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Monday Madness: Original Fic

Hi original ficcers! how have you been going on your own stories lately? Had a good month? A not-so-good month, or been busy with fanfic and not got there at all, like me?

banner-Original fic

This month, I'm interested in seeing how you go about creating characters. What comes first for you? Do you get a name and go about creating a character to fit, or do you have the character developed and then you seek a name? Do you describe them at the beginning of the story, or gradually as the story develops? Show me examples of one (or more) of your characters and how you introduced them in the story, by giving me an excerpt here in the comments, or a link to the section of the story where that character enters the fic. Make it a character you're particularly pleased with, or if you're game, ask for other members' suggestions on what might make it better, or for help with someone you're having difficulty creating or rounding out.

And any time you want help or opinions, or just people to read your original work, remember this is a safe place to link or showcase it. Anyone reading, I ask only that if you have opinions to share, please be constructive, and offer your suggestions in words you would expect to receive them on your own work! I know you will all probably have this in mind already, but a reminder is never a bad thing, right?;-)


( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 3rd, 2014 11:54 am (UTC)
Oh my that was a big pic... could you make it smaller? show a tumbnail or so? It makes the flist and entries hard to read.
Feb. 3rd, 2014 06:20 pm (UTC)
Sorry about that - it was an error on my part - I thought I had selected a smaller version. Removed now.
Feb. 3rd, 2014 04:53 pm (UTC)
Me again, and not any complain more than I do hate that I have a mini pc and not an ordinary laptop to work on.

To answer some of your questions about original story/characters.
last month I did translate one of the stories and have that sent to be betad, I've posted chapters of stories in my world so it is okay for me. I also have been thinking and planning some for comming ficlet, stories.
What comes first for you? Do you get a name and go about creating a character to fit, or do you have the character developed and then you seek a name? It can be different, but mostly for the characters in Donbury I have more decided name, gender and age first and then fit it in together.
Often I do have a hum of how I want a person, but then when I write it often fall into place with looks, personality, their experience.
I think at times I'm quite bad to have a character profiled. maybe because I like my own characters to surprise me.

Do you describe them at the beginning of the story, or gradually as the story develops? I think I more rather describe them after the story get developed. Sometimes I can do a short one in the beginning. At times like in one story I let a friend describe/introduce new classmate's.

Show me examples of one (or more) of your characters and how you introduced them in the story,
1. Introducing one of the people that stands out in the town:
Penny liked that as then she and Aelo would be alone, as she knew Aelo was working at the café.

Entering she saw him sitting with his long legs on the next chair, reading. He had his white hair in a ponytail, but a few strands were loose. (Story- Confrontation)

2. This wasn't the first story with Jeff, but still a introduction I began a story with.

"Jeff can't be still; he always shakes, Jeff can't be still; he always shakes, Jeff can't be still; he always shakes…" It was a chorus of voices that repeated the same words again and again. (Story - What not break you, harden you) Jeff has Touretts.

Feb. 4th, 2014 08:36 am (UTC)
Yeah, I can understand that it varies a little from story to story, and that it's nice to be surprised too. I'm rather like that generally, although I've had instances of the characters being all ready to go before I worked on the story properly.

I like your intros; it's a nice way to show us them from another person's POV, or as in the second case what appears to be his own thoughts on how he's perceived by others.
Feb. 3rd, 2014 07:30 pm (UTC)
I've only been working on my original fic intermittently (the A to Z challenge I've dedicated to my newest original couple though, so that should be fun as I go along), but it's moving, so that's always a good thing.

As for what comes first, it just depends. Sometimes a name will pop into my mind and the character will spring from that. Other times, I'll see a picture on Facebook or Pinterest or Tumblr and I'll think, "Hmmm, he'd make a great cop/cook/bad guy," and it goes from there. Sometimes I get a plot idea and form the characters outwards.

How and when they are described always depends on the kind of story I'm working on and where they appear/how major they are to the plot. But as a general rule, it tends to be slowly as the story develops.

So. An introduction of a character. Okay, I can do this, although I'm not sure if I'm introducing Ella or Devyn here, or maybe it's both? From a work forever in progress called Bleeding Again:

She stood behind the counter, slicing limes with a sharp knife. The pungent tang of citrus filled his nostrils, bringing back memories of time spent much farther south in Mexico. He anticipated the slip of the knife just before it occurred. The slight variation in her slicing was just enough to make it happen. A wobble of the lime, a slice of the flesh.

It had been his fault. His very arrival did this to her. The simple presence of one of his kind was responsible for a great many things in this life. It could be a blessing at times. More often, it was a curse.

Devyn approached slowly, consciously slowing his unnatural speed to something closer to normal. Closer to human. Natural. She stood with her left hand clutched in her right, blood oozing from her thumb in a thick, red line.

Moving a barstool from his path, Devyn approached the counter and reached out for her wounded hand. She looked up at him and blinked, slowly, trying to decipher his intentions. The corners of his mouth twitched upwards into a half-smile, putting her somewhat at ease.

"Let me," he said, holding his hand out. "I can help."

Feedback always welcome. I can always afford to improve, right?
Feb. 4th, 2014 08:41 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, it really does vary at times, doesn't it? I absolutely find it depends a lot on the story, but I do feel a little spoiled by fanfic in the sense that you barely need to describe someone that people already know, unlike an original character that people have never met! I don't think I'm all that good at fleshing them out personally, but I would definitely like to do it as well as others!

And I really love your intro! We don't know much about either of them yet overall, but it's full of delicious little tidbits, especially about Devyn, and it makes me want to know more. Not sure I have anything but good feedback here - it's wonderful! ;-)

Edited at 2014-02-04 08:41 am (UTC)
(no subject) - asphaltcowgrrl - Feb. 4th, 2014 10:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - haldoor - Feb. 15th, 2014 02:28 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 3rd, 2014 10:13 pm (UTC)
Some characters are born from names...I come up with a name and begin to mold around it. More often though, I begin with the sort of character I need to create and find a name that fits. Sometimes the characters choose their own names, which can be both fascinating and frustrating.

This is the intro to the MC in my book series:

The boy looked up abruptly, staring into the dwindling fire on the hearth but not truly seeing it. What he did see, what he sensed, were things he did not quite comprehend. Sorrow. Chaos. Hope. As surely as he knew his own name, he was certain that Enesfel’s great King was dead and that somewhere another had been born. Twins had been born, but he knew not where, or how he knew this to be true. A word came to mind, or a name perhaps, Arlan, but it belonged to no one he knew and held no meaning for him. It was only a word, a word connected to the images and impressions he had been shown, but he had no idea what any of it meant. Bewildered, he rose to his feet and went to the window. Little could be seen through the swirling snow so he watched the flakes fall instead. It was the distraction of darkness that he wanted most to help clear his head.
Pushing his hair back from his eyes, he pondered the connection between the death and the births, certain there was one. He was equally certain that what he had witnessed were actual events, not flashes of fancy and imagination. Glancing at the staircase behind him, he considered waking his family, but he was still a child, unproven and untrained in Elyri ways, and he doubted that anyone would believe him. Only Ártur would, and thus it would be best, he decided, to await his cousin’s return home. Ártur would have news from Rhidam, if there was any, and he would be able to prove the truth…and perhaps even explain it.
Kavan wanted that proof himself.
With a small shrug of resignation, he settled again upon the plush woven rug and tried unsuccessfully to refocus on his book. Too many unsettling things had happened to him in the last three days; this was only the latest oddity to plague him. Based on what he knew of his people, he presumed that the Elyri gifts were awakening with in him, as they did in all of his kind. But he knew how his uncle frowned upon such gifts, and it made him wary of speaking up, of revealing himself to them, or anyone. He was afraid of their rejection. Afraid of the power.
Looking down into the palm of his white hand, he watched with fascination as a small flame sprang to life there, glimmering and flickering as a candle but burning nothing.
Feb. 4th, 2014 08:44 am (UTC)
Finding something that flows easily into a fully-fledged character can definitely be both daunting and delicious when it happens! I like how well you let your muses guide you, even if it has frustrations!

This is a wonderfully evocative intro! So much detail while really only giving away some very vague things bout the story to unfold. It's very rich though, and definitely intriguing, so that I want to read more! ;-)
(no subject) - agdhani - Feb. 4th, 2014 05:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - haldoor - Feb. 15th, 2014 02:28 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 3rd, 2014 10:24 pm (UTC)
I've ground to a halt on the story that's currently the closest to completion. I think I need to set that one aside to stew for a week. The others are coming on well, though the novel is bulking out mostly in worldbuilding files rather than story right now.

How do I create characters? Well, I suppose I *do* start with a name. One very particular name.

Mary Sue.

The way I see it, every reader needs to relate to the protagonist on some level. So I dive right in, I stick either myself or my go-to animus into the heart of the story, I start interacting with whatever other character happen to be around...and that puts me in touch with character motivation. Sometimes, I find those side-characters and their lives instantly intriguing, and the focus of the story shifts to them and I'm out of Mary Sue territory. Other times, I just let the change and development happen organically, enhancing as many not-me aspects of the character that are story-relevant as I can, adding in aspects of people I know if I think they'd respond more compellingly to a situation than I would, or just flicking switches here and there and seeing what difference it makes. Minor characters are usually cobbled together from combinations of people I know with a few conflicting tropes thrown into the mix at times.

I just don't start major characters from a blank slate in the same way, I guess. I start with me, the eventual reader. The real names, when they settle, are always meaningful to me in some way. The whole process seems to work in the sense that people seem rather invested in my OCs' fates. It falls down when I forget to describe them clearly enough - I'm SO bad at describing any of my characters!
Feb. 4th, 2014 08:51 am (UTC)
I'm sorry you've ground to a halt on the one you've been working on! I hope letting it stew for a while (like a good tea!) will help.

That's really fascinating that you like to work from yourself out and then flesh your character with tidbits from all over, or in fact wander to side-characters when interactions occur and let them take centre-stage that way. I rather like that! I'm pretty much non-invested in being my characters (if that makes sense) as I kind of like to stand at the side and observe them, although finding motivation is sometimes more speculative than reality-based, if you get what I mean. Maybe that's why I rarely write and only occasionally read first person narrative. However, I'm intrigued by the way you work, and clearly it does have results! Fantastic!

I know what you mean about describing them (physically, I'm assuming you mean) as I can tend to forget that a little too, as I often have such a clear view of them in my head that it's hard to remember that no one else does! ;-)

Edited at 2014-02-04 08:52 am (UTC)
(no subject) - agdhani - Feb. 4th, 2014 05:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 4th, 2014 02:55 pm (UTC)
Sometimes characters just happen. Most of what I write anymore is RP, and I've had quite a few times where a character has just spontaneously happened. Either story driven, or, just a random side comment and next thing I know, we have a baby Flying Monkey named Fred, who likes fruit and baths. A lot. :)
Feb. 4th, 2014 09:09 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - bizarra - Feb. 5th, 2014 01:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - haldoor - Feb. 15th, 2014 02:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bizarra - Feb. 15th, 2014 03:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - haldoor - Feb. 15th, 2014 03:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bizarra - Feb. 15th, 2014 03:45 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 4th, 2014 05:06 pm (UTC)
*stops lurking, as ordered*

It depends on the story. Sometimes, the plot creates the character. Other times, it's an actor I'd love to see in the universe. However, a majority of my original characters are blamed solely on characteraday Yes, it's mostly dead.. but there's a plethora of usable prompts, people!

+ Mel - one of my oldest OCs, started with CaD's second entry.

A few months later, her across the hall-love interest happened

There are about 20 scenes/characters/settings/spinoffs that have happened since then.. They're mostly strewn to the original fic-LJ, as well as the RP LJ. (I blame the RP LJ on my former co-mod over at prompt_in_a_box*, because she -really- got into this universe.)

+ Georgie hasn't really gone anywhere but to some massive plotting in my head, and a playlist on the iPod. She was inspired solely by a song.

+ Diana, also, started as a prompt. I tried to crack most of her story out for novel_bigbang a few years ago, but it just never happened. But, she still pokes around.

+ I've also got an OC who's a canon OTP's grown child. Most of her stuff, looking back, is really cheesy fanfic fodder, but I still ♥ her.

+ My other OC is really more of an OC by default, as her canon character wasn't really given much. She just live in my head. She talks to me more than I do, and 90% of the things I see or do while shopping are hers. Also, her now-8 year old son (my OC) lives in my head, too. He really likes Star Wars.

The rest of my OCs are really just scene-filler, etc. Only the above ones have had any real development.


Edited at 2014-02-04 05:06 pm (UTC)
Feb. 4th, 2014 07:42 pm (UTC)
You're here! You're here! You're here!

That is all.
(no subject) - erinm_4600 - Feb. 4th, 2014 09:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Feb. 5th, 2014 01:36 am (UTC)
I'm all about character and believe that any great story starts and ends with great characters. If writing fanfiction, understanding established characters, making them believable is so important. I did this for Tour of Duty and did character work ups for the cast that ended up being used by the studio that re-released the series in the UK.

As much as I love understanding established characters and what makes them tick, I love creating my own. I keep 3-ring binders for each of my novels and sections for each character in there. Part of it is the time period as I write mostly during the Vietnam War and WWII. Environment and time period play a big part.

In my novel- Lost and Found- I have Mark and Josh. Both are military but from different wars. Mark was US Army in Vietnam, in the infantry. Josh was a Marine who survived the Beruit bombings. What happened to both of them during those times dictated who they were when they meet for the first time.

Mark is closed off, a loner, suffering from PTSD. Josh, on the other hand, is a free spirit who has decided he'd been given a second chance at life and embraces it to the maximum.

This is where Mark gets his first real look at his recently hired plumber- Josh:

Lighting up a cigarette, Mark leaned back against the countertop, staring out over the dunes to the steel-gray ocean. The wind was tearing it up, the waves at least eight to ten feet high as the surf crashed on shore. It had been raw outside when he took his pre-dawn run, the bitter cold snatching his breath away. Studying the slate colored skies, Mark figured it would turn to sleet later on.

The coffee was almost ready, so Mark fished the biggest mug out of the cabinet. It was black with a yellow smiley face, which he couldn’t care less about. That it held a fucking lot of coffee in one pour, now that he could get behind. He started to reach for the pot when Josh made his entrance.

Mark stared as the younger man came down the stairs, scrubbing his face before running
both hands through his long hair. He yawned, walking across the great room, wearing nothing but a pair of dog tags and white socks, his personality bobbing between his legs with each step he took.

Well, sweet fucking Christ, the guy was a helluva sight. Yesterday, the oversized tie-dyed tshirt and baggy carpenter’s jeans along with the bulky flannel jacket had done a fine job of hiding most of Josh’s rather spectacular attributes. He was tall and long-limbed, but, Mark couldn’t help but notice how ripped he was. Well-defined arms, flat stomach, not a body builder but what Mark called “working man” shape, a body earned with sweat.

And damn, Mark had to admit, the guy was hung, out there for anyone to see.

Josh tripped over the ottoman, swearing as he regained his balance. Mark narrowed his eyes, taking the cigarette out of his mouth. Josh walked into the kitchen, heading straight for the coffee maker. That put him right beside Mark with no regard for personal space.

“Fuck yeah, I love a Starbucks that’s open early.” Josh filled the mug that Mark had set out on the counter before going over to the refrigerator. He disappeared behind the door for a long moment. “Awesome, I was worried there for a minute that all you had in here was beer.” Josh emerged with a small carton of milk, letting the door swing shut behind him. He topped off his mug, leaving the carton on the counter. He sipped gingerly before letting out a satisfied sigh.

“Forget something, did ya’?” Mark tapped the ashes off his cigarette in the sink. He let his gaze travel the length of the naked man standing beside him.

Taking another sip, Josh pushed the mop of hair out of his face. “Nah, I don’t need glasses to get a cup of coffee.” With a sleepy grin, he went back the way he came, presenting Mark with an unobstructed view of a rather fine ass. There appeared to be a tattoo on the left butt cheek, but Mark couldn’t make out what it was and he’d be damned if he’d ask.

This time Josh maneuvered around the ottoman without mishap.

“I’ll start the plumbing work on the master bath in a bit.” Josh started up the stairs, mug secure between both hands.

“Hopefully with some fuckin’ clothes on, damn jarhead,” Mark muttered, yanking the cupboard open to find another mug..

Feb. 15th, 2014 02:44 am (UTC)
Apologies for taking so long to get back to this comment! As I said to others above, I have had issues getting my brain to behave this last week or so, but I definitely wasn't ignoring you!

LOVE your intro piece above, and I'm fascinated by how much detail you keep in those ring-binders on them - I guess that is a piece of organisation that would help massively in keeping facts straight and details in the right place when you need them. Kudos to you for being so incredibly organised. It would also explain a lot of how you have done so well, too, in tandem with your great characterisations. I only wish I could be as organised!

I would love to read more of your guys, and will definitely have to organise it so I can, so thank you for introducing them here! ;-)
(no subject) - fatorangekat - Feb. 15th, 2014 04:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - haldoor - Feb. 24th, 2014 08:18 am (UTC) - Expand
( 42 comments — Leave a comment )


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