character creation

10

As frustrating as it was to figure out at first, I’ve kind of gotten the hang of getting Isii’s nose right. I decided to quickly recreate it on a new face to give you some reference images. (Based on her current canon design.)

First, I started with Head 1 and the second face shape:

I selected the nose with the highest bridge and worked from there. I lowered the nose position significantly (and shifted the mouth down to accommodate). Shortened the tip, narrowed the nostrils, broadened the bridge a little. Minor tweaks here and there - as you can see in the slider positions. 

The other significant changes made to the face (in relation to the shape of the nose and the overall profile)

  • I moved the eyes up and forward. This lengthens the nose further and prevents the eyes from looking sunken-in next to such a high bridge. I also went ahead and angled them/changed the size to make them resemble Isii’s.
  • Flattened the forehead a bit.
  • Pushed the brow forward just a little.

While I obviously didn’t recreate her face entirely, hopefully this gives you a good sense of how to make a nose like hers.

Character Development Checklist

How well do you know your character? 

Basics are a given. You know their eye color, hair color, and maybe even their height and clothing preference. You know she isn’t a morning person. You know he has a preference for dogs over cats. But how well do you really know them?

Obviously, every character is not going to need all this information, and some will not be applicable for every character. Use your better judgement. I know you have it.

Basics:

  • Character’s Name
  • Character’s Nickname(s)
  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Sex/Gender
  • Hair color
  • Eye color
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Scars
  • Tattoos
  • Birthmarks
  • Piercings
  • Dress/clothing preferences
  • Right/left handed/ambidextrous
  • Glasses/contacts

Family and Relationships:

  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents
  • Marital Status
  • Significant Other
  • Children
  • Pets
  • Other family members
  • Friends
  • Enemies

Religion:

  • The religion they follow (if any)
  • Beliefs
  • Superstitions

Location:

  • Country of Birth
  • Place of Birth (State, city, etc)
  • First Language
  • Accents

Schooling:

  • Highest Education
  • Degrees

Work:

  • Occupation
  • Salary
  • Employment history
  • Work space
  • Mode of Transportation

Home:

  • Rent or Own
  • House, apartment, etc
  • Mode of transportation
  • Living space
  • Address

Inner Workings Of Your Character:

  • Secrets
  • Fears
  • Worries
  • Eating Habits
  • Food preferences
  • Sleep preferences
  • Work preferences
  • Book preferences
  • Music preferences
  • Introverted/extroverted
  • Optimist/pessimist
  • Hobbies
  • Pet peeves
  • Prejudices
  • Proud of
  • Biggest vulnerability
  • Embarrassed by
  • Worst memory
  • Best memory
  • Skilled at
  • Unskilled at
  • Attitude
  • Obsessions
  • Stresses
  • Addictions
  • Handicaps (physical)
  • Handicaps (emotional/psychological)
  • Allergies
  • Medical history

Habits:

  • Verbal quirks
  • Physical quirks
  • Gestures
  • Work habits
  • Sleeping habits
  • Annoying habits
  • Irrational habits
  • Eating habits
  • Healthy habits
  • Unhealthy habits
  • Mannerisms
  • Drinking habits

Objects Kept In - And Why:

  • Their closet
  • Their bedroom
  • Their purse/bag
  • Their fridge
  • Their car
  • Their desk
  • Their pockets
  • Their junk drawer
  • Their glove compartment
  • Their backpack
  • Their locker

Other:

  • Talents
  • Political preference
  • Strengths
  • Flaws
  • Prized possessions
  • Special/favorite memories
  • Time and date of birth
  • What they love
  • What they hate
  • Favorite season
  • Social class
  • Sports/clubs
Boring Characterization Kills Stories

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I’ve put a lot of books down because the characters were just completely fucking boring. This was especially troublesome for me when my favorite genre was YA urban fantasy. I have quite a few teen fantasy books on my shelves with bookmarks still sticking out of them from years ago.

And don’t get me wrong–all those books had really great hooks. Cool settings or an interesting conflict (and fantasy creatures to boot, so….). But then I actually started reading and all the characters were just bland cookie-cutter stamped duplicates of the same boring crap I’d already see a million times before.

You already know how their character arcs are going to go. There’s nothing new. Nothing to keep me interested. Nothing to make me care. Just 200+ pages spent with characters who have all the personality of soggy cardboard.

So how do you keep your characters interesting? It actually isn’t as hard as you might think. There’s one amazing SUPER TIP that I can give you that will totally make your characters pop. But I can’t just give you the SUPER TIP.

That’s something we have to work up to. (Or you could just skip to the bottom like an impatient noodle. But you’re not an impatient noodle, right?)

So, first off, the worst thing you can do for your character is dump everything you know about them in a long-ass paragraph at the beginning of the story. This goes for ALL YOUR CHARACTERS. Just don’t. A quick introduction–one or two lines–is just fine, but don’t try not to go overboard. Leave a lot to be discovered later on.

I say this because, at least in my opinion, some of the best novels have characterization through the wholebook.Reveal little things about your characters through the entire story. Pretty much everything your characters do should show the reader a little bit more of them.

Also, keep in mind that your characters’ actions speak louder than their words.Your characters can easily tell the reader they are one thing, but if all their actions contradict that, the reader won’t believe them. And unless you’re trying to make your narrator unreliable, that definitely isn’t a good thing.

For example, I recently read a novel where there main character insisted several times in the beginning that they were strong. They even punched a guy once by accident and made his nose bleed. But after that, they spent the entire novel crying and waiting for rescue.

It’s easier to let your characters show themselves than to prove themselves.When you explicitly tell your reader your character is going to be a thing, they will expect that thing. Instead of setting up expectations, let your characters surprise the reader with their actions. Let the reader get to know who they are based on the things they do, rather than just letting your character live up to set expectations.

Oh, and I feel like this should be obvious, but I’ll say it anyway. Develop all your characters–at least a little.I mean, you don’t need full character arcs for your character’s boss who shows up twice, or the clerk they talk to at the grocery store a couple times. But every character who appears more than once should have something that makes them unique.Something that makes them stick out. Something that might speak to at least one reader out there.

That something can be just about anything. Clothes, hairstyles, accessories, speech patterns, dispositions, nervous ticks, their opinions, the way they walk, etc etc… It doesn’t matter what, as long as it makes them special.

And that’s about all the small advice I have, so I guess it’s time for the SUPER TIP.

The absolute biggest piece of advice I can give you for creating interesting, realistic characters is get to know them.

Yeah. I know. Big shocker there. And I know it doesn’t seem like a huge piece of advice, but it really is. The absolute best thing you can do is get to know your characters as if they were living, breathing people. Know them like they’re your best friend. Know things about them that will never appear in your story.

If you take the time to get to know them on a human-level, you’ll have a complete grasp on them. And the reader will be able to tell.

Hemingway once wrote, “If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them.”

Happy writing, lovelies.

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What will your Inquisitor look like? @DragonAge on Twitter

Character design sheet

This is a really in depth character sheet based off of a decent one my friend gave me. I completely reorganized it into section that make more sense and I think it has some really good questions. I don’t know where the original came from, but I figured this version might be useful other people. 

Keep reading

Unlikable Main Characters: Walking on the Edge

Here’s a little fun fact: I love unlikeable main characters. Characters who are morally ambiguous or just straight up assholes–they’re usually my favorite brand of main character. I think they’re more exciting. Give me a Chaotic Neutral over a Lawful Good any day.

But I’m not everyone and there are plenty of readers who aren’t as fond of morally gray characters. Some readers spy a little moral ambiguity and bail immediately.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone has their own tastes. But that’s something to be aware of when crafting your MC. If you don’t think you can handle a large number of people disliking your character, then it’s probably best to stick to crafting generally likeable characters. (I’d just like to point out that there will always be people who don’t like your characters, no matter how likeable you try to make them. You can’t please everyone. But that’s something I’ll talk about more in another post.)

So, you wanna create the perfect dickhead (totally should’ve been the title of this post). A character who does things not for the greater good, but for their own good. A character who might end up doing something heroic, but is never a hero. Well, here are a few things to get you started.

The first thing you have to ask yourself is: how much of a dick are they? Figure out what level they’re on. Cold-blooded killer or petty asshole? Those are two wildly different levels with a lot of room in between. Figure out how shitty they are early on so you know their limits (though those limits can and should be pushed through the story).

Ask yourself what your character would be willing to do for large sums of money. Money talks, especially when someone’s morals are already to little skewed. What could a lot of money talk your character into? Even if this will never be explored in the story, it never hurts to know.

Write out a personal moral code for them. The unlikable MC has their own bible to abide by. Their own unique understanding of right and wrong. They might be willing to lie, cheat, and manipulate, but killing is completely off their radar. Maybe killing is actually on their radar, but they don’t like manipulating people or stealing. It’s all up to you.

Does your character feel guilty? Do their actions bother them when they’re laying in bed at night or can they drift off to sleep without a problem? Feelings of guilt can cause a lot of inner turmoil in your character and, if present, should be examined. Guilt can also be a redeeming quality in unlikable characters, but it often isn’t enough to make up for their questionable actions.

Over the course of your story, will your character redeem themselves or sink further away from good? Characters should display some kind of change. Will your character change for the better? Or will they get worse? Some of my favorite stories follow characters into depravity and they never find their way back out. It’s dark, and not everyone’s cup of tea, but very powerful when done well.

This should be obvious, but flesh them out. Knowing your characters is always important. You should know exactly what shaped your character into the asshole they ended up being. Flesh them out and make them human and your reader will have an easier time understanding why they do the things they do. If they’re paper-thin jerks, then no one is going to like them–not even me.

And finally, give them something nice. I’m not talking about possessions, of course. I mean, give them at least a couple endearing personality traits. Maybe they have a great sense of humor. Maybe they’re really nice to people who work in retail and tip well in restaurants. Anything–as long as it’s something nice. It’ll make them stronger characters and give your readers something to latch onto.

Happy writing, lovelies

Character Creation/Development Fill-Out Sheet

I created a huge character creation/development form that will help you in writing your characters! I’ll be using it for my own characters as I write my own original story this year. You can add anything else you feel should be added to your character’s fill-out sheet. 

Below the cut!

Keep reading

Skin Tones

Here are some handy photo references I found for writers and artists looking to describe or term different skin tones! I thought simply putting the pictures here rather than linking to the original page would get it more looks, but all credit goes to the original creator, joshroby, and you can find the original page [here] with bigger and betters views of the photos. Happy writing!

More Thoughts on Character Creation

So, last night I answered a question about character creation, and on my drive home from the office, I realized I didn’t really answer the question as it was presented. I apologize for that. My initial read of the question and the answer it prompted from me was really just scratching the surface of what it takes to create characters in stories. I realized that what was really being asked was about character dynamics.

So, let’s pick up where I left off in the last post: We have discovered a need for a new character, and we know what that character needs to do plot-wise in the story…but that’s only the beginning.

Now we need to flesh out that character, breathe life into it. And the question was about character dynamics – not the what of a character but a why and how.

For this discussion, let’s talk about Lexa.

So, Lexa. She serves a very specific purpose/role in the world of “The 100″ – she’s the Grounder Commander, leader of all 12 clans, which she alone was able to forge an alliance between. That’s a lot of story. But who is she?

When the writers determined that the Grounder Commander character needed to be introduced, there were so many ways that could happen. It became clear that we needed to upend the expectations people had about what the Grounder Commander would be. On the surface it seemed logical to expect that the Commander was an older man, someone who has lived a lot of life and has used his experience to forge alliances. But we also expected that Commander to be ruthless. After all, the Commander sent 300 Grounders to attack the dropship at the end of Season One. Clearly the Commander is someone who should not be underestimated.

And yet, that’s exactly what you do when you meet her. The writers determined pretty early on that the Commander should be a woman, just to go against what most would assume was a masculine role and position. That was the easy part. The more difficult part was deciding what kind of woman she was. Early on an idea was floated that the Commander was a child; Jason had the notion that the Grounders would believe in reincarnation as a way of selecting leaders, much like the Dalai Lama, an intriguing idea that made it seem possible that these tough, warrior people would actually choose to follow someone so young. Ultimately we aged up the character, as it was unrealistic to hire a 10 year-old to be the Commander, logistically. Also, we knew this was not a ‘one-off’ character. The Commander would have a role for most of the second half of Season Two, and work rules for children being what they are, it would have been very difficult to execute that idea. 

Then, the discussion of character dynamics came up. We knew this Commander would be working with Clarke, and a lot of talk was specific to their relationship. How would they relate to each other? Would they like each other? Respect each other? We also knew that we wanted to introduce non-heterosexual relationships into the show, so the idea that Lexa was attracted to women came up. Everyone liked this idea a lot. And the idea that Lexa would be attracted to Clarke, who had just killed the boy she loved…well, that was juicy for storytelling. The big question was if we could tell a story about Clarke having interest in Lexa beyond their mutual respect for each other as leaders. There are to date very few leads of network TV shows who are bisexual or homosexual. This would be something “new” for most people, even if it wasn’t a huge deal for us as writers, it could be a huge deal for viewers. Fortunately, the studio and network were supportive of the story, so the writers were able to execute their vision.

In talking about those early interactions between Clarke and Lexa, it was clear that the two would approach each other cautiously. Lexa would even come to see Clarke as the leader to the Arkers, even though she spent time with Kane and Jaha. Clarke was, after all, the one who orchestrated the Ring of Fire and was responsible for the deaths of her warriors. Given what we had already learned about the Grounder culture, that act alone was enough to make Lexa consider Clarke a force to be reckoned with. It would only be through their conversations and actions through the season that these two leaders would bond on a deeper level. Clarke would finally have someone who could understand her burdens of leadership, as would Lexa (yes, Bellamy gets it too, but the story dictated he be active in the Mount Weather story, so someone else would need to fill that void in Clarke’s life). 

When you talk about characters, you work hard to get into their headspace, try to understand what they are thinking and feeling in every single moment of the episode. You talk about what has happened to them in their lives, how it shaped them and how current events are changing them in small, subtle ways. Lexa explains her philosophy to Clarke in episode 209 that “love is weakness,” based on what she experienced with losing the girl she loved to the villainy of the Ice Nation. But Clarke chipped away at that – and by episode 214, it was clear when Lexa kissed Clarke that she had moved away from that philosophy enough to take that chance that Clarke might too feel a connection to her. And she does…but Clarke’s experiences through the season had changed her too – she killed Finn, and she had to heal from that, and she wasn’t done healing by the time that kiss happened. But Clarke didn’t pull away. Clarke wanted connection, but realized she wasn’t quite ready for that kind of intimacy with Lexa, though she definitely was attracted to her.

All of that was discussed at length in the room. The actors bring so much to the table though in their portrayals and no matter how much writers talk about how the characters feel and act toward each other, it goes to another level when you finally can see it on screen. And those performances certainly help shape the story and characters going forward…

I hope this is helpful to writers who are trying to understand their characters better. You have to think like them, and try out different scenarios until you get to the character dynamic that feels right. And of course those dynamics change over the course of the story. Certainly how Clarke and Bellamy interact now is far different than it was in the first episode, and it will continue to change.

The fact is as writers, you are a small god, dictating the world you create. But it is also true that when you begin to know your characters, they speak to you, and before long, it feels like the story and those characters guide you.

And that is just one of the many reasons writing is something I love so much. That feeling when the story, the characters and their scenes begin to sing…nothing else compares.

For those of you new to the furry fandom who have trouble creating a fursona

This post helps a lot in visualizing what you need to think of when creating a character’s physical appearance

Also, the artist for the picture below has given permission for anyone to recolor it. Because while not all people have the drawing capabilities to be able to bring what they are visualizing to life, basically everyone can color

Also, he has more species on his page

These two things REALLY helped me create my fursona, so go check it out now, cause you know if you save to drafts or whatever you won’t ever actually do it anytime soon

d20pfsrd.com
Random Background Generator - Pathfinder_OGC

A Random Character Background Generator found on the D20 PFSRD site: A site dedicated to the Paizo Pathfinder Roleplaying Game rules. This site is an SRD (System Reference Document) for the Paizo Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

You select the character’s race, class, number of companions, and any alignment restrictions you’d like to impose. The generator bakes up the rest.

See the example below, which was the very first character it generated for me. Note that further details on any of the generated info (ex. Log Roller Trait, the feats and such) are all outlined on the website and easily found with a quick search. It’s unfortunate that it doesn’t link directly to those details (feedback for new feature?!) but it’s still pretty inspiring.


Elf Homeland

  • Forest
  • You gain access to the Log Roller regional trait.

Elf Parents

  • Both of your parents are alive.

Siblings

  • Male Elf [younger than you]

Circumstances of Birth

  • Heir to a Legacy
  • You are the heir to a family with an old name and a distinguished past. Your family might be wealthy or middle class, but your name itself is worth twice your fortunes. You gain access to the Influence social trait and the Rich Parents social trait.

Parents Profession

  • Yeomen
  • You gain access to the Savanna Child regional trait.

Major Childhood Events

  • Imprisoned
  • Your criminal record began when you were young. You were imprisoned, punished, and possibly displayed in public as a criminal. Whether or not you committed the crime, the experience has stayed with you. You gain access to the Criminal social trait. See the Crime and Punishment section. You also gain access to the Liberator story feat. Roll on Table:Crime

Crime

  • Unlawful use of magic
  • Roll on Table:Punishment

Punishment

  • Trial by combat

Inquisitor

  • Failed Cleric
  • Your original training in divine magic was as a cleric, but your faith eventually distilled into you the ability to hear lies and see weaknesses in the “unfaithful.” You gain access to the Schooled Inquisitor faith trait.

Influential Associates

  • The Dead One
  • One of your greatest influences was a sentient undead creature, such as a ghost, lich, grave knight, wraith, or vampire. You encountered it on several occasions and survived…mostly unscathed. Through this strange relationship you learned of its mortal life, giving you perspective on your own life. You gain access to the Deathtouched bloodline race trait and the Glimpse Beyond story feat.

Conflict

  • Violent Crime
  • You beat, assaulted, or mutilated someone.

Conflict Subject

  • Soldier or warrior

Conflict Motivation

  • Family

Conflict Resolution (Choose One)

Conflict Points

  • Total CP: 10

Romantic Relationships

  • a Few Significant Relationships
  • You’ve tried to make deep connections with individuals on several occasions, but it’s never worked out.

Drawbacks

  • Social Acceptance
  • You want others to accept you, to believe you’re special and worthy of merit. You are self-conscious about your social flaws and breaches of etiquette. Rejection is among your greatest fears. You might go to extraordinary lengths to be accepted by or seek favor from your peers. You gain access to the Dependent drawback.

Relationship with Companions

  • Companion 1 - Family or close as family—close friends, close/distant relatives, relatives by marriage/adoption
  • Companion 2 - From the same hometown or region

Accessible Traits

  • Log Roller regional trait
  • Influence social trait and the Rich Parents social trait
  • Savanna Child regional trait
  • Criminal social trait
  • Schooled Inquisitor faith trait
  • Deathtouched bloodline race trait and the Glimpse Beyond story feat
  • Dependent drawback

Check out Tabletop Gaming Resources for more art, tips and tools for your game!

Writing Prompt #236

“Well, plan A hit the fan. And plan B literally went down the drain. Do we have a Plan C?”

“Yea, plan C just fell off the bridge.”

“D?”

“Plan D was to run like hell…”

“We’re chained to a bridge.”

“There‘s a list in my pants pocket. A-Z plans.”

“Your pants were shredded in plan A–”

“Well that nixes plan H…”