Thoughts on Character Creation 1 - Associations (Author's Notes)

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Hello, internet humans!

This is sort of a companion piece to my post the other day about naming characters. I liked doing that one so much, that I thought it might be fun to delve deeper into the character creation/designing process. By designing, I don’t mean from a graphic standpoint (though I may well get into that aspect in time as well), but more realizing them as fully as possible by defining them clearly. Especially through real world associations.

When I’m planning out characters, I like to associate a bunch of actual, real things with them very, very early on in the creation process. Basically, once I know the type of character I need and how important they are, I’ll go ahead and start thinking of things for them. What types of things? Anything, honestly. Food, drinks, music, movies, art, weather patterns, favorite fucking brands of pen - anything they could like or dislike within the parameters of their character or character type, that’s what I’m looking for.

Depending on the importance of the character, there will be either more or less associations made, but I do it to some extent for every single character I create. Why do I do this? Because it makes them more real to me. It really is as simple as that. No matter how major or minor they may be, I like every character I make to be as real as possible, even if they only have one line. That way, they might resonate more with the audience.

I figure that if I know a few (or a shit load of) things about a character beyond their purpose in the narrative, I can get into their heads a lot better and, in turn, write them more accurately and, more importantly, honestly. It’s very much akin to criminal profiling, actually. You can profile a person so precisely that you can just know what type of fucking car they drive and it’s color without even seeing it (Don’t believe me? Read up on John Douglas.), and if your mind has even a fraction of the capacity for that, you should absolutely apply it to the characters you create.

It’ll only help make your characters stronger and more memorable. It’s a win all around!

Anyway, that’s it for me. I’ll do another one of these soon, where I go into idiosyncrasies and the like. For now, I need to get back to work!

Originally posted on June 14th, 2017 via Tumblr.