Making a Well-Rounded Protagonist

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Making a Well-Rounded Protagonist
Posted by Xavier (#4) on 8 April 2012, 5:47 PM EDT in Writing
So you're trying to write a Pokemon or non-Pokemon fan fiction, but you can't get the character just right? Fair enough: it's hard making realistic fictitious people. But throughout this guide, I'll walk you through virtually everything you'll need to know about making fan fiction characters realistic and well-rounded.

Step One: Assess the Situation


What exactly is the plot of your story? What will happen during the storyline? If you don't have this planned out, you'll end up making your story up as you go along, which could breed inconsistencies and poor realism. A good story is clear and discreet, while also keeping the reader interested. Readers are best interested through a story they can relate to, with a character that mirrors them: Harry Potter, for instance, isn't an extraordinarily powerful wizard, but an average guy with extraordinary bravery. He faces his fate, even if it means certain death and because of this, he's a great character.

Once you have your plot together, you can begin making the main character.

Step Two: The Design


This step could deal with both personality and physical design. Let's start with personality.
Personality Design
Personality and character is the most prominent part of your protagonist, whether it be narrative or prose or novel. We're seeing the story through the character, sometimes through his eyes and perspective, sometimes through his actions and reactions. The way the character acts will govern the story, and vice versa.

Let's begin with a few adjective to describe the character. Some common ones are eccentric, friendly, kind, inviting, witty, sarcastic, intelligent, brave, courageous, vivacious, lovable, loving, and mysterious. The list goes on and you can find plenty of characteristics online.

Every character also should have his share of negative characteristics as well. Some characters are overly sarcastic to a point where it causes them to be disliked by their friends. Others are untrustworthy due to their background. Each character should have a nearly congruent negative attribute to their positives. People aren't perfect and neither are good characters.

A good protagonist changes by the end of the story. They undergo a change in mentality and are willing to change themselves in order to become better people. However, this isn't always the case. Sometimes, the protagonist is put into a situation in which they're adamant with their decision and must face the consequences. But in the end, there's always a sense of revelation that the character goes through; whether they see the error of their ways or acknowledge their decisions is up to the writer.

Does your character have siblings, parents? How do they live with? What is their socioeconomic status? All of this information affects the character's psyche, making them different people. People without parents tend to have abandonment issues while only children tend to be spoiled. Background is very important to the character.

Realistic characters also exhibit idiosyncratic tendencies. Some people push their glasses up when they're nervous. Simple things like this make the character more realistic.

Physical Design:
Designing a character's physical appearance can be really fun and nothing invites a user into the story more than a well-designed protagonist. This is probably the easiest thing to do when designing a character but also the most often ignored, with good reason.

Let's start with body type. Are they obese? Are they super-skinny? Are the rippling with muscles? Or somewhere in between? Appearances help the reader create a picture in their mind, which makes reading the story all the more enjoyable.

Next is hair color and eye color. Since it's a fan fiction, it doesn't exactly have to follow the laws of genetics. xD Your characters can have blue hair and red eyes and whatnot.

Finally, the clothes are also important to the mental picture. Clothes aren't important to character development normally, unless something happens based on the character's clothing.

It isn't necessary to explain the character's appearance when writing a story because appearances change constantly, but not personalities and mindsets. Physical descriptions of the character are often ignored for this purpose because they only help the reader to create an imaginary picture. Besides that, they're often useless.

Step Three: The Flaw


Since fan fictions deal with world that typically don't follow the laughs of nature, people in your fan fiction can have qualities that normal people don't. For example, if writing an X-Men fan fiction, your power is key to your character and how they use this power governs the story's plot. However, every power has it's flaw or crutch, and every hero is weak to something.

All human beings have flaws. Some are overly zealous and feel that they are capable of all things. They're engulfed in their own self-delusion and because of this, they underestimate their opponents. This is called "Hubris" and it's the most typical fatal flaw.

Greed is another flaw. Some people connive and steal in order to get by, caring only for their self-benefit. They are indulged by money and materialism and this leads them to make actions that only affect them and put others at risk.

Another flaw is Trustworthiness. Some people just natural trust others to much, and have their plans blow up in their face. People can be cruel and take advantage of others, and when facing an antagonizing force, could get your main character killed/injured/set back.

The list of 'harmatic' flaws goes on. There's plenty of them and all of them contribute to your character.

Step Four: Team (Pokemon Only)


Since this is a Pokemon website, we'll dwindle in the topic of building your character's team.

Depending on the character, his/her team should correspond to them as a person. The Pokemon in particular, could exhibit the character's characteristics, or what they want to be. For example, a reclusive girl may have an outgoing Chansey, which gives her hope of being more amiable towards others.

If your character is a new trainer, they most likely wouldn't have a Torterra or Dragonite for a Pokemon, but it can be written in a way to make it less striking. (You have to be a really good writer.... or have a really good idea.)

If the character is a gym leader, it's reasonable that they'd have Pokemon of a certain typing. This also could go for characters of specific traits (Cold and bitter trainers may have an Ice-type, Excitable trainers may have an Electric-type, Mysterious and powerful trainers may have Dragon-types, etc.)

Take into consideration gender roles when making a team, especially with female characters. Is this girl the typical 'girly-girl' with flowery Pokemon like Roselia and Kirlia and Skitty, or is she more tomboyish? This goes for guys as well. Is this guy a more graceful trainer like Wallace, or more old-fashioned like Red?

Wrapping It All Together


You have your character! They seem well-rounded and ready to have an entire story unfurl around them. Depending on the story, it will affect the character, opening their eyes to something or forcing them closed. Below is a character sheet that you can use that covers most of the stuff in this tutorial. Thank you for reading!

Physical Descriptions

Name:
Age:
Gender:
Birthday:
Eye Color:
Hair Color:
Glasses/Contacts?:
Height:
Weight:
Body Type:
Blood Type:
Face Shape:
Mannerisms:
Skin Complection:
Regional Nationality:

Mental Descriptions

Beliefs:
Opinions of Pokemon:
Opinions of People:
Opinions of Self:
Religion:
Biggest Fears:
Accomplishments:
Fatal Flaw:
Sexual Orientation:
Habits:
Dreams:
Likes:
Dislikes:
Loves:
Hates:
Favorite food:
Favorite Pokemon:


Personality Descriptions

A brief paragraph of their background:







Positive traits:



Negative traits:



Born abilities: (Natural or Supernatural)


Relationship Descriptions

Relationship with Mother:
Relationship with Father:
Siblings?:
Relationship with Siblings?:
Married?:
Kids?:


Socioeconomic Descriptions

Class:
Yearly Income:
Job:
Housing Style:
College Degrees:
Endeavors:
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