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Character Creation.

Memento

The Princess of Darkness
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
202
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
443
Location
St. Louis, Missouri
Nature
Timid
Pronouns
She, her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
She is known to spend hours daydreaming about her stories.
Well, basically, here's everything you want to talk about with creation of characters (something that is admittedly a favorite thing of mine). Names? Appearances? Personalities? Backstories? Every character, no matter how important they are, has all of those characteristics.

My question to you all is this: how do you decide to focus on those four components of characters? Do you use a certain site for names? Do you draw memories with appearances? Do their personalities remind you of someone, even a little bit? How does their backstory correlate with everything they are and will become? And how do they advance the plotline of your stories?

Feel free to add anything I (probably) missed~
 

Trollkitten

Kitten of Lore
Artist
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
208
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
1,392
Location
Gatto Region
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/her, Aetherai Lorekeeper
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Clever
Pokédex Entry
Autistic writer who starts more things than she finishes. Hyper asexual Twitch Plays Pokemon lorewriter. Rather be a happy shill than an angry critic.
In my Secrets of Aetherai series, I try to stick close to the in-game personalities of my Pokemon, but sometimes going against the grain leads to a more interesting character dynamic.

Probably the most striking example of this is Flicker the Charmeleon (whom, I might add, was named such before Flick the chameleon was revealed in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, although she does dress all in black like he does). Flicker had a relaxed nature in-game, but in the story, she's anything but relaxed. I didn't realize she had a brother who was sick and had a rather large hopsital bill until I wrote that part of the story, which gives her a motivation to go out adventuring in hopes of gaining treasure (which, as a creature of Draconic ancestry, she'd want anyway, but in this case, she actively needs it). Flicker is also a creature of strong prejudices, looking down on Rattatas, Dark-types, and constructs (i.e. artificial Pokemon). She's definitely going to need an attitude adjustment on that one if she's going to be working with Sniff the Alolan Rattata and Melvin the Meltan.

Then there's Jet, who was the surprise standout of the run because while I didn't actually use him all that much in-game, my readers immediately loved him and I knew I had to do more with him. So I made him the next Oricle (basically prophet of a 'big G' God) so he could have a bigger role in the story that wouldn't necessitate him remaining on the team for the entire run. Jet had a serious nature, which I reflected by having him be the most mature of the original four cubs that went on to become the Paw Patrol. The only reason he's not the leader instead of Rocket is because Rocket basically formed the Paw Patrol as a team without even asking if Jet wanted to become part of a team, and Jet went along with it because he figured that his friends had a much better chance of surviving their mission if he was looking out for them.
 

SimplyUnknown

Johto League Champion
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
242
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
1,216
Location
Invisibly Watching
Nature
Quiet
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Fire, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
A silent watcher who speaks only when something needs to be said. Offers free hugs to those who need them.
For me, I think my lack of artistic ability has led to my character creation process, at least on the physical side of things. I have a set of default appearances in my head for males and females, and those looks are generally assigned to a specific character type I have in mind. They have default names, but those tend to change based on what kind of story I'm creating.

As an example, I'll go over my Boy Band, the five male characters who I often use as baselines when creating a story.

Kevin: Usually the leader when all 5 are on the same side. Short curly brown hair with red highlights and angled hazel eyes that lean more brown than green. Height is around 5'10, tannish skin as he's usually Mexican on his mother's side in RL story plots. Kind, empathic, clever, usually a workaholic with control issues. Often an older brother of two siblings, usually an issue with his bio dad. Bisexual, usually with a leaning towards men over women.

Jake: Kevin's usual best friend or respected rival. Shaggy black hair down to chin and dark blue eyes, golden skin with Native American ancestry in RL stories, height around 6 feet. Stoic, rather quiet, more skilled physically in fights than the rest of the group. Close relationship with his family, overprotective big brother over his younger sister(s). Unlike Kevin, has a steady relationship with 'Skye', usually a massive dork when it comes to romance.

Xavier: Usually the mechanic and tech guy of the group. Spikier dark brown hair that almost matches his skin tone, dark brown eyes, height around 5'8. Sassy, sarcastic, can be scary when angered. Family tends to vary, but most likely to have a rather neutral relationship with them. Usual LI is 'Phoebe', usually a childhood friend romance that never died out.

Gale: Usually the medic, the studious one of the group. Short wavy blond hair, pale gray eyes, height of 6'1 and pale skin. While Jake is more stoic, Gale is witty in a way designed to hide his feelings. Tries to act as the peacekeeper, icy temper when really angry. Relationships with family are often cold and expecting. Often ends up in unrequited love for someone, often 'Cecilia' or Kevin.

Alec: The reckless bad boy artist of the group. Long red hair (dyed usually) down to around shoulder blades and green eyes, 6-6'3 and very skinny. Usually the one pushing for dangerous activities and making bad jokes. Often the last to join the group for various reasons. Art mediums range from painting to tagging, piercings are common, problems with authority. Most likely the one to come from a foster home with childhood problems. Bit of a geek/dork, often crushing/flirting with Jake's sister usually to push Jake's buttons.

So when I start a story, I place Kevin in one role and Jake in another as temps until I really get a feel for where the story is heading. Once that happens, I can assign them real names and their personalities change accordingly, though they usually keep one or two of those traits. In my old "Hunter's Storm" story, my starter Dare was physically based on Alec, but grew to gain more of Kevin's traits as the story went on because that fit him more as a character. My Blastoise Tobias became a mix of Gale/Jake while Jack the Luxray looked like Jake, but had Alec's main traits with a few of Xavier's. ...Which I assume isn't how most people create characters.
 

JavierE64

Masks are so 2016!!! But don´t forget to wear one
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
310
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
693
Location
Perú
Nature
Modest
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Grass, Water
Pokédex Entry
The Master of both Light and Darkness; who loves the Violent and Dramatic, and the Fun and Adorable.
I usually create the story and settings before writting the character, so I usually create personalities and backstories that fit with the tones of the run.
I only made a character before the story once, and everything revolved around that particular individual.

If it is an esemble cast of characters, I usually try to make them compliement each other personality-wise: Dynamic duo, Five-man group, the seven Samurai.
I use classic essemble tropes to write interesting character dynamics.

As for names, I normally follow a naming motif, with each character's having a hidden meaning.
 

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
970
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
Typically how I handle character creation is I'll have a role and a general concept for the character in mind. Like, for example, it might be "this person is a scholar who supports the protagonist and probably does a lot of the diplomatic talking for the group." I'll frequently throw in any notable traits or abilities or such when relevant to such a starting point too, but not always. Once I have the character, I'll usually start to consider how their role and starting traits impact themselves and the world around them and how they act and where their beliefs are. Once I have something more solid, if backstory (it isn't always) is important then I'll try to figure out where they started and how they got to where they are. In a way, it's often taking a possible end point and working my way backwards.

Key word there is "possible". I can and have had significant details get changed and adjusted because they'd work better, they'd make more sense, or because the character did or reacted in a way that I had not considered and am caught off guard myself. Or I might realize they'll work in a better role and have to do some tweaking there. Stuff like that.

As for naming, I don't really have a particular methodology. Sometimes I look up names to give them a meaningful name, especially if the setting or backstory would make the most sense for it (one of my favorites was for a demon disgraced from Heaven I named "Nur Al Din" which roughly translates to something like "light of the religion" which was great for the irony). Sometimes I'll randomly generate one, often using this name generator and picking and choosing through it something I like. Sometimes I'll just pick something off the top of my head. And, on occasion, I'll give a character a temporary name and it'll stick and refuse to budge, like in the case of my current run's protag, Luna.
 

TheTRUEgge

Ethos is okay, actually
Artist
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
450
Caught
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
1,299
Location
Good Question
Nature
Quiet
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Fire, Fairy
Pokédex Entry
This Pokémon has too many ideas for their own good.
My character creation tends to depend on the context I plan to use them in! For my Sunlocke characters, I tend to start with their design, since I already have a reasonable jumping off point, and then work with personalities from there. I tend to choose something that I think would lead to some interesting interactions and conflicts, because I crave drama.

For OCs, I usually start with a personality and go from there. I come up with a backstory, motivations, and their general personality pretty early on, often before even deciding on a species. I tend to take really vague character concepts from my sketchbook and match them with a personality I’ve been developing. It’s fun!
 

0 Anonymous

Conqueror of the Mahogany Gym
Pokédex No.
193
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
448
Location
Zetaboards
Pokémon Type
???
I pretty much go about things just like Egge does. Context is big and decides what I start with first.

My go to is usually "Who is this person?" > "What do they do?" > Background > Appearance, and the name just kinda pops in there somewhere between all of those. If I'm just changing established characters (like say, writing a B/W Bianca) everyone already kinda knows who that person is and what they look like, so I usually focus more on their story role and any background changes. If I could actually draw I'd probably do that first, haha!
 

Vexelbun

Robo-bun of Friendship
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
419
Caught
Jul 7, 2019
Messages
32
Location
Route 113
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
any
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Steel
Pokédex Entry
It Just Works
Since I'm a visual artist at heart, I usually start with a character's visual design (usually personality is developed in tandem) and then create a background and story around them.

For nuzlockes (and other transformative works) I usually flip this process and create the context first before the characters, since I'm more interested in creating unique twists to existing lore than I am in creating a character to exist in the world as-is.

In general, I also tend to develop personalities and backstories based on how they might potentially react emotionally to certain things, e.g. How would they react to X Situation?-->Why would they react this way?-->Have they always acted this way, and if not, what caused this to change?-->What events in the future may cause this reaction to change?, etc.

As for naming, I usually go 1 of 3 routes, depending on how "fantastic" of a fantasy the story is:
1. An English word symbolic of the character's core concept (e.g. "Gale Weatherford" a magical girl with powers over...well, take a guess)
2. A combination of sounds that "fit" the feeling of the character without actively being based on a name or word (e.g. Cortahj, a flirty and mysterious saloon owner, and Denden, a steampunk robot)
3. Whatever actual names I find on behindthename.com :p

Also, as a funny aside, I almost never nail down concrete heights and weights because I find that kind of thing difficult to quantify--I just know roughly how tall/heavy they are comparatively to other characters. I don't typically have story needs for this information anyways, so it usually doesn't matter much.
 

ACottontail

Conqueror of the Vermillion Gym
Pokédex No.
2364
Caught
Aug 20, 2020
Messages
28
Nature
Timid
My process(at least for my nuzlocke) is how would x affect the character? I took everything from my nuzlocke run as it was, even if the character was named after a character from another franchise or a cursed inside joke, and I took it and rolled with it(and deconstructed it). I mostly went with trying to figure out their backstory first, and then see how it would affect them now. For the names I chose whatever popped into my head at the time that was a real name. At the time of naming the pokemon I used in the Nuzlocke I had no idea that I would want to make a comic out of it, so half of the pokemon on my team ended up being named after and influenced by another character. I ignored natures and characteristics for most of my pokemon, though it had a huge role in shaping two of my character's personalities.

The least spoilery example I can give is Lizzie the Drilbur. I was going to name her Indus or Mera, until I saw that she was a girl, and that she had a characteristic that was playful. Due to her playful characteristic I figured that she was well playful, kind and optimistic. She also came from galar mine #1, so I figured that she was probably from a tribe cut off from most of the world. I imagine this tribe believing the mighty lord Helix, and from that Lizzie is a chaotic good character due to the Helix representing the spirit of anarchy. I imagine that being willing to break the rules for the greater good and her excessive optimism could get her in trouble(such as in her spending a lot of time trying to redeem someone who refuses to change). I figured that it's a rite of passage in the tribe when a Drilbur reaches 15 to travel across the Galar region in order to grow, which is why she starts looking for a trainer in the first place. A similar process was used for the rest of the main characters, though for most of the other characters don't have nearly everything about them be clear from the moment they join the team like Lizzie does.
 

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