On Wednesday, we went through an explanation of the character creation process, and now I'm going through it in more detail, with an example.
I used a character generator to get a basic idea, and that is the character I'll be designing. The suggestion I got was "he's an Albino whore on the wrong side of the law". As he's going to be an albino, he will have white hair, red eyes and translucent skin. The fact he's broken the law suggests that he's had a harsh life, meaning he will be short, and underweight - his cheeks are hollow, and he has long eyelashes and pouty lips.
I decided to call him Argen, from the heraldic word for white, Argent. This far, I'd decided last time. The only additional idea I've had about his appearance was that he was going to be wiry - he is quite small, and at risk of violence, so he's learned to be strong and to fight dirty.
What he wears would be dependent upon the world they are in - his profession implies that he might not be wearing much, or at least less than standard, but the climate that he is in will have an impact, as is what would be expected in the society.
Now, I need to develop him more, making him into a person with his own thoughts, needs and desires. You need to think about the reasoning behind a character’s actions and decisions, without making them a stereotype. Think about the people that you know, how different and interesting they are - your characters can be just as varied. There's no rules limiting what you can create, just as long as they're people that you are interested in, people that you want to write.
Looking at the description, three obvious questions stand out:
1. What is the impact of albinism on his life?
2. Why is he a whore?
3. Why is he on the wrong side of the law - because he's an albino, because he's a whore, because of the poverty he lives in, or something else?
Question number 1 ties back to the statement about the world - how an albino would be treated by the society that he is in. If he faces discrimination and hatred that could mean he has no work other than prostitution (2) push him into lawbreaking (3), and would further make his life difficult. If there isn't that prejudice, his job is likely to be more a case of either poverty, or choice - possibly a mixture of the two.
Having considered these, I need to make some actual decisions, and I've decided that Argen may face prejudice, but certainly no legal ramifications for his albinism. Having been raised in poverty and poorly educated (parents cold towards him), he turned to prostitution as a reliable source of income when there was little else available.
I have also decided that this is going to be a slightly fantasy-based world - with Argen being a human within a human settlement, but elves and other beings further from the settlements. He may be part-elf. This gives me some idea of Argen's clothes - probably fairly pale fabrics, that drape around his waist, with him having tight shirts. His hair is to his mid-back, tied into a plait with a black piece of string around the end.
Now onto Argen's personality: things like likes and dislikes, free time, intelligence, habits, family, friends, beliefs, hopes, dreams, fears, memories and secrets. This is a lot to keep in mind, but I can build on what I already have - his relationship with his family is difficult as they were poor and he was felt to be a burden. With a rough past and criminal life, he is afraid of being caught and punished - imprisoned, or worse, depending on the legal system of their world. He may have a goal of luxury and certain clothes or jewelry that he longs to own, along with wanting his life to be far better than it currently is. His lack of education means that he knows very little, but the fact he has managed to survive on the wrong side of the law implies that he has a lot of street smarts and common sense - probably also a good sense for people, regardless of whether or not he likes them.
I can build up information for him like that, developing a full person. When I have one developed character, I need to make those to be around him. As I tend to write romance, Argen is going to need a boyfriend. I could use either a generator, or build someone who fits them, and I tend to go for the latter so that I can make a good match for them. I decided to go for another heraldic term, and went past azure (blue) and vert (green) before settling on vair - a word used for a pattern based on squirrel fur, in bell shapes of blue/grey and white. I changed the name a little to Vairel. Then I had to decide on his personality, and his relationship with Argen - is he a client, a friend, or something else? I continue to develop him in the same way I did Argen.