View Full Version : Project://Animus

08-22-2013, 04:08 PM
So over the summer I began working on a new story. It came about as a combination of several other story projects I've worked on over the years, and I'm happy with where I am going with the story so far. But I wanted to try and work out one of the biggest problems I always face when I start writing, creating the various characters that will inhabit this new world. So I decided I'm going to crowd source some ideas. Further down in this post ill work up a quick overview of the story so you readers will have some context, and in the next post ill be putting a character template that I made for this. Ill include a brief explanation inside the template so that some things are explained.

I am ver excited about starting this new writing project and I would very much enjoy getting some help from you people here at FC.

For right now, the summary will go here, but ill add it when I get on my computer later tonight.

08-22-2013, 04:17 PM
<Real World>

Name: (the person's real life name)
Age: (thier age)
Garden Name: Garden 5 (Asgard). [this is default so don't change this]

Physical Description: (describe your person in the real world)

Personality: (describe how your person would act while in the real world)

<In-Game Character>

Name: (the character your person plays as in the game)
Class: (what class would your person play as in the game world)
Guild Affiliation: (since I don't have names yet just a generic idea for guild, ie mercenary, adventuring, army, merchant, mage, etc)

Physical Description: ( the character's physical appearance in game)

Personality: (how the person acts while they are in character in the game)

Jam Cliché
08-22-2013, 04:44 PM
I have a suggestion that is EXTREMELY odd but effective.

First, make sure you have a setting. Invent a simple character premise. The main character in a spy novel, for instance, or the love interest of the main character in a medieval fantasy world. Figure out what character you're "building" and get proceed. Now get yourself a deck of Tarot cards and a book of interpretations.

Lay a spread (that is, draw cards from the deck and lay them on a table in the order you drew them) of 7 cards. Use the interpretations book and cards to build your character. Each of the seven cards represents one aspect of the character, as follows:

1. Goals: what your character wishes to accomplish. These may be short term, long term, or a mix of both. They will guide your character's actions in the story.
2. Friends: These are people willing to grant aid to your character in the story. "Friends" include family, allies, or even people who owe your character a debt. Generally, this card describes the other characters who will at some point share this character's goal or have supportive goals to his/hers.
3. Plans: These are, or were, your character's plans for the future. They are how a character intends to achieve their goals.
4. Obstacles: That which stands in the way of your character in their goals. They can be anything from general enemies to internal conflict or physical barriers.
5: Destiny: This is nebulous but pervasive - over the course of the story your character will move closer towards reaching this destiny. Destiny is not the same as goal. In fact, characters' destinies may be undesirable or neutral, and they may tend to move closer or further away from it until they eventually reach it.
6. Enemies: The opposite of Friends, these are people who will oppose the character's goals. This card must be interpreted to characterize some type of actual person.
7. Soul: The deepest essence of your character, embodying their personality, temperament, morality, etc.

The idea here is to stick to the cards no matter what. Let chance dictate your character building.

Other things you can do is take a look at Major and Minor Arcana. Aspects involving Major Arcana should be more pronounced parts of your character than those which are not. And if any of the Minor Arcana represent a majority of the spread (like having mostly Swords), then take a look at what that Minor Arcanum means as a suit and make sure that when the character encounters situations where that suit may apply, that the outcome of the situation is more severe. To determine whether that severity is positive or negative, use the character's "luck" factor. That is whether more of the cards in the spread were right side up or upside down. If more were upside down, then that character will have more negative outcomes in his/her Minor Arcanum, and vice versa.

I found this technique from a tabletop RPG game someone came up with called Triumph. I have a printed copy of the simple rulebook but can find the online version if you want. I changed some of the rules a bit for writing instead of gameplaying but the premise is the same.

I came to like this method mostly by coincidence (or was it?). I had written a story a while back, a work-in-progress tale about space military, not unlike Halo. The story was pretty basic. Black Ops soldier finds out that his career is based on a lie and that nearly all the missions his team was sent on were actually not about quelling a rebellion but about oppressing Earth's colonies to keep them from seceding. He goes rogue, and the agent put in charge of hunting him down was an old friend who used to act as a liaison between his unit and the agency that conscripted them from their old military stations.

Well, my girlfriend and I decided to check out this character building method as a thought building exercise, and the characters we made were a near perfect match for the two main characters I described above. It helped that we had built our characters with the intention that they be linked to each other. I told her about it and she suggested I superimpose our new character traits onto my story. The biggest change was that the agent became a woman... and was the Black Ops guy's ex-lover. Also she got a way cooler name after that. I had stopped working on that story for a looong time, but after we decided to put these characters in, I have had more content popping into my head and an actual ending in mind.

It really works, and I highly recommend it.

08-22-2013, 04:59 PM
I know how to make characters, it's just that for this specific work I want to have other people contribute. It'll be clearer with the description that ill make later on tonight.

Jam Cliché
08-22-2013, 05:13 PM
I know how to make characters

one of the biggest problems I always face when I start writing, creating the various characters


Suit yourself I guess. I just know this method helps you branch away from the norm.