Thursday, October 10, 2013

NaNoWriMo Prep: Character Development I

When my then-boyfriend-now-husband introduced me to the delights of old fashioned D&D style computer games, it was love at first sight (ha! spot the deliberate-ish ambiguity!). And while playing the games themselves is magical, for me the best part is usually ...dum dum dum... the character creation. 

How most of these games work is that there are a certain number of parameters (race, character class/type, abilities, appearance, skills etc...) which you get to adjust (using a limited number of points in each category) to "create" a relatively unique character. Certain parameters affect each other - for example, if you choose to create a elven mage then you are likely to put more points into intelligence than strength: mages need intelligence to cast spells rather than strength to fight. But once you've put more points into intelligence, then you can't put many points into shields, because your character is too weak to carry a shield. Instead, you have to give him points in unarmed combat, or healing. You get the idea.

The point is, I've always wondered how much this kind of thinking could translate a) to thinking about strengths and weaknesses of real human beings (in fact I once led a youth group session on understanding and accepting yourself through computer games...interesting!) and b) to creating characters for my writing. Well, my friends, the time has come. I have designed a form to do exactly that. It is based partly on the D&D notion of basic characteristics and skills, partly on the Enneagram - an interesting idea which I stumbled across on Wikipedia (bless you, Wikipedia!), and partly on things that I know I will need to know based on the specific needs of my story.

So without further ado...

The idea is that I will either fill it out manually (leaning that way, to be honest) or digitally for each of the characters/suspects in my NaNoWriMo attempt at detective fiction. Where are the details, you ask? Why isn't it filled in already? What about all the other important and relevant questions? As you saw, this is part ONE of my character development. I will get back to you with tweaks and changes to the form once I have started using it in earnest. But I was too excited to keep it to myself a minute longer. 

What categories would you include in a character development form? What parameters am I missing?

yours thoughtfully

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