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Causal Capacity of Characters


Athena

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Just some scenarios to place your characters in and ideas to play with to help you understand them more. Note: Feel free to switch characters from A to B from exercise to exercise and to add more characters.

 

1.  Character A is trying to convince Character B to play a game, but Character B refuses. In the end, Character B relents and turns out to be amazing at said game. How does Character A convince Character B? What game do they play? Why is Character B so good at the game? How does Character A react?

 

2. Character A and a group of friends are at a restaurant/tavern/etc. when they see a group of people doing something that makes Character A's group confront them. What makes your characters angry? How would they resolve the situation? How did the other people in the group react? How did the bystanders/witnesses react?

 

3. Take a character and place them in another occupation. So, say if your character is a spy (like mine), what would your character be doing if the events in your book (in my case, the war) didn't happen? What passions would they pursue? If you want, you could try to set them in an alternate world as well (I took my magic-based world and tried to think what she would do if magic didn't exist). What would happen if you aged-up your character? (My metal-manipulating spy became a part-time mechanic who was able to fix everything but scared away customers)

 

4. Surrounded by a a different language. What other languages are there in your world? Who is bilingual or most likely the person who is? Would they be a reliable translator or pull a few pranks? For the people who are bilingual, who do they (or attempt to) understand? 

 

5. Placing your characters in a modern setting, think of whether they would participate in the latest challenges or trends? Who tried to bottle-flip things, did a mannequin challenge or something (I personally don't watch those kind of things, so I'm not really sure what people are doing right now. If you're like me, maybe just make one up for the sake of this exercise)? How would other characters react? Would they create a viral video? 

 

6.  Speaking of social media, how would your character react to accidentally becoming famous? Would they love it and become a celebrity? Or would they hate it? How are they on camera or in front of people? 

 

7. (One of my favorites) Take your characters and try to think how they would survive in another book. You could sort them into Hogwarts Houses, have them be a part of Camp Half-Blood, force them into the Hunger Games, make them battle a juvenile, criminal mastermind, etc. How would your characters react and interact with the book characters? 

 

8. Character A has been waiting for a soon-to-be-released something that's getting released tomorrow. How do they make sure they get it? Do they camp outside the store? Do they bribe the owner? Do they break into the store?

 

9. Character A gets stuck in a tree. Nothing to add. Just stuck in a tree. 

 

10. Character A is helping Character B clean up their living space (if your characters are constantly on the run, maybe a bag of their belongings or something like that) when they discover something that they have been holding on to for years. 

 

I hope this helps you realize some things about your characters that even they didn't know about themselves!

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This is a great list! I've done a few of these with my characters, especially the alternate universe (AU) ones. Like the time I accidentally wrote out a bunch of a college AU and got super attached. Or the Hogwarts AU(s) that @Kasper and I have talked about for dozens of hours. In a modern setting, my protagonist who's a detective/mercenary in her magical world usually ends up as a public defense lawyer, and her partner, who goes from bottom rung smuggler to Guildmaster of the Thieves' Guild in the book word, is a stoner philosophy student who ends up as mayor of a shitty little town that he adores. 

I might keep these as an fun thing to ramble about when I'm bored, and if I do, I'll be sure to post something here 😄 

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15 minutes ago, Katherine said:

I want to see @Rosie's Darling become famous. Giant-spotlight famous. 

*Whistles* god she'd be so pissed. She's used to working behind the scenes and is someone who genuinely has little need for her deeds to be widely known or celebrated. But she does sometimes get caught up in being the face for Big Deal Things, and the resulting celebrity mostly makes her...just extra prickly. In most cases, she'll use Ruddock as a shield and distraction cause he's a slut for the spotlight and will ham it up all day. She just needs to keep an eye on him so he doesn't accidentally do something stupid like incriminate himself for drug possession. Inamora is also a good choice to run interference as he's a master at redirecting attention and as a former lawman, is an expert in responding to anything thrown at him with "No comment." So mostly Darling would be really pissy and do her best to ignore it and/or hide until people found someone new to bother. 

One of these exercises that I'm particularly fond of is deciding what a character's daemon would be. In the His Dark Materials series, everyone's soul lives on the outside of their bodies. In childhood, the soul can shapeshift into almost any animal freely (though very large animals seem to be off limits. Big cats and wolves are the largest we see if memory serves). At some point in adolescence, it "settles" choosing a permanent animal form that fits the person. The daemon has their own personality, usually closer to the heart of the person removed from social masks and pretense, their own name, and is usually (but not always) the opposite gender of the person. There's a lot of really fun stuff to do with daemons 😄 (Darling's is a ball python, Ruddock's a frumpy orange tabby named Pumpkin, Inamora's is a border collie)

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8 minutes ago, Rosie said:

The daemon has their own personality, usually closer to the heart of the person removed from social masks and pretense, their own name, and is usually (but not always) the opposite gender of the person. There's a lot of really fun stuff to do with daemons 😄 (Darling's is a ball python, Ruddock's a frumpy orange tabby named Pumpkin, Inamora's is a border collie)

Hmmm. Wonder if power animals are something like this. They are meant to be their own separate entities, rather than being a part of the person chosen, but are reflective of aspects of the person. 

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23 hours ago, Katherine said:

Hmmm. Wonder if power animals are something like this. They are meant to be their own separate entities, rather than being a part of the person chosen, but are reflective of aspects of the person. 

I'm not sure what a power animal is, so I can't say. but Daemons are a lot of fun cause there's a lot of facets and variations to play with. Touching another person's daemon is considered taboo and is viscerally horrifying for everyone involved and feels like the deepest sort of violation. The exception is between people who share an extraordinary amount of trust and emotional intimacy. In a setting with Daemons, Darling's python is comfortable crawling over Inamora from relatively early in their friendship. Most people, including Inamora, take this as further evidence that he's not a real person (he's an android with the memories of a long dead human) when in fact, no, Darling has just imprinted on him and while her mouth might say otherwise, her soul can't hide how deeply she trusts him and cares about him. Another fun thing I have with them is that android Inamora has been around a while, and his daemon has also re-manifested and is the same Daemon in the same way that Inamora is the same Inamora. Same memories, same personality, just whereas the original lived out his life reasonably normally 200 years ago, Android Inamora had that life up until he was about 35-40, then suddenly diverged and was an android now, and when his Daemon remanifests, something's not quite right. She's not settled. She can still shapeshift like a child's daemon. Out of habit and comfort, she stays a beagle, cause that's what old Inamora's daemon was. She only settles when he lets go of wondering about and wanting Old Inamora's life and letting himself fall in love with this new life and the people in it. And she settles as a border collie. Still a working dog, he's not a radically different person, but I like the shift from hunting dog to herding dog, since he does spend about 98% of his time herding Darling and Ruddock away from bad life choices (with mixed results). 

k yeah I need to stop >.> /rambles

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