Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Who are these characters and what do they want?

I suspect creating a character is usually more of an organic process than a construction project. It's possible to 'build' a character from standard parts - as in the less sophisticated type of role playing game - and then put them in a setting and see what they do. But I suspect most strong fictional characters grow out of an idea of what the character wants, what their problem is, and the rest - their job, physical description, personal attributes etc - come after that. The want or problem being what makes them interesting enough to hold the reader's interest until it gets resolved.

Which would be why it's so much easier to start writing a story than it is to end it - it's easier to identify wants and problems (fictional or real!) than to resolve them.


Timothy said...

"less sophisticated" harumph!

You're quite right about the 'strong fictional characters' but what I suspect you may be missing is the *fun* of starting with a sterotypical RPG character and through the process of role-playing discovering what the character wants, what their problem is and so on.

A really great synthesis of player and referee/game master/whatever will enable this to happen and produce, in the best cases, characters that are talked about long after the games they're involved in are over.

Which is surely the essence of a good fictional character?


Alison Williams said...

I may be missing something, as I've never taken part in a RPG as such. However I have had experience of playing characters in virtual worlds. While it can be fun to do I think it's definitely one of those 'you had to be there' experiences. No-one in their right minds would want to read a transcript of the the proceedings! (In which it's a bit like real life, really.)