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Neal

Four Pillars of a Character's Creation

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Four Pillars of a Character's Creation

 

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This guide will cover the things I deem necessary when wanting to create a character, as such it will be relatively lengthy. Since I'm at the bottom of the food chain nor do I consider myself "the best" role player; this guide will be open to any criticism. After all, this guide is meant to be helpful to anyone and everyone. It would defeat it's purpose if it were the exact opposite. Any suggestions, additions to anything I might have missed or already covered are most definitely welcomed and preferred. Even if you're having doubts about something said in the guide, don't hesitate to ask a question or raise a concern.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Writing the Character

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Character Profile

 

Character Profile. If you disregard the importance of making some sort of profile before making your character, chances are you won't know how they react in any given situation. It is essential that you use a baseline for your character to uncover the traits, personality, emotions they might or may not have.

 

What is a Character's Profile?

 

In short, a character profile is meant to assist those wanting to comprehend their character to the fullest. Maybe your character has a unique talent or they're an addict just recovering from the experience in rehab. When using one you'll be able to differentiate your character from previous ones and think of something fresh.

 

How do I start?

 

Thinking of any character that would be able to make sense or come to reality in real life. For instance, you're thinking of creating a major player in the mafia they should have distinguishable features, do they tap their feet a lot? Are they unnecessarily loud, do they anger issues and so on. It's up to you in how you create and shape your character as you see fit.

 

Keep in Mind

 

Not everyone uses a character profile, as many experienced writers do not need one. If you're confident in your creative aptitude, you'll most likely be able to flesh out a character without using one. Another thing you should consider is it doesn't matter the order you proceed in. If you'd like to write your backstory first then your profile, then, by all means, do so. "I write my backstories before anything, and it acts as a guide for the rest. Some people might work in a different order and it'll be just as effective." Writing processes often vary, use whatever you're comfortable with. While using a character profile one of the mistakes beginners make

is misinterpreting the actual use of it. It's not an application form. It's meant to flesh out your ideas you have for that character and to be considered a writing exercise.

 

 

Basic Statistics

 

Name:

Age:

Nationality:

Socioeconomic Level as a child:

Socioeconomic Level as an adult:

Hometown:

Current Residence:

Occupation:

Income:

Talents/Skills:

Salary:

Birth order:

Siblings (describe relationship):

Spouse (describe relationship):

Children (describe relationship):

Grandparents (describe relationship):

Grandchildren (describe relationship):

Significant Others (describe relationship):

Relationship skills:

 

 

Physical Characteristics:

 

Height:

Weight:

Race:

Eye Color:

Hair Color:

Glasses or contact lenses?

Skin color:

Shape of Face:

Distinguishing features:

How does he/she dress?

Mannerisms:

Habits: (smoking, drinking etc.)

Health:

Hobbies:

Favorite Sayings:

Speech patterns:

Disabilities:

Style (Elegant, shabby etc.):

Greatest flaw:

Best quality:

 

 

Intellectual/Mental/Personality Attributes and Attitudes

 

Educational Background:

Intelligence Level:

Any Mental Illnesses?

Learning Experiences:

Character's short-term goals in life:

Character's long-term goals in life:

How does Character see himself/herself?

How does Character believe he/she is perceived by others?

How self-confident is the character?

Does the character seem ruled by emotion or logic or some combination thereof?

What would most embarrass this character?

 

 

Emotional Characteristics

 

 

Strengths/Weaknesses:

Introvert or Extrovert?

How does the character deal with anger?

With sadness?

With conflict?

With change?

With loss?

What does the character want out of life?

What would the character like to change in his/her life?

What motivates this character?

What frightens this character?

What makes this character happy?

Is the character judgmental of others?

Is the character generous or stingy?

Is the character generally polite or rude?

 

 

Spiritual Characteristics

 

Does the character believe in God?

What are the character's spiritual beliefs?

Is religion or spirituality a part of this character's life?

If so, what role does it play?

 

 

Character's Backstory

 

The creme da la creme of characterization referred to as the backstory. The main purpose of the backstory is to the explain why your character is the way he/she is and who they are now. Their life, in short, summarized.

 

Building your Backstory

 

Your "backstory" isn't actually the full narrative of how your character came to be. You're giving readers a brief story about your character, or to help you better understand yours. You'll want to have some sort of correlation with the details you've listed in your profile, your character is Angry Joe? He's mentally unstable and unable to control his anger which leads to his father abandoning him, delving him further into madness as he was consistently suspended from schools, he decided to drop out, he had a knack for auto vehicle theft so he's pursued his interests elsewhere. In your backstory, try to keep it unbiased and describe to readers what happened rather than evoking emotion from it, give readers the option to decide what to think about your character.

 

You should also consider writing out of your comfort zone and differentiate or experiment with the types of characters you're able to come up with. Many writers attempt to stray from themselves as much as possible, usually, this means venturing into unfamiliar settings or places. Having a character based off the writer entirely, usually, is referred to as "self-insert" and raises a red flag to others. Every writer pours a little of themselves into the character to portray some of the aspects realistically since in order to "act" as the character you'd need put yourself in the character's shoes. However, completely inserting your personality or self into the character is generally frowned upon. People who do this have the tendency to take things personally that are directed towards their character. Putting yourself in your character's shoes is a good method to bring your characters to life and try to give them the quirks or thought process you do while making them differ. Maybe try giving him an opinion on something because of his experiences when interacting or dealing with it. Putting yourself in your character's shoes is a good way to "humanize" your characters, but try to differentiate between yourself and the character.

 

Founding an image to build your character around also helps, for instance, you're thinking of executing a saleswoman. They would need the right credentials for the job and a reason to insert themselves into that particular lifestyle. You'll also be able to tell that the character probably was well educated throughout their life and obtained the necessary degrees. How'd she perform in high school? Did she attend any after school activities that might have sparked her interest? Or was it an individual she admired? Was she deeply focused in her studies and thus introvert? Maybe your character was a professional boxer. I'll be able to infer he's put a notable amount of time and effort in his practice and probably knows his/her way around a gym. Maybe he'll even have a memorable coach/mentor somewhere in his career.

 

 

 

Keeping it Real(istic)

 

Ask yourself, how are the things in the real world? In a civil country where we're set in the county is my character able to do any of the things I've listed? What is that I'm trying to portray with my character? Is it completely sensible and possible in other countries in real life? If you're able to establish a realistic foundation for your character, you're already on your way to creating a remarkable one.

 

When drafting a character it's imperative to consider how personality traits are balanced. Some characters I've seen have a specific number of negative and positive traits which try to maintain balance. Truth is, there will be no personality trait that is a perfect fit for every situation or scenario your character encounters. Self-centered individuals may tend to ponder on how they will benefit from a certain situation, only doing something if they have something to gain. Intelligent individuals may overthink a situation, no matter how trivial it seems. Obedient characters may rarely second guess an instruction or situation they're involved in, perceived as dogs merely following their master. The more the character has the specific trait, the more severe the drawbacks when the character encounters such a situation. Be mindful, not all positive traits are or will be perceived by other characters as a good thing. What can be ugly to one, may be beautiful to another.

 

Having your character act in a realistic, believable manner is also fundamental to roleplaying as him/her. In the past, I've seen characters that were too trusting of me upon the first encounter, usually divulging their well-kept secrets, life story, or any traumatic events that occurred during their life. Realistically, It would be unusual for a person to do so, especially immediately trusting a complete stranger. Realize that most people do not reveal such things in the first meeting unless they're convinced they'll never see the person again or extremely extrovert. People are eager to become best friends or open with another character when in reality, a majority of people do not do this. The same can be said for romantic individuals where they develop a romantic interest with another character upon first glance, often sexual.  You'll want to take in account social expectations for the setting your character will be placed in, and owlgaming is in a modern setting you should relate this to real life.

 

 

Believability

 

A key aspect of creating a character is retaining a sense of believability where the reader or roleplayer would be able to "feel" as if this character were his friend, teacher, or person in real-life. To start, refrain from making your character a "stock" one. The perfect character or the blond dike, any character where they become too predictable isn't what I generally would have fun roleplaying with, long term. Shape your character. Give them defining qualities to separate them from what you'd regularly see. This doesn't mean the character can't live an "average" life just not be made after a stereotype, cliche or anything redundant.

 

 

Development

 

One thing you should always keep in mind before writing your character is, they've long existed before you started writing them. The character should have been developed before you inserted them into the roleplay, they should have gone through changes or experiences that brought those changes. Everyone goes through change at some point in their lives, so should your characters. An example would be, you've decided to write a forty-year-old. From the number alone, I'll assume your character has been through some things both negative and positive and is at an age where he shouldn't lack maturity. He'll also probably have a lengthy well thought out backstory along with it, meaning there'd be a lot of depth to the character. When I think of the older individuals (30-40+) they usually have significantly more life experience than I do, make redundant jokes or comments, "Oh, I wish I had your genes back in my day. How handsome I would've been." "Thirty years ago? I had paid a nickel for that." have either a wife or several children and typically have that "old" look.

 

 

Piggybacks.

 

In some of the character stories I've read, people have written their character developing a talent because of a teacher or mentor of some sort. Some have been given a small boost throughout their life which started their progression into one of the goals they've set for themselves. Handing out piggybacks for your character is completely acceptable and I'd encourage it. In the real world, you need somebody to get you off your feet, parents, a caretaker, siblings, someone. For example, In the past, I've roleplayed an artist who got into the art culture by receiving a laptop from her father which allowed her to use photoshop, hence her interest in art. Other characters could receive nothing and live a life a struggle, it all depends on what you feel best fits in with your character. 

 

Do note, the more handouts, shortcuts you give to your character the less credible they may seem. It's essential that you try to limit the number or the significance of the handout. Whatever the case, try to remember not all individuals on this planet are seemingly gifted or have extraordinary talents. You'll need to cope with the possibility of complications or consequences that may alter your character in the future or his/her persona. You wouldn't want to give your character an easy and effortless ride to their destination, the fewer handouts, and freebies you give to your character, the better.

 

Evoking emotion 

 

 People (in general) don't like characters that are over the top (extraordinarily perfect) or who've been severely affected by troubled pasts. It may seem like you're wanting a certain reaction from the person, and people don't like when an emotion or feeling is demanded. It is something I'm guilty of, with the mentality of wanting to differentiate my character from the average joe, in a sense, interesting. Writing a character where they've faced bullying, dead loved ones or parents or any other traumatic event is generally where you want to be careful.  It's acceptable to implement these events in your backstory and have your character overcome them, but try to limit yourself to one or two. It should also be essential to the character and not talked about frequently as people might feel you're pressuring them into feeling something. Try to avoid making your backstory too traumatic or if you want a traumatic backstory you should put it past your character, they should have reasons to not talk about it frequently. For example, If the character has lost all her siblings she should have someone or something she used as an outlet to avoid talking about it often. If the event is still ongoing, your character would be most likely reluctant to talk about it. It's important to remember that characters or people don't dwell on the negatives or traumatic things in their life, try not to make your character do the same. It should be an event which affected the character, you should put it past him/her and not draw too much attention to it. If the main purpose of your backstory is to have your character be the object of admiration or pity, chances are people will avoid rp'ing with that character. Essentially, avoid expecting people to react a certain way towards your character.

 

Originality

 

I'd like to put emphasis on the fact there's no one on this planet who thinks the same, having the biologically same thought process or mentality as another individual is damn near impossible. Doing so will cause your roleplay to stagnate and make it seem one dimensional. Don't try to mimic another's character where the circumstances were infrequent and one of a kind. It's not wrong to take bits and pieces from someone else's character but taking a large portion from their story and implementing it into yours, defeats the purpose of you rp'ing as that character.

 

 

 

Developing the Character

 

A change in the characterization of a character over the or your roleplay is referred to as Character Development. One of the pinnacles of writing a character this is a skill that cannot be taught, understanding the development of a character is essential in writing the life that comes with one.

 

 

Everday Life.

 

After you've created your character, they're going to live some sort of lifestyle, they're going to be a citizen. What happens during this is going to be associated with character development, and the progression of your character throughout their life in your roleplay. Ex. Angry Joe has just arrived in Bone County he's set on reforming himself as individual and seeking medical help. He's unable to do so due to lack of services from the fire department and fails to establish an income, while out one day he gets robbed by two crips, they steal his favorite watch. He's enraged. He wants revenge, now he's set on killing the two men and taking back his watch at any costs this obviously fiddles with your character, possibly making them irritated on a regular basis altering how you roleplay the character.

 

Your character is a human being. Meaning they might do some of the things we do every day in our lives, going out for a haircut, eating at the newest restaurant, relieving stress at an indoor pool, etc. These are all things you should take account of while roleplaying with your character and try to incorporate into your lifestyle. This doesn't mean you have to treat roleplay like the sims and take care of your character better than you do yourself, it's always nice to roleplay necessities here and there but try to remember you're not being forced into doing these things. It's meant to add a more memorable and unique experience while your roleplaying, meaning you could always mix up your roleplay and do something different.

 

Emotion

 

We all have emotions or some sort of feeling when something occurs. So do your characters, when you're roleplaying you'll come across certain scenarios in which emotion for your character might have an effect causing the roleplay to prolong or halt. Try to include your character's reaction to a certain situation in your roleplay, Ex. Angry Joe just heard Jessica Law's father died. He's sad, he begins to cry, he lets go of the anger inside him opening his mind to more peaceful thoughts feeling a sense of pity for people similar to Jessica. This event has an effect on the way he thinks and acts, forcing him to let go of his vendetta against the people who stolen his watch, leading him to a reformation of himself. This can be said for your character, emotion plays a huge impact in our everyday lives and has so since our existence, forgetting that fact can lead to tedious roleplay with your character making them appear robotic and focused on one section of roleplay.

 

 

 

Scars

 

Scars, either they be emotional or physical your characters might have been created with them, and acquire such while roleplaying. As such this might have a correlation with emotion and affect your character immensely. Ex. Jessica law decides to take a stroll throughout her neighborhood, Ashton Sully appears in an alleyway and walks up to Jessica, violently mugging her, proceeding to sexually abuse Jessica. After the ordeal Jessica is broken, she's out of it. She's no longer the same person, she's furious. She's no longer peaceful and loving, she's distraught and out for revenge.

 

Another example, you're a cop, you've just shot your first suspect. Now he's dead, you're incapable of coming to reality with the situation, you thought he had a gun, he didn't. You just shot an innocent man as an officer, now he's dead. How your character reacts would fall in line with other pillars.

 

It's Okay

 

Not every situation or scenario will go the way you expect it to, not every situation will be in your favor. In fact, I'd prefer scenarios that took twists and turns, since I love the element of surprise. Although it's important to remember not every scenario has to impact your character to a certain degree. It's absolutely fine (depending on how your character is) for them to forget about a situation that occurred several days ago unless it's extremely traumatic. Dusty, has elaborated on this in his guide which is referred to as "forcing char dev". I'd also like to add not everything has to be blurted out about your character. An example would be you're roleplaying a character with a very traumatic past. You eventually find someone you're able to confide in. It doesn't have to be revealed the moment you start bonding with him/her, it can be prolonged and brought out to greater lengths at a different point in time. If you spill everything about your character from the moment you start roleplaying as him/her, chances are you'll rely solely on someone else's roleplay to progress your character.

 

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I've witnessed a ton of forced character development on this server which makes no sense. No one should be subjected to unwarranted ridicule for roleplaying rich or what not since that's completely out of their controls. #FuckVM

 

However if you're forcing character development or incorrectly developing your character complications will occur because of the lack of thought out actionables. It's like me writing a story about a child losing both parents at a young age, developing the story arch, and write in that the parents didn't die.. they never existed neither did I! Spooky shit but this isn't an M. Night Shyamalan, it's a roleplay server where you mesh fiction with non-fictional as much as you possibly can. When creating or developing a characters development or immediate future I recommend you consider the following things:

 

  • How are you feeling about your character? Are you comfortable keeping him or her alive after all they've lived through?
  • What are some static historical engagements he or she have gone through that hasn't been experienced on the play-server?
  • If you would like to write-in a background; Will that ever be looked at or will you keep it a shrouded mystery forever?
  • Look at your current character map. What would you like to expand upon next? I.E next car accident; if bad enough will damage his or her kidney or rib cages.

 

Read these questions, if you have an answer you're one step closer to putting theory into practicality. Never force anything because you feel like you have to. Organically implement it into your roleplay while integrating new plots and arch's methodically. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Aspirations

 

If you're interested in long-term roleplay with your character, you should always strive for giving them set goals or a plot to follow. I'll take Big Jimmy for example, who's a convict out of a prison, working towards reforming himself so he can gain custody of his daughter. That plot can be followed or adapted even if it's just a general idea. It's something to give thought to before throwing your character aimlessly in any environment or setting. Yes, you have a backstory. Yes, you have a pretty good character. But even with that, you as a roleplayer need something to do with that character. In GTA, you'll most likely be joining a faction or roleplaying with a set of individuals. Keep in mind that it's always fun (at least to me) to roleplay a storyline with your character. Most people rely on someone else for character development and don't generally have their own plots, storylines or anything with their character to follow. Handing your character that stick, wand, or plot, a story that you can continue wherever the character will be placed doesn't hurt at all.

 

Roleplaying the Character

 

Executing your character is one of the harder parts of bringing your character to life. Often, writers will have techniques to ensure their engagement in "acting" as their character. Founding your character is one thing, writing the chapters that come with the book, is another.

 

 

Description.

 

Description for your character, help others react to your character better or different and generally create or prolong roleplay. Descriptions don't have to generally be long, stylish or exuberant, it's up to you as a roleplayer and your character to define how best your character should be presented. 

 

Ultizting

 

I know this is pretty common knowledge but, as roleplayers, I feel you need an appreciation for the environment, setting, history and lore your character might revolve around. Needless to say, as a roleplayer your roleplay will without a doubt, revolve around these things. And so will your character. You might ponder at the most trival things like how a rock is positioned on the sidewalk, or why your nine-to-five is plastered with graffiti on the walls. It's crucial that you realize and adapt to the setting, environment, history of the roleplay your character will be involved in. Having a good understanding of what roleplay can provide for you, if you do those things will honestly make it more enjoyable for the roleplayers around you, and yourself.

 

 

Staying In-Character

 

One thing you'll want to always keep in mind while roleplaying is, "acting" as that character.  Often, people will have thought to themselves when roleplaying, "would my character do this?" "how would my character react to the situation?" "would my character hangout/associate with this person?" Asking yourself would my character do this or that is a good way to remain in character.

 

In Short

 

Enjoy yourself. At the end of the day, your enjoyment should be your number one priority when playing. Since we're all here to have fun, are we not? It's never a bad thing to keep your characters simple or have them live average lives. 

 

 

 

TLDR

Credit to Writerswrite for the profile.

Credit to @mail and @Spode and for helping.

Feedback/Criticism is welcomed and appreciated.

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Very nice, hopefully people can take something from this and we can stop having the San Andreas where everyone is perfect

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my character had this obsession with a black notepad he carried on patrol, in his breastpocket, like it was nobodies business. he would create abstract notations and focus on minuet details with such finesse. i like the stuff you've put down, it adds a bunch of character uniqueness and it doesn't break canon. will keep this in mind when i get back to roleplaying, great guide and thank you!

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Neat thread, I tend to do these for all new characters I make and have them in a pastebin.

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I find that reading books helps a lot with creative process of character development. I recommend staying away from these "Height, Weight, Age, etc." questionnaires as it kills the entire creative process, at least for me. Don't overthink those simple details and focus on big picture.

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2 hours ago, Antonia said:

Nice guide @Neal! I think everybody should start using this.

 

You should honestly pin this thread. It's really helpful.

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Lovely guide.

 

Another hint for people who have trouble RPing or whatsoever:

Whenever you have to take an IC decision, try to have a quick scan throughout your characters history. 

Try to put yourself in the character's mind and base your decision upon the char's history and also it's personality.

Even though I don't play on Owl anymore, during my time I experienced that most people had difficulties to keep IC and OOC seperate when making decisions.

When you are able to somewhat think in a way your character would think, then you have made one of the biggest steps possible in roleplay.

 

Good luck to who-ever is learning to RP!

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You pretty much got this completely wrong, it goes in this exact order.

1. Log in to ur account and get ready to rekt bishes

2. Press the create character button

3. Make them 180CM female or 200CM male who weight 60 or 80kg in the dankest skin you can find, call em something gr8 like Cool Man Simon

4. Make that /look to be has big muscles, many tats, great face very sexy, is best.

5. Character story? Whats a character story? No one gives a shit?

6. Personality seen a cool film recently? Make em act like that and then when you watch another film make them act like a character in that and keep changing after all personality is endless!

7. Become cool-cop or cool-criminal and stack up that great dough and buy the lambo you always used to own?

8. Like this comment and get an extra cool character next time you make one, this method works don't forget to liek and subscribe.

 

And thats how u make a cool ass character, is real method

 

 

 

Shutup ik this is stupid but who cares?

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