Character development
#1
How do you do it?

Do you make plans for your character(s) and keep to them? Or do you write by the seat of your pants and allow things to happen organically? A bit of both method, perhaps?

I sometimes get stuck in a rut with my writing and don't always know how to fix the issue. I'm curious to hear how fellow 'Soulsters manage. :3
Avatar by Marcy! ♥


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<a href="#!" class="apparel-accessories" title="Typically wears plaid scarves and studded leather bracelets."></a>
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<a href="#" class="optime-preference" title="OPTIME unless otherwise stated."></a>
<a href="#!" class="accompaniment" title="Typically accompanied by two Indian runner ducks, Myrkr and Tara."></a>
<a href="#" class="skill-trade" title="Offers animal feed, dye, tattoos, art, charms, fortunes etc."></a>
<a href="#!" class="skill-animals" title="Skilled with small domestic animals such as goats and ducks."></a>
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#2
I totally just let it develop naturally, and let my characters react to the things that happen around them!

Pack plots and character relationships are a great way to develop characters - when I first picked up Skye, she was young, happy, peppy, and very idealistic. Building a new pack gave her responsibility, and she had to slowly learn how her actions affected those that she was responsible for. Her mate left her early on, and she suffered through various tragedies in CdA, and it slowly led her to become reserved, cynical, suspicious, and wary of the world around her; it happened gradually, and I didn't really think about it too much, but when I look at her behavior when I first joined and her behavior right before I dropped her, it's night and day!
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#3
I usually do a mixture of both. I am not too good at doing mayor plots for the future but through smaller events I nudge my characters into a certain direction while I let their personalities be influenced by external factors such as the people they meet and the things they learn.

For example Rocky here was originally supposed to be a darker character, more gruff and with a savage taste for battle. However with the introduction to Biff's Bar and his romance with alcohol he has become a goofier, more lighthearted character. Still a volatile individual, but by no means a downright jerk.


With Kaeli the opposite happend. When I first brought her into Souls she was pretty neutral, prideful maybe but willing to please and earn her place. She began to develop into a warrior with more and more interest in becoming strong and be seen as powerful. Conflicts in New Dawn planted the seed of social Darwinism in her head and after a change of leadership which she didn't agree with she grew resentful and took to being a loner. Then stuff happend and she became more wild, darker and cold. Her original pride grew and her need to please turned into ambition and egoism.

Hope this helps in some way...
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#4
This is my favorite topic EVER ! Sorry this is... So tldr.

I would say that I am both.

When I first began roleplaying I was a very reactive roleplayer. I would react to whatever was happening to my character with little thought as to how this story would impact the greater whole. I also did alot of waiting? I would wait for things to happen to my character instead of making them happen.

Now a days (after more then 10years roleplaying hahaha) I would say that I am proactive! Every thread that I take on is guided by the larger character development or theme that I am aiming toward.

I also challenge myself in specific ways throughout the year that are more to do with my own writing (eg. This year was to use cNPCs and work on dialogue) and by choosing to work on those things my characters are automatically speaking more and working with their cNpcs.

Having jobs and striving towards ranks in packs (if your character is ambitious!) also can help to move your story.

Sometimes my character meets another character that deeply impacts them and becomes a tiny piece of their identity - I love when it happens unplanned!

I also must say that having a clear idea of your characters flaws also helps with development and story telling.

Also cNPCs. They do not need to be for life - but it gives you something to bounce off of. You can create foils, explore dialogue... All without leaving your own writing! They will change your life.

A great example of this proactive approach for me is Odalis. She was very flat and I was having trouble breaking her out of that mold. I decided to put her in some new situations specifically to have her develop down a different path than originally intended while also staying true to her character. This has made her so much more interesting to me and more fun to explore!

Brocade was also someone who developed very naturally for me - I always knew what direction I wanted to take him in, but was completely surprised by the relationships that he's made and how they have effected him. He is both what I expected when I first adopted him and also so much more?!

Mateo is really only at the beginning of his personal arc. I purposely exposed him to as many characters as possible to get a great sense of who he is early on. As someone considered useless/a nobleman in his little group there are so many avenues here to keep him moving and striving forward. His flaws are obvious but are also pivotal to have him grow.

Etoile is my first attempt at a temporary character and has opened my eyes to using her as a means to further a different characters story.
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#5
Both people in real life and realistic characters are products of their circumstances. Rather than plan exact factors of what you want for a character, think about what events in their life might drive them to studying a certain talent, or exhibiting a certain behavior. Plan for what you want or are interested in to shape a character, but stay flexible. Don't script out threads. Don't rush through posts. Take the time to really think hard about what their current situation would make them do or say. You have to take this time to really figure out what they will do and how they will grow or change in that momentand for the future.

Think about body language and changing up your dialogue. The most development and evidence of character comes out of these.

Character development is not a cut and dry process. It's getting inside the characters head and living there in short spurts. It's planning ahead while not planning completely. It's taking extra time to think before making them act or speak. It's not choosing a static concept, but a blank slate, and developing it around what the character sees and does.

Some examples. Neith only became interested in healing after the April board illness plot last year; I had nothing planned for him whatsoever at the time.

I set up Mistral YEARS IN ADVANCE to be an extremely traumatized child. She knew she was a bargaining tool for her mother and knew her mother wanted the throne. That steered Mistral completely. I used all of her trauma in every post I had with her as an adult, because her experiences made up her actual psyche.

I could go on, but I won't. There is a lot of insightful info in this thread and I hope it helps!
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#6
Finding such a thing to be difficult in a way - my ideas tend to be entirely based upon mental images with inspiration drawn from certain sources that become fleshed out the more I research or bounce ideas back and forth - like how I imagine scenes to play out with a giant spooky wolf-beast drawing closer to a camp-site, acting fierce and intimidating but talkative... but in reality the giant-spooky-beast ends up being a coward. XD

For Jhiral, heavily based upon the protagonist of a game called 'Darkwood', his appearance, background and abilities stem from that; a withered man in a hat and shawl with no voice of his own, no memory of how he arrived and suspicion of something he did hanging over himself, but the game did not have anybody to speak for him, hence Maja.

Maja is Jhiral's foil - he is a hermit with a questionable grasp on reality who hides away from life, can't remember his past due to some incidents, has abilities and skills he cannot fully explain except for the more apparent medical practice. Maja can speak, is extroverted, actively seeks to provoke social situations both easily dealt with and those more awkward, and remembers things that her jackal friend cannot.

There are various plans for him, but they change while remaining faintly similar to their original conception; at some point, he remembers things, if only in surreal dreams, taking a little more knowledge back into reality, or how he actually arrived on Nova Scotia - I intend to write up a RO or a possible AW/Private thread showing how he actually arrived should he re-discover that place on the coast.

Admittedly, often run into the proverbial brick-wall and lose muse or interest, not being in good moods, etc. However, he is evolving into a unofficial church-warden with potential that was not expected of him before - I tend to improvise and hope for the best.
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<a href="#!" class="apparel-accessories" title="Jhiral always wears linen wrappings and a hat, shawl and skirt. A dapper gentleman."></a>
<a href="#!" class="seclusion" title="Is not fond of large gatherings."></a>
<a href="#!" class="character-typical-location" title="Typically found in St Pauls Church, within or near Inferni territory."></a>
<a href="#!" target="_blank" title="Speaks fluent sign-language, denoted by bold, italics and wrapped in {}, and some raven low-speech. Maja speaks " class="foreign-language"></a>
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<a href="#!" class="skill-animals" title="Skilled with Ravens, particularly Maja."></a>
<a href="#!" class="skill-crafts" title="Can make traps, typically plant-fibre and stick snares, pop-up ankle-stabbers, and other devious things."></a>
<a href="#!" class="skill-fighting" title="Skilled in use of Fisticuffs and two-handed Axes."></a>
<a href="#!" class="skill-medic" title="Is a skilled medic, dealing with his condition helps, may need to improve his bedside manners."></a>
<a href="#!" class="skill-scholar" title="Can read and write very well, shame most of these savages can't."></a>
<a href="#!" class="skill-spirituality" title="Has Christian leanings, prays with Hope Lykoi."></a>
<a href="#!" class="skill-stealth" title="Is naturally silent, can be quite sneaky if he really tried, bit heavy-footed. Can pass information to and from Maja without arousing suspicion, if nobody can speak bird."></a>
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#7
I've always been one to let my characters develop naturally, but I don't mind steering them in the right (or wrong) direction, either. Sometimes I'll throw a real curveball their way, but I prefer reacting to everyone else's curveballs.

For example, Nayavota's parents were recently moved to CdC's new "honored elders" rank. They're obviously upset about this and questioning Luca's leadership, which means Naya is doing the same thing. So her teenage rebellion phase, which I planned to direct at her parents, is now being directed at Casa's leadership. Which uh... Good luck with that, Naya.

I feel like, if I have to force a plot, maybe it's not the right plot to have right now, y'know?
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