How To Make Your Characters Real – Part 1: Inspiration

Hi everyone! 

Ed here, and today I’m going to kick off a multi-part set of articles that are based around ideas I have on how to make your characters real.

The first thing I’m going to talk about is inspiration. 

How do you arrive at your character? Also, how do you make sure that when you are working on it you create something that is along the lines of what you envision? 

The first thing is something that I’ve said a lot of times in previous articles and Webinars about inspiration: consume media! Read books to find characters who are vaguely similar to what you’re doing. Watch TV series and movies, find things that people have done that’s close to what you want. Play computer games – some computer games have fantastic stories, with everything that you need to achieve the characters that you’re looking for!

When you do all of this, remember that you don’t need to have something that’s 100% unique or something that’s never been seen before at all. What you need is to find something that’s close to what you want, and then figure out how you make that example the way you would write it, rather than the way someone else has already written it. “How would I do this differently?” is one of the most powerful inspirational tools I have ever found.

If you can begin to ask that question, you’ll very quickly reach the point where you’re never struggling for inspiration… but also are creating something that feels fresh and original, because it’s your take on this kind of character. 

Another thing that you shouldn’t be afraid to do is combine elements of two characters together. A hybrid of two characters can often have an amazing life of its own! If course, bringing in a trait like that can entirely change the way a character behaves, bringing a new dimension to their personality.

I’ve done this a huge number of times. Era: The Consortium ( ) is a product of a lifetime of loving Sci-Fi – reading, watching and playing. Era: Forbidden, our most recent RPG release, came mostly from playing the three Darksiders games in a row, then watching the Hellboy movie! These things shaped the characters in my in my mind before they ever appeared on the pages.

I’m going to talk a lot more about various character-related subjects over the next several weeks. Much of this will be based on the foundation of the inspiration that I’m talking about now. So go out there, consume your media of choice, and I will see you next week for more about characters!

– Ed

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