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That’s Some Character Quality!

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Hey, everyone! Sorry I haven’t posted for a few weeks! I have new content up now, and today, we’ll be talking about character!

Character means many things when it comes to stories and poems. Today, most people use the word ‘character’ to describe someone in a movie, but character can also mean traits that make up a person or being or someone who possess morality (ex: She posses strong character.) When writing up a character for a story, there a few steps that can help you put emphasis on their traits and abilities.

If you’re like me, creating a character can be a little difficult. You want to make up someone memorable and teaches important lessons through them. Sometimes you may want them to represent something, such as purity, strength, loyalty. This is called symbolism, and it is very important in the world of writing. Many characters such as J.R.R Tolkien, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and C.S. Lewis create memorable and realistic characters that stand for something. Take Aslan from the legendary Chronicles of Narnia series. He’s a wise, all-knowing lion with power beyond even the most wicked people. It’s clear he represents Jesus, who is omnipresent, powerful, and wonderful, all the same time.

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How do you create these kinds of characters, though?  I have come up with a few steps for even myself that may help put together some characters you can use for your writing. Every person is inspired differently, though, and some steps may not be necessary for you, but this is what has helped me create my story characters.

  1. First, figure out what kind of setting and story line you want your book to have (you can read more about settings and genres in July 24’s post ‘Genres of the Ages.’) and then pick out a character that will help move your book along. For me, it helps to figure out what sort of genre I want my book to be so that I can place characters accordingly. If the character does not fit, the story will not make sense.
  2. Figuring out the personality of your character also plays an important role in your story. A tough character may not be scared of much, so maybe he could work out in a military setting during a war. The personality of your character plays such an important part, because without a character, the story can not be moved along. Characters helps create drama, and if there were no characters in a story, there would be no movement, therefore making your setting pretty deserted.
  3. Once you figure out the character, look for their abilities. Abilities in a character usually distinguish what they are good at. They might be good at consoling others, fighting in the heat of a battle, or they might be brilliant at science and equations. Everyone has a special ability that makes them unique, and the same goes for fictional characters.
  4. After I figure out all these three steps,I like to figure out how the characters know one another. Recently, I’ve went through a list of all the characters I’ve created for my books over the years, and I realized over half of these characters had the exact same last name, so I decided I’d make them a large family. That was one way I bonded the characters. For the others, I selected a few older characters and a few younger characters, making them either great friend, heroic figures, or characters that liked eachother. Your own characters don’t have to know eachother, but it’s important to keep in mind that they probably will affect the main character in some way.
  5. The last step I do is to put them into the story. Trying to match their personalities and abilites up with the drama at hand, I want to make sure that everything makes sense. If I create a grumpy character, he’s not going to do well with consoling a broken-hearted person, but he could maybe go fight in a battle that’s happening at the same time.

Most people have different ways of handling their characters, though. If one step doesn’t work for you, maybe come up with some of your own. Writing is a unique way of showing creativity, so one way isn’t for all. Remember, many stories reveal truths that can be applied into daily life, and that is why characters are so important to what you are writing. They help the story along, create drama, tension, conflict, sympathy, remorse, and joy and that is why even the smallest of characters can produce the biggest changes, just like in reality.

Thanks for reading! If you have anything you’d like me to consider writing about next, comment below one of my posts! Ideas for upcoming posts are appreciated and welcomed!

Have a wonderful weekend!

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During Writer’s Block

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I would say writer’s block is one of the most frequent things that definitely occurs with me. It usually happens when I’m in the middle of a story, and then I suddenly run out of ideas. Pretty soon, I just lose interest in the whole story, and then I’m stuck with another point in writer’s block-what do I write about next?

Writer’s block is a very common thing in the writing and literary world. It’s bound to happen in an author’s writing lifetime, and this is usually the point where we have to stop and think about how we can overcome this obstacle. This is actually not as easy as it would probably seem. There have been numerous times where I’ve tried different approaches to overcoming writer’s block, from writing character sheets to trying to figure out a decent plot that I won’t lose interest in.

Recently, though, I’ve picked up a book called 300 Writing Prompts, which is kind of like a journal, only there are a ton of ideas (300, if you didn’t catch that.) ranging from writing in your diary during futuristic times, reporting on something you think would happen today, and opinions on topics. These may seem like they have nothing to do with your book, but in reality, they are everything.

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What do I mean by this? Well, writing is about looking at the world from a broad-minded perspective. Writing is definitely not easy, that’s for sure, but for those gifted in the area of writing, being broad-minded is important. If you pay close enough attention, it allows you to find inspiration in movies, shows, and even in life today!

So let’s move to some ideas that may help overcome that block we writers so desperately hate:

1.Try Out Some New Books, or Reread Some of Your Favorite Ones.

This is one thing all writers should do; read. Why do I say that? Reading is good for inspiration! Writers all over find inspiration in books. As one author told me, story ideas are not new! Authors learn from one another and create storylines based on the idea they might have gotten from another book.

2. Look Up Some Ideas Off Of Pinterest.

I know, I talk about Pinterest a ton, but there’s a reason for that! Pinterest contains so many interesting inspirational tips, advice, and characters that it’s almost impossible not to get ideas off this site. It’s not just about the food recipes and fashion tips, it’s also about finding inspiration!

3. Grab A Book Designed to Help Authors With Writer’s Block

For the longest time, I had been eyeing that 300 Writing Prompts books, because it looked like a great book to help with the block. You can grab this book (there’s also a book called 500 Writing Prompts in case 300 isn’t enough.) or any other book created to give inspiration and tips.  The same thing for writing books also goes for poetry.

4. Study Your Favorite Character.

No, I don’t mean copy off him/her. Don’t ever do that! What I’m saying is find some characteristics you like from them. Are they cautious? Perky? Maybe slightly arrogant? You can pull lots of ideas from your favorite character(s) just as long as yo do not copy off everything from them! The books do say copyright, after all!

Hopefully some of these tips will help! Like I said, writer’s block is very common, so don’t panic when you realize there’s nothing to write about. (It doesn’t help, I’ve tried.) There are tons of inspirational help out there; all you need to do is look!

Also, if anyone has noticed, I have moved most of my posts to once a week now instead of twice, so as not to overwhelm anyone! Some of the setups are slightly new (like the bolding of words!) because I’ve actually been experimenting with some of the settings on my blog!

Have a lovely weekend!

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Genres of the Ages

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There many genres people work with. Some reading classics, while others like some of the young adult books of today. Many books are written with a medieval air, while others may be futuristic. Whatever the setting is, it’s important to be aware of what kind of book you are writing as well as reading.

Similar to setting up a certain playlist for your music, (See ‘A Musical Writer’s Remedy’.) genre lets your imagination flow with the setting of things. Consider my book, set in a post-apocalyptic world. It’s very futuristic, set in a time when technology can pretty much do anything anytime, but with a certain historical air, where the people of the day can hardly afford such items. Books such as The Hunger Games and Divergent are set up in similar ways, allowing much technology but little use for it by the poor.

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Unless it’s some random time jump, most books tend to keep into their designated environment. Most books mainly focus on the mannerisms, language, and philosophy of the time. Historical books, such as Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Withering Heights, do not have computers or any sort of device, but instead, they have to walk or ride a carriage if they wish to communicate with someone. The mannerisms of that time were quiet different as well, which is why sometimes it’s hard to understand a classical book’s style of writing.

If, however, you don’t want to stick to a certain time period, there are always options such as steampunk. Many times have I been asked what steampunk is, and my reply is,”A fiction, futuristic world with a style much like the Victorian age.” Steampunk allows writing the book to be futuristic while adding a touch of old age, as odd as that sounds.

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So how do you figure out what sort of genre you are reading? Many genres have a typical air to them. Does you book have dragons and knights in it? Chances are it might be fantasy. Or how about a book where a man and a woman meet against all odds? That could be considered romance. As my friend and I have found out, many books seem to be a bit too cliche, especially in the young adult genre. Vampires falling in love with mortals, girls falling in love with the most popular boy in school, and love triangles all over the place are rather typical, and those books can get rather tiresome after you read a number of them.

So, hopefully that helped a bit. Genres have developed much over the years, some for better, some for worst, and some have even been created only in the last few years. They help readers know what kind of book they are reading as well as providing information on what style they prefer.

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Inspirational Compilation

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This week, I don’t really have any book or movie reviews, so I will go over some of this week’s inspirational song lyrics and poems. If anyone at all has a suggestion for what I should write about next or for another oncoming post, comment below on one of my posts!

So this week, I ran into a bunch of inspirational quotes and lyrics on Pinterest, which really inspired me for some of my writing and poetry. Usually, I just run into them randomly, which is actually quite funny because I am always trying to look for some but never see any particularly appealing. Sometimes I’ll get hooked to a song for hours, and that’s when I discover some pretty good lines in them that may inspire me. Here are a few I found this week:

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1. I ran into this one by total accident the other day. All of a sudden, this is a recommended pin on my feed, but I soon remembered that this is one of my favorite lines from a Mumford and Songs. I liked the fact that they mentioned using their head with their heart because both are important. It’s using logic and feeling to grasp onto the situation. I really found that interesting.

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2. Too often we found ourselves hating and complaining about things in our lives, but what good does it do really? This short poem explains that we should love what loves us but hate exhausts us, and there’s no reason we should hate for no reason. Loving something is so much more calming and relaxing than complaints and hate.

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3. I’ve found myself listening to ‘Rather Be’ by Clean Bandit on repeat this week, and I really have no idea why. Maybe it’s because of the positivity in the song, plus it has a nice tune. This line in the song is especially positive, because it talks about going through a rough experience but not breaking from it.

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4. I really wish I knew who wrote this because it’s so true! Half truth is the same as lying, because the whole story is being stated and only part of it is being said. Noone reads and writes half a story, because what happened to the other half? It might as well be a lie if not everything is being told.

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5. This actually reminded me of one of my characters from my book I am writing. She’s a bit of a dreamer even though she’s basically seen everything. When I saw this quote, it was an inspiration for my writing.

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6. Yes, I had to add this! I like the truth in it though. Hanging out with the wrong people (the crows) will confuse ourselves and cause us to become like them. This doesn’t mean all crows are evil (though they are usually the bad guy’s pet in movies) but the main point is that who we hang out with will influence us, which is why it’s important to choose our friends carefully.

And there you have it folks; some of the main quotes and lyrics of this week! There are a ton more that I found (you can check out my ‘ Quotes and Lyrics’ board on my Pinterest account (see ‘About This Blog’ for the link.)) but those are the ones I found touching, important, and true.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

The Musical Writer’s Remedy

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Lately, I have found myself delving back into the world of writing, and I have started a type of book I have never even considered before; post-apocalyptic. No, it’s not just about half-dead zombie people who are chasing people over creation just because they feel like it. It’s not one of those typical books you may find in the young adult section in a bookstore or some sort of survival, game-like storyline. I wanted to work around that without making it cliche, because normally I don’t like the typical young adult vampire books or the-end-of-the-world type of things.

A writing process involves many steps, such as finding a world to build the story off of, working with the characters’ personalities, and creating drama, but there are also steps that can help improve your skills. It may come from television or books, but most of my ideas sprout from music. It’s one of those things that can make you feel happy or sad, thrilled or relaxed, and that’s awesome for a writing process. There have been many times where I have searched for specific types of music as I worked on my novels, and through that, I have found many inspiring artists such as Two Steps From Hell. (I honestly don’t like the name, though.)

cfa9945070e1fbed77e4f9d74d6460e1It was proved many, many centuries ago that music affects brain waves and makes us feel a certain way, which is why it’s important to listen to music that does not prove to be unhealthy. When writing with music, it’s best to pick a certain type of music that will fit your world. Historical novels may usually involve classical music, steampunk and post-apocalyptic may involve futuristic and eerie music. Consider Sherlock‘s background music during the show. Even though they use more modern devices and technology than in the books, the music still gives the show a bit of a 1890’s feels.

Even though some people may say music throws them off when they write, it does help others. I can understand why music could make the story a bit confusing for the reader, especially if they are playing the wrong type of music. This has happened to me many times before, even when I began writing. When a certain dramatic song came on the radio, I was tempted to write a dramatic scene in to the storyline, even if it did not fit. The chapter seemed rushed and confusing, and that was when I learned that maybe a should take my time. (Haha!)

Not sure what kind of music you are looking for, though? Research on similar topics might help as well. A better understanding on what genre your book is or will become  helps immensely, and not just for music material. Knowledge of what kind of book you wrote will help editors, bookstores, the internet stores, and people.

Well, there you have it, one of most important topics for me in writing help. Music has helped spur new ideas when I am in a rut, as well as reading books and watching movies.

Have a lovely weekend!

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The ‘Positives’ and ‘Negatives’ -It Has To Add Up (Part 2)

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Last week, I gave a definition and examples of what a ‘negative’ character is. As the name suggests, a negative character is one who has a bad view on life, failing to see good in those around them. We call these characters pessimists sometimes, but I don’t want to label them with such a severe title because negative characters don’t have to see the bad in everything. A traumatic experience could cause them to react a certain way (see my post ‘Writing From a Villain’s POV for more details on that subject), or perhaps they have lost something important to them and that caused them to behave a certain way.

The opposite of a negative character is what I also call ‘positive’ characters. These are the sort of characters we see in much literature today. They have a fairly good view on life and they want to do good for others. They don’t have to be the protagonists, just as the negative characters don’t have to be villains. They can be side characters, maybe an added character, or they could possibly be the hero, but this doesn’t exclude them into being just main characters.

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The opposite of a negative character are what I also call ‘positive’ characters.

When I think of a positive character, I imagine something like the Amity in Divergent. Their main focus in life is to be happy and give encouragement and comfort to those that need it. Parties and social gatherings are some of the things that keep them happy, and they actually enjoy life and all it gives them, good or bad. These are some traits of a positive sort of character.

But what do negative and positive characters have in common? They are polar opposites in many ways, sure, but there are also some similarities they share. Maybe they have similar experiences, and they just handled them in separate ways, or perhaps their views of life and humanity are the same, but the beliefs that they keep to themselves are relatively secret. The possibilities could be endless.

Now, the real question is: How do we add such characters into a storyline? What if you don’t want them to be the main characters? How do we handle that? There are also many options, but most authors tend to make these characters friends, bullies, or comrades they work with or know at school or in the neighborhood. For example, Pride and Prejudice uses many side characters that were important for the story, but weren’t really main characters. The story focused primarily on Lizzie and Mr. Darcy, and the sisters acted as either negative or positive characters depending on their personality.

So, negative characters are those who appear grumpy and slightly misanthropic and positive character act as comforters and encouragers, depending on the situation, and the possibilities for how you use them are endless. So feel free to use them as you wish! They’re yours to control.

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Each character has a destiny, even if they are not protagonists.

 

The ‘Positives’ and ‘Negatives’- It Has To Add Up (Part 1)

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Many times I have found myself writing about negative types of characters. Negative characters can be seen in many books and movies today, and, to some degree, they play a good role for the storyline, however, negative characters do harm situations in some way, whether by ideas, personality, or actions.

When I refer to a ‘negative’ character, I mean that they are not necessarily villains, but they have a pessimistic view on life and humanity in general. They see no good in people, and they think that they all are out for only themselves (ironic, eh?). Their views actually are intended to harm others because they just don’t care about feelings. This could be seen as almost villainous.

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Negative, dark characters could almost be seen as villainous

Why do I write negative characters in my stories then? I think negative characters are important to the plot, but not just that. I feel like this is the best way to portray a lesson to the reader; through a mentally or physically damaged person. It is better to work from negative to positive than positive to negative, in my opinion (I can’t say the same for math, though.), so this is why I find them easier to mold.

One thing I have noticed in some aspects of life is the focus on self. People tend to care only for their own needs, wants, desires, basically anything they can get their hands on that they want. If you don’t rank, appeal to them, or come across a certain way, say good bye to ever getting to personally know them. This is the definition of a ‘negative’ character to me.

Not everyone is like that, though. Just like in stories, people also have a good side to them, and I have also witnessed this. There are those who wish to build up others, to lead people to the right perspective, and those who want to uplift someone.

So, negative characters are just as important as the positive ones, but keep in mind their views may not always be the right ones.

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Just like in stories, people also have a good side to them.

This Week’s Inspiration

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Recently, I did a blog post on a few quotes, songs, and poems that inspired me in my writing. I find that reading these kind of things really motivates me and it spurs new ideas for my books and poetry as well as providing truth and facts about life today. Poetry is one of my passions, so whenever I discover something new that I enjoy, I tend to research more about it.

For this week, I found many poems that inspired me greatly. I pin quite a few poems and such to my Quotes and Lyrics board on Pinterest, so I will have to choose just a few that I really enjoyed. That may be a tough one.

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I have never heard of this word until the other day when I saw it on Pinterest. I think it has so much positive meaning. It’s a belief that humans can get better, they can improve everything around them including themselves. I think it’s beautiful that a word like this, even if is just a word, can mean so much in just a few simple English letters.

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This sentence right here says it all. Noone knows the weight they have been carrying until it is taken off, and then their eyes are opened and they see things in a whole new light. I find this quote extremely powerful because I can relate to it somewhat. I have never thought of that in words until I read this quote from The Scarlet Letter.

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This is a quote from the poem ‘Mad Girl’s Love Song’ by Sylvia Plath. The poem talks about how the world disappeared in the blink of an eye, and how the writer forgot the name of the person who was suppose to come back for them.  The emotions and feelings put on display are dramatic and yet at the same time romantic.

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This is another Sylvia Plath poem I found. I was looking up different Plath poetry on Pinterest when I ran into this, and it just struck me. It almost deserves its own story.

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I really like the subtle meaning in this quote. People always draw different parts of us out, which is why we must be careful of the company we keep. Different kinds of people remake us into new people continually.

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I really love the detailing in this. The idea of using slightly personification is really amazing in the idea of making the girl’s heart the storm. I really enjoy storms, anyway.

And that is this week’s inspiration. Hope you enjoyed and thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!

Writing From a Villain’s POV

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So this week I was working on this blog post when my fingers decided to freak out and push the exact wrong buttons, therefore deleting everything I had written before. Very encouraging……..but, anyway, I just got done reading a very good post about villains versus antagonists and figured this would probably be a good time anyway to redo what I had originally after reading it.

So, first comes first, let’s look at today’s villains. Evil characters make up a story, and it doesn’t matter what kind of story you are writing; there will always be a villain. Characters like Loki from both Thor movies, Darth Vader from the well-known sci-fi adventure, Star Wars, and Maleficent from the new Disney movie all possess one thing intended to interact with people watching. Sympathy.

It seems authors and story writers are taking on the idea of making a sympathetic villain to create a new set of fans. Marvel has even created villains with backstories, such as what we have seen continually with Loki, Bucky, and numerous other characters. It sets the story to take another route.

But what exactly are antagonists versus true villains? After reading the post ‘The Difference Between Villains and Antagonists’, I realized that, as writers, we fail to recognize the difference. Antagonists are those who are made to be against the protagonist but not so much evil, where as the villain is the character in the story with obvious evil intentions and plans against the hero. He thinks his ideas are justified even if they might be wrong because of what he has encountered. The actor of Loki, Tom Hiddleston, worded it perfectly when he said,”A villain is a hero in his own mind.” Yes, somehow in that warped and demented mind, he thinks of himself as the hero trying to make everything better, even with selfish ambition, and the hero as the obstacle in his way, and, if you will, the villain.

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The sympathetic villains, though, can be just the same way, but events in the past formed their motives and created a character who is grieving on the inside and snarling on the outside. A sad and lonely monster who is trying to find his own place in the world, who, even if they are only thinking of themselves, still hopes for something better. However, writers and readers alike must remember that this is not an excuse for their actions. All actions have consequences not matter if we think we are justified or not.

Villains are rarely talked about even though they are portrayed in so many movies today as the subtle ‘hero’. Everyone seems to focus on the hero, and when they get to writing the villain, it may not come naturally. I find that some think of almost every type of villain as the INTJ personality type, those who are logical in their thinking but seem rather evil on the outside. Though INTJ does seem to work in some cases, it is not for all villains.

I find writing villains fairly easy, but it does not come naturally all the time. There is always that idea I wish to grasp, but sometimes I never get to it. That is when I do research on the topic, or I may stop and think for a little bit. My book may not even be touched for days!

And that is my blog post for Friday! I may have had it come out sooner but I deleted everything (stupidly) and had to make a second draft and post. I’ll be rolling my eyes over the weekend about this.

Have a lovely Friday!

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Character Developments

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Even though it is a bit early to post, I wanted to go ahead and blog on a topic I find very important when I read and write. Sometimes it may seem so minor because the plot is so dramatic, but I feel like this is the most important part of any writing ever.
First of all, let’s narrow down what character development is. A character is represented by use of traits, personality, and philosophy, which is why they are called ‘characters.’ Many characters, such as Aslan in C.S. Lewis’ Narnia and the One Ring in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, represent undeniable characteristics and meanings. Not all characters posses an underlying theme, but sometimes they can be found.
Character development, however, not only uses the concept of qualities, but it goes from the bottom up or vice versa. A character who seems aloof and weak in the beginning may end up becoming the most brave person in the story ( Such as Rory Williams from Doctor Who.) or perhaps a character might be relatively good but quickly turns evil because of a change of their own philosophy. Ideas and philosophy are ideal in characters because they have to be individuals, like humans.

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A character sheet like this is what I often use before the development of the book. Of course, everyone has their own style. My processes usually include making a character on the sheet first, getting a grasp of what kind of person my character is, and them I dive into the plot. The plots and characters will often mesh once you get to a certain point of a book.
Characters that are too perfect are called Mary Sues. Keep careful watch of these folks; oftentimes, they will lead your book down the path of doom that could turn into a place of no hope if not noticed soon enough. It us possible to correct this, but it must be done to a point of where the story makes sense
And that, my friend, is the basics of character developments. Not all stories are made the same, and each forms our character.
Have a wonderful week!