1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

Creating Fantasy Characters

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Carl Brothers, Aug 20, 2020.

  1. Carl Brothers

    Carl Brothers Scribe

    36
    33
    18
    What approach do you favor more, using existing characters like 'werewolves' etc, or creating your own characters? Do you find yourselves liking a book that shows deep knowledge of it's genre by using characters in folklore and all, or do you appreciate originality more?
     
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  2. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Auror

    1,050
    721
    113
    It sounds more like you're talking the character archetypes rather then actual characters. Given the werewolf mention. Like the Rebellious Princess, Always Chaotic Evil Orc's and the Red Mage sorts? If it is so, I tend to take many of the archetypes and put them in a blender and then let the character grow from the bare bones (and many edits as they change and grow) so they don't fit in that archetype exactly. Or they've broken that particular mold. The archetypes have their uses and I do like a bit of originality with it. Or twists, like villain's being able to use (and probably abuse) The Power of Friendship.

    I am also quite in favor of twisting things a bit with the archetypes or falling back on the originals and adding a little spice. They are not static things, even if their molds and grooves have been set for quite some time.
     
  3. Carl Brothers

    Carl Brothers Scribe

    36
    33
    18
    Yea, that's exactly right. The archetypes. So everyone seems to have a twist on their versions of these archetypes. I'm not sure which resonates better; having a twist on the character archetype and naming it something different, or keeping it the same name. Sometimes, the different takes on some of these mythical creatures come of as lazy or downright character assassination, that i'm not sure if it's better to just create your own species entirely. But on the other hand, if you intend to right for an audience of purists.... maybe that doesn't play so well....
    can't please everybody tho...
     
    S.T. Ockenner and Nighty_Knight like this.
  4. ChasingSuns

    ChasingSuns Sage

    337
    107
    43
    Personally, it depends on the story. I have stories that deal with supernatural creatures that are to one extent or another, the same as their origin. Other times, I'll twist an archetype until it's pretty unrecognizable. Other times, I'll create something without any archetype in mind. Sometimes it's a combination of the three. So I'm a little all over the place. Depends on what I'm going for in the context of the work at hand.
     
    S.T. Ockenner and Carl Brothers like this.
  5. Carl Brothers

    Carl Brothers Scribe

    36
    33
    18
    I can see that. Thanks
     
  6. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    6,619
    4,627
    313
    Ideas are about conceptions and preconceptions, but stories are about execution. Or, in the case of grimdark, executions. <g>

    I'm curious as to why you have asked the question, Carl Brothers. Do you have a story in development but are concerned about a specific character? Have you not yet started writing and are kicking around ideas and approaches? Just curious in general?
     
    Carl Brothers likes this.
  7. Carl Brothers

    Carl Brothers Scribe

    36
    33
    18
    Well, I was just curious about how other people felt about it. For me, i don't particularly like when creators stray too far from the lore. I feel it's better to just create your own species, than ruin a well established one. But 'ruin' is subjective i guess. But i wanted to see if people even cared as much about that as i did.
    I have my story written and i do employ a mixture of creating new species while also putting my twist on existing archetypes.
     
    StrawhatOverlord and skip.knox like this.
  8. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    6,619
    4,627
    313
    People do care. The topic gets brought up regularly. You'll see threads about tropes, or are elves over-used, or stereotypes of dwarves, and so on. I think people worry that their version might be hackneyed or, at the other extreme, so far off the mark no one will like it.
     
    Carl Brothers likes this.
  9. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    5,535
    2,615
    313
    The main thing to me isn't originality, but immersion. If the world of the story feels solid and real, and as if it's a place I could visit and explore, that's a lot more valuable to me than whether it's made up of stock building blocks or completely custom made details.
     
    skip.knox and Carl Brothers like this.
  10. Carl Brothers

    Carl Brothers Scribe

    36
    33
    18
    So true. Thinking about it, that seems to be the difference maker.
     
  11. S.T. Ockenner

    S.T. Ockenner Auror

    1,777
    301
    83
    I'm guessing you, like me, spend way too much time on TV Tropes.
     
    StrawhatOverlord likes this.
  12. StrawhatOverlord

    StrawhatOverlord Minstrel

    56
    30
    18
    I like archetypes, at least as a starting point if nothing else. Probably because I like having a skeleton to put meat on in general. As for naming them after the archetype or making my own name, it depends. In my fantasy setting I renamed many of the "standard races" because I feel like I diverted enough from the traditional template that I wouldn't want readers to have standard expectations after seeing the standard name.

    For example, the dwarves are Eorg, because if you read dwarf, you tend to think "live underground, like gold & gems, long beards, master smiths, scottish accent, etc", while Eorg are none of those things. They're short and stout so it's still clear that they're dwarves once they're described, you just don't get to instantly picture them as standard fantasy dwarves and have your mental imagine contradicted later.

    But in one of my supernatural horror mystery short stories, I called the blood sucking monsters vampires, even though having human shapes and drinking blood are the only things they share with Standard Vampires(tm), because in that it's kind of useful that the reader assumes the traditional vampire rules and traits, because the pov protagonist assumes them too.
     
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
Loading...

Share This Page