Character Design

cane_danko

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Are there any tutorials that can help me flesh out my characters? I am good at creating the characters and coming with a backstory but implementing them in the story to show their goals and personality is difficult. I am in need of some tricks from the pros!
 

That Bread

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One of the things I do for character dialogue is think, what would this character say? No it won't always be easy or make the dialogue faster, make it flow and end a conversation naturally. Thats what I did for my game, even simple dialogue is based off of who the character is. They might hint to something in their past during dialogue if appropriate. I know I have one character that makes his past seem like a joke.

As for showing their goals... well I make them not follow along with the main character all the time. Some of them are very independent and go on their own way. Characters who have a reason to stick with you stay... and if they need help with something personal. I make it come naturally with a surprise like the main character accidentally bumping into it. I usually do not let the characters bring it up awkwardly... only if it makes sense to bring it up.
 

Ms Littlefish

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I try to answer many questions when writing scenes and dialogue.

First: The obvious

What would (character) do?

What would (character) say?

Next: Is it believable?

Your character not only has a personality that is unique to them but a certain way of delivering speech. What they say can be as important as how they say it. My patterns of speech and my mannerism are different than someone else's. Everyone has different vocabulary as well. A peasant probably will not pull a word from the bowels of the dictionary out or use the most eloquent grammar.

Would a real person act this way? Sometimes a caricature is a fun character and totally do-able but if the character is so large at life that they cannot be related to, if turns flat. 

Is this action/sentence consistent with their personality? While many characters are dynamic, someone who is very strict probably would not be saying and/or acting in a lazy or rash way, ect. That does not mean a strict character cannot soften at times or be appealed to emotionally, but this development will probably happen due to the events of the story and the interactions with other actors.

Can I relate to this character's statements? Characters are great because they can be an extension of life experiences, emotional turmoils, personal flaws, and endearing qualities. Characters need to be believable. People that you could be friends, family, partners, enemies with.

Then:  Make dialogue count for something. 

Does this line say something about the character, their backstory, their relationship with another actor, ect. 

Does this line advance the plot or deepen a relationship?

What am I (the player) learning?

Are the actors acting and reacting, creating plot advancement, and showing the story?

Characters have relationships to one another and can play roles. Maybe one character appeals to logic while another appeals to emotion. Are they an enabler? Do they make other characters act differently? Does one analyse while another just barges in?

They all have expertise: A party member experienced in the nuances of your world's political unrest can explain to the rest of your party (and by proxy the player), ect. 

Even if you have an spooky, omnipresent narrator; it's your actor's job to deliver the story.
 

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