What is your favourite type of character to write/read about?

I’ve dedicated myself to three months of character study to perhaps push back against depression, so I’d like to know what is your favourite “type” of character to write/read about, why you like that particular type(s) and what you think could be done to improve them (be it specific character development, flaws, grey morality, ect)

Perhaps you could also share tips on how to write that “type” of character to help aspiring authors.

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Ah…depression suck! Hang in there :heavy_heart_exclamation:

All type ? meaning, good characters, average ones, bad ones?

I’m no expert mind you, but say if a character make you hate them and the author goal was that you hate them, then they did it right. A bad character, is one that was supposed to be liked…or tragic…and he come off as an asshole, that you just can’t wait and hope it get killed at some points .

I don’t have a favorite, it all depand on the story and the remaining cast and the world it happen in . Some I will get attached to, some I would barely look at, and some I will wish destruction upon them muahahahaha…ahem

A well rounded character for me, would be Ortega from fallen hero. She can laugh, she can be reckless, she can be a flirt, she can be macho, she can be angry and pissed, she can be depressed, she can feel old, she can feel young, she can feel sexy, she can feel tired, she can be tall, she can be short, she can be so many things…droole

where was I ?

How to write a type? How do you write anything? The same way.

I think instead of focusing on a type, I say just write. Its like a sketch, you start by making the shadow then fill it with color.

Imagine it in your head, behind closed eyes and fill the personality you see with the face .

Many characters flaws is that…they don’t have much of a personality. They go by the blue print of ‘‘This guy is happy with a boyish look! This girl is shy and love art, that guy is your rival and his butthurt is over 900!’’ .

Where humans can and have a zillions of mood swings. why do characters gotta stick to one or two mold they switch in between ?

My tips would be to dive in! Its no different then descriping a potatoe! Its taste bland, its brownish in color, it peel easy, it has weird shape…and fill you fast and make you fat!

Turn that into a character! and you get a dude with brown hair, with a bland boring personality (he say lot of platitude that amount to nothing), he is always sitting fast whenever he can put his behind, he is neither tall or short, but he talk fast but he is not fat! :smile:

And you go from there…you add stuff and you take stuff. And you throw the character in a world, then you make them meet others oddly shaped vegetable (Or fruits) and you got a story and a type! :sweat_smile:

(Damn almost lost my wall of text, stoopid z’internet)

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My favorite type of characters to read are those that have an arc going from being a sympathetic villain, antagonist, or otherwise problematic/misunderstood character to a hero/ally. Some of my favorite examples off the top of my head include Prince Zuko from Avatar the Last Airbender, Steve Harrington from Stranger Things, Soren from The Dragon Prince and in many ways, Edmund Pevensie’s growth from the original film/book he appears in. There’s others too, but I’d have to think about it. I enjoy these types of characters because they are the ultimate underdog. Not only must they overcome circumstances and be a true hero, they usually must also overcome everything they’ve ever known or experienced which led them to their former selves. These are the characters that struggle the hardest for all they achieved by the end. These are the characters that teach you lessons, resonate with you emotionally and have the most satisfying pay offs.

Sometimes, particularly when you as a reader are not in the character’s head directly, it can be hard to understand their motivations, both for their fall and their eventual heroic turnabout. The fall is a bit easier to cover through flashbacks, dialogue, etc. The turning point however, can be difficult because the author already loves the character and may not be sure how to lead their audience to love them as well. Be especially sure there was always visible goodness, or at least something that makes them relatable to the audience, in these characters all along or else the change will make zero sense to your readers. Whether that be in the character’s conflicted thoughts on doing “whatever necessary” to achieve their goals at the start of the story/their hesitance to bring significant harm, their random acts of kindness, their great loyalty to friends or family, their sacrifices they make for a greater cause than them, their fear of loss if they don’t follow through with morally grey behaviors, etc. Something worth rooting for must be inside them or the audience of course would never be able to see why they should be invested in their development.

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Well, as far as reading I can’t think of anything right now.
About the creation and development of a character I think that thanks to my lack of any social ability and the simple way of wanting to understand everything to the base of why and how it happens it leads me to make what I have read somewhere is the base to create a character, that is (on a simplified way) make all the questions about him and answer them, no matter if you write that on the story.
So if character A behaves of certain way, why, what happened to him before that lead him to that, how he thinks, what are his experiences, where he grow, with who, what he likes, why, who he has had social contact with, how were those relations, who taught him what he knows, what makes him angry, happy, frustrated, what are his desires, how he thinks he will achieve that, what are the consequences, does he know them?, what he is terrible at doing?, what are his weakness?, how he react when is confronted about one of them? etc, etc,

That way not only you can create a character but also get inside his head and know how he thinks and why, so he isn’t just a robot with a human face that does some things just because. He also have his own experience of life and a unique way of doing things and reacting to the environment.

Well, that pretty much resumes everything, environment, if you are grown in japan you’ll probably be a Japanese that follows japan culture, if you are grown on a isolated tribe you’ll probably dance around the fire to ask for rain to the gods of the wild instead of study climatology. The environment is what shapes you, so creating the environment that the character went through is in essence creating the character as well. Though it goes deeper than that… to a personal level of genetics, what amounts of receptors you have on your brain for the different stimulus, what you mother eat during some specific time in pregnant, but I think you maybe don’t want to go so deep…

I don’t know if its too much but I could recommend some videos about human behavior if you like (that helped me a lot to understand a lot of things in my life (edit: depression too, sorry for not mentioning it before)). Maybe I’m overthinking it too much.

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I love characters who defy expectations, like characters who are heroes from species who traditionally are villains. Logical option there would be Madame Vastra from Doctor Who, though I have to admit I probably just love the Silurians because I love Lizardmen/Saurians in general because they’re cool.

Nerdy heroes… actually anyone who is basically Spider-Man. :grin: Science minded, jokes about when he can, has had a rough life but does his best to make the world a better place, whether that’s for one person or the whole world… and yes, has some crazy lucky ability with getting very attractive women.

I like a lot of villains but I prefer ones who aren’t just mindless brutes or one line monsters like Broly and Doomsday. Give me the calculated mad scientists and the charming counts any day.

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I hope your character study has helped your mood, and that you’re doing well. :slight_smile:

As for characters I like to write and read about, I actually like a variety of different characters. The more layered, the better. Like @E_RedMark said, Ortega is a really good example of a well-rounded character. People are complex–they have different things that drive them, irritate them, sadden them, and make them happy. I think it’s important to remember that when writing characters because, to make characters that feel “real” requires understanding them and letting them develop as they wish, not necessarily as the author wishes.

That may sound like an odd comment, but what I’m trying to say is that characters should drive plot rather than plot driving the characters. All too often, authors decide a plot should go a specific direction and they force one or more characters down a path that makes no sense for them. It ends up feeling so off that it ruins the immersive experience. An example would be having characters who have been established to be experienced and intelligent suddenly behave as though they don’t know their asses from holes in the ground because the author wants to make another character look “better.” That doesn’t work–ruining the build-up of one character in order to make another look good ruins both characters and leaves most readers annoyed rather than impressed.

Another example would be when authors create one-dimensional characters. Sure, comic book villains or heroes have their place–in comic books and cartoons. Unless that’s what I’m picking up, I rarely enjoy one-dimensional characters, because (typically) that kind of person doesn’t exist in real life. Worse is when authors create characters that they decide need to behave a certain way, no matter what, because they decided when the plot will allow said characters to show some growth. Letting things happen “naturally” means letting the characters grow as they will, even if it goes against the author’s plans. Adjust the plot, not the characters.

Having said all this, it’s rare that I see truly character-driven stories. Fallen Hero comes to mind as one that is character-driven. At the very least, the plot and characters are woven so tightly together that it feels natural. There haven’t been any instances where I was jerked out of the story and left with the feeling that the author was too tightly controlling things.

The Soul Stone War is a more character-driven story as well. The NPCs are awesome (they may be built on tropes, but the author only used that as a foundation and built upon it in ways that make them feel very real) and the MC makes sense. A lot of people have complained that the MC is too weak, but it makes sense for the character, a backwoods innocent who’s been framed for murder. I applaud Morgan for staying true to the characters rather than crapping all over them just to make the plot go a certain way.

tl;dr: I like a lot of character types, but don’t like it when authors sacrifice character basis and growth for the sake of the plot. That, IMO, is bad writing.

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I like characters that have strong goals and opinions. Like @EvilChani said, having a character drive the plot is a great way to hook me in.

In book and movies this can be a little easier to do, since authors have complete control over the narrative. A bit of a niche example but Hester Shaw from the Mortal Engines story is one of my favorite examples of all time, since she wants things, and that want drives the plot. Also love Boromir, since he wants to save Gondor, and that want drives the action.

This can be a bit harder to accomplish in interactive fiction and games since the player or reader has agency too. But when it is done well it can be fantastic. What comes to mind is how in Choice of Rebels your rebels can kill Breden, even if you are married to them. They have a want, which arises from the story, but also drives it, and can openly contradict with what the PC wants in that situation. Fantastic!

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My favorite character type to write (no I won’t say Ortega)…

It’s less about type, and more about what I feel like exploring. Every major (and some minor) character I create has a single theme I want to explore with them. These can be very vague, like past regrets, or growing into your skin. I try to think of them as if they are the main characters of their own story, what would that be about?

Often I take classic/overused/bad tropes and start playing with them. A trope means that the reader already think they know what the character will be about. They will read their actions a certain way. It’s a bit like in fanfic, you use something the reader is familiar with, they will connect faster for good or bad.

Where it becomes interesting is when you take that trope and combine it with another, very different one and let it putter beneath the surface. People will catch hints of it now and again, and the two tropes will fuse and confuse until you have a character that feels more like their own person. This can be repeated as needed, until your character comes to life.

The reason why I am talking about tropes is that a lot of time they get a lot of bad flak, and people spend an enormous amount of time creating detailed characters from scratch down to what they like to eat for breakfast.

Tropes are tropes for a reason, start with them, and then let the details come naturally as the story progresses, just make sure to mix them up and add depth.

Oh, and skip the classic combinations like rogue with a heart of gold, while I love it, everyone has read about it before. How about a rogue who’s a shy nerd? Or a debt collector with a heart of gold?

There used to be a game when I was a kid, not sure what it was called, but it had cards with the head, the middle and the feet of various characters, and the goal was to combine them into their right form. Don’t do that, mix them up instead, have the baker’s head with the policeman’s middle and the farmer’s boots. That’s how interesting characters are made.

Good luck! Making characters is awesome!

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@malinryden we know, your favorite is Harold :smile:

Just wanted to add something : If a character start to have a life of it’s own, don’t try to stop it. Those are the best characters! they are blossoming!! Just let it happen! It may not look like what you wanted, it may not sound or talk like what you had in mind, but it may just surprise you down the line and come off better then what you originally wanted .

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Another character writing tip: base characters on real life. It’s simple and straightforward; however, I often find the authors who are best at characterizing and developing their colorful casts are those who people watch, who stay grounded in reality. Getting stuck in our own heads can give us bizarre ideas of what people would act like or tempt us to base our characters around our plots rather than the plots around the characters as @EvilChani mentioned, but at the end of the day, what better guide is there for how people would truly act than, well, people?

If you can’t find an example of an archetype you’re hoping to write about in real life, mixing and matching from characteristics those around you have until a distinct individual is born may help. If that sounds too vague or outlandish, I also know several writers who enjoy looking up things like the MBTI descriptions, Color personality tests, and other psychological framework like that just to form foundational starting points. Ask yourself, what would someone like this think of X or Y? How might they react to Character A or B? Etc.

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I like calculating characters who can discern intentions and think ahead. Resourceful. Characters who hold themselves to a high standard of conduct. I usually like that archetype paired with another character that offers levity, and are different type of competent.

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