thedancingwriter:

Keeping a character’s voice consistent throughout a book can be a challenge. There are a multitude of factors to maintaining a character’s voice. Keep in mind that as the character develops, the voice doesn’t change. A character’s voice at its core can best be described as a character’s personality. Here are a few factors for you to consider:

  • Social class
  • Intelligence
  • Background
  • Extrovert or introvert
  • Sense of humor or seriousness
  • Long sentences or short, crisp ones
  • Impulsive or logical
  • How character views surroundings
  • How character makes decisions
  • What character observes first

And many, many more…

Let me use my character, Amelia Gareth from When Stars Die, to give you an example of voice consistency by answering some of the points above.

  1. Social class: Amelia comes from the upper class in the 19th century, so when she speaks or narrates, her exposition and dialogue are going to have a formality to them that someone from the lower class wouldn’t have.
  2. Intelligence: Amelia is sharp, so when she is in a situation that demands an immediate answer, she is able to come up with one, no matter how impulsive or illogical it may be. She has to be intelligent to survive in her world.
  3. Background: Before Amelia came to Cathedral Reims, she mostly lived at her manor, hardly venturing outside, so she isn’t very worldly. Even at Cathedral Reims she is confined and only allowed certain knowledge taught by the nuns. So the cathedral suppresses her chances at personal development. Thus, her actions and dialogue are going to mirror this lack of worldliness, so she often comes off as immature.
  4. Extrovert or Introvert: Amelia is an extrovert. She wants to be around people. She wants friends, as she didn’t have many at home. She is fiercely protective of her younger brother and will do whatever it takes to protect him. She also isn’t afraid to voice her feelings when she finds something disagreeable. She’s terrified of ending up alone. She is concerned with her external world.
  5. Long sentences or short, crisp ones. Amelia might fall somewhere in between. She exists in the 19th century, so brevity wasn’t too much of a thing. If you’ve ever read books published in the 19th century, you’ll know this. However, her voice had to be adjusted for a more modern audience, so she can’t be too wordy. But her thought process isn’t clipped. It’s detailed.
  6. Impulsive or logical: Due to her background, she is impulsive. She is about her happiness, about protecting her younger brother. When either of these things are threatened, she doesn’t think logically to find a solution.
  7. Surroundings: When Amelia views her surroundings, she views them in detail. When the story begins, she has only been at the cathedral for three years, so she has been trapped in her manor for fifteen, so it’s like the world is new to her.
  8. Decisions: She’s never been confronted with the harsh realities of life, so, as stated above, her decisions are impulsive.
  9. Observations: Because of what she’s gone through, she’ll note the negative things first. Witches are despised in her world, so she’ll generally relate that negativity to the state of the world overall. When she can’t find anything negative, she’ll note the positive, but she’ll think of a crisp, blue sky as something that shouldn’t be there because of the world she lives in.
  10. Sense of humor or seriousness: You can probably tell Amelia is serious. There is a lot going against her, so she feels like she cannot relax.

So when doing a character outline for voice, keep these things in mind and anything else you can think of to keep your character’s voice consistent. Refer to this outline constantly. Step into your character’s shoes and ask, “How would she/he react? How would he/she respond to a character telling him/her something?” And so on and so forth. Also, if it has been a couple of days since you’ve last written, read the previous few pages to get back into your character’s voice. Simply put, become your character.


Source: thedancingwriter

clevergirlhelps:

quirkliterary:

 When someone says that your character is “common”, it is not a good thing. It means that your character is a copy that’s been copied over much too many times. That you’ve probably seen it in books yourself— you may have even based it off a book character. Or you may have ripped it directly from a stereotype without even thinking about it.

 It happens to the best of us when we’re absent about development. However, that does not make it okay. Common characters must be eradicated as soon as they start sounding bland.

 The post on male characters will serve as follow-up tomorrow. If you think this one’s a tad brash, just wait for that one. Juuust wait.

5- Brave chick who has utterly no personality besides oh, look she can shoot stuff pretty good can I leave her there.

 Somehow, the trend seems to be going that in order to have a female protagonist, we must rid ourselves of every trace of interesting traits and make her the equivalent of a mindless arrow-shooting vixen who’s cold on the outside… and on the inside… and is generally cold… and bland…

 Bland is not good.

 A female protagonist can and should be utterly hardcore with the weaponry and all that— I am completely down with that and in fact encourage it— but don’t sacrifice her depth for it. She can be both gun-savy and a memorable character.

 If you’re questioning that your character might be a part of this group, check to see what her main traits are. “Good with ammo” is not a trait. “Trained in judo” is not a trait. “Can do sarcastic comebacks but otherwise is still as a sock” is also not a trait.

Dig deeper into her personality, bring her out, let her delve deeper, gosh darn it.

4- Overly supportive mother/grandmother/aunt.

 Kudos to your character if she has a mother who cares. Overly supportive mother, however, cares a bit too much. She seems to live in constant peril that any sign of discipline she enforces over her daughter will make her unlikeable, and that making herself a limp noodle— albeit a sweet limp noodle— will earn her daughter’s respect.

 Common phrases from her mouth are: “Whatever you want, honey”; “Hello! I made dinner! Do you want a smartphone with that?.”; “But officer, I don’t care about the evidence— my child is golden!”

 This is one of the more distressing common tropes. Think of your own mother— you respect her, don’t you? It probably wasn’t because she let you do whatever you want. Mothers aren’t passive, and the fictional ones shouldn’t be. And if she is passive, she better not be portrayed as the perfect role model for every teenage girl. You’re just a-shoeing for both a terrible character and a warped perspective for the next generation.

3- The weird girl who all the guys love even though she sniffs her feet in public.

 You can see them through indie fiction in droves, this wave of “different” girls whose only case in point seem to be acting uncommonly weird. The sort who shy guys hook up with presumably so he can poetically narrate her wandering off bridges because she was staring at the clouds. Creating a girl with quirks is one thing— creating an offbeat girl is also great. Creating a psychopath with “cute” abnormalities like licking walls and taking baths in ketchup every Saturday— exaggerating a bit here— is not cute.

 Frankly, it’s a tad psychotic and uncanny to the extreme.

 The thing with characters is that no matter how weird they are, they still have to be human. You must provide a viable reason for her bathing in ketchup, not just because she has an excusable-because-she”s-eccentric.

 I can’t find any excuse for your character to like bathing in ketchup unless she also likes burning down orphanages and mutters to herself in public while clinging to a shopping cart.

 Again, if your character’s a bit eccentric, that is alright. But keep her reasons for being eccentric within reason— too many novels go overboard with this bit.

2- “I’m going on an unnecessary spiritual adventure and will describe it to you with looooots of adverbs.”

 (sigh)

 See if this sounds familiar: “Here is Sally. She is in her mid-thirties. Sally is bored of the never-ending rut her successful job and well-meaning friends give her, so with soundtrack accompaniment by an inspiring instrumental, she gives up all her possessions and somehow manages to pay on a trek around the globe.

 Here she meets offensively stereotypical side characters, encounters stereotypical events, and manages to meet an addendum on the meaning of life in a stereotypically philosophical way, also accompanied to an imaginary soundtracks.

 And a brick ton of adverbs.”

 Literary escapism is so hot right now. If we were to believe the charts, every middle aged business woman is currently on an adventure in deep deep {foreign country}, where she is building houses and outraging every reasonable person she meets with her ignoramus comments.

 The best way to root her out is to decide if her jaunt or move has purpose besides “discovering what she’s all about.” If no, tweak with caution until everything she says isn’t a one-liner from the great philosophical internet.

  She is also often a victim of trope number three, so beware. And if she’s ditching her job for Bulgaria in no reason besides she’s always wondered if Bulgaria hides the secret to happiness, careful. You might have this trope on your hands.

1- The begrudgingly-blank teenage girl.

 "Hello, honey!" said overbearing relative character, beaming as she gave me a mama bear hug. She always does that because I’m her golden child even though I constantly backsass her. "How was your day at school."

 ”Uhh, fine mom,” I mumbled, shoving her out of the way. She was in front of the refrigerator. This is the life of a teenager. “Do we have any milk?”

 ”Milk,” said my playful-but-clearly-unhip father, creeping out from the pantry. “I am going to make a sarcastic comment about milk and ruffle your hair, kiddo.”

 ”Ummm, okay,” I said, rolling my eyes. What a hopeless goofball. “Very funny, dad.”

And so on.

 You don’t tend to see this in published teen lit fiction; perhaps there’s a reason for that. Not only is it dull to create a character who goes around saying “umm” and mentally abusing people, it’s also inaccurate. Find the rudest teen queen you can think of, with the most perfect live who rejects it all for angst, and I guarantee you she’s nothing like this character.

 Why?

 For starters, she has a viable personality.

 This is the most forgettable stereotype—the top of the overtly-stereotypical family pyramid— and therefore is the most vital to avoid. Your character needs to have a more complex base than this.

 I don’t care what that base is, but find it. Find it before you figure out your character is an insult-spewing adolescent zombie.

Re: Point 3

  • Don’t use psychopathic/psychotic interchangeably. 
  • People with those kinds of personality disorders are people.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girls do not have the flaws the Point 3 rails against. I believe Point 3 is trying to tell people not to write them, but does not get everything quite right. 

Source:

sorrowsfall:

One of my most popular posts shares tips for writing heavy emotional scenes. I think that post is popular because we often struggle with including emotions in our stories, especially when those emotions are intense.

In my own writing journey, capturing emotions in words (and in a way readers could experience) was one of the trickiest steps of my learning curve. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi’s The Emotion Thesaurus helped me with that struggle immensely. However, I’m far from perfect and still need to tweak those emotional scenes many, many times.


Source: sorrowsfall

referenceforwriters:

How to write panic attacks if you have never experienced one? I understand the symptoms, but trying to get into the mind set is a lot harder than just understanding what is meant to be felt. - Anonymous 
I understand what you mean, specially since you can’t always trust the information you find online or on textbooks. Most of these are written by people who don’t experience the condition you want to research, so what you find, in the end, is not much.
Here’s a gathering of some personal experiences my dear followers shared upon my request; most, if not all of them, wished to remain anonymous. I respect their conditions. 
But first, some bulletpoints:
  • Everyone’s experience is different. We’ve touched this matter before. 
  • Don’t combine every possible insight you read into one. They can’t all fit in the same person, certainly not in a realistic character. 
  • I think it’s rather redundant at this point, but treat the subject with the respect it deserves.

The compilation is under the cut. 

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Anonymous asked: "im trying to write a character who is a leader of a group. they are no nonsense and refuse to take orders from others. they can be smug is some situations but I dont know how to write them without them seeming like they dont care because they do care, they just have a tough love sort of way of doing it."

fuckyeahcharacterdevelopment:

With tough-love characters, it’s difficult for those at the receiving end of their treatment to see that their way of doing things might stem from affection. Here are some tips on how to show their more caring side:

Subtle Gestures

We’re not all the type to openly show affection, but you’d be hard-pressed to find somebody incapable of showing any at all.

For some characters, it’s much more discreet. They may only give into their more affectionate side when they believe they’re alone or away from those who might judge them for their softer qualities.

Things like stroking a child’s hair once - and only when - its asleep, singing to a baby if they think they’re the only ones who can hear, petting or spoiling animals/pets in secret, or being unable to leave someone in need, no matter how much of a struggle it is for them to swallow their pride and show that glimmer of emotion that they perceive as weakness.

Taking the Fall

Some characters struggle under difficult circumstances for specific reasons and, as such, are unable to allow the main character to see anything but their cruelest side.

Or maybe they’re just unable to hide years of pain and hardship, and take it all out on the wrong people.

One thing is for sure though: your character can commit at least one totally unselfish act, proving that their heart was in the right place after all.

Knowing Better

When you’ve been through a difficult situation, it can be hard to watch somebody else go through exactly the same thing. If they’re in a position to control it, your character might try to actively bend the fate of those they care about, to prevent them from making similar mistakes.

Of course, it all comes out one way or another, and we see all along that they were merely trying to help and weren’t controlling for the fun of it.

Parental Guidance

Your character holds a lot of responsibility and they may have had to learn the hard way that leadership is not always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes you have to say no every once in a while and crack down on the discipline, or everything falls apart.

It doesn’t mean they’re always strict, however. Maybe on a rare occasion, your character loosens up and either explains (verbally, or through a gesture/flashback) their tough-love approach, or shows a side in secret to just one or two others, that they usually keep well under wraps.

For the record, it’s perfectly okay for your main character to misjudge another’s character only to later amend their view. It’s good character development for everything to unravel. If everything is clear from the beginning, then there’s not much for us to learn, so don’t be afraid to show your leader’s harsher side and share all of the good at a later date.

I hope this helps, Anon.

- enlee


Source: fuckyeahcharacterdevelopment

spiritualseeker:

Face Reading: What Your Eyebrow Shape Means
Eyebrows = your mental outlook or point of view
Even if you pluck, or draw on them, they still reflect the mental outlook that feels right for you.
Most eyebrows do not exactly match each other: In this case, the left eyebrow = personal life, while the right eyebrow = our external world.
Directions: Choose the eyebrow(s) that most looks like your own and enjoy reading about yourself
Advice: Be open-minded about this. If you think this is bull-, then you must’ve ignored the details of each eyebrow example. Give it another chance and look at other people’s eyebrow shapes besides your own, and see if they agree with their own explanation.
BASIC SHAPES:
Curved Eyebrows: Your mental focus is people-oriented. You connect & relate to the world best through your understanding of people. Sometimes you can understand an idea or theory better if it is explained to you in terms of a personal example or experience. It is best not to burden you with too much technical detail without showing you the real-world application (usefulness).
Straight Eyebrows: Your approach is direct and factual, and you want the technical details. You appreciate logic, and you will need to be shown all the facts and available data before accepting something as true. You mentally evaluate the hard facts without letting emotion effect your judgement.
Angled Eyebrows: If is important for you to stay mentally in control of any situation in which you find yourself. Gregarious and expansive, you may have good leadership qualities because few people will challenge your authority. You like to be right and usually are, having conscientiously “done your homework.” You stay mentally focused.
POSITION:
High Eyebrows: You are discerning, selective, and discriminating. You need time to observe and work out ideas completely before acting. You protect yourself with a wait-and-see approach. You need time to put new information for you to understand how you feel about the subject and how the parts relate to the whole. You store information with an emotional tab; by recalling the feeling, you can often recall the event with surprising clarity. You detest being put on the spot to make a snap assessment or to make a decision about something new before you have had time to reflect on it and understand it.
Low Eyebrows: You are expressive, quick to take action and you process information quickly. You want to get the job done and do it now. You may have a tendency to interrupt others when they seem too slow to speak because you can often anticipate what they are going to say before they have finished saying it. You are initially optimistic but may become antagonistic if criticized. Your challenge is to develop more patience with others who don’t have your gift of mental quickness.
SPECIFIC TYPES:
Bushy: You are a mentally active person, full of thoughts and ideas. Bushy eyebrows can indicate a powerful intellect. You are a non-stop thinker.
Thin (like a pencil line): You are single-minded, focusing on one thing at a time. Your challenge is being overly sensitive to how you imagine others see you. You probably think they are more critical than they really are. You sometimes feel overly self-conscious.
Winged (thick at beginning, becoming thinner at ends): You need to be on the planning committee! You love coming up with big, new ideas. Your visionary approach allows you to create exciting new plans, but your challenge is with follow-through. Delegate details to someone else to free yourself up to focus on your grand vision. 
Even (same thickness throughout length): Your thoughts flow smoothly, evenly and you easily grasp whole concepts. Your challenge is developing a tolerance for other people’s difficulty with detail. By your mental standards, the rest of the world may seem slow or even unable to fully comprehend ideas.
Managerial (thin at beginning, thicker at outer edges): You may be slow to start something new, but once a task is accepted, you have great follow-through. Mentally tidy, well-organized, and methodical, you do well in any roles that requires attention to detail and completion. You dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s
Continuous/Uni-brow: Your thoughts are continuous and restless. Your challenge is to learn to mentally rest and relax. If you have a problem, you may have trouble sleeping because you can’t stop thinking. Meditation helps.
Tangled hairs (eyebrow hairs tangle): Your wild eyebrows signal that you are an unconventional thinker whose thoughts range over many areas, This gives you the ability to see all sides of an issue, and you may enjoy playing devil’s advocate to discover hidden truths. Your unusual mind may also attract unwanted conflict. If you’re getting more conflict than you want, try combing your eyebrows!
Access hairs (hairs growing straight up at beginning): You have a strong connection between your inner feelings and your logical thinking. You have an ability to be aware of potential problems immediately. Access hairs on the right side indicate that you spot problems in business and the public area. On the left side, they indicate you anticipate (expect/predict) potential problems in relationships.
Scattered hairs (single hairs outside of eyebrows): Your focus is wide ranging. You have a curious mind and are mentally drawn to many different topics. Each individual hair could almost be read as a separate mental interest. Your challenge is remaining focused on a single topic.
Chameleon (nearly invisible eyebrows): Your eyebrows do not give you away. Others may think you are just like them, whether you are not. You can blend into almost any group and you may be a talented negotiator because you can extract more information than you reveal. 
SOURCE: “Amazing Face Reading” By Mac Fuller, J.D.
In fact, your whole face can be analyzed. The eyes, the pupils, the nose, cheeks, chin, jaw, forehead, dimples, lips, teeth, ears, profile…etc have meaning. This is why not everyone looks exactly the same.

spiritualseeker:

Face Reading: What Your Eyebrow Shape Means

  • Eyebrows = your mental outlook or point of view
  • Even if you pluck, or draw on them, they still reflect the mental outlook that feels right for you.
  • Most eyebrows do not exactly match each other: In this case, the left eyebrow = personal life, while the right eyebrow = our external world.
  • Directions: Choose the eyebrow(s) that most looks like your own and enjoy reading about yourself
  • Advice: Be open-minded about this. If you think this is bull-, then you must’ve ignored the details of each eyebrow example. Give it another chance and look at other people’s eyebrow shapes besides your own, and see if they agree with their own explanation.

BASIC SHAPES:

  • Curved Eyebrows: Your mental focus is people-oriented. You connect & relate to the world best through your understanding of people. Sometimes you can understand an idea or theory better if it is explained to you in terms of a personal example or experience. It is best not to burden you with too much technical detail without showing you the real-world application (usefulness).
  • Straight Eyebrows: Your approach is direct and factual, and you want the technical details. You appreciate logic, and you will need to be shown all the facts and available data before accepting something as true. You mentally evaluate the hard facts without letting emotion effect your judgement.
  • Angled Eyebrows: If is important for you to stay mentally in control of any situation in which you find yourself. Gregarious and expansive, you may have good leadership qualities because few people will challenge your authority. You like to be right and usually are, having conscientiously “done your homework.” You stay mentally focused.

POSITION:

  • High Eyebrows: You are discerning, selective, and discriminating. You need time to observe and work out ideas completely before acting. You protect yourself with a wait-and-see approach. You need time to put new information for you to understand how you feel about the subject and how the parts relate to the whole. You store information with an emotional tab; by recalling the feeling, you can often recall the event with surprising clarity. You detest being put on the spot to make a snap assessment or to make a decision about something new before you have had time to reflect on it and understand it.
  • Low Eyebrows: You are expressive, quick to take action and you process information quickly. You want to get the job done and do it now. You may have a tendency to interrupt others when they seem too slow to speak because you can often anticipate what they are going to say before they have finished saying it. You are initially optimistic but may become antagonistic if criticized. Your challenge is to develop more patience with others who don’t have your gift of mental quickness.

SPECIFIC TYPES:

  • Bushy: You are a mentally active person, full of thoughts and ideas. Bushy eyebrows can indicate a powerful intellect. You are a non-stop thinker.
  • Thin (like a pencil line): You are single-minded, focusing on one thing at a time. Your challenge is being overly sensitive to how you imagine others see you. You probably think they are more critical than they really are. You sometimes feel overly self-conscious.
  • Winged (thick at beginning, becoming thinner at ends): You need to be on the planning committee! You love coming up with big, new ideas. Your visionary approach allows you to create exciting new plans, but your challenge is with follow-through. Delegate details to someone else to free yourself up to focus on your grand vision. 
  • Even (same thickness throughout length): Your thoughts flow smoothly, evenly and you easily grasp whole concepts. Your challenge is developing a tolerance for other people’s difficulty with detail. By your mental standards, the rest of the world may seem slow or even unable to fully comprehend ideas.
  • Managerial (thin at beginning, thicker at outer edges): You may be slow to start something new, but once a task is accepted, you have great follow-through. Mentally tidy, well-organized, and methodical, you do well in any roles that requires attention to detail and completion. You dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s
  • Continuous/Uni-brow: Your thoughts are continuous and restless. Your challenge is to learn to mentally rest and relax. If you have a problem, you may have trouble sleeping because you can’t stop thinking. Meditation helps.
  • Tangled hairs (eyebrow hairs tangle): Your wild eyebrows signal that you are an unconventional thinker whose thoughts range over many areas, This gives you the ability to see all sides of an issue, and you may enjoy playing devil’s advocate to discover hidden truths. Your unusual mind may also attract unwanted conflict. If you’re getting more conflict than you want, try combing your eyebrows!
  • Access hairs (hairs growing straight up at beginning): You have a strong connection between your inner feelings and your logical thinking. You have an ability to be aware of potential problems immediately. Access hairs on the right side indicate that you spot problems in business and the public area. On the left side, they indicate you anticipate (expect/predict) potential problems in relationships.
  • Scattered hairs (single hairs outside of eyebrows): Your focus is wide ranging. You have a curious mind and are mentally drawn to many different topics. Each individual hair could almost be read as a separate mental interest. Your challenge is remaining focused on a single topic.
  • Chameleon (nearly invisible eyebrows): Your eyebrows do not give you away. Others may think you are just like them, whether you are not. You can blend into almost any group and you may be a talented negotiator because you can extract more information than you reveal. 

SOURCE: “Amazing Face Reading” By Mac Fuller, J.D.

In fact, your whole face can be analyzed. The eyes, the pupils, the nose, cheeks, chin, jaw, forehead, dimples, lips, teeth, ears, profile…etc have meaning. This is why not everyone looks exactly the same.


Source: spiritualseeker

readingwithavengeance:

This one is for mynamesdrstuff, who asked how to write a classist character.

  • Classist characters don’t have to be mean.  As in, they don’t have to be willfully malicious about their classism.  Classism is a systemic form of prejudice in which both individuals and the society/system at large treat people differently based on their class or perceived class.  A person does not have to be cackling and twirling a handlebar mustache while kicking orphans in order to achieve this.  They can, in fact, be perfectly cordial with a world of sympathy in their eyes while telling the homeless man that they won’t hire him because he’s probably a drunk.  They can even smile while offering pay for rehab.  If they make the assumption that homeless = drunk without any proof beyond their own suppositions, they’re still classist.  So the first step to writing a classist character is to accept that a whole range of actions from well-meaning to mean-spirited fall under the classist banner.  Understand that you need to write your classist character as having motivations that span that range.  (Or, at least, a human-sized portion of it.)  Displaying classist characters too narrowly (especially if you’re narrowed in on the evil end) means that readers are going to get a warped vision of what classism is.  We need to see classists as squishy and human, not in an attempt to forgive/absolve them, but because squishy human problems need squishy human solutions.  Coming at things from a cartoon villain angle just compounds the issue.

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Source: readingwithavengeance

Writers often spend a great deal of time developing their protagonists only to neglect their villains. However, a well-developed villain is just as important as the protagonist to a story’s success.

A villain who is too evil or not evil enough, a villain who is one-dimensional or a villain lacking clear motivation are some of the problems you might run into while trying to develop a character who will oppose your protagonist. A great villain can sometimes be the difference between a novel that is good and a novel that is great. Here are some questions you can ask yourself in creating that great villain.

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Source: nownovel.com

Anonymous asked: "I write a lot and have a lot of different stories. However, I've gotten the critique that often my antagonists are really similar: Big, tyrannical despot type characters who have a lot of power. The problem is usually with my stories I /need/ a really powerful bad guy, or else they wouldn't be able to pose a challenge to the main characters. I've gotten better about it, but any suggestions?"

fuckyeahcharacterdevelopment:

When you think of ‘a really powerful bad guy’, how do you imagine them? Someone with a lot of money? Status? Pawns?

Power can be a lot more than someone with a lot of resources… Let’s look at some of the different types of power:

  • Physical power. Someone with great physical strength. Their power is best demonstrated in a physical fight. They use total dominance and aggressive, scare-tactics to maintain their position. If they lose a fight, they lose their influence of fear…
  • Intellectual power. Someone with a vast quantity of knowledge. Their power is in the information they have, and how they decide to use or apply it.
  • Coercive Power. This is power attained through the punishment of those who don’t comply. The power accumulates when others actively try to avoid bringing a punishment upon themselves.
  • Informational Power. This person knows things the other characters want or need to know. They can exercise their power by purposely withholding information, or only giving it in the way they specifically choose.
  • Legitimate Power. Someone in a high position, whether it be in government, the military or any standard work place. Their power is in their rank - without their title, they lose everything that comes with it.
  • Generational Power. This person comes from a long-line of powerful people. All of their power is in their reputation, so they must uphold it if they wish to be respected as their ancestors were. This power can also manifest as a bloodline power or ability.
  • Expert Power. The best of the best, this person is hailed as the most knowledgeable in a specific field. Therefore, they hold onto power not only through intrigue and recommendation, but by consistently proving they are better than any of the competition.
  • Ownership Power. This person only has power because they have claimed ownership of everything they command.
  • Reward Power. Someone who can offer special treatment or material items as a reward for desired behaviour from their subordinates. If they have something that is heavily sought-after, then their power grows all the more.
  • Referent Power. This person may have very little that entitles them to power, but the way they are received by others demands respect and reverence. In essence, they are worthy of power only if those who ‘worship’ them continue to believe they deserve their admiration.

When you imagine a ‘tyrannical despot’ character, you’re automatically taking from this list more than one form of power. That’s not to say a character can’t possess more than one type… but the despot character is a very specific one, along with the kinds of power they can exercise.

A despot maintains legitimate power - more often than not - by forcing their way into the seat (otherwise they wouldn’t be despotic). Since they fear their title cannot retain their power alone, they begin to exercise other types of power to keep their status. So, for example, reward power to those they want to keep close, coercive power to those who look like they may not be loyal to the cause, etc.

When you find yourself thinking up an antagonist, try to think about what other kind of powers might be in their reach.

Ultimately, in a story, there is The Big Bad. So, in Shaman King, although Yoh and his friends go through the tournament facing-off against a lot of different Shamans in one-on-one/group battles (arguably, mini-antagonists with different extents of power), the ultimate bad guy is Hao, who plots to win and use the legitimate power that comes with that to reform the world into a Shaman-only place.

Hao isn’t the Shaman world’s equivalent of a CEO or national leader; all he has from the list above is generational power and great physical power based on the fact that his spirit ally is nails as hell. He isn’t already the Shaman King… it’s something he is shown to work his way towards becoming.

You don’t always have to create the character to be at their peak from the very beginning. Even those without great legitimate power can hold something over the heads of your main cast in order to antagonise them throughout the story.

Power comes in all forms, and it’s not always, ‘the most powerful and influential person in the world’. Alongside Hao, there are other great and powerful shamans in Shaman King that hold power over Yoh and the other characters in some way. Just look at Lyserg, who becomes completely taken over by the X-Laws even though they’re not in a leadership role; they win him over by claiming expert power and using Iron Maiden Jeanne’s referent power as a poster for their ‘worthiness’.

Additionally, the shaman world coexists with the real world and even though the humans still have powerful representatives, those people have no influence on the story’s events.

I think all you really need to do here is think about new ways of creating your ‘really powerful bad guy’ by re-establishing the types of power they will need in order to do their job as your bad guy. When you start to think about making the biggest, baddest of the lot, scale the character down a little and think about other ways they could influence the lives of your other cast members. Basically, take away all of their resources and re-imagine what they would have to use and/or do to exert the power you want to give them.

Nobody is saying this character can’t become the biggest and the baddest… but they don’t always have to start out that way.

I hope this helps… Followers, any additional thoughts?

- enlee


Source: fuckyeahcharacterdevelopment

saladinahmed:

Questions you should ask yourself about your Strong Female Character. From this excellent article: http://t.co/efkvvUqsum

saladinahmed:

Questions you should ask yourself about your Strong Female Character. From this excellent article: http://t.co/efkvvUqsum


Source: saladinahmed