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Character Sheets and character creation →
When creating a character, there’s a lot of questions you ask yourself. Whether it’s an original character or one you’ve been playing for a long time, using a character sheet to get to know your character better can always be a nice idea. With it’s help, you’ll be able to think about things you didn’t necesarily thought about, and ask some important questions to yourself that might activate your character’s voice, or help you to get your muse back with them. Everyone has their favorite character sheets, some people prefer to have a lot of questions, some others like it a bit more vague, so here’s a masterlist of the character sheets I found on various websites and found quite interesting, plus some other things that could be used to help you see, for example, how other character view yours.
- Blank Character Sheet (+370 Questions)
- Abridged Character Sheet (100 Questions)
- Big-Ass Character Sheet
- Character Creation Form
- Character Sheet by Jody Hedlund
- Creating a character Bio Sheet
- Character Analysis Worksheet
- 100 Character Development questions for writers
- Create a Character Profile
- Character Development Worksheet
- Original Character Bio-Sheet
- Character Chart for Fiction Writers
- A Character Chart By Charlotte Dillon
- Fiction Writer’s Character Chart
- Detailed Character Sheet
- Character Sheet Template
- Character Twenty-Question Worksheet
- In-Depth Character Sheet
- Character Worksheet
- Character Interview Sheet (First Person)
- Background Questionnaire (First Person)
- Characters Perceptions (How do other people perceive your character?)
- A lot of questions to develop your character here
- (23/05 Edit) Character Traits Meme
Then, if you’re trying to create a character, and do not have many ideas, or get stuck, I’d suggest for you to roam around TVTropes, which gives you a lot of tropes used for character creation. Maybe you could try to mix a few of these and create an original character?
Or, if you’re a skillful writer and know how to make your character different from another, make a list of characters in fiction you happen to find interesting and why. Try to keep it short. Then, maybe, try to mix and match things from two or three characters, take a character and change their backstory, to see what would change. Play with them to inspire yourself and create something new, original and truly yours.
Oh, and here’s a little guide to Mary-Sues and OCs, just in case you want to make sure your character isn’t going to become a Mary-Sue or a Gary-Stu
And last but not least, this article about building fictional character definitely seemed interesting to me, and is full of many other links that could guide you during the creating of your character and help you file one of these sheets.
Genre Help: Horror
Hey, y’all! How’s that writing coming along?
FEARS (in Children)
Common Things Kids Are Afraid Of ~ Things that may not scare adults but are very real to children
Children and Fear ~ Includes stages of life and fears most common in those years (ranges from infants to teenagers)
FEARS (in Adults)
100 Things That Scare Me ~ Not all are life-or-death situations, but a good place to start thinking of ‘the worst case scenario’
Adult Fear (TVTropes) ~ With links and examples
Nighttime Fears and Adulthood ~ Interesting short article of the effects of unresolved childhood fears in adults (namely the dark)
Lingering Fears From Childhood to Adult ~ Another article
Horrific Setting/Scene ~ Almost looks like a writing prompt/English paper assignment, but a good place to look over and get an idea
STORY FORMULA / TIPS
Rule of Scary (TVTropes) ~ With examples at the bottom
Horror Tropes (TVTropes) ~ Long list of links related to different aspects of horror. Includes setting, characters, expansion on genres, etc.
Nightmare Fuel (TVTropes) ~ Gives examples (and links) of different things people may (or may not) be terrified of, such as mutilation, the paranormal, extreme violence, being hunted, etc.
I personally find this a tricky subject, but I’d recommend tapping into your own personal fears and reflect that into your writing as best you can.
Try also thinking about the way some horror authors write, like Stephen King or Edgar Allan Poe. Read into some if you haven’t.
Comments? Questions? Advice? Feel free to submit!
The Strong Female Character (or: hey! your sexism is showing!)
It’s interesting (read: infuriating) to me that so many writers and fans think adding strong to the title of female character is anything BUT sexist. Look at what that is saying—we never say “strong male character” because it’s implied. Male characters are mostly treated well by writers—they’re complex and fleshed out and they are usually active participants in the plot.
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"Why?" She said questioningly
I really really really want to know why. Why do people say we can’t use adverbs? I’ve read books and they use adverbs. What’s with adverbs really? By the way, i love you blog—it’s been said many times already but there’s nothing else I could do to make you happy but know it. - drowningchimes
Do not believe anything that tells you you can’t use this or that in your writing. There is not, by any means, a right way to write. You can use adverbs in your writing. Adverbs are a fundamental part of speech, no different than any other.
The problem comes when people use them a lot. When you use any word or type of word continuously, it shows. It gets repetitive. It gets annoying. They also happen to be the part of speech most likely to clutter your sentence to no avail. They can weaken your prose:
- They can be reduntant. E.g: “I hate these idiots!” He yelled angrily. You have a strong verb right here, no need to use “angrily”, I got the idea he was angry.
- They can prop up a weak verb. Let’s take a look at “to boldly go”. Okay, split infinitive. What I mean is that just saying “to go” sorta sounds bland. You may think the adverb is necessary. But no. The verb just happens to be weak, generic, bland. How about replacing the verb? “To venture”, “To explore”. These verbs are more specific, more evocative so to speak.
- The speech tags deal. We go back to talking about “said”. Instead of picking some pompous word to replace said, we spice it up with an adverb. This is often (yet, not always) unecessary. Most of the time, you can let the dialogue speak for itself. Or you can use more things to explain how the characters are saying it, if it’s not clear. “I am dying here!” Kyle waved his arms in the air, trying to make his friends notice him.
- You (probably are) telling instead of showing.
Before using an adverb, you can ask yourself these questions:
1) Does it change the word it modifies? Does it make the verb or adjective mean something drastically different?
2) Does it convey some vital piece of information in a way that’s better or more evocative than real description or a stronger verb by itself?
It’s a thing on style, however. If you like to use lots of adverbs, and feel like they’re necessary, go for it.
In the end, yes, books have adverbs. You can use adverbs. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t. Do ask yourself if the message you’re trying to get across with your writing is being sent the best way it can be.
What is a main character?
Every story has to have at least one main character. There can certainly be more, but there cannot be less. The main character provides the focus for the story, and drive the action of the story. (Keep in mind that when I say action, I don’t mean your story should be packed with action. It could just be two people eating lunch, action is whatever drives the plot.)
(One more note to say that your main character does not have to be a person either. There are plenty of stories we can turn to show that point.)
Let’s consider some combinations and main character counts:
One main character
Your character doesn’t have to stand alone, but that character and that character alone are the focus. This is their story. Think of Arthur Dent from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or James Bond. There are plenty of other significant characters, but the story is really about them.
You will have other major characters, perhaps, but this isn’t their story.
Two main characters
This style can fall under a variety of categories: Romance, Adventure, Buddy Story. This story focuses on the relationship between the two characters as they face whatever challenge is presented. They do not have to be friends, or even like each other! But their stories are usually intertwined in a way such that you can’t tell one without the other.
Also they NEED to share perspective time. In order for both characters to be main characters the narrator must explain their motives and feelings equally, or in a first person point of view they must both have speaking time.
Examples: The Lethal Weapon movies, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Of Mice and Men. (This is a less popular style of writing for books, so examples are harder to find.)
This really isn’t as easy as it sounds. Working with a group of characters that get equal attention, and have an equal share in the story is no easy task. It will be easier to make the story about one character in the group. However, some of the greatest pieces of literature have ignored this advice.
One key to making this work could be limiting the space you give the characters. Maybe trap them in an elevator so they have to share the story.
Another idea is to make your multiple characters have intentional strengths and flaws so together they create one cohesive unit. This is a good challenge if you find yourself writing main characters that are a little too perfect (don’t lie, we’ve all been there!), try splitting that one character into three characters that each have some of the good traits you want the protagonist to have and find ways for them to use those stregths as a team.
If you are interested, you might check out: The Waves by Virginia Woolf, Also team comic books are excellent references for this type of writing since each character usually gets their own smaller story arc within the larger plot.
I know you were hoping for me to help you develop your characters, but Camille has some exercises in the works, and I really wanted you to start thinking more about your story.
Best of luck,
HELPFUL TIP FOR FANFICTION AUTHORS OUT THERE:
- If the person is unconscious for more then five minutes, they probably have a concussion
- It is not as easy to survive blows to the head as you think
- Yes, the human body does have a ridiculous amount of blood. No, they can’t stand to lose that much of it.
- If the drug does more than make them extremely woozy, it is either killing them or causes serious long term problems.
- The physical strain of having sex or being raped more than ten times within twelve hours is enough to kill a person who is not in good shape.
- If your character washes down pills to commit suicide all at once, and/or downs them with alcohol, they will probably vomit rather than die.
- Yes, there is a more creative way to kill your character. Consider having them getting injected with lead.
How To Be Friends With A Writer: A Few Simple Tips
How to be Friends with a Writer: A Few Simple Tips
1) If you ask us what we write about, we will usually reply with something along the lines of, “Erm… Just… stuff, I guess…” And perhaps mutter a few jumbled details we think are cool, but actually make no sense out of context.
2) Writers are WEIRD. Get over it.
3) If you ask to read what we’ve written, you will usually hear a feline-like hiss, followed swiftly by the sounds of shuffling pages as notebooks are stuffed into messenger bags.
4) Yes, we’re critiquing your grammar. And your spelling. And yes, sometimes we make typos. But at least we know it.
5) Do not repeatedly tell us that we will be the next J.K. Rowling and write the next big novel series, getting paid millions of dollars and being offered movie deals. This is not encouraging. This is daunting. We’d often rather be told we’ll end up as starving artists. We don’t write to make money or become famous. We write because we have to, because we love it, and because we’d most likely explode otherwise.
6) If you expect us to talk fluently the way we write, you will most likely be sorely disappointed. Writers write. And we usually suck at talking.
I could come up with many more, but I’m going to go write my novel instead. It’s about…stuff. And no, you can’t read it. *hiss*
Character Points to Consider When Writing Dialogue
Following on from my post yesterday about naturalistic dialogue, I wanted to talk a little more in depth about it.
Remember that naturalistic speech for one character is very different to naturalistic speech for another character. Everyone has their own way of speaking, their individual quirks and nuances.
There are many things about your character which will affect the way in which they speak, and the words they use:
- Who they are talking to. Someone older or younger than them. Someone of higher or lower status. Someone they know well or a stranger.
- Their age
- Their level of education (whether through an establishment, home-schooled, or self-taught)
- Their accent, or blend of different accents
- Any speech impediment, social or mental disorder, facial injuries or disfigurement, or recovery from illness eg a stroke
- If they wear false teeth
- Their hearing ability
- Their general upbringing
- Their level of self-confidence
- The person they view themselves as
- The person they want people to think they are
- Whether or not they are speaking in their first language
- Morality and beliefs
Beginning a Story
Anonymous asked: Do you have anything on writing the first sentence or paragraph of a book? I’m writing one were my character got in trouble and is sitting in the principal’s office. I don’t want to start off using dialogue. Any ideas?
You might find these posts helpful:
- In the Beginning
- The Beginning of your Novel that isn’t the Beginning of your Novel
- A Beginning from the Middle
- Starting with a Bang
- Starting with Flashbacks
- First Chapters: What To Include @ The Beginning Writer
We also have two Towels related to this subject which include several of the links listed above and more:
Thank you for your question!
Writing can be great fun – and so it should be – but sometimes you will, alas, need just a little bit of discipline…
- Read your work aloud to yourself, and cut any unnecessary words. It is a good idea to do this at the end of each paragraph, or section, or chapter – however much you write in a ‘session’; everyone is different. Review your draft after you have just completed it, and when you are still in that particular ‘zone’, but also read it to yourself when you’ve gained some distance, so that you can see and hear it objectively. It’s not always easy, but it is necessary. Helen Dunmore advises to ‘listen to what you have written’, and it’s true. Words should be your craft, as a writer, so don’t let them become obstacles to the story itself.