“Why do you do this to us?”

Surprisingly, the post “We are unique!” was shared a lot. Someone even put it on Pinterest! Apparently people have trouble with creating a colorful cast of characters, and it’s easy to understand why. After all, we’re only one person, and we’re responsible for dozens, hundreds, even thousands. They all come out with a part of us inside them, and because of that, they tend to blend into one if we aren’t careful. So I covered a lot of basics with that post – stance, speech, clothing, etc., but this time I thought I’d talk about some other things that separate characters, things we tend to take for granted.


When you have a story where all the characters are fighting for the same goal, it’s easy for them to become a faceless army instead of a group of people with their own thoughts and feelings. There are a lot of things you need to pay attention to, and one of the biggest things here is Motive. WHY are your characters doing what they’re doing? They can’t all have the same reason. I’m going to use examples from my current NaNo on this one, because it’s a bunch of characters fighting for the same thing, but they all have different motives.

The goal: Beat the third level of the War Games and get to the top of Tokyo Tower for an illegal conversation with the Rulers.

The cast: Q, Chopper, Gummy, Deuce.

Q – he’s the one who began to ask questions in the first place, and his curiosity is turning out more dangerous than he anticipated. He needs to know why everyone around him has been hypnotized by their Life Games, even after people from the old world decided the idea was dangerous and a possible weapon of mass control. He’s curious, and he can’t rest until he gets answers to his questions.

Chopper – he couldn’t care less about the Life Games. He enjoys his, and he thinks everyone else should enjoy theirs without rocking the boat too much. But Q is his best friend, and as his best friend, he has protected him for years. He’s not about to let him do something this dangerous alone.

Gummy – she never questioned Life Games until Q approached her. She has growing feelings for Q and wants to help as much as she wants to win the Game Wars. She’s willing to help them out as much as she can, even though she feels it isn’t necessarily her problem.

Deuce – he can’t stand Q or Chopper, but as Gummy’s boyfriend, she has sway over him and convinces him to help her help them. He isn’t thrilled about it, and he does everything with a grudging distaste, but he cares for Gummy and wants to keep her out of trouble.

So we have four different people with the same goal, but completely different motives for wanting to reach it. When setting your characters apart, their drive to do whatever it is they’re doing is just as important, if not more so, than their distinguishing characteristics.


7 thoughts on ““Why do you do this to us?”

  1. Good post! And I love the picture of the Clones, who happened to basically be my favorite part of the new Star Wars movies. 😉 Which their relevance to this post is actually fascinating. Because even though they’re clones and all fighting for the same thing, they all got very distinct and separate personalities. Another reason Star Wars is just extremely awesome! 🙂

  2. NEED … MORE … BOOK!!!!!!!! (Whining tone) — Mirriam, please send out moooooorrrrrre…. And girl, you are fabulous! I was telling my mom that I hate your ‘rough draft’; it’s better than any of my mulled over, dissected, ripped apart metaphorically, reworked things that litter my computer. XD I’m jealous of your crazy talent, bella mia! ;D

  3. very good post. 🙂 As I often tell people, it’s all about the laws of “cause and effect”. One things leads to another leads to another and a story is born from that. But it’s not just cause and effect in the happenings of life, but also in the emotions and morals of the people living that life. All of those causes and all of those effects — emotional, mental, and physical — build up a history that could stretch back hundreds of years, or perhaps only a few… but that history is not only what makes up the world that your characters are living in, but also their personal stories, and more often than not, their motives and their goals. How this history effects one person intimately is partially what makes us individuals, and it’s what makes our characters individual too. 🙂

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