This is part of an ongoing series of designing a story. The hope is that this series will help new writers get ideas on how to design a story or for experienced writers looking for new ideas. In either case, the information presented here is to learn and have fun.
In our last blog, we covered the basics of our characters. We determined names and who was a major character and who was a minor character. Our next task is to flesh out our characters so they come alive in our writing. It is important to know who your characters are, otherwise, you don’t know how they would react in a given situation. No one wants a boring story filled with wooden characters that just go from plot point to plot point. The characters in your story will make or break you more than anything else so make this part your best work.
In designing my characters, I have a list of questions that I answer to flesh them out. I posted this previously under “Bringing Order to Chaos”, but I have reprinted it here for easy reference. The one amendment I made to this list was skipping the one paragraph summary of the character for space.
- What is your character called?
- List your characters parents and any siblings that they have
- Where is character from (geographically)?
- How old is your character?
- What does your character look like?
- What kind of childhood did they have?
- What does your character do for a living?
- Who else is in your character’s life?
From here you now have a basic outline for your character. We have a general idea of who they are and how they started out prior to our story. We then want to focus on how our character relates to our story:
- A one-sentence summary of the character’s storyline
- The character’s motivation (what does he/she want abstractly?)
- The character’s goal (what does he/she want concretely?)
- The character’s conflict (what prevents him/her from reaching this goal?)
- The character’s epiphany (what will he/she learn, how will he/she change?
- A one-paragraph summary of the character’s storyline
1st Squad (Main Characters)
Sergeant Major Anthony Gordon – Tanned leather skin, caucasian, peppered black hair, brown eyes, 6’0″, 196lbs. Anthony is a decorated 25 year career marine who is looking to retire next year. He was born on Sirius II in 2500 A.D. (45 years old) to Jack and Diane Gordon who are retired Confed military (CFMC & CFN). He has a younger brother, Captain Zach Gordon in the CFN on board the TCC Lexington as Wing Commander of the 2nd Assault Wing (Vipers). Gordon is a calm and cool NCO who has led his men for the last eight years and 32 combat drops. Poster Marine. He is an interrogation and intelligence specialist.
First Sergeant Michael Karzarian – British descent, brown hair, blue eyes, 5’10”, 176lbs. Michael is a decorated 18 year career marine sniper and family man (wife Anne, kids Bobby, Jack, Mara). He was born on Vespus Prime in 2507 (38 years old). His father Adam Karzarian is a former senator and current CPO of Vespus Astronatutics Corp. His mother Jacquelyn Karzarian runs a non-profit for homeless children. Michael is an only child. He is the fatherly figure of the squad, always keeping morale up and looking out for the newer members.
Sergeant Tracy McAdams – Pale skin, Irish descent, red hair, green eyes, 5’6″, 147lbs. Decorated 15 year career marine and accomplished combat medic. She studied medicine at Standford University on Earth. She was born on Earth Prime on 2510 (35 years old). Her father is MGS Robert McAdams who was killed in action against Pegasus commandos during the Battle of Troy in 2522. Her mother Abigail is a peace advocate lobbyist between Confederation and the Pegasus Republic. Tracy has three brothers who are all in the military (SSG Mick in the 6th Infantry Brigade, SGT Sean in the 85th Armored Division, and Captain Thomas who is the ship captain of the TCD Austin). Tracy hopes to get out of the corp and go into private medicine within the next few years after a near death experience on their last combat drop with Zionist terrorists last year.
Sergeant Rikichi Yamoto – Asian descent, black hair, black eyes, 5’7″, 162lbs. Rikichi is a decorated 12 year marine and a rising star in the corp as a technology specialist. He was born on Earth in 2517 (28 years old). His father Akira Yamoto is a corporate supervisor at Bluelight Pharmasuiticals and his mother Siri is a psychologist. Rikichi has two brothers and one sister who all work civilian engineering and corporate jobs. Rikichi feels rejected from his family for choosing the marine corp over the corporate life. He plans to make a career out of the corp. He has a crush on Tracy McAdams.
Gunnery Sergeant Charles Daniels – African descent, bald, black eyes, 6’2″, 230lbs, heavy build. Charles is a 15 year vet and demolitions expert. He was born on Blackwater III in 2521 (32 years old). His father Duke Daniels was a Sergeant in the Corp who died in an engagement with Pegasus commandos in the Tarragon Conflict. His mother Teresa is a retail clerk. Charles has 6 brothers and sisters in various fields though none in the military. Charles hopes to get out in three years to start-up a singing career.
Staff Sergeant Amanda Barrington – Caucasian descent, blonde hair, blue eyes, 5’6″, 132lbs. Amanda is a decorated 18 year vet who is a military tactics expert and pilot. She was born on Praxis Prime in 2518 (29 years old). Her father Walter Barrington is a scientist for Reman Corp. her mother Danielle is a nurse on Praxis Prime. She has one brother, Lit. Commander William Barrington stationed on the TCF St. Helen, a Mercury class frigate. Amanda plans retired in two years with plans to run her own space trading company.
Staff Sergeant Samuel Wells – Caucasian descent, brown hair, brown eyes, 5’10”, 187lbs. Samuel is a decorated 19 year vet who is a heavy weapons expert and artillery specialist. Samuel was born on Roma V in 2522 (33 years old). His father Jack Wells is a retired Brigadier General of the MC and serves as a consultant to Confed Intelligence. His mother Mary runs community youth programs. Samuel has three siblings, two brothers in the MC and a sister in the CFN. Samuel is career military with hopes of moving over to Confed Intelligence once his current tour is up.
Corporal Dominic Rustovich – Caucasian descent, black hair, green eyes, 5’11”, 194lbs. Dominic is a 8 year marine vet and newest member to the squad. He specializes in xenobilogy and philosophy. Dominic was born on Earth in 2521 (24 years old). His father Kristopher is a civilian merchant pilot. His mother Claudia is a civilian merchant pilot Dominic has a brother in the CFN and a sister who is in college studying politics. Dominic has only 4 combat tours under his belt and desires to become one of the top decorated special forces marines in the CFMC.
And there you have our main characters brought to life. From this point forward it is all about the writing. Not sure when I will get the chance to actually write this story, but when I do, I will use this blog to update everyone on the status of it. Until then, happy writing.