Friday, March 8, 2013

Creating Characters Part 2: Relationships

This post is a continuation of
Writing for Manga and Graphic Novels: Creating Characters-Part 1blaine_Ian
Unless your main character lives by themself on a deserted island, they will have relationships with others. There are best friends, neighbors, teachers, other students, workmates and everyone else they will come into contact with throughout the story. If any of these characters are deeply involved with the plot of the story, they should have almost as much information about their life as the main character does.
Antagonists and enemies also fall into this category. They should have as much background information as the main character. There are also other special considerations when it comes to creating a good antagonist. They shouldn’t dislike the main character just because they want to. They have to have a deeper motive, or they could fail to engage the reader.
Often an antagonist doesn’t see themself as a bad person. They believe that they have justifiable reasons for acting the way that they do, and they can even feel like the victim. 
One important note: the antagonist isn’t always a villain—an antagonist is an opposing force. So if the main character is evil and trying to take over the world, anyone trying to stop them will be an antagonist.
Best-Friend Characters
I call supporting characters that have a close, positive relationship with the main character “best-friend” characters. They can simply be a best friend, or they can even be a family member or mentor. The wonderful thing about best-friend characters is that they are always there to cheer the main character on. Also, just like how the antagonist has reasons for opposing the main character, the best-friend character knows why they are always rooting for the main character. There is a quality within the main character that they like, and whatever it is, it keeps them constantly at the main character’s side.
Work At It!
Planning out characters can take a lot of work, but it’s totally worth it! Well-rounded characters make it easy for your readers to think to themselves as they read, “I know someone who’s just like that!” And as a result, they get more involved in the story.
If you’ve never planned out characters before and you’re lost as to how to get everything organized, you can download this simple character planning sheet and print it out. You can also share it with others who might could use it, just make sure to link back to me ^_-
Here are some very brief instructions for categories on the character sheet that may need more explanation:

Personality + Physical: Here is where creating a character description starts to intersect with character design. Write one or more physical traits that are the results of their personality. Example: If the character is a fighter, they might have physical scars or a tattoo to commemorate an exceptional fighting match.
Also reading this post will really help with filling out the blanks.
Have fun creating your characters!
Coming soon: Useful Tools and Methods for Planning a Graphic Novel

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