Dev Blog #11: Character Creation

Hey guys, I’m TJ and I’m an assistant writer for Sanne in Avitus.

About a month ago I joined the project and was assigned to work with Wolf. I’ve been writing since I was twelve (I’m now 21), in that time I’ve learnt a lot about the creative process, what works, what doesn’t. By far one of the most appealing parts of writing is the pure creation of building a world, and a big part of that is the people we fill that world with.

Writing a character can be very tough, you have to ask yourself a lot of questions. Certain situations don’t have a clear cut solution and working out which path a character will take is hard, especially if you’re trying to maintain a degree of persistency.

One of the first things I was assigned to do, upon joining the project, was help flesh out the main character: Nathan. Usually I build a character from the ground up, but Nathan was already reasonably well established. The team working on him, Wolf, Electromancer, Darkendless and myself, had some of our work cut out for us. This meant most of our work was less geared towards his appearance (the easy bit) and more towards his mannerisms (the hard bit).

The first thing I did was take what I knew about the character and apply it to a Myers Briggs Type Indicator test, something I do with all my major characters. This test assigns one of sixteen personalities to your character, whilst it’s still prone the same errors and generalisations any personality test is, it does provide a good general idea of your character. Seriously as a writer an MBTI is a godsend, and a bit of a cheat code.

So, using the MBTI, I then worked on the proposal I had for Nathan. Character proposals are pretty basic documents, you have all the physical descriptions, the mannerisms, and then the history (education, relationships, etc.). Each of the writers on the team made one of these, and shortly after we compiled them into all the bits we liked. The MBTI stayed in; it can be used by any writer to quickly solve a problem.

In the end we had a complete character built, but it doesn’t end there. Building a character and writing a character are two very different beasts. As a result we all walked away from it and began to write a short story about Nathan. But another good example of getting experience like this is the piece done by Dwarf last week, about Hanna and Nathan getting ice cream. I too did a piece and have another I’m working on at the moment for Sanne. These pieces, as well as being teasers for you guys, are a great experience for the writing staff. It gives us time to get to know the characters we write. We can develop ideas about them, which don’t appear in character documents. We also can keep ourselves in practice and improve as writers, many of us have different styles, stuff like this helps us identify those differences and manage them better.

Based off all the work above we then take the character we’ve built and drop them into the world of Avitus. We create a destiny for them and see how they’d react to it. Because whilst we may have control over these characters, the best ones have a mind of their own.

Thank you very much for reading, and I look forward to having much more to share with you soon.

-TJ

Last edited by Watercress (3 Feb 2016 03:12)