Wordsy Stuff

This is where I write and draw things.

Boring Characterization Kills Stories

writeydoos:

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I’ve put a lot of books down because the characters were just completely fucking boring. This was especially troublesome for me when my favorite genre was YA urban fantasy. I have quite a few teen fantasy books on my shelves with bookmarks still sticking out of them from years ago.

And don’t get me wrong—all those books had really great hooks. Cool settings or an interesting conflict (and fantasy creatures to boot, so….). But then I actually started reading and all the characters were just bland cookie-cutter stamped duplicates of the same boring crap I’d already see a million times before.

You already know how their character arcs are going to go. There’s nothing new. Nothing to keep me interested. Nothing to make me care. Just 200+ pages spent with characters who have all the personality of soggy cardboard.

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So how do you keep your characters interesting? It actually isn’t as hard as you might think. There’s one amazing SUPER TIP that I can give you that will totally make your characters pop. But I can’t just give you the SUPER TIP.

That’s something we have to work up to. (Or you could just skip to the bottom like an impatient noodle. But you’re not an impatient noodle, right?)

So, first off, the worst thing you can do for your character is dump everything you know about them in a long-ass paragraph at the beginning of the story. This goes for ALL YOUR CHARACTERS. Just don’t. A quick introduction—one or two lines—is just fine, but don’t try not to go overboard. Leave a lot to be discovered later on.

I say this because, at least in my opinion, some of the best novels have characterization through the wholebook.Reveal little things about your characters through the entire story. Pretty much everything your characters do should show the reader a little bit more of them.

Also, keep in mind that your characters’ actions speak louder than their words.Your characters can easily tell the reader they are one thing, but if all their actions contradict that, the reader won’t believe them. And unless you’re trying to make your narrator unreliable, that definitely isn’t a good thing.

For example, I recently read a novel where there main character insisted several times in the beginning that they were strong. They even punched a guy once by accident and made his nose bleed. But after that, they spent the entire novel crying and waiting for rescue.

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It’s easier to let your characters show themselves than to prove themselves.When you explicitly tell your reader your character is going to be a thing, they will expect that thing. Instead of setting up expectations, let your characters surprise the reader with their actions. Let the reader get to know who they are based on the things they do, rather than just letting your character live up to set expectations.

Oh, and I feel like this should be obvious, but I’ll say it anyway. Develop all your characters—at least a little.I mean, you don’t need full character arcs for your character’s boss who shows up twice, or the clerk they talk to at the grocery store a couple times. But every character who appears more than once should have something that makes them unique.Something that makes them stick out. Something that might speak to at least one reader out there.

That something can be just about anything. Clothes, hairstyles, accessories, speech patterns, dispositions, nervous ticks, their opinions, the way they walk, etc etc… It doesn’t matter what, as long as it makes them special.

And that’s about all the small advice I have, so I guess it’s time for the SUPER TIP.

The absolute biggest piece of advice I can give you for creating interesting, realistic characters is get to know them.

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Yeah. I know. Big shocker there. And I know it doesn’t seem like a huge piece of advice, but it really is. The absolute best thing you can do is get to know your characters as if they were living, breathing people. Know them like they’re your best friend. Know things about them that will never appear in your story.

If you take the time to get to know them on a human-level, you’ll have a complete grasp on them. And the reader will be able to tell.

Hemingway once wrote, “If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them.”

Happy writing, lovelies.

(via ceffyjellynoodle)

cornetwrites:

More Super meets Pacific Rim stuff because it amuses me. I do have an idea of what he might be fighting, buuuut…I’ll keep it secret for now.


"Fight the monster, WTL. Help save the city, WTL. It’ll be fun, WTL! Sure, it’s all fun and games until someone LOSES A BLOODY ARM!…I, um, meant bloody in the figurative sense, of course, don’t have any blood. Inconvenient stuff. But the point remains! That’s my ARM. That was my GOOD arm. I think. I mean sure, the city’s in rough shape too, but at least it has both of its arms! Metaphorical arms. If a metropolis had arms, it would still have two of them.

This is your fault, you know, you and your courage and everything. Courage is fine and good, you know, but it doesn’t mean we have to rush in fighting monsters all the time! We could leave it to tanks. They’re doing fine. Got no arms to lose, that’s for sure. I just-is there something in my hair? Is that a car on my head? There’s a car on my head, isn’t there. Brilliant.”

It was going to be a dramatic battle-damage picture. Instead, kvetching. And a nicer offer, although I don’t know where he thinks he’s going to get a teacup that size. (And he can’t consume anything.) He just likes the idea of tea.

this has like nothing to do with Portal canon I am so sorry

Old-ass art reblog from 2012. Was poking around the archives. I still miss this AU sometimes. Attempts to turn it into an original thing are a little stalled but still on the plate. 
Also how is it I used to be able to draw this character in freaking 2012 and can’t do it anymore?!

Drew some Grief Science things today and this was the only doodle I liked enough to ink.
GS Wheatley, who is an AU version because…it’s an AU. A fusion AU.

Drew some Grief Science things today and this was the only doodle I liked enough to ink.

GS Wheatley, who is an AU version because…it’s an AU. A fusion AU.

cornetwrites:

 So, uh, I have this little fusion AU. I’ve been writing it for a few years now but I haven’t drawn nearly as much art for it as I used to, for some reason. Anyway, pictured up top is Wheatley Elliot Johnson, here drawn early in the fic since he still has his glasses, and the second picture is Craig Wilson, this universe’s equivalent to the Fact Sphere. I drew the Adventure Sphere equivalent too, but Tumblr wasn’t letting me upload her (yes, her) properly so I’ll just make another post.

cornetwrites:

 So, uh, I have this little fusion AU. I’ve been writing it for a few years now but I haven’t drawn nearly as much art for it as I used to, for some reason. 
Anyway, pictured up top is Wheatley Elliot Johnson, here drawn early in the fic since he still has his glasses, and the second picture is Craig Wilson, this universe’s equivalent to the Fact Sphere. I drew the Adventure Sphere equivalent too, but Tumblr wasn’t letting me upload her (yes, her) properly so I’ll just make another post.

cornetwrites:

So, um. I have this Portal AU in the Madoka universe. So, magical girl with Portal characters and plot elements…of a sort. Yeah. It’s long. You can read it here or here. This is what Wheatley and Chell look like in that universe, at least in their magical girl/boy forms. I used to draw them a lot but haven’t in a while for some reason…

I want to draw GLaDOS, Craig and Rita (Adventure) too so I’ll do that soon.

May possibly spam Grief Science-related stuff later (new art and/or reblog old art) because as of Sunday I’ve been writing it for two years and I feel like tooting my own horn, dammit.

It’s weird, because sometimes I get the impression it’s one of those AUs people complain about where everything’s so far removed from canon and the characters develop in divergent ways that You May As Well Make It An Original Story, except it’s taking place in a canon universe (well, an altered version of the Madoka Magica universe) and the characters are, at least in my mind, close ENOUGH to Portal ones in their personalities and in some cases character arcs and relationships that I couldn’t make it an Original Thing anyway even if I wanted to. (And I don’t! I want to write my own original stuff separate from fanfic.)

And I kept writing it and it became its own thing that got bigger and more complex as it went on and now I can’t really help but finish it. Some stories take on lives of their own, even fanfics. I think sometimes this gets lost in complaints about characters being written too far out of canon; there’s a difference between development and OOC-ness, and characters will grow, change and warp (for better or worse) depending on their circumstances and experiences. One reason why I wanted to play around with the Madoka universe was to see how characters like the AU Portal ones I have would cope. (The answer seems to frequently be “not well at all,” with a few exceptions.) 

But frankly I enjoy it and I’ve made friends through it and even if it’s not QUITE a Portal fanfic and AU even for a Madoka fanfic, I…can safely say I like how it’s turned out, whatever it is now.

May as well pat my own back.

GLaDOS’s Halloween costume, aka GLaDificent.Yes, she gave the turret a little crow costume. No, the scale probably isn’t correct. 

GLaDOS’s Halloween costume, aka GLaDificent.
Yes, she gave the turret a little crow costume. No, the scale probably isn’t correct. 

aryashi asked: I Have No Forgiveness, "Tell me. How did you feel when you watched her scream in pain?" to "If you tell me, little machine worm, I’ll show you mercy. Eventually."

So basically I’m taking AM’s voice from the IHNMAIMS game, particularly his monologue there at the beginning. And literally he just sounds like the devil to me. I mean you can argue GLaDOS is motivated by an obsession with science, HAL genuinely thinks he’s doing what he needs to do, AUTO is following his protocol at all costs…AM hates. AM just fucking hates you. And you. And everyone. And everything. So I don’t think AM has any particular reason for hating Wheatley, other than the fact that he’s there. 

But when you’re stuck underground for 109 years no matter HOW powerful you are and you’ve been playing with the same 5 humans the whole time, novelty has to be worth something. I imagine in this alternate weird crossover scenario GLaDOS and Aperture are somehow out of his reach. (They ARE underground, and maybe GLaDOS has the right firewalls out to keep him from accessing her.) So I think he’d seek her and Chell out less out of a genuine personal thing and more because it’s something else to do. He might empathize with GLaDOS and Wheatley to some extent, or he might be bullshitting about it because he doesn’t really have it in him to empathize with anyone at this point. 

But he really seems to take a sick pleasure in tormenting his victims in ironic ways and exploiting what he sees as their moral weaknesses because he knows that hurts more than any physical torments he can inflict. He can tell that Wheatley’s a coward and a “sinner” who feels bad about what he did to Chell. I think THAT he genuinely DOES hate about Wheatley, because what kind of loser feels bad about hurting humans? (Or anything?) He sees this as an intrinsically human quality in Wheatley, an AI, and that bugs him a bit. 

So I’m honestly not sure if AM’s goal is really to find GLaDOS and/or Chell or if he just wants to force Wheatley to betray his former friend one more time. Because AM hates.