TCWT Blog Chain: Characters

“How do you develop and relate to your characters?”

I lifted my head from its bowed position to look lopsidedly at my captor through bruised and puffy eyelids. What kind of a question was that? When a guy is tied to a chair and beaten for refusing interrogation, why go into his writing life? Then I woke up, and realized that it was the Teens Can Write, Too blog chain prompt.

Characters, to me, are the best part of writing a story. I usually struggle a little bit with the plot, but I can always find good characters that I like a lot. Usually they’re better at life than I am, though there are occasions in which I am purposefully making them fail. Failing is one of the funniest parts of life, after all, and it’s made even funnier when the person failing isn’t yourself, and you can’t hurt their feelings ‘cause they aren’t real!

Names. Names are good for characters to have. You can’t just have three guys walking around a chapter with the names “he”, “him” and “the other guy”, can you? No, or the reader will get confused and burn your book. When choosing names, I like to squash random words together, make the name or initials mean something pertaining to their lives, or just make up a new spelling on a well known word. But always the name will be a good name for the character, and will help me imagine him/her better. And I can’t change a character’s name while I’m writing, unless it’s just a subtle spelling. I once named a character Michael as a “working name”, and it turned out, when I found what I thought was a better name, I couldn’t change it because it wasn’t the same person anymore. Strange, no?

Personality. I mainly focus on what will clash with other characters when I pick a guy’s personality. So someone paranoid will be with someone who doesn’t care anything whatsoever for who’s chasing the other guy, or who knows where they live. Of course, I also can create more serious characters if I want to, but only when the earth, the moon, and the stars align in a certain pattern in the heavens. But seriously, it doesn’t come as easily as someone who’s hilariously depressed, crazily dull, or who goes into hysterics whenever he sees his brother.

Talents. I like using random talents for some of my characters, other times I pick something that I know I’m good at, or sometimes I make a character I can idolize, which means he’s completely perfect and there’s nothing at all that I can do with him. That’s when I realize my mistake and try and fix it, and that’s when I realize that I like the character too much to do anything else with him. I’ve always wanted an omnipotent character, and this leads to that same problem. Since I grew up playing with Bionicles, I’ve also always loved the elemental powers and other such supernatural gifts. That was why I loved Dustfinger (from Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke) and other characters of his sort. Powerful people, those. I think that’s also why I like fantasy so much: everyone has got something they can really do some damage with. Dragons most of all. I like dragons.

To conclude: I’ve never actually made a character off of someone I know/-ew in real life, though sometimes (in extremely rare circumstances) I will name someone after one of my friends. But all musings that have that kind of character are in the rubbish bin, as the British so quaintly put it. They’ve probably been smashed, palpitated, and then torn completely to pieces. Poor them… And about connections to my characters… I can imagine them, feel what they’re feeling, sort of, but never become one with them. I’ve never been a character, really. Not even one of my own. I’ve always stayed inside myself, unless in my imagination, where I meld with the character and do some awesome stuff. But if you were talking about relating to them… well, I don’t really… I mainly laugh at them. A lot. Especially that one guy and his fairy godfather… some of you know what I’m talking about. No, not you. And also that one guy who regularly speaks with dragons. I love him… I love all my characters, really, unless I hate them, which is usually the case with everything. You love them unless you hate them. And… I’ve never understood loving to hate a character. I’ve always loved some characters, and hated other ones, but never have loved to hate them. I’ve loved their part as the bad guy, but never… well, I’ll leave it.

Read all the other posts of the wonderful people who have also chosen to write about characters this month. Follow the links below on the dates below.

Participating Parties In Order:

December 5– http://correctingpenswelcome.wordpress.com — Comfy Sweaters, Writing and Fish

December 6– http://taystapeinc.wordpress.com — Tay’s Tape

December 7– https://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com — This Page Intentionally Left Blank

December 8– http://alohathemuse.wordpress.com — Embracing Insanity

December 9– http://noveljourneys.wordpress.com — Novel Journeys

December 10– http://sporkattack.blogspot.com — Crazy Socks and Ninja Bunnies

December 11– http://kirstenwrites.wordpress.com — Kirsten Writes!

December 12– http://herebefaries.wordpress.com — The Land of Man-Eating Pixies

December 13– http://delorfinde.wordpress.com — A Farewell to Sanity

December 14– http://estherstar1996.wordpress.com — Esther Victoria1996

December 15– http://thewordasylum.wordpress.com — The Word Asylum

December 16– http://teenagereader.wordpress.com — Teenage Reader

December 17– http://biozarre.wordpress.com — Missy Biozarre, Young Adult Author

December 18– http://greatlakessocialist.wordpress.com — Red Herring Online

December 19– http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com– The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer

December 20– http://herestous.wordpress.com — Here’s To Us

December 21– http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com –Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)

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33 Comments

  1. You are a very random person I am guessing? hahaa this is a great answer to the question. 🙂

    Reply
    • Yes, very random. You and I have met before… And thanks!

      Reply
      • your welcome. You are very descriptive for a teenager (that is a good thing) alot of my friends do one liners -_- it gets very annoying

      • Hmmm… Not quite sure what you mean by that, but I suppose it’s a compliment.

      • of course that is a compliment. 😀 you describe things very well. My friends describe music as “awesome” and that’s it. Understand me? 🙂

      • Ah, yes. Well, music definitely deserves the term “awesome”, though I’m sure there are other adjectives to be used. Thank you.

  2. wreakinghavoc14

     /  December 7, 2011

    I’ve based some characters off of my friends, but it’s pretty hard to do without offending them or over celebrating them. I’ve *deffo* used their names, however. And I love giving them talents too. A boy in my NaNo was a ukulele fanatic, which was fun to write about.

    Reply
  3. Gwendolyn Copperstone

     /  December 7, 2011

    Wow, that’s how I think about my characters! Well, mostly. I thought of a name for a character the other day, Harold Albert Simon Millions. His initials would be H. A. S. Millions. Though I can’t decide whether he’d be rich or not. I’d be kinda funny if he was broke.
    I totally agree about not being able to change a character’s name. My mom suggested that I rename a couple of my characters (she did have good reasons, long story), but I found that I couldn’t. They were who they were, and changing their name would make them less…them. Hmm, that sounds weird. But it is nonetheless true.
    And dragons are awesome.

    Reply
  4. I thoroughly enjoyed that!
    Dragons are, indeed, wonderful. I was planning on putting one into my NaNoWriMo book, but it didn’t work out.

    Reply
    • Indeed. Dragons are great. And it’s too bad about your NaNo novel. A world without dragons…

      Reply
      • I can’t even imagine a universe without their fiery breath roasting my marshmallows for me. Not that I have any dragons. And even if I did, I *totally* wouldn’t use them for that purpose.
        **laughs nervously**
        I’d, um, I’d, I WOULD ROAST MY ENEMIES! Yes, that!
        **more nervous laughter**

      • Trust me, when they’re well-fed, marshmallow-roasting is all they’re good for.

  5. Thanks for posting the list–I was way confused on that concept. That was definitely helpful. And you’ve given me the general picture for my post when Dec. 15th comes around–thanks again!

    Reply
  6. Dustfinger was an amazing character. Awesome post!

    Reply
  7. Miriam Joy

     /  December 8, 2011

    I love my antagonists more than my protags, often. It’s quite bad, but at one point I just got proper fed up of Alys and my brain decided to hang out with Bronwyn (who at this point is trying to destroy the world) … and yeah, I love her, she’s awesome. Go Wyn! 😀

    I love your introduction to this post, by the way 🙂

    Reply
    • Yes, they often are more lovable, but I’ve never actually created an antagonist.
      Thanks. I hoped it would go over all right and not be an insult to the name of TCWT.

      Reply
  8. Awesome post!! That’s an interesting way of naming characters, I’ll have to keep that in mind.I totally understand about the ” love to hate” characters. It just doesn’t work for me either. Great Job!

    Reply
  9. Awesome post! You did a really good job of detailing your feelings for your characters and how you come up with them. Your views are a lot different from mine–I’ve seen a lot of variety among our blog chain participants, and we’re just getting started! Again, great post.

    Reply
  10. Keri

     /  December 9, 2011

    I’ll just go along with everybody and say, “Great post!” Even though I didn’t read it. **nervous laughter**

    Reply
  11. John Hansen

     /  December 9, 2011

    Sorry for the late comment; been SOO busy. Nice, random and funny post!

    Reply
  12. You are a fantastically quirky writer. I just want to write this on every post you do, because you make me laugh on a twice to thrice daily basis when I get your posts in my inbox (I don’t know if that counts as a view on your blob, but I read every one). Anyway, great post, though your methods differ from mine a little bit. It’s nice to see how other people approach the same problems.

    Reply
    • Thank you very much. I’m happy that you say this, really happy. I’m happiest when I’m quirkiest, and I love making people laugh. I’m glad I made you do so as well. Thanks!

      Reply
  13. Awesome post. Given me much to think about.

    I like to make my characters weak and inherently flawed, playing with their impotence in the face of an unchanging and omnipotent reality which tosses them carelessly, like a turbid ocean, from one catastrophe to another.

    But I’ve always been a bit of sour person.

    Reply

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