William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson
nova_one

character ideas for the real world

When I do a search for “character ideas,” all I get are fantasy and/or role-playing characters. What gives? Any idiot can think of, “Half-elf of chaotic alignment, son of Ingmar the Brave, equipped with Demon Sword and searching for his Purpose.” Why can’t I get useful, real-world(ish) results like:

- A dyslexic accountant who lives in mortal fear of being audited.
- A school teacher who goes on a murderous rampage; the fault is traced back to the admissions department of the university that conferred the education degree: one of the referees didn’t sign across the seal of the envelope and the reference shouldn’t have been treated as confidential.
- A psychology student who keeps interpreting the world through the schema of clinical psychology, with hilarious results.
- A 13-year-old music student at a private school in Manhattan who listens to Weird Al for the first time and starts parodying classical music.
- The trials and tribulations of the owner of a Saskatchewan shipbuilding company.
- A student who lives in residence at Saint Mary’s who wears Bermuda shorts and flip-flops to class discovers one day that they have to go outside.
- A cranky old curmudgeon grows a beard, complains about everything, and then wonders why he can’t get a girlfriend. (Sorry, I have exclusive rights to this one.)

Please, don’t assume that every writer wants to be the next J.K. Rowling (although many do until they realize the folly of imitation). Seriously folks, when you do a Google search for “character ideas,” and the first result is something like:

Gangrel / Malkavian Mystic: You were always a strange fey child. At first, your parents though that you would grow out of your invisible friends. But they were wrong. Your invisible friends were real, they told you things that you wished they didn't…

… it really leaves you scratching your head, doesn’t it?
Tags: character ideas, characters, creative writing, story ideas, writing, writing fiction
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