View Full Version : How deep do your characters go?
August 29th, 2002, 07:09 AM
What I mean is how much a part of you are they?
Other threads have touched on characters being a reflection of your mind or personality.
But is there one that stands out in your work?
That has your likes and dislikes or is your opposite?
Or a creation that is the you, the you, you wish to be, your inner self?
Is it possible to subconsciously put down on paper a part of you that you did not think existed, until you read back the words?
Just some rambling thoughts on the subject and I would be interested in anyone's opinion.....
Oh this is my alterego...... least as I see him.....
August 29th, 2002, 07:21 AM
I have two main ones at the moment - and they come and go as they please.
Beorn, and Bu.
Beorn is my serious side, and human.
Bu is scatterbrained, and not.
Both are far more accurate in their diction than I am.
One of my all time heros, a guy called Keith Johnstone, once asked me if I'd ever thought to portray myself as a "character".
Not giving myself attributes, or making excuses for why I did things, but writing down the exact kind of person I was, as observationally and impartially as possible.
I think it's an exercise in seeing the reality of yourself - from outside appearances (both in physicality, and behaviourism).
I let my characters steep over time, literally years.
Bu has been with me since 1995. Beorn is fairly recent.
Prior to Bu, was this little guy - sans chainmaille -
That one is my longest running character, being from about 1986.
In that time, it developed a language system (based on the aesthetics of word-sound) and eventually gained alter-egos of its own. (Hah!)
I love my characters dearly.
I am glad of this forum, for at least there are some people here who do the same thing I do. The majority of people I know in R.L., have no interest in exercising their imagination in this way, at all. And they have little tolerance for it in me.
So I keep it mostly to myself, and it used to make me sad.
Characters are like friends that you really want other people to meet, but without the aid of either the written word or the visual image, it is very difficult to do so.
August 29th, 2002, 05:47 PM
Robert Sawyer once said that it's best to think of characters as robots - machines designed with a specific purpose in mind.
When I first began writing, I think my characters had traits a lot closer to those of myself - or at least the qualities that I hoped to aspire to. Unfortunately as I went on I began to realise that this made them overly dull in the context of the story. (Which doesn't say much about the kind of person I am I suppose.)
As I got a little bit older I began to realise that with a lot of my stories I'm trying to teach a lesson that I've learned to one extend or another. In doing this I have found that it works best to start off with ignorant charcters who learn lessons as the story progresses.
To one extent or another, I suppose that I can't help but put a little bit of myself into every character I create. I think this is true of every artist who produces anything.
August 29th, 2002, 10:48 PM
Some of them are a large part of me. I've got this character whose running but they don't know why or where and that's kinda like how I am sometimes (have to decide what to do with my life, which universtity to go to etc.) and some other ones are cold which is the opposite of myself.
Some are just bastards, but that's not me:D
August 30th, 2002, 02:43 AM
All my major characters are some part of me, not a complete me, but some part of myself. Even the evil characters are a part of me, the darker parts of my mind anyway. I think that putting something of your self into them is the only way to really make the complete 'people.'
August 30th, 2002, 10:41 AM
My characters tend to be largely based on people I know, or sometimes have only briefly met. Yet to write about anyone I suppose you have to have an affinity with that person. Creating a character whose thought processes and motivations are completely alien to you will only result in an underveloped character whose behaviour is either too contrived to fit the plot, or completely arbitary. In this sense then all complete characters must be a reflection of some aspect of ourselves, their differing traits achieved by exaggerating certain qualities.
August 31st, 2002, 12:01 AM
All of my characters portray some part of me, whether minor, major - good, evil or neutral. I can't seperate myself from my characters because they are me:D My evil characters have aspects of my own personality that i don't like but also some that i do. I believe that all people have the potential for good and evil, especially me, so all of my characters reflect this[B]
August 31st, 2002, 12:43 AM
My characters tend to portray ideas and emotions that I understand but do not necessarily share. I often disagree with character viewpoints, although I do understand character mindsets enough to give a fair portrayal.
While I don't share traits with characters (can I help the brown hair or the green eyes, being married or being a smart as*?), I recognize that no character can be deep without me understanding him/her. For me to understand a character, I must know something substantial about how their ideals and ideas work within a hypothetical reality--otherwise, I'll read the story years later (when I've become 'educated' on a subject), and realize what tripe I've set down on paper.
So (rambly conclusion--it's the vacation talking): while my characters aren't a part of me, they are a part of something I know a great deal about. :)
August 31st, 2002, 12:12 PM
I think it's kind of natural to put some of "you" in a character since your best reference of how people think , act and feel is how you yourself think act and feel, because your own emotions are something you know well.
September 1st, 2002, 11:49 AM
With my characters, I never base them solely on one person. Instead, I take personality elements off people I know, including myself, to create a character I think to be believable. I believe it's best to write out a detail plan of each character; the colour of their eyes, their accent, language (for example words they use- local slang perhaps), weaknesses, likes, dislikes etc. I'm planning to put a lot of effort into carving out my characters in great detail in my planned projects.
There's a problem that quite a few people face where they realise that the character they've created is just an image of how they would like to be, which now I'm aware of, I hopefully won't go into. This can be good in some ways, but can also be boring if the character has no weaknesses, i.e. "Fear not! I just so happen to speak fluent Elvish" or "I just so happen to be a blackbelt in karate."
Alignment is also to be considered. I find in some cases that the best bad guys are the ones who are actually intending the best, and make the reader wonder who the hero is. This includes the reader more into the story, instead of it being straight forward. Once you've proved to the reader that the hero is the good guy, their loyalty towards them will usually be greater than if they hadn't doubted them to start with :D
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