time (1990, to be exact), Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card wrote a book about How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. Now, OSC, love him or hate him, knew a thing or two about the craft when he wrote this, especially as it applies to speculative fiction genres, which I propose to include sci-fi, fantasy, historical fantasy, alt history and even horror.

He proposed that all stories are a mash-up of four elements: Milieu, Idea, Character and Event, or the MICE Quotient. To some extent, one of these concepts must dominate the others. Let me break them down for you:

The Milieu is the world the story is set in. Every story has one, but sometimes, it’s the world the writer cares most about. In Gulliver’s Travels, as OSC notes, the point of the story is to visit these different places and either compare them to the societies of Swift’s time, or, for us readers now, to compare them to our societies. It would have been absurd, therefore, to blather on about Gulliver’s childhood. Rather, the story starts and ends with his journey.

The Idea story starts with a question, and the point of the story is to answer that question. Mystery stories are essentially Idea stories, generally answering the question “Who killed this person?” Mystery readers are accustomed to this story structure, so they don’t need to find a dead body on page 1. But in other genres, if you’re writing an Idea story, you should make it clear relatively early on.

The Character story. We know this one. Done properly, a Character story is about “the transformation of a character’s role in the communities that matter most” to that character. Here’s the meat of the answer to your question: “It is a common misconception that all good stories must have full characterization. That is not quite true. All good Character stories must have good characterization, because that is what they are about; and other kinds of stories can have full characterization, as long as the reader is not misled” into expecting one when the story is really something else. (p. 79, from the 2001 edition).

In the Event story, something is wrong with the natural order of your created world, and (most commonly), the story is about setting things back the way they’re supposed to be. Or creating the world that should be. Or, most rarely, watching the world descend into chaos. 

Regardless of which MICE story you write, “The most important thing is that you must end the story that you begin.” Don’t promise a Milieu story and then get into chapters of detail about how your MC grew up. 

So if you get seriously bogged down, and the editing process isn’t going to fix it, maybe you need to rethink the kind of story you’re telling, and you need to go back to the beginning to fix it. (Save your drafts, all of them!)

Now, if you’re still bent on writing a character-driven story, or you still need to flesh out characters in another story format, make sure you check out our tags section; perhaps there are resources there that can help. 

If not, then please submit another ask with a specific example, and maybe we can help you debug. 

My lil alien baby oc. Im not sure what to call them yet. Im thinking Cosmo but Im still not sure!

Their mouth is on their forehead and uses it to threaten when they feel in danger. \They also have a long tongue that grabs you, pulls you in to bite your head off, but only if you show any form of threat to them! ;u; Otherwise they’re a pretty docile creature uvu 


On May 23rd 2015 in Dallas, Texas, two different witnesses snapped pictures of these orbs of lights. (x

Dallas has been swarming with UFOs lately, specifically orbs. If you live in Dallas or have seen a UFO nearby, please let me know! 


skullalienz masterpost:

i’ve had this story idea running for almost 3 years with little or no development and also i keep changing how things look so i just grouped them all together in one post to look at. this year i have promised myself that i will return to oortz stuff, and will start actually drawing the comic, though right now i dont even know like when that will be. this “alien species” has shown up in works that i have done for other people/bands, though. 

EDIT: also forgot to say that i tried to set these up in chronological order, that first pic was one of the first designs/drawings of the oortz character i ever did in 2012