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Mike...A question of Character...?

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  • Mike...A question of Character...?

    I think we would all agree that your characters are vivid and well-rounded individuals. What is your procedure in creating your fictional characters. Myself, as an artist, like to draw mine first and that is a big step in visualizing them before I commit them to the written word. Do you do an in depth character study before hand? I think that some characters have the verisimilitude of self-parody maybe. Perhaps Wheldrake is an example of this...? However you do it, it works tremendously in making your characters come to life.
    ..he weeps with the wonder of suddenly recollected innocence, of something he believed lost as everything else is lost to him and which makes him believe, if only for this moment, that what he has lost might be, perhaps, restored.

  • #2
    Thanks. The characters are usually 'there' in my head. All I do is describe them. Sometimes a major character, like Colonel Pyat, will develop from a minor one. But I don't make notes about them, as such. I suppose I have them fully imagined and so they'll talk and act as the individuals which present themselves to me. As I've said elsewhere, one of the reasons I don't need notes for the EC series is that the stories are essentially character based and all I do is remember the characters and the rest comes naturally. Lucky me, eh ?

    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

    Comment


    • #3
      How about names? I 'get' characters into my mind literally as if they'd just walked in through the door: all the visual information is there instantaneously, more or less, and the rest follows as it would if one were to converse with them. But the names are just 'there', like they would be with 'real' people...whether they seem approprate or slightly incongruous. 'Spuyten Duyvil' HAD to be called that - even if, to an American, it's like calling someone Melton Mowbray, or Welwyn Garden City (come to think of it...). Captain Marius Cantovardi walked into my cabin on a cruise liner: his surname doesn't mean anything in any Mediterranean language, it just was 'right' for him. I tend to discover deeper 'meanings' to the names AFTER I 'issue' them (or rather, have them imposed upon me by my characters :| ). it's a bit freaky sometimes, having these fully-blown types popping up, usually unbidden. Is there a nucleus of the hypothalamus yet to be identified, the 'character centre'? Or are they really walking into my mind after all?
      What are your methods...or experiences, Mike et al?
      Hang on, there's someone at the door to my left occipital cortex. Back in a minute...

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
        Thanks. The characters are usually 'there' in my head. All I do is describe them. Sometimes a major character, like Colonel Pyat, will develop from a minor one. But I don't make notes about them, as such. I suppose I have them fully imagined and so they'll talk and act as the individuals which present themselves to me. As I've said elsewhere, one of the reasons I don't need notes for the EC series is that the stories are essentially character based and all I do is remember the characters and the rest comes naturally. Lucky me, eh ?
        That is amazing and delightful. :D No wonder the characters seem so real.

        Very cool! :clap:

        -Lemec

        "With a deep, not-unhappy sigh, Elric prepared to do battle with an army." (Red Pearls)
        - Michael Moorcock

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Mike...A question of Character...?

          Originally posted by KanderGrimm
          Myself, as an artist, like to draw mine first and that is a big step in visualizing them before I commit them to the written word.
          Me too! Partly because I like to doodle, but also because I feel happier about a character once I know how their hair looks. That probably says something very revealing about me, so I won't think about it too much. Names are a bugger for me, although at the moment I'm trying to be a bit clever about that sort of thing and use specific references... homage, if you will, in the style of "Lord Jagger". After reading that the comic book creator Daniel Clowes named one of his characters with an anagram of his own name (Enid Coleslaw, from Ghost World) I gave that a go, but it wasn't an easy name to match a character to. I managed it in the end though! :) I've also resorted to using my "pornstar name" (which you discover by adding the name of your first pet to your mother's maiden name). Fun, fun, fun.
          "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm a visual person, I'll spend days just doodling the character without any thought, letting my imagination do the work. Most my character's are fleshed out as the story progresses not before, for they come all ready "pre packaged" in my mind. Another way, which I've had the most enjoyment in testing a character is getting into their mind frame. Go into a chatroom with the name of your character and start reacting with people only as the character would react. Its delightful and amusing fun. :D


            Perdix, as for names - for me thats even easier than fleshing out a character. What I've always done is pick names that suit that character's ethinicity and persona. The provess has yet to fail. For those who have read my "Flame of Sin" on Enclave, notice the names:

            Bilge = old wisdom (for an old man)

            Mordikai = servant of Marduk (for a sorcerer)

            etc, etc - this rule is even applied to the locations in the story :D

            Comment


            • #7
              ya, that's cool. Artwork does go hand in hand with characters. :D

              I like drawing up maps of the fictional worlds so I can get an idea od where all the characters of from. I guess it began when I first started playing D&D,haha. :lol:

              I used to draw alot when I was younger, after seeing real art, I stopped doing it as often. I tried comics a long time ago as well. I did a couple of oil paintings, but I really appreciate other folks' work. I know how much fun it is and how much effort one put into the stuff, that is why I am so fascinated by it all. ;) Always have been interested all my life. :clap:

              -Lemec

              "With a deep, not-unhappy sigh, Elric prepared to do battle with an army." (Red Pearls)
              - Michael Moorcock

              Comment


              • #8
                Ted Carnell, editor of New Worlds, Science Fantasy etc., if he wanted to give you a pseudonym (because usually you had too many stories in his inventory) would go to the ABC Railway Guide. This is a very good way of picking English names, since so many are identified originally with a place. You can do the same for French names or, indeed, most names for people of European, Asian and African origin, by checking out suitable names in a gazeteer or map. That's how James Colvin was created. I'd originally suggested James Mendoza, after a famous boxing ancestor. Ted thought that sounded too 'foreign' so I became Colvin. So presumably Welwyn Garden City isn't too far from the truth... Fred Bridge of Orchy ? Angus Colwyn Bay ? Maria Mallorca ?

                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                  Ted Carnell, editor of New Worlds, Science Fantasy etc., if he wanted to give you a pseudonym (because usually you had too many stories in his inventory) would go to the ABC Railway Guide.
                  Hmm, I should do that. I need a new pseudonym. My ol' High School one, REMINGTON GREY, seems a lil' like a soap-opera character in retropect. Then its not the weirdest one I've had, Middle School it was "Union L. Drake" - who calls their kid Union! :lol:

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Craig Dorking? Selwyn Aviemore? Ashton Lyne? (Like that one!).
                    Porntar name? First pet; Ma's maiden name: Hmmm. Suki Soundy! Yeah! :P
                    One of my current upper-middle-class SE England characters has three precocious brats: Magenta, Radburn and Cadmium. The first and last are paint colours (like Jude's on-off bird, Sienna) and the middle one is slang for a radiation injury. Hm.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Two roadies for the Rolling Stones: Ellison Strong and Sterling Olsen.
                      "A man is no man who cannot have a fried mackerel when he has set his mind on it; and more especially when he has money in his pocket to pay for it." - E.A. Poe's NICHOLAS DUNKS; OR, FRIED MACKEREL FOR DINNER

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sorry, I haven't been able to post a reply on this thread for a few days. My wifes mother passed away on Sunday and I've been pretty busy since then.
                        In creating characters, I like to observe everyday people in their everyday surroundings and I try to pick out some quirk or two that makes them stand out in my mind, usually a visual observation as opposed to an intellectual one. For example, while attending the traditional viewing of the body this last Tuesday, I was standing out in the hallway by myself taking a much needed breather when I became aware of a door at the end of the hallway opening slowly. Backing out of the door slowly was a wizened old man pulling a closed casket on a dolly. He was short with thin frosty hair, wearing a black suit and he was bow-legged, which made him waddle from side to side as he pulled his burden into the hallway. He pivoted the dolly and disappeared into another room leaving me feeling like I had stepped into a surrealistic Bizarro world, if only for a moment.
                        But this little gentlemen sticks in my mind and seems well-suited to being immortalized as a character in a story. I imagine this is how most writers live their life; by observing and purging...
                        ..he weeps with the wonder of suddenly recollected innocence, of something he believed lost as everything else is lost to him and which makes him believe, if only for this moment, that what he has lost might be, perhaps, restored.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          KanderGrimm,

                          My sympathies. Nice to see you back on.

                          "With a deep, not-unhappy sigh, Elric prepared to do battle with an army." (Red Pearls)
                          - Michael Moorcock

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by KanderGrimm
                            Sorry, I haven't been able to post a reply on this thread for a few days. My wifes mother passed away on Sunday and I've been pretty busy since then.
                            I'm sorry to hear that.

                            Originally posted by KanderGrimm
                            I imagine this is how most writers live their life; by observing and purging...
                            That's a good way of putting it... or that's certainly how I feel about writing and drawing, anyway. Not something I consciously want to do as such, it's just that I start observing things around me, and get ideas and have to put them down in some physical form to get them out of my system. The art of purging!
                            "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lemec
                              KanderGrimm,

                              My sympathies.
                              Mine too, for what they're worth. Hang in.

                              Originally posted by KanderGrimm
                              I imagine this is how most writers live their life; by observing and purging...
                              Talk about quoteworthy! Well put.
                              "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
                              --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

                              Comment

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