When it comes to planning your characters, it’s best to think outside of the box. No one likes boring, over-done and repetitive characters! That’s why you need to put a lot of thought into what you make. If you can think of weird and unique ways to improve your characters, you’re going to have an edge over everyone else out there. You’ll have new things to write about and lots of material to think about when you have writer’s block.
In this day and age, there are so many different things we can use to make our stories great if we put some thought into it. So why wouldn’t we take the time to use what we have? It only seems natural to me! I don’t know about you, but I’m so bored of using the same old character creation tools. I expect to be blown away by them every time! And it doesn’t happen. It’s time for us to shake up the way we look at things.
That’s exactly what we’re here to do. These methods are going to be strange, but will really help you if you give them a chance! Keep your mind open and take all of these tips on board. Of course, they are going to be weird. That’s the point! But give them a chance. I promise that they will really help you improve the way you write your characters.
I’ve already spoken about this in my writer’s block post, but it’s such a good idea that I just couldn’t resist! I recommend the 16 Personalities Test because it’s long, based on real studies and makes you really think about yourself when you do it. So imagine how well it works for fleshing out those characters! If you’re ok with putting in all of that time and effort to make the characters good, it can help in so many ways. Plus, it’s free!
Try this for the characters who have big speaking roles in your story. I mean, I’m not going to stop you from doing on every single character in your story! By all means. That sounds like fun! It’s just going to take you a long time. So focus on the main people first.
Why exactly are personality tests so useful? Well, I’m sure we can come up with loads of reasons, but here are the three main ones.
You See Your Characters as People
Personality tests are made for real people. That means that you have to treat your characters as though they’re alive to do the test properly. The 16 Personalities Test does ask some hard questions, so you’re going to need to sit down and think about the way you think each person in your story would answer them. They need to have a mind of their own. If they don’t, all of the characters will come out with the same personality. It might even be your results over and over again. So make sure you try it on yourself first so you get an idea of who is the most like you.
If you don’t treat your characters
You Get Into Their POV
It’s very easy to get stuck thinking about the world from one character’s point of view. Most people think about the whole story from the eyes of their main character, which makes sense! But that can make your story stale, too! For one, you might not even notice that you haven’t given some of the characters motivations in a scene. Then, you run the risk of making them look like puppets or objects the MC can use in a scene. That’s bad practice! They need to be people first! Treat them like heroes of their own stories.
That’s why personality tests are so good to help you improve your characters. You need to see things from their eyes and think the way they do. If not, the answers aren’t going to really show who they are. Then you can take your new skills and add them to each scene! You’ll know how each character would react to what you throw at them and why.
You Get a Personality Group
It’s called 16 Personalities for a reason! You fill out the test and then get info on which personality group each character fits into. Then, it tells you more about who they are as people. You even get a few celebs and mythical characters to compare to. Sure, it’s not perfect. We can’t all fit so easily into boxes! I mean, even the characters they give get sorted into other groups on other versions of the test. However, if you’re looking to flesh out your characters
If you’re willing to put a little extra money into it, they have a whole ebook on the website. It’s full of info on each group: their habits, relationships, jobs, strengths and weaknesses. You don’t have to have all of the answers about their personality. I know for sure I don’t know everything about mine! That’s why you can use the groups at the end to fill in any gaps you have.
Also, you have the chance to use some of the words they use. For example, I’m a debater type. The website calls me “smart” and “curious”. Sure, that doesn’t sound like crazy info I didn’t know already but it does help me to put what I knew about myself into words. They give some great quotes for each group, too! The more words you have to describe your characters, the better!
Make Your Characters on the Sims
Who’d have thought you could use a game like the Sims to improve your characters? Well, it works! It
But there’s a reason why you have to use the Sims and only the Sims: choosing traits. So I finally got Vince’s nose right and dressed him how I think he’d usually dress. Great! But oh dear. Now I need to pick what I think sums him up from a list of personality traits. Which three traits sum him up the best? Is he hot-headed or a loner? Or is he both? And what about his main goal in life? There are so many questions!
And then you have to pick how his voice sounds and how he walks. How the hell does Vince walk? Um, probably not like a vampire. Ok, most of the walks look really stupid, but now I have yet another question I never even thought about. How do all of my
Need I say any more? The Sims is really helpful! Though it might have made me want to pull my hair out, it’s all worth it in the end!
Object, Emotion and Description
This is a game I perfected on the ShanniiWrites Forums. I designed it to help writers flesh out their characters, so it will help for sure! Thanks to the format of the forums, it works best there, so check it out!
It’s easy enough to understand. Here are the rules:
- Pick a character.
- Select a random object from the list.
- Pick a random emotion from the list.
- Write a few sentences about the object from the character’s point of view. The character has to be feeling the emotion you picked.
You can get some hilarious combos with this game! I love it! It’s up to you how much you write. There’s no word limit, so don’t stress too much. Just make sure you don’t change the object or emotion for an easier one. That’s cheating! If it’s a little too difficult, skip step 3.
This helps you to think outside of the box. The more characters you do, the more you understand how to write them and how they’re all different. You can do the same object from loads of different POVs and see how it changes each time! The point of this exercise is to realise that people don’t react to objects in the same way. That’s an important skill to have to improve your characters!
So what do you think of these weird exercises? Do you have any of your own? If you do, please share them in the comments! We’re always looking for new ways to plan and flesh out characters! I hope this helped!