Thursday, October 21, 2004

Creating a Mythology Part 3: Personal History

This is going to be a very short blog since character creation has been covered by far better writers than I. If you want to skip my rambling, the links are at the bottom.

I just want to stress to you the importance of detail. Without detail, your characters are flat. A plain old wizard with a long grey beard and impressive spells isn't much to go on. But if you wizard also has a gambling problem and is trying to train his 14 year old flightly niece the business, that's far more entertaining and suggests possible plots.

It's not enough to just give them a background story, you have to reflect that history in how the character acts. For example, it would make sense for someone who had a relative die by snake bite to have a strong fear and hatred of snakes, so work that in. A mercenary wouldn't be from a noble family unless there was a good reason for it (like being stripped of his land and titles for some offence) so either give him a reason or give him a commoner background.

That's all I really have to say, except to enjoy your characters. You'll be working with them for a while so don't create characters that bore you to tears.

Here's some wonderful links to resources of creating characters (those better writers I mentioned).

Fiction Writer's Character Chart
Creating Memorable Characters
Ways to Ruin Your Dialogue Part 4
On Thud and Blunder
You and Your Characters
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