niall_shapero: Fox Mask (Default)
A few years back, JMS had (very briefly) a TV show entitled CRUSADE. There were five questions, IIRC, asked at the start of each episode:

Who are you?
What do you want?
Where are you going?
Who do you serve? and
Who do you trust?

These are pretty good questions to answer about any character that one creates. Who are they? (Not what they do, but who they are.) What do they want? (What motivates them to act?) Where are they going? (What are their plans, and how do they intend to carry them out?) Who do they serve? (What people and what goals are key to their "sense of self"?) And last, but not least, who do they trust? (And as a direct follow-on question, who do they NOT trust?).

Of course, JMS being a story teller, was thinking about this, I'm sure. But at the same time, they make pretty good framework questions to answer about one's own creations (ok, so the fact is, I do some scribbling myself in the SF genre).

Added to Lois Bujold's (of VORKOSIGAN series fame) approach to character building (roughly summarized as "take your protagonist, drive him up a tree and then throw rocks at him") it gives some pretty good tools for character creation (one of the major parts of doing this job right).

How do I know when I've really done the job right? When the character(s) start telling ME what they're going to do (and to hell with what I want them to do).

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