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Character Development

A How-To-Guide


Hello and welcome to my Character Development page.
Here I will help you create your own character for your neopet by breaking things down and make it easy for you to understand what is need to make a convincing and realistic character.
Please use the navigation to the left work your way through each tab and read more about each section. the labs on the right will take you to other pages I have constructed.
Keep in mind, you do not need to do this process in order. You can start with the design and then move to the story and/or personality.
I do advise that you keep the story for the last bit, otherwise your character might be a bit of a wild card as you develop the story.
So without further adu, let's put on those thinking caps and allow those creative juices flow as we discover just who your character is. Below is a quick summary of each section and what your can find there to help you decide where you would like to start your character development process.

Sections:
Personality
    This section focuses on who your character is by diving into how they react to different situations based upon their values as a character. We also will dive into the different kinds of roles your character can play in your story
Design
    Here we break down what your character looks like to others from the tone of their character to the minor details that make them stand out from other characters. If you're not an artist, that's ok, you can still use this section to help you visualize your character.
Story
    The story sections helps you figure out the path your characters take in your story. We start with laying the basics of the story and then add details to help keep your story moving and interesting.

A lot of the information is collected from several different writters and blogs found on g00gle.


Character Development

Personality


The place I typically start is with the personality of the character. How they think, what they like and dislike, etc. All of this makes up the personality and is the backbone of a good character. A lot of times, stories or interest in a character falls flat because those finer details of the personality haven't been discovered. In your eyes (and for when you're writing) it will make it easy to determine how your character will react in certain situations and how they address other people.
This section is to help you discover just who your character is by deep diving the personality idea you may have for your character. As you scroll through, you'll find ways of not only developing your character but also making your character more realistic. Also, don't be afraid of change. Many times I have wanted a certain character but as I dove more into who they were, I found something different and a lot of times, better.
Even Superman has flaws so it's a good idea to keep those in mind while your character develops. Flaws and things your character dislikes about themselves make them more relate-able.
So, let's dive into the personality of your character...

Types

As you encounter different people throughout your life, you will notice not every person is the same. A lot of may have similar traits linking them together and that was discovered by Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers-Briggs who are the founders of the Myers-Briggs Personality Test (aka The Myers Briggs Type Indicator - MBTI).
These two psychologist managed to break down a person's personality into four major "this and that" categories:
Favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I).
Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).
Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special situations? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).
Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).
Each personality pillar then can be sectioned into one of the 16 personality types on the MBTI. By understand the personality types listed below, you will have a better understand of who your character is as an individual.



I went ahead and took the personality test in the eyes of two of my characters and decided to use them as examples to help you better understand my meaning


Fyugi - Personality Test Results: INFP.
Ruewing - Personality Test Results: ISTJ


It's Personal

So have you chosen what personality type you want to work with? Great!
Now here's where things get personal. Obviously everyone isn't defined by four words. Personalities are bigger and deeper than that so this is a great time to interview your character.
The more you think like your character, the better you understand how they act and how they respond to situations. This is extremely helpful when creating their story as you will then respond as that character instead of guessing at their actions.
There are two types of questionnaires you need to ask your character. The first is the overview questions that you would ask someone upon first meeting
Where are you from?
What's your favorite food?
Do you have any siblings?
Who are your parents?
What kind of music do you like?
Anything you like/dislike?
To help you out, I went ahead and composed some questions to ask a few of my characters: Fyugi, a young priestess who's very naive to the outside world (Personality Type: INFP) and Ruewing, a trained assassin who's been around the world and not impressed by the people within (Personality Type: ISTJ).

1. What did you typically eat for breakfast? Did you make it yourself? What time do you eat breakfast? Do you wash the pan after you cook the eggs or do you leave it for the maid to clean?
    F: *Laughs* So many questions. When living at the temple, breakfast was usually served to us and we would have to eat it. The kitchen staff usually take care of most of the cleaning and prepping but we do have chores and sometimes I'm assigned to help with clean-up and washing dishes. But ever since I almost burned down the kitchen, I've never been asked to help prep a meal
    R: Why so many questions about breakfast?

2. Do you have a cat? How many cats do you have? Do you wish you were a cat? How many litter boxes do you have? Do you clean the litter boxes every day? Or does your maid clean the litter boxes?
    F: No, I do not have a cat thought there are a few who wonder through the temple. Cats are fascinating creatures though I've never had the time to really get to know one.
    R: Never had a desire for a pet. They take up too much time


3. Are you an only child? How many siblings do you have? Are you close or are you estranged?
    F: I don't know. We call those serving the Goddess of Water our brothers and sisters but none of them are actually related to me. I was left at the temple when I was a baby.
    R: I have the brothers and sisters of my Brotherhood but other words, I know nothing of my real siblings

4. If you are adopted, do you know your birth parents? Do you want to find them?
    F: Again, I have live at the temple since I was a baby so I do not know who my parents are. I would love the opportunity to meet them one day. I have so many questions for them.
    R: I don't remember who my real parents are and I've tried to find them but I have been told I'm the last of my kind. Not point in digging any further.

5. Do you like to cook? Do you use recipes or make up your own recipes? Do you eat out every night?
    F: I would love the opportunity to learn but I'm not very good. I almost caused the Kitchen at the temple to go up in flames so…
    R: I know how to cook and with being on my own, I cook for myself a lot. It's kind of a need ski.ll if I'm going to survive out in the wilderness. I just put together what sounds good.

6. Do you put both socks on first, or one sock, one shoe?
    F: What a silly question. I guess I put my socks (if I had any) on and then my shoes…
    R: Sock, boot, sock boot. That way my socks don't get dirty

7. Do you have a dog? Is the dog a rescue dog or bought from a breeder?
    F: No dog here though I do love dogs. There are a lot of stray dogs down in the village and a few make their way up to the temple but I do not own one. Worldly possessions are frowned upon as a priestess and having a pet counts as that.
    R: We're back to the pets question? No pets – they just slow you down.

8. Do you iron your clothes? Who does your laundry? Do you do it yourself or do you send it out?
    F: We are required to do our own laundry though it's mostly done on rotation. Our chores change out weekly and we try to make it even among everyone in the temple.
    R: Now that I have my own place, I take care of everything which includes washing clothes

9. Are you married? Are you divorced? How many times have you been married?
    F: No. It is very rare for a priest or priestess to marry. Those who do typically marry for political purposes instead of love. Otherwise marriage is considered to be forbidden for us.
    R: Too devoted to my lifestyle to take the time. I feel that marriage is a waste of time.

10. Do you brush and floss your teeth before you go to bed? Do you use an electric toothbrush and a water pick?
    F: I'm not really sure what floss or an electric toothbrush but yes, I clean my teeth every time I go to bed and when I get up.
    R: Teeth are cleaned morning and night

11. What do you throw into the garbage? Do you recycle?
    F: We try to reuse everything we can in the temple. Scraps of food are usually saved so we can hand out to the poor and we try to wash everything we can so we aren't causing destruction to the earth.
    R: I use what I use and toss what I don't. I try to find a use for everything but I'm not going to waste time on finding a purpose for something.


12. Do you live in an apartment or a house?
    F: I don't live in either of those. I grew up in the Eastern Water Temple. I guess it's basically a huge castle that houses many priests and priestesses.
    R: I used to live in the Brotherhood Temple but recently I moved to the mountains and built my house there.

13. Do you own your own home or rent?
    F: The temple isn't owned by anyone but instead was built to serve Nyuma, the Goddess of the Sea.
    R:
    I built it, therefore, I own it.

14. Do you mow your own lawn or use a landscape service?
    F: Yes, we care for everything around the temple. Gardening, cleaning and cooking. Every task you can think of, we do. It's all rotated on a weekly schedule.
    R: Not any care is needed.

15. Have you ever had a garden?
    F: Yes and no. There's a small temple on top of the cliff that I go to every day and I try to maintain it as much as possible but the flowers and plants around it are all wild so not much care is needed. I would love to own a garden though.
    R: I have a garden I use for cooking but none of that flowery stuff. I only grow things that are useful.

16. Have you ever eaten a carrot right out of the ground?
    F: I did on a dare and it wasn't bad. I mean it was a carrot but I wasn't a fan of eating the dirty.
    R: Yes, I get hungry.

17. Do you have any bad habits?
    F: I tend to mess with my hair or bite my lip whenever I'm nervous but otherwise, I don't think so.
    R: I tend to cr.ack my neck and fingers. I know I shouldn't but it feels good.

18. What is your earliest memory?
    F: I think I was about 3 years old or 4 and I was in the garden with Lynia. I remember her creating spheres out of water and letting them swirl through the air. I thought it was the most magical thing I've ever seen. Now I can do that with my eyes closed.
    R: I was six and I remember wondering around not far from the Brotherhood's temple when I was found. I was so relieved to find some place to stay.

19. Do you hold the door open for the person behind you or do you let it go and slam in their face?
    F: I would hold the door open. Though in the temple, the only doors that close are the ones to private quarters and the main entrance. Otherwise most of the doors stay open all the time.
    R: Only if they hurry up. I'm not going to waste too much time on it.

20. Do you take chicken soup to your elderly neighbor when they are sick?
    F: The sick and the poor. Our purpose is to serve so we try our best to spread the Goddess's love by saving our leftover food or helping anyone who is sick.
    R: Nope. I don't have time to devote to charity. Every once and awhile I would help out my elders when they fell ill but that hardly ever happened.

21. If your boss asked you to cheat on your invoice and bill your client for extra hours, would you do it?
    F: No, I would never cheat. We were taught to honest and fair to those around us.
    R: Cheating is cheating. I'm not a fan so I won't do it.

22. On Monday morning, are you excited to go to work, or are you sad?
    F: Being a priestess is a constant job, there are no lazy days really since there's always something to do.
    R: My lifestyle is my job. The only time off is when I'm not on a mission and even those days have to-do lists.

23. If you could go back in time for one day, where would you go?
    F: I would go back to the day my mother left me at the temple and ask her why.
    R: I would go back and find out what happened to my people.

24. You can cure one disease. Which one would you cure?
    F: Which there being so many out there, it's hard to pick just one. I would say maybe a type of cancer!?
    R: I don't know. Why are you asking me this?

25. Do you honk at the car in front of you if they didn't see the light turn green?
    F: What's a car?
    R: Are we speaking the same language?

26. Do you exercise or are you lazy?
    F: I try to relax as much as possible but it's hard when there's so much to do.
    R: I have a daily routine that keeps me in shape. One could lose their own life if they don't take training seriously.

27. If someone came to your door selling popcorn, do you hide in the kitchen or buy popcorn?
    F: You have some weird. I don't know what popcorn is but typically we don't have people coming to us to sell things. If they are, they speak to certain people.
    R: I have no interest in people knocking on my door to sell something. If I need to buy it, I got to the local market.

28. Have you ever served in the military?
    F: I have not. We have guards who help protect us. When you reach a certain age, you can choose what kind of priest/priestess you would like to be and how you would like to serve the Goddess but I haven't reached that age yet.
    R: I'm not in the formal military but I have had military training. Military is for those who don't have the sk.ills to be an assassin.

29. Would you like me to get you a glass of water? Or would you rather have soda? Wine? Whiskey?
    F: Water would be lovely.
    R: After going through all of these questions, I'm going to need a very strong drink.


These questions are to help you start understanding your character and to get a general background. Once you have a pretty good idea of who your character is, it's time to dive even deeper.
Deeper-Meaning Questions get into how your characters thinks or feels about certain situations. You will understand your character down to a molicule level so when writing about them, you don't question their actions
I composed a list of suggested questions to ask your character and asked Fyugi and Ruewing. Feel free to read through and use these questions for your own character interview

1. 1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    F: Sitting on the beach, watching the waves crash upon the shore. The only sound I hear is nature around me.
    R: Happiness? Never really thought of it. Always been focused on the task. I would say freedom to do what I please instead of answering to those who fear me – as if I would betray them.

2. What is your greatest fear?
    F: People discovering I'm a DreamWalker. Ever since people with this ability started acting without morals, society has deemed that any DreamWalker must be put to death for the general safety of the public.
    R: I was trained to defeat my fear. So the closest thing I have to fear is failing.

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
    F: I hate that I fear my abilities and that I fear for my life. I also hate that I'm an orphan but things happen for a reason.
    R: I hate that I'm a human-dragon hybrid. People treat me different and seem to hold me back because I'm different.

4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
    F: I deplore when people judge you before they get to know you. They learn something about you and instantly think negatively about it.
    R: How naïve they are.

5. Which living person do you most admire?
    F: Siste Lynia – she's the kindest person I have ever met. And she's so smart. Nothing gets by her. And Ruewing – she's all around amazing
    R: My Master.

6. What is your current state of mind?
    F: Fear and worry. Ever since I left the temple, I have been in a constant state of fear and can't bring myself to calm down. The only time I'm at ease is when Ruewing is around.
    R: Calm and alert. I'm always on the lookout for trouble.

7. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
    F: Looks. Everyone judges you based upon what you look like or who your clothes take after instead of finding out what a person is actually like.
    R: Wealth, if you can call that a virtue.

8. On what occasion do you lie?
    F: I lie about who I am to people so they don't find out the truth.
    R: On the occasion which gets me my target.

9. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
    F: I wouldn't say dislike but I'm uncomfortable about my priestess tattoo right now.
    R: My dragon scales on the right side of my body and dragon eye.

10. What is the quality you most like in a man?
    F: As a friend? Humor, I like someone who can make me laugh.
    R: Loyalty. I need to know I can count on them.

11. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
    F: Confidence. I like women who have the ability to venture out into this world without caring about the thoughts of others.
    R: Same one that I like in men

12. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    F: Goddess. It's an phrase I always us when startled or shocked.
    R: Naturally.

13. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
    F: From an early age, we are taught to love all despite who they are. The person I care about the most is Sister Lynia
    R: I have none

14. When and where were you happiest?
    F: Back at the Water Temple, I was always happiest when spending time with Sister Lynia or on top of the cliff at the solitary temple.
    R: When I found a home in the Brotherhood and when I was allowed to build my own home.

15. Which talent would you most like to have?
    F: I would love to be as sneaky as Ruewing. That way I can slip through a crowd without being seen.
    R: Never thought of it.

16. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
    F: My DreamWalker ability – I hate that people fear it so much
    R: I already answered this. I don't want to be a human-dragon hybrid.

17. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
    F: Getting my priestess tattoo. It's basically like a coming of age ritual.
    R: My first ki.ll. I received top ranks

18. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
    F: *shrugs* I have no clue.
    R: I don't believe in reincarnation.

19. Where would you most like to live?
    F: Right on the ocean. I would love to have a boat and just live out there all by myself. Though constantly eating fish would get old so I'll stick with a place not far from the ocean.
    R: I'm living there now. A small cabin on a cliff away from people and near the water's edge.

20. What is your most treasured possession?
    F: As a priestess, we are not allowed to have worldly possessions but I have a necklace that was left with me from my mother. It's a single water drop shaped out of a blue pearl. I'm guessing she was a priestess too.
    R: My weapons

21. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
    F: Constantly reliving your deepest regret.
    R: Reliving the worst day of your life

22. What is your favorite occupation?
    F: I love being a priestess but I think it would be a lot of fun to be a traveling artist. Either as a painter, singer or something like that.
    R: I'm an assassin. I was raised this way and I'll die this way

23. What is your most marked characteristic?
    F: Besides being a DreamWalker? I have a great connection to my spirit animal which allows me to see problems with a person's health.
    R: My abilities as a marksman and to be stealth

24. What do you most value in your friends?
    F: F: Honesty and humor.
    R: Loyalty

25. Who are your heroes in real life?
    F: Sister Lynia for being that mother figure in my life and Ruewing for constantly putting her life in danger to protect me.
    R: Never really sat down to think about it.

26. What is it that you most dislike?
    F: Having my name pronounced wrong. I don't know why but it bugs me and Ruewing does it a lot…
    R: Being betrayed and used foolishly.

27. What is your greatest regret?
    F: Having to leave the Eastern Water Temple
    R: I wish not to talk about it

28. How would you like to die?
    F: Old and in my sleep
    R: Honorably in battle

29. What is your motto?
    F: The Goddess is always watching me so represent in her image.
    R:
    Never settle for second best


What Role do They Play?


So you figured out who your character is by diving into their personality. Now we need to figure out what role they play in the story. You don't need this section if you're planning to not write a story but it does help strengthen your character's personality and what kind of role they might play with your other characters.
Here are the typical kinds of characters you will find in a story. Now a character isn't set in these roles because people tend to change as they move through new experiences. A character who started as the hero of the story might turn into the villain because that's the path they chose to take to stay true to who they were.
Protagonist – the character responsible for handling the main problem and the one most in need of change, emotionally.

Antagonist – the primary bad guy. The character that opposes the protagonist outright on all counts, physically and emotionally.

Mentor – the protagonist's conscience and the prevailing side to the argument. The mentor voices or represents the lesson that must be learned by the protagonist in order to change for the better and complete the goal. (Note: Even this character should be flawed as it makes them more realistic.)

Tempter – the right-hand to the antagonist. The tempter doesn't need to know the antagonist, but they both stand for the same thing: stopping the protagonist from achieving the protagonist's goal. The tempter tries to manipulate and convince the protagonist to join the dark side. However, in the end, the tempter can change his/her mind and realize the benefit of joining the good guys.

Sidekick – the protagonist's unconditionally loving friend. This character can get frustrated with the protagonist and have doubts, but will always stand by the protagonist in the end. Typically, the sidekick embodies the theme without even realizing it. (The mentor can explain the theme, while the sidekick just does it without thinking and can't explain it – they just do it).

Skeptic – the lone objector. The skeptic does not believe in the theme nor in the importance of achieving the protagonist's goal. Without loyalties, the skeptic is on his/her own path. The skeptic may like the protagonist and want the protagonist to succeed but not at the cost of the skeptic's goals. However, the skeptic may have a change of heart by the end of the story.

Emotional – this character acts according to their gut and lets motions fuel decisions. Impulsive. Reactive. Sometimes the emotional character is right and succeeds in ways that a thinking person would never have even tried, but sometimes the character finds trouble by not thinking before jumping.

Logical – the rational thinker who plans things out, shoots for logical solutions and gives reasonable, matter-of-fact answers to questions. However, sometimes the head needs to listen to the heart to work at its best.

If you are creating more than one character for your story like I am with Fyugi and Ruewing, you can have your characters be as close or distant as you would like. There can be more than one Protagonist or Antagonist in a story. I always thought that it would be fun to create a story where two Protagonist are trying to solve the same problem but their personalities really clash when trying to act upon their solutions to the problem.
As you're character dives into their role within your story, it's ok if they wonder off the path you originally intended for them. The best characters are those who grow and become even stronger characters within your story. This makes the character more realistic and not like a god-figure.

In Conclusion

I hope all of this has helped you develop the perfect character. I understand that it's a lot of information and can seem overwhelming at first but as you develop your characters, diving into these details will become easier.
Feel free to now dive into either the Design or Story section of this page to continue you're character development.




Character Development

Design

The next section is actually one of my favorites to dive into. I love not only creating new characters but designing what they will look like to other people. Understanding what your character looks like will help you describe to others reading your story just what your character looks like.
Remember, other people can't read your mind even if your character has that ability. The more details, the easier it is to envision. So let's get started...

Tone

When brainstorming ideas for what your character looks like, it helps to have an idea of the type of environment they are in. Is your character from space, the future, medieval times or in the present? Is their world realistic or fantasy? These are all questions you have to ask yourself as you begin to not only design your character but their story as well. Understanding your environment will give you a better understanding of how they dress and appear. It would look pretty funny if you have a character design that's more of a modern/futuristic look and they live in medieval times.
This is called setting the tone of your character/environment. Another kind of tone is the kind your character represents whenever they enter into a room. Call this their aura and it can help drive home the kind of role they play in your story.
Typically, dark colours such as black, purples and greys depict baddies with malevolent intentions.
All white — A hint of madness, religious zealotry, or a church that oversteps its bounds.
Blood Red — Ax-Crazy, Omnicidal Maniac
Yellow — Madness
Navy Blue — a favorite of evil chess masters and Aristocrats.
Unnatural Greens — the villain employs toxic materials in his schemes. Also gives off a poisonous tone
Silver — Rich jerk, indicates wealth and arrogance.
Purple — Evil females and villainesses. Popular in Japanese media; the official color of videogame evil; really popular for comic book villains and nefarious aliens, particularly in combination with green. It is also often associated with venom. As it is also the ancient color for royalty, tying it in with Aristocrats.
Purple and Green - The Villain
Black — Card-Carrying Villain, in recent times anyway.
Grey — soul-less, ego-extinct, card-carrying sociopathic monsters.
Light colours such as white, blues, pinks and yellows express innocence, good and purity.
Blues - Honorable and with good intentions
Cherry Red - A brightness and sometimes to express soft
Red and Blue Together
Natural greens - Gives off a natural/nurturing feel
Pink
Browns/Earthy tones - their use by villains is not unheard of but somewhat rare, and tends to denote a villain that relies on savagery and physical brutality over cunning.
Gold / Yellow
Gray — Reasonable Authority Figure
White and off-white — Typically connotes to moral purity, innocence, wisdom, and the divine.
Black — Dark Is Not Evil at play here. The go-to color of rough around the edge good guys and antiheroes.

Here are some other tones to consider when making your characters:
Black — When used as a secondary/highlighting color; black also goes with every other color
Black and Red — The undisputed colours of Bad/Cool; also common for Gothic characters.
Black and White in equal amounts - Think of referees
Light Gray (black + white) — neutrals, transitions
Purple (blue + red) — royalty, wealth and command
Orange (red + yellow)
Green — used equally for neutrals and allied but not under your control

Disclaimer:
Keep in mind, these colors are typically what animators use when creating characters for movies, games or art typically. It's a general guide to creating the color tone of the character. Should your character be a part of a certain culture, make sure to do your research. Because where in most societies white symbolizes purity, in others it's connected with death. If you're trying to connect you character with a culture, start there and then figure out the color tone.


Body Type

So we now understand the tone, now we need to design the character. The best way to start is by knowing what kind of body type they have. I'm not talking about athletic, overeight, etc even though those are good things to keep in mind after determining if your character is either a Quad, Anthro or Human.

Quad

This style poses as four-legged creatures like your dogs, cats, etc. So if your design makes your neopet look like an animal, you should choose quad style for your design. Quad designs can still talk and perform some complicated actions but they usually don't wear clothes and look more like an animal than a person!

Anthro

Anthro style usually look more humanoid. If you have a design that uses actual clothes, want your character to walk on two legs and to have more human-like anatomy, you should choose the anthro style for your design.
Neopets characters from plots and events are mostly anthro!

Human-Like

This style features your character human form. If your character has a human form or looks like a kemonomimi (human with small animal traits, like animal ears and tail), you should design character more human-like.



Minor Detail

So now that you've figured out how your character carries themselves, it's time to put in the details. You don't want your character to be like other characters so brainstorming on how your character is different than others is a great place to start.
Does your character have a different coloration than what's considered normal? What kinds of clothes do they wear? Are there any accessories that they carry? How about their hair? How is that styled?

All of these are questions you have to ask yourself when fine tuning the details of your character's look.
I always find the best way to figure that out is to look up a pet creator. These are games you can play to get a better idea of what your character looks like whether they are human or animal.
If you have a human-like character, one character maker I know of is owned by the wonderful artist Ashe. She breaks everything down so you can create the perfect customization for your character. The link here will take you right to her Chibi Maker

Another great place you can go to customize the look of your pet is Dress To Impress. This customization site allows you to search your pet's name (change the species/color if that's your future plan) and then customize using the clothing, background and accessories Neopets provides to make your pets look unique.
Feel free to give all of these customization makers a try when designing your pet's overall look.
Here are some example I created through Ashe's ChibiMaker and Dress To Impress when trying to design my own characters: {Kaitsi, Ryesling & Toimu}



Once I finished figuring out how others designed my characters, I moved to drawing my own characters. I understand if you're not an artist but also, having those references will help others visualize your idea should you ask an artist to draw your pets.
Kaitsi


Toimu

Sorry, still finalizing Ryesling's Design


Moving On

I hope this section helped you figure out what your character looks like. Just remember, your imagination is your playground and my only recommendation is that your design ties back to your Neopet in some way whether they shape-shift into the character or they have characterists like a dragon tail that anchors them to your pet.
In regards to the designs of my characters Fyugi and Ruewing, they are both shape-shifters. Their every day apperiance is human {except for Rue who is a dragon-human hybrid} and they can shift into either their Neopet's animal.
Now that you have your character's design figured out, it's time to move to the next section. Whether that's designing the story or discovering their personality, that's all determined on how you tackle this guide. So onward and up!
Personality or Story





Character Development

Story

So now we've come to it - the hardest part of developing your character: the story. Writing isn't easy and writing a great story is every harder. But the good news is that when you're writing a story for your pet, it's a short story and not a novel.
But what's the difference? Well, a short story typically jumps right into the action of the story. Not much time is taken to build the background or dive into your pet's character even though those things are still important to your story. That information usually takes up a paragraph or two in the beginning of the story before the action starts to build up. Short stories are typically a few pages long in comparison to a novel.
Novels are typically more than 50 pages in length and dives more into the details of a character and their story. Diving into a character's personality or background can sometimes take the entire length of the novel to build up the suspense of the story.
I'm not saying the your writing has to stick to those specific styles. You can have a novel that only uses a few paragraphs to describe your character and there are short stories that take it's entire length for you to discover who the character is. How you wish to write, is completely up to you.
This section dives into some of the more common methods of developing your pet's story by diving into the setting.

Get Into the Mindset!

Children are born to be creative geniuses but as we grow older, our creative abilities seem to tarnish…

This is VERY true. As we grow older, we start to grasp reality and that imagination is then tucked away into a neat little box in the back of our minds. Only to be dusted off every once and awhile.
Just like our muscles need to be worked to stay strong, our minds/creativity needs to be exercised as well to be at it's best. And the best way to do that is to get your mind into writing
So I provided some ways in which I {and other authors} have gotten into the spirit of writing
Take a Deep Breath
A lot of times, clearing your mind will help clear it of distractions and give your creative juices room to expand. When I'm feeling extremely distracted by the stresses of life, sometimes I will take a moment to close my eyes and breath deeply. If outside noises are preventing you from fully relaxing, it's okay to put on some music. I try to avoid music with lyrics and stick with sound tracks and zen music.

Expand Your Horizons
Sometimes by reading the work of other people who have written something in the genre you're attempting, will help trigger your mind to think and write that way. This also gives you the opportunity to see this genre in a different light especially if the time period of your piece isn't the present. For example; reading a book about the Medieval time period from the view point of a peasant.
This also works with images as well.

Stage Your Writing Environment
Trying to write your story in a place that sparks your creativity and only use that spot for writing. For example the local cafe or library. Some of the places I go to expand my creativity are gardens/parks, libraries, cafes, museums, etc. Remember, the moment you use that spot for tasks other than writing, your creativity will be affected by that.

Put Away Distractions
This includes your phones. Ever have a thought in you head and lose it the moment someone interrupts your thought process? This is what those distractions can do and once you get off that writing focus, it can be difficult to get back into focus. Especially if you don't write very often.

Just Write!
When I was in high school, take a creative writing class, we were required to spend the first five minutes of class writing everything that came to mind. Sounds exhausting, I know. But over time, I was able to focus in and just keep writing. I then started to challenge myself and writing about a specific topic for those five minutes. I think my favorite one was writing a story about Monday and how Monday would appear as a human.
Now that we've cleared our minds and gotten into the mindset of writing, let's dive into the point of view with writing.


Point of View

Why does point of view matter so much? Because point of view filters everything in your story. Everything in your story must come from a point of view. Which means if you get it wrong, your entire story is damaged.
The worst part is the mistakes made with the point of view are easily avoidable if you're aware of them. So let's go over each of the four types of POV.



First person point of view - First person is when "I" am telling the story. The character is in the story, relating his or her experiences directly.
Second person point of view - The story is told to "you." This POV is not common in fiction, but it's still good to know (it is common in nonfiction).
Third person point of view, limited - The story is about "he" or "she." This is the most common point of view in commercial fiction. The narrator is outside of the story and relating the experiences of a character. Third person point of view, omniscient - The story is still about "he" or "she," but the narrator has full access to the thoughts and experiences of all characters in the story.



Writing Prompts

If you're still stuck, then the best way I found to get into the writing mindset is to work on some writing promtps. Writing prompts are pre-written ideas that start out as a simple plot idea and you create the story. Here are some writing prompts:

1. The story's protagonist is the nicest person imaginable and the narrator hates them with a burning passions

2. At the age of 13, children are able to summon their familiars for the first time. Your family has always been ridiculed for weak and useless familiars until the day of your 13th birthday when you summon yours for the first time.

3. You have the ability to mentally hear the honest answer to any question just by looking at a person and think the question. It was fun and games until you looked yourself in the mirror and asked a question your shouldn't have.

4. She added a charm to her bracelet for every life she took. Each one as different as that life

5. You're a local healer, a good one, and your people love you. But you do not truly heal wounds, just transfer them. The people of the valley below know you under a different name...

6. A private investigator is hired to find a boy that has been missing for 30 years, only to eventually find out that he was the missing child and that his current parent kidnapped him at birth.

7. Write from the villain's point of view. But at first your reader doesn't realize they are the villain.

8. After years of gently convincing your friend since childhood to see a therapist, they agree and you soon discover you're their imaginary friend.

9. As it turns out, the avatar is still being reborn to this day. Unfortunately, if the government finds the avatar, they're eliminated before they liberate society. The handful of benders left are few and far between. You're an introverted earthbender...who just froze their cup of coffee.

10. You are what kind believes to be the devil. However, there are three things they all have gotten wrong: 1. Everyone goes to heaven, no matter what. 2. You're the only one who's escaped heaven. 3. Heaven is not what you thought but worse.



Creating Your Setting

Many writers believe that setting is the most important element of any fictional work. Whether or not you agree, you will want to spend some time considering your story's setting before you begin to write.
It's important to use specific details (especially those that don't immediately spring to mind) when people think of a place. You don't need a lot of details, just ones that give the reader a clear sense of where the story is in regards to time and place.
If the setting of your story is fictional, the you can be a little more free in the details your provide but it doesn't hurt to do a little research on locations that might be similar to what your are picturing. If you're using a realistic location, find out what it's like to live there or if you've actually been there, recall your experiences.
Once you've done that, then I usually dive into the five senses: Sight, Smell, Touch, Taste and Hear. I use those senses and make a list of things I feel as if I was there.
So let's do a quick exercise. I'm going to use my characters Ruewing and Fyugi from before and describe their favorite places using this guide below:
Start with sight, which is for many of us the most immediate sense. Write down every image that comes to mind, whether it pertains to your story or not. Free associate. It doesn't have to make sense or be grammatically correct. Just get down as much as you can. For instance, if you've been to the desert in Tucson, Arizona at night, picture the cactus, vast expanse, clay color, brightness from the night sky and mountains in the background.
    Fyugi - Fygui's favorite place is above the temple she grew up. Water falls flow behind the temple from the cliffs above. One particular cliff stretches out past the temple towards the sea. A small stone structure was build towards the edge of the cliff, leaving just about 50 yards between the structure and the edge. It had originally been built to serve the Goddess of the Sea but time has worn it down to where there's no longer a roof and pretty much the only part remaining are the four corner pillars and part of the crumbling wall. With the lack of care, wild flowers and meadow grass now covers the entire cliff

    Ruewing - In order to discover Ruewing's favorite place, one must hike up the mountain away from her logged house at the edge of the woods. It's a platue off to the mountain's side just below the snow line but above the line of trees. It's the one area that's covered in meadow grass instead of the rocky stones of the mountains. From the height, one could look out and almost see the entire world laying before them through the rising peaks of the mountain range.
Repeat the above for taste, smell, sound and touch. Usually taste and smell can be combined as one since they use a similar body part. Again, don't be afraid of unconventional answers. You never know what might end up in your final story.
    Fyugi - {Taste} since her favorite spot is next to the sea, the taste of salt hangs heavily in the the air. {Smell} On a bright shiny day, the only smell is that of the salt that's tasted in the air but on occasion when the wind is blowing in from the village below, the taste of fish hangs heavily in the air. {Sound} With the shore being located about 50 yards below, the defining sound of crashing waves can always reach the ears as well as the sounds of seagulls crying out in search of food. {Touch} Fygui is a creature of touch and can't help but run her hands over the cool, smooth texture of the stone structure. The years of wear from the weather has taken the once course stone and smoothed it down to almost a slippery surface.

    Ruewing {Taste/Smell}Though she is high above the line of trees, the wind carries the strong scent of pine and dirt. The strength of the smell fills her nose and mouth to where she can feel to cool, wet texture of the dirty and crunchiness of the pine cones on the trees. {Sound}The wind rustles loudly through the mountains and since there's no protection from the elements, the sound is almost defining. And loud blowing in the ears but Ruewing's hearing is so sharp from her dragon blood where she can pick up the sound of a chipmunk in the distance scampering over the ground trying to find food for the winter. {Touch} As she sits there, the meadow grass surrounding her, her skin picks up the slightest touch of the soft blade brushing against her. The feeling is so light, it almost tickles her human skin and yet satisfies the most intense itches on her scales.
Finally, in one-two line{s} sum up the feeling you hope to evoke in your readers through your setting. Is it a feeling of loneliness, menace, nostalgia, contentment?
    Fyugi - Of all of the places she devotes her time, Fyugi will only come here when she need to feel close to the one she serves. A place where her questions feel heard though she may not always recieve the answer.

    Ruewing - Her entire life, Ruewing has felt like she was under the watchful eyes of her masters but when she discovered this place, it was the one place she felt one with who she is. A place where the wind incises her and brings out the longing freedom of her soul.

Introducing Characters

Your Character

There are a lot of ways to bring your character into the story and it all depends on the tone you set. A lot of times when writing from the first-person point of view, you typically get introduced to your character right away.
Maybe not in the sense of hi, I'm so-and-so but more in a way of experiencing something they are. One of my favorite ways of doing this is by getting into my character's head and introducing their train of thought:
When I'm writing in a more narrative or third-person point of view, I tend to writing about the world surrounding my character before diving really diving into them.
Feel free to mix and match how you introduce your character. If you like to have the character describe everything around them before you jump into who they are or visvera, that's perfectly fine.
Another word of advise when trying to write the perfect character introduction: don't be afraid to read how other authors wrote in their characters. Make note of what you liked or didn't like about the introduction and see how you can use that towards your own. The world is your oyster.

Other Characters

Good novels feature well-developed, sympathetic, and multi-dimensional characters. Not only is a fine protagonist essential, richly drawn secondary characters are needed as well. Many authors struggle with introducing secondary characters into their novels, and while there are no set "rules" these guidelines may help make sure that players new to the book are introduced well and that they read as distinctive and memorable.
If at all possible, write in new characters one at a time. Back-to-back introductions tend to be more confusing and make less impact. Even if you need to introduce more than one character in one scene, separate them as much as possible with action, dialogue, or internal dialogue.
Use action and/or dialogue to present new characters. Readers in the past would tolerate long descriptions of a character before he or she enters the story, but that's no longer the case. Show the new character doing something or saying something.
Write a vivid character description. Go beyond age, hair color, and eye color, and utilize creativity in your description. You may focus on one specific characteristic and use imagery and/or metaphor to make the character stand out more on the page.
Make the introduction of the character meaningful. Write it so that the new character impacts the story in some way. If he or she doesn't change something, then there is no need for him or her to be a part of the novel.

Building The Suspense

Building apprehension in the minds of your readers is one of the most effective keys to engaging them early in your novel and keeping them flipping pages late into the night.
Simply put, if you don't hook your readers, they won't get into the story. If you don't drive the story forward by making readers worry about your main character, they won't have a reason to keep reading.
So how is that done? Do you just put in a lot of violence and dangerous situations where your character's life is in danger? Well.. that's one way to do it.
Another is to plan out the plot by using an outline of what your would like to happen. This helps you also stay on track of your story. So let's look at how you can build up your story and keep your reader interested
Put the character readers care about in jeopardy
We want readers to worry about whether or not the character will get what he wants. Only when readers know what the character wants will they know what's at stake. And only when they know what's at stake will they be engaged in the story. To get readers more invested in your novel, make clear: 1) What your character desires (love, freedom, adventure, forgiveness, etc.); 2) what is keeping him from getting it; and 3) what terrible consequences will result if he doesn't get it.

Include more promises and less action
Contrary to what you may have heard, the problem of readers being bored isn't solved by adding action but instead by adding apprehension. Suspense is anticipation; action is payoff. You don't increase suspense by making things happen, but by promising that they will. Instead of asking, What needs to happen? ask, What can I promise will go wrong?

Let the characters tell the readers their plan
I'm not talking about revealing your secrets or letting readers know the twists that your story has in store. Instead, just show readers the agenda, and you'll be making a promise that something will either go wrong to screw up the schedule, or that plans will fall into place in a way that propels the story (and the tension) forward.

Cut down the violence
If you want readers to emotionally distance themselves from the story, show one murder after another, after another, after another; but if you want to build tension, cut down on the violence and increase the readers' apprehension about a future violent act. Remember that valuing human life increases suspense. Because readers only feel suspense when they care about what happens to a character, we want to heighten their concern by heightening the impact of the tragedy. Show how valuable life is. The more murders your story contains, the more life will seem cheap.

Be one step ahead of your readers
As you develop your story, appeal to readers' fears and phobias. Think of the things that frighten you most, and you can be sure many of your readers will fear them as well.
Make sure you describe the setting of your story's climax before you reach that part of the story. As you build toward the climax, isolate your main character. This forces him to become self-reliant and makes it easier for you to put him at a disadvantage in his final confrontation with evil.
Make it personal. Don't just have a person get abducted—let it be the main character's son. Don't just let New York City be in danger—let Gramma live there.
As your figuring out what's happening with the suspense of the story, don't forget about the resolution. How does the conflict, get fixed and is there a happy ending? Some stories end in smiles while other in tears, the ending is up to you

Help the Story - Worldbuilding

So I saved this section for last because most people who create their characters use the Neopia world that Neopets created. There is nothing wrong with that and makes things ten times easier.
I mean, you got a world, the cultures and the history already laid out for you. You don't need to create your own world or anything to fit your character.
This section is for those who have characters who don't fit in the Neopia world or our world either {even though you can use this for our world as well}. It gives you things to think about as you put together those last puzzle pieces of your character.

What is Worldbuidling?

Worldbuilding exists in all kinds of fiction, not just speculative (Sci-Fi and Fantasy) fiction. Because all fiction is made up, the writer has to create a world where this fiction would make sense. Some of the greatest worldbuilders include Jane Austen and Charles Dickens– not because they were creating worlds whole-cloth, but because they captured the worlds that already existed and that they lived in like a time capsule.
But there's also the classic cases like J.R.R. Tolkien, the master worldbuilder, who at times seemed to write his Legendarium less to tell the stories of Middle Earth and more to justify all of the work he put in to building the languages of Middle Earth. There's a reason that all modern Fantasy owes a debt to Tolkien– he practically prefabricated several generations worth of settings already.
But different types of fiction require different types and levels of worldbuilding. Some are more extensive than others, but when done very well, they all require the same level of commitment and effort.

Creating a History

The best way to look at your world is to see it as a character who needs to be developed - and yes you could use this guide in a way to create your world. It's important to not only know the history of your character but the world you've created as well. It give you and your reader an understanding of the journey your world has taken to get to where is it today. Why is the govnerment set in that way? How did your world get to where it is today?
Knowing where your world came from and how it got to its present state helps the reader better understand your character and why they may act a certain way.

Exploring Culture

When you create a world, you need to create its inhabitants. If you are writing in a historically accurate version of Earth, you have established cultures into which to fit those inhabitants. However, if you write any sort of speculative fiction, you have the opportunity (and often the need) to create fictional cultures of your own.
A lot of times culture is borrowed from others that already exist which makes learning the culture easy. But what about cultures that don't currently exist? It's good to ask yourself some questions when creating a culture from scratch:
What do they believe in?
Where do they live and what are their resources?
Does technology or magic play into their culture?
Who rules?
What alliances/enemies do they have?
How do they fight and protect themsevles?
What's there currency?
There are a lot of guides out there to help you focus in your culture and give you the building blocks you need. Explore those if you wish to take your character's story to the next level

Epilogue

This is no set way to write your story nor is there a set process. Some of the best writers just took an idea and rolled with it and it brought them to unexpected places filled with thrilling adventures. What kind of story would you like to read about? That's usually the first question authors ask themselves and then ideas are born.
Don't be afraid to explore and expand. J.K. Rowling first had the idea for Harry Potter while delayed on a train travelling from Manchester to London King's Cross in 1990. Over the next five years, she began to plan out the seven books of the series. She wrote mostly in longhand and amassed a mountain of notes, many of which were on scraps of paper. The moral here is writing can be messy and if your idea doesn't pan out, it's ok, just keep pushing. 12 publishers rejected the Harry Potter books and now they are rated as one of the top fictional series of all time. {Bet those publishers felt great after that}
So enjoy the journey and remember, it's your story. I hope this section helped you get into the mindset of writing and explore some different options with the direction of your story. Don't forget to visit the sections Personality and/or Design to help you create your perfect pet character.
Good luck!





About Zerrya


A So-Long Farewell

Thank you for taking the time to read through my Character Development Guide. I was a lot of fun {and work} to create this page. The inspiration came from several people asking me how I came up with my pet characters or expressing they would like characters for their pets but didn't know where to start.
And so this guide was born!

I hope this was helpful with developing your own characters and if you have any feedback, don't hesitate to reach out to me. And don't forget to take me with you so you can revisit at any time.


Continue with the tabs on the left side if you wish to learn about Zerrya and see my other petpages.

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Credits

Layout By Alula | Edited by Me & Deja
Everything on this page was composed from several blogs searched on g00gle.
Unlinked images provided by either g00gle or Neopets.