Welcome back. How y’all doing today? You swanky? Good. Now, in case you’re wondering, this isn’t Madman Szalinski. Today, ya’ boy Flex Johnson holding these keys. Half are probably wondering “who the heck is Flex?” The other half will be laughing to themselves wondering “why they let Flex get behind the keyboard?” Well, fear not
Well, Madman hit me up last week and asked me to drop some of knowledge on character development. Originally, I was just going to give him a couple of quick points; however, I looked up hours later and this article was produced.
However, I didn’t do this alone. The handler of Ryan LeCavalier helped me with a great deal of this. So sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy the ride that me and Ryan are about to take you on.
And, if you don’t remember anything remember this first point―these are merely tips. The glorious things about e-fedding is that you can do it your way. So, if all of these tips help you, use them all. If you think only a couple apply to you, use those couple. If you don’t agree with anyone of it, that’s fine too. As long as you’re having fun, I’ve got no complaints. Now, let’s get into it shall we!
This is something the three of us (me, Madman, and Ryan) talked about over Skype; and it’s something we all pretty much agreed. We believe that it’s perfectly fine to base a character on your own personality, at least in the beginning stages. Why? Because who knows you better than, well, you. Basing a character off your own personality will help you become comfortable with your own writing. And, it would likely come off as believable, because your character would be doing and or saying things that you yourself would actually do and or say.
Now eventually, as you continue to grow as a writer, create more characters, and progress through feds, you’re going to want to move away from basing characters completely off yourself.
Here’s a small tip that might help you out though. When creating a new character, try putting certain aspects of your own character into said character. For example, if I were to make someone new, I might give a character my own personal speech pattern and thoughts on religion, but every other aspect might be made up. This tactic is beneficial in many ways. By instilling a small piece of yourself into the character, you’ll still feel some attachment to them as they grow into this being that you want them to be. And because you’ve got that attachment, you’ll usually be more compelled to write them and want to see them flourish.
This is going to be a generalization, but I think it implies in most cases. More often than not, a shallow character will result in shallow CD, while a well thought out character will result in thoughtful CD.
“Knowing” your character will help you write compelling scene, one that really grips the audience. One way to do this is filling out a character sheet. Character sheets often used in high level english classes; their purpose is to help you flesh out your character. And, by fleshing out said character, it will open up the possibilities of what you can write about.
Here’s a link to one: http://jodyhedlund.blogspot.fr/p/character-worksheet.html
The link provided is a shorter character sheet, the way. There are some that are as large as three hundred questions; there’s no way you won’t know the ends and out of your wrestler after completing one of those bad boys. Now, character sheet isn’t mandatory; it’s just something that has helped me and Ryan along the way. So, it might help others as well.
I’m about to give you all a very legal-like answer, but it applies here. A “character development” can literally be anything, and it can be about anything. Walking through the park could apply, training could apply, laying in your bed could apply.
Now, here come those qualifications and loop-holes.
The trick is not only writing the scene, but it’s actively conveying why the scene is important the character, how the scene might affect the character’s next match, etc. Here’s an example, and yes I got it from the Shark Tank’s tweet (a handler is amazing and who I respect):
By itself, with no context, that may seem like a useless scene. And you’d likely be correct. However, here is how you can spin it and make it useful character development:
Can you see how the two scenarios are different? The first example is just a scene. The second one is the same scene, but now you are explaining to the reader why the scene is important to the characters, AND you are relating it back to the upcoming match.
So therefore, the sky is the limit when it comes to what exactly “character development” is. You just have to be sure to relate things back to the character in a way that’s clear and reasonable to the reader.
Let’s talk about Charles Dickens for one moment; I’ll be quick, I promise. Dickens made money by having his stories produced in publications. Back then, you used to get paid by word; so, from a financial standpoint, it made sense for an author to write as much as he or she possibly could, because it would mean more money.
Great Expectations is an example of one of those stories.
Now, there’s a reason why schools make you read the abridged version. The unabridged version has an extra one hundred plus pages, even though you can fully understand the story without them.
That would be filler, because authors back then added pieces to the story (that didn’t make sense or were not needed), due to prospect of monetary gain. I think we can all agree about that, not what definition you employ.
Now, back to 2016.
In modern literary writing, I don’t think that there is much filler (Flex’s opinion). I also don’t think there is much filler in e-fedding either (I’m probably in this minority on this subject, though). I do however, think there is sometimes a disconnect between what the handler is trying to convey, and how it’ perceived by the audience.
More often than not, when a writer crafts a scene, he or she has clear purpose in mind for it. The issue is, sometimes the writer doesn’t clearly convey his or her message to the audience. This leads to the audience thinking something is filler (when it was never the writer’s intention), which causes the writer to lash out in anger (and act a donkey), and chaos ensues.
I guess my point is, when writing your character development, try to be as precise as you can with your ideas. Really let the reader know “this is what I’m trying to tell you.” That way the reader will know the importance of each scene, and the risk of confusion or misunderstanding is mitigated.
Welp, the ride is over. I hope y’all had fun today. As I said in the intro, these are just tips and tricks; they are the gospel or anything like that. Feel free to add, subtract, experiment―just be free in general. Remember these are your characters and your stories, so get out there and own em’, alright?
Next time, let’s talk about storylines.
Co-written by: Chris Drummonds, handler of Flex Johnson; and the Handler of Ryan LeCavalier
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