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Con: Too Much Character

I wasn't sure what to title this. I wanted to drop a short post about creating characters. I use to think the more indepth one made a character, the better, but I also feel like it gets to the point where the character can be too indepth and not really practical for writing purposes.

I have characters and character archetypes I use over and over. I tend to have the same cast of characters. This is easy for me and my characters have certainly developed and become more indepth. But it seems to me they've almost become too personal to me. They're almost not practical for writing about. Writing is often plot driven, ideal driven or genre "archetype" . Characters aren't necessarily a driving force and it certainly makes the story more complicated than it needs to be when it is that way. I also worry that making very specific, well defined characters make their inhibit their ability to be related to. It also limits their growth within the eyes of the viewer.

I don't really like the characters that just seem like cardboard cut outs, but for certain genres it's those characters that carry the story and they're simple enough that people can relate to them. I think characters should have at least a centering theme, if not the "three traits".

A lot of my characters have become too complicated for reading, sometimes I can get boggled on things about them that don't matter. I've re-used certain characters for sites, rpgs and online games, etc... This has greatly developed the characters and made me consider things like how they sound, their specific dimensions and facial features, skin tone, etc... I think a lot of the indepth features are pointless to writing, unless we're making a well established general archetype. It's really only in video games where I can consider voice and such that I think about how the character should sound, etc.... To some extent I think it's a good thing, because I feel like I get a better idea for their essential characteristics and how they should develop.

At the same time I think it can hinder me as a writer and it can certainly hinder readers.

Still, I don't really see myself starting with a "fresh" slate character. I believe, even if I tried to make a new character at this point, I would fall back on my archetypes or other archetypes. I happen to believe that people normally do this with characters and hence why we see the archetypes develop in the first place. I would opt to have my own archetypes that have developed over the course of years than to feel like I'm just randomly picking from the pot. The characters I use started as general archetype characters. I'm sure they could pretty easily be put into a general archetype category. Even the most original character could be placed into a category.

It's not that we necessarily need to make original or strange characters, we just need to make engaging characters for the audience. If we don't do that, then it's kind of a selfish practice. I guess that's where I am when I look at it.

Comments

jongibbs
Dec. 15th, 2009 12:42 pm (UTC)
Great post!

That's an interesting way of looking at characters.

Thanks for sharing :)
lavericknine
Dec. 16th, 2009 03:54 am (UTC)
Hey, thanks~

I'm glad it's good. I just kind of wrote from my own issues with characters ^_^;

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