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Submitted on
January 25, 2009
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14 (who?)

So, you’ve decided to write a story and want some info on character creation. Or you’re just bored and want to read something, or you’re my friend and you’re reading this because you are thinking ‘Oh my gosh! She’s actually posting something! It’s probably going to be crap but who cares!’ or something like that.  And you also might be thinking ‘Who are you, Miss Gigi, to give us character info? You haven’t even written anything else!’ Well, actually, I have, but I have this thing where I will be so happy with a chapter of a story, and the next day I will go through and be all ‘Oh, man, who the heck wrote this? Me? This horror came out of my fingers? Well, the suicide rate is about to go up a notch, because this sucks!’ Yeah. I have written things, but I have a bad habit of deleting things. I am actually in the beginning process of something new I’m working on, but it’s a secret.
So, now, on with the actual tips. Every story needs characters; they need some object that does the actions and acts out the conflict in a story. A good story will have a character that can easily be stepped into, but not too ordinary. One of my favorites is the famous Harry Potter. He is a freaking WIZARD and I relate to him fantastically. I can imagine what it would be like to be in his place every single moment. I love him. Other examples would be Bilbo Baggins (The Hobbit), and Ramona and Beatrice Quimby (all of their books by Beverley Cleary). I will now begin my tips, because I am boring you, aren’t I?
Starting Out: When you first make a character you base it off of one image you have in your head, like you imagined a red-haired child, or an exceptionally shy girl, or a boy with leukemia. This starting image will build up until you have your character. One thing you need to look out for is going all matchy-matchy on them. Like, let’s say you have an energetic redhead. Okay start. But now she can control fire, she only wears red, her eyes are red, and everything about her completely matches this starting image. I’ve seen that in so many stories here on deviantArt, and I hate it! Don’t ever do that. For example, I’m going to start out with a same starting image; an energetic red head. Now, she has time travel powers, she gets in trouble easily, talks a lot to anyone who will listen, and has squinty hazel eyes. Good starting image.
Sometimes, you might be basing a character off of a song you heard. If the song is describing a person, and you base him/her completely off them, drop it. Chances are, someone else somewhere has the exact same thing. But, if this is not the case, then continue. If you either based their looks, personality, or a certain trait on it, try to look for a few more things by songs by the same band or the same CD that is close to the original one you heard. You might turn out with a pretty interesting character.
Personality: When you have a pretty good starting image, you should start piling things on. Add personality traits, illnesses, jobs, troubles, fears, and character. In the end, you should know him or her inside and out. If you ever met them, you would be able to predict their every action and words. Like, if I had asked my character Gwen ‘What’s your favorite type of flower?’ I would instantly know she would crinkle her nose and say, ‘Flowers? I don’t like them much, unless you count the scent in perfumes, but even that is a bit overrated. I mean, they just die, smell, and are a nuisance to water. If you want some floral décor, go for cheap plastic flora.’ while tapping her fingers on the tabletop. Know your characters. Know them. Don’t make a five page cheat sheet and call it quits. Put them in impossible situations, like ‘you either are executed, or your lover goes to jail for the rest of their lives.’ Write what they do, how they think. Do it well, and give them reasons for their actions. Push your characters over the brink and bring out their innermost bad traits, like selfishness, evil, and laziness. Don’t be afraid to bring your characters little faults and blow them out of proportion. Don’t be afraid to find out your character can’t be perfect in every situation.
Also, let personality base off of their past lives. If said character was abused as a child, they will have some sort of emotional (and physical) scar. They can’t just skip off scot free. If your character was born into, say, a hippie family and raised with them, some personality traits will come off of them, even if they are the ‘different child’. For example, Gwen was born into a business family. When she left because she felt she did belong, it was still when she was a teenager, so she does have some similar traits to her family. If you lined up your character’s family’s traits, you would find some that also belonged to your character.
Looks and Description: I’m just going to say it right out; no character is drop dead gorgeous. Many writers don’t want to make their characters, god forbid, UGLY or UNATTRACTIVE. How else will he and Perfect Girl fall in love with each other? Take my advice, take a chance, and make an ugly character. Remember, your readers will find it easier to step into the character if they can relate to them. I do admit, every character doesn’t have to be Medusa. If someone has a nasty personality, it’s okay to give them some cute facial features. It’s okay to give them a good body ONLY if it is obvious that they work for it. If they have good muscles, show they exercise or are involved in sports. Characters who are so ‘unathletic’ and don’t move around a lot (*cough*Bella*cough*) won’t be human stick figures, even if they don’t eat a lot. I mean, what’s going to burn off that food? Pure love? No. If they hardly eat anything, they will be fattish or chubby.
Don’t base their looks on their personality, besides the fact that if they are athletic, they will have good body shapes. A light and happy girl doesn’t immediately have light and happy hair, or vice-versa. Not every hip-hop lover is black, for example. Also, TANS. If your character was raised in a cloudy town, they won’t have a tan. If they’ve lived somewhere hot and sunny, they will have some sort of proof. Let your characters looks reflect off of where they’ve come and their living types (a poor girl won’t be decked out in designer fashions, and an abused child won’t be dazzling).
I hope this helped out a little. Please contact me for more guides you think I should write, because I am incredibly bored.
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RainCooper Jan 25, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think you gave some really good device to character design. I will take note on this everytime I start a new story. :) Thanks for the advice.
MiloTheGreat Jan 25, 2009
Oh my gosh! She’s actually posting something! It’s probably going to be crap but who cares!

JUST KIDDNG! I really like this, and has inspired me to work on my characters more. Hm, I'm pretty sure I know who your example of a non-"matchy matchy" character is, you've drawn her before.

You're working on something secret? Cool, I'm worki ng on a ref sheet and comic for :iconescapefromnevara: with a re-made Neo character, but the deadline is Jan. 30, so I'll probably run out of time.
Hm, what's your character like? I'm bored. :)
MiloTheGreat Jan 25, 2009
Well, she's a robot named Sky (the human version of her is in my pic Pretty Little Flower There), who used to be a security robot. She guarded a factory, until one person who tried to get in defeated her. She was replaced with a newer version and trashed.
Since she was a security robot, she LOVES to fight. Her dream is to become a human.

She is bullet proof, but that's it, since robbers/theifs don't usually use knives. Sky's other weakness is water. She can survive rain, but if there is alot of water, she'll malfunction. She is pretty strong, but not that fast at running. She has sort of quick reflexes. The only way that she can move super fast is if she changes into a mode where she resembles a rolled up droideka. It takes a bit to change into the speical mode, but she can instantly change out of it. Sky is trained not to kill the people she fights, and carries a first aid kit to help people.

Her weapons are a flamethrower, bullets, and a tazer. Sky is fasinated with things that fly, werewolfs, and humans.
Sky resembles a human girl, so robbers don't suspect she's a robot. She usually has a smile, but has a feature where she can switch around her mouth to resemble different emotions. Her mouths are actually speakers so she can talk. Sky's eyes are security cameras, so she can record what she sees. When someone wants to view a video, her stomach can turn around to a TV. With her open mouth, she can "cough up" and "eat" security tapes.

Good description? Bad description? What should I change? I think I got everything...
Sounds really good to me. Does she have a personality?
MiloTheGreat Jan 25, 2009
Hm, not sure yet...
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