Hey everyone, I'm in the process of creating a Newbie Help Guide which primarily focuses around the creation of one's first character.
If there's one thing I notice about new members, it's that they have a hard time creating their first character/getting it accepted.
I've already compiled my own suggestions for newbies on creating their first character here, but I thought it would be a good idea for other long time members to post their own thoughts on DOs and DON'Ts when creating a introductory character, or just getting started on the boards period.
This is your chance to get out some thoughts that will help new members get the proper footing here, and deal with as little stress during the process as possible.
Post by Ren (Inactive) on Aug 24, 2012 19:43:07 GMT -4
Oh hey well then let me vomit I mean help.
DON'T start by dishing out powers. That's never a good idea, especially if you can't think of a good reason why a character should have that power in the first place. You may just love the idea of controlling smaller Heartless, but you can't just throw it in there willy-nilly.
DO start by working on history. Before even thinking about your character's personality or abilities, think about where they should come from. This is often a huge factor when it comes to correlation between why they have a certain power/personality trait/physical look. Where did they come from? What was their family life like? Think about parents, siblings, world...
and on that note:
A convoluted history does not make the character. Nor does death and other tragic events. Actually it just kind of makes the mod feel sad reading it. now I'm not necessarily one to talk buuuuuut w/e this is FIRST character advice, not millionth character advice Really, some of the most interesting characters come from a "bland" background. Kids in Twilight Town, for instance, who don't have heroes for fathers nor a dead sister - just kids worried about school coming up and enjoying hanging out with friends. That is a great idea for a starting character, for chances are you know what "normal kid" feels like. And you know what's funny about that? None of us are bland.
Write what you know. If you've never experienced an orphaned childhood, the death of a family member or someone close to you, or being a prodigy when you're younger than fourteen, chances are you would have a hard time writing a first character like that. I'm not saying don't get creative with it - a character doesn't necessarily have to be you - but it's hard to envision situations you've never been in, especially if you're a fairly new RPer... especially when the character's personality hinges on those situations. The more experienced of a writer you become, the more fantastical you can make them... but it's not a good idea to be super fantastical with a first character.
Use logic. If you can think of any plot hole at all in your character's personality or history or powers - if you fail to explain the why that I am always stressing - you need to fix it and work on it more. Every argument must be countered by solid, solid evidence. We're trying to make realistic, relatable characters here, not characters that have every superpower you've ever wanted ever.
Give your characters human weaknesses. Being too "dark" doesn't count, nor does being too "nice." Give them some real fears: afraid of being controlled, afraid of spiders, afraid of turning out the lights, afraid of heights. But beyond that, give them traits that you don't like. Give them vanities. Give them problems that don't just include "getting over their past." Give them pride or gluttony. Give them submissiveness. Give them forcefulness. Give them an "always right" mentality, even if they aren't. Give them self-pity. Give them elitism. Give them ugly things that nobody likes but are found in everyone. Take your pick from any of the things I've mentioned. "But, Ren, this is a made-up character!" I don't care, they should have things about them that other people don't like, things they probably might not even be aware of because, let's face it, a lot of us aren't in real contact with our feelings and flaws, and neither should a majority of RP characters in that case. Give them space to grow, but make them have a hard time getting there. For ideas, maybe write down some things you don't like about other people and yourself. Yes, it sucks, but characters need to be realistic, for nobody really wants to play with a character that's too perfect.
Ooooh, and don't give them glorified weaknesses. Things that you think are kind of cool but in reality kind of suck. Like "dark and moody" and "has trouble trusting people." Yeah yeah blah blah blah. I mean, okay, those are real things as well, but I guess what I'm trying to say is don't make your character a victim.
Give your characters good things, too. Don't be afraid to give your character some nicer things, as well. Just make sure you balance them out with plenty of vulnerabilities and weaknesses. A balanced character is what you should be striving for.
Give your character a motivation. Curiosity, fear, desire - these are all good motivators. You don't necessarily have to be seeking revenge, nor do you have to be going after the bad guys; think about: why are they where they are? What are they going to do with this? Characters who sit around and let the other RPers dictate what's going on typically have no motivation. Don't let your character's personality become stagnant. Motives and desires can work wonders for one's character.
I'll probably think of more later, and just keep adding onto this.
Post by Ellie who has 0% (Inactive) on Aug 24, 2012 20:02:18 GMT -4
1.) Try to stay as simple as possible.
This is just more towards the people who are trying to make that Big Epic Character who's awesome at swordfight, can karate chop through trees, and a master wizard! For someone who is new, it's better off to make a simple character without a LOT of concepts stacked into him/her. It becomes less believable, which place them into Mary-Sue Land.
When in doubt give them one skill. Think about it if you're really really good at something it's because you spent so much time focusing and perfecting it. Being a Jack of all trades makes you prone (at times) to not be at the pennacle of the best, because you're so busy being versatile.
I think a helpful is checking out Job Class Systems on FF wikia; they all generically have a set up for example: Black mages are highly skilled with magic, high mana, but suckage phyiscal strength and even defense if I recall. Those from what I've looked in the past can pretty much help you make a balance character; there would be a flaw somewhere or rather there should be.
So overall you can state it like this:
a.) Accept the fact that your character won't be the strongest here. It will actually benefit you; you lesson your chances of having extreme godmodding issues, which will inevitably cause conflict and reflect on your rping skills. Sorry to put it out there but no one would want to play with an over-powered character that also can't play fairly.
b.) The less powers you give your character, the easier and quicker your character can be accepted. It's a random true fact. Why? Staff will spend less time trying to get you to tone down your characters and understand why. Sometimes, I know I do, I let people figure out proper limitations for they are conscious in what's overboard and what's commendable.
c.) Please stay away from making prodigies. I'm sure someone can pull it off, but I'm advicing you to just leave it alone. Not only are you using it as a cheap way to make a highly skilled character, you just have no idea how that upbringing can truly be to make it genuine. No one will ever be that grand without a price or consequences.
2.) If you're not exceptionally good at making a character off the top of your head, and you want to rp:
+ Base the character off of yourself. I think it's natural for a lot of beginners to do that anways. I know I did; heck the character's name was even based off my middle name.
+ Base it off of someone you know. At least this would help you grab things that would make up a person (history, personality)...by being observant of people around you.
And when you're more experienced, then you can make complex character. I think Coffee, my viera, as well as Erika, a character I adopted and revised, are the most complex characters I've made through their histories. I don't know how much actually seems believable. (I haven't read them in a while and I made them...long ago) But enough of their lives, and I know especially with Coffee, actually stems and inspired someone else's life. You'll learn later on it's inevitable a piece of yourself is going to be in that character, but for now...just try to stay loose.
3.)Give everything a purpose.
+ If your character have magick or have a certain skill, then obviously he must have learned it somewhere, so please state it. Nothing comes for free or just pure creative vomit from their minds.
+ Please don't give your character an attribute or detail...JUST because it's cool; it needs to have a reason in how it got there. Nothing occured to you out of the blue for noooo reason. If you got a scar, you totally got it somewhere. If you learned swordsmanship, someone obviously taught you. If you got a gummi ship, obviously you got it from somewhere.
//And this is when I say refrain from using random nice people to give you these things. It's very weak and just reflects poor story-telling.\\
RELAYING WHAT'S IN THE MIND: It's highly likely that your character is interesting to you, but the real obstacle is explaining the character so that they are interesting to others, too. This means not just having a creative mind, but also being able to relay your creativity in an interesting manner.
Write some stuff. Then read it to yourself. If it doesn't seem that fun to read, there are loopholes in the plot (regarding KH and World Destiny), and/or you don't really like where it's going, the chances are other readers won't think it's interesting either.
SIMPLICITY: Personally, I think the characters that are less "prodigy-esque" are more interesting. Ren, I'm going to use you as my example.
Ren does not walk on walls. She doesn't teleport through light beams and defy gravity on occasion. She doesn't breathe fire and fart lightning.... She's just a Sky Pirate. But she's one of the most interesting characters I think this site has. Re-reading her profile after a few years, I found it hard to stop myself because, well... the character's just fun! And her special abilities? Street smarts, hand-to-hand, piloting...
I guess what I'm trying to say is that your character can be interesting without being the next gravity-defying half-nobody around the block. =] Just because they're simpler doesn't mean they're boring or lack motivation by a long stretch.
Also, I think one point being sort of touched-on earlier was:
RELATABILITY: Sometimes characters are a bit bland because no one can relate to them, including and especially the RPer. Don't sacrifice relatability for "character coolness".
EXPLAINABILITY: Perhaps it should be clarified that many things can be accepted if explained thoroughly and in such a manner as to cover seemingly-apparent loopholes. However, it requires a very in-depth and clear explanation.
I don't say this because I want to lay it down as a rule, but if someone's got say.. one seemingly-peculiar ability, if it is explained correctly, and it synchs up with KH logic, it may have a better chance of being allowed through.
We're sticklers for things that make sense here, but it might be good to clarify that this doesn't have to mean the character must become a boring John Smith to get accepted.
I don't know if what I'm saying on this last point makes sense. I will try and clarify better, but my mind isn't clicking too clearly today.
Oh Cadence! That's not what I meant at all! In fact, I love what I've seen of your characters. I love them a lot. =]
I also thought of another point that might be good to make for the newbie guide I considered today:
-- Don't be afraid to give the other characters in your thread something to do.
Characters can have breakdowns that make other characters uncomfortable/unsure of what to do, (viable) unforeseen plot twists between interacting characters are a plus... I like having to think because the story takes a curve ball in the face.
Let me know if I didn't explain that well and I'll try again.
I would like to add a note here; maybe make a note about Face-Claims in this upcoming Newbie Guide. They seem to be a pretty common thing, and it may help facilitate the application process if our terms for Face Claims are clearly depicted on the site for new people.
(If we already have a note regarding Face Claims somewhere on the Site Rules, et cetera, then please kindly disregard this note. I just don't clearly recall seeing one.)
-------------------Edit Point 2-------------------
Jumping back to Characters (because my brain isn't a train track, it's more like bumper cars):
-- Give the character purpose / a drive.
I think a lot of people get burnt out or confused about where to take a thread because of lack of direction from the Character's standpoint.
From what I've seen, a lot of people (myself included), have jumped into threads without really having a good purpose for our characters to be there, and because of a random entrance or a plot far too loose, the thread just deteriorates and doesn't really accomplish anything, most of the time remaining unfinished somewhere in the black hole of time.