***Thundy's Guide on How NOT To Make A Character Nov 22, 2010 23:13:53 GMT -5
Post by Thundy on Nov 22, 2010 23:13:53 GMT -5
For the sake of my own sanity and the sanity of all other staff members who often read through the applications in the character creation board, I have created a list of things that you should avoid while creating a character. Some are more common than others, but I have seen every one of these mistakes from time to time and it would be nice to never ever see them again in my lifetime, but surely I won’t be that lucky. Yay for you, though! You’re reading through this list and you will learn from others’ mistakes, yes?
In no particular order, the list goes something like this:
- 1) Not enough information.
I really dislike it when I find that an application doesn’t even have the minimum number of paragraphs that we have asked for. [2 for appearance, 3 for personality, and 3 for history, FYI]. We have made it very clear what the minimum amount of effort that you need to give is, and it would be nice if you would actually try. I mean, come on. You’re going to have to reach the minimum sooner or later if you want your character to be accepted, so why not the first time around? It might be difficult, but you should consider yourself lucky. Other sites aren’t always as lenient. This also ties in with the fact that you need at least 5 GOOD sentences in each paragraph, and maybe more depending on the information given.
- 2) Tiny, pointless sentences.
“Bob is strong. Bob has green eyes. Bob is outgoing.”
I really really really don't want to see any sentences like that again. Although a paragraph consists of at least five sentences, if those five sentences are anything like those, I’ll make you rewrite everything. If you’re going to write sentences like that, you might as well just put the traits into a list and throw it at me, because that’s all it is. A character is NOT simply a random list of traits. They have a personality, they have a voice, they have an opinion, and they are completely original. They are complex, so I don’t want to see any more, “Bob is strong!” sentences. Think of them as a real person. Picture them in different scenarios and try to figure out how they would realistically act. Add as much detail as possible if you’re writing sentences in the appearance section (and the other sections too, for that matter,) because I realize that writing that section is more difficult than writing the others.
- 3) Lack of flaws.
If I had a dollar for every time someone tried to make a character who was seemingly perfect, I’d be rich by now. Okay, news flash people. Characters are people. PEOPLE HAVE STUFF WRONG WITH THEM. It’s more fun to RP a character with flaws, anyways. Bob has nice hair and a nice smile? Okay, give him bad hygiene. Make him smelly. Give him a limp. A lazy eye. Acne. An ugly nose. Horrible style. Dirty feet because he dislikes wearing shoes. SOMETHING.
SCARS DO NOT COUNT UNLESS THEY ARE UNUSUALLY GROTESQUE.
On the other hand, maybe Bob is outgoing. Okay.. He secretly hates himself. He’s clingy and obnoxious. He talks too much. He gives up easily. He’s a wimp. He makes fun of people. He’s arrogant. Flaws make a character interesting, everyone. So give your character some.
- 4) Mary-Sue/Gary-Stu characters.
Seeing as Luna and Phunke have both written guides about this particular mistake, I am going to simply link you to their bio guides and insist that you read them both.
- 5) Random errors.
It would be nice if you would copy and paste your character bio into a Word document or something to detect typos/misspelled words. It’s not mandatory, but if you have a difficulty spelling or you simply tend to make mistakes as you’re typing, running it through a Word document helps. I won’t often make you fix your application if you only have a few misspelled words or other errors, but if it’s blatantly obvious that you need some help, I’ll make you fix it.
- 6) Listing traits.
Don’t put your character’s information into a list. This should be obvious because we ask for paragraphs, but we see this occasionally. RPing is writing, and believe it or not, writing your character’s application actually prepares you for roleplaying them. No lists, and this includes lists such as this:
“Bob is clever, weak, arrogant, quiet, angry, etc.”
That was pointless.
- 7) Lack of research.
If you’re going to be a bit creative with your character but you’re not sure about some facts or details, do some research rather than assuming that it’s fine. People make this mistake in a large variety of ways, and I can’t stress enough how much easier you would make my life if you would Google something that you’re unsure of rather than just leaving it for the staff to answer for you.
- 8) That random need to be sent off to the Games to DIE?
Unless your character is a Career in Districts 1, 2, or 4, they won’t want to be in the Games. Wow, a shocker, right? I understand that YOU might want your character to be in the Games, but just think: Would YOU want to be sent off to a place where death is almost imminent and you have to kill everyone else? No, you wouldn’t, so a character wouldn’t want that either. It’s traumatizing and horrible, and any character who hasn’t been taught that the Games are oh-so-fun, along with being taught how to survive, will not want to be put into that kind of a situation.
- 9) The “My character” beginning to paragraphs.
I believe that I’ve only seen this happen a few times, but it bothers me quite a bit. Saying “My character is.. blah blah blah..” puts YOU into your character’s application, and I dislike it. When we roleplay, we don’t say “My character” at all, so why would you put that into their bio? Just don’t do it.
- 10) Height/weight/strength ratio.
This mistake is oftentimes more common in the male characters, but I always laugh when I see it. A scrawny 100-pound boy who stands at 5 feet tall who happens to be REALLY REALLY UNUSUALLY STRONG? Not only do people hardly ever give reason as to why their character is strong, but it’s unrealistic. Sure, they might be able to lift their own weight because they don’t weigh that much, but other objects? It just makes me think that people can’t stand the idea of a weak character (Weak characters <3) so they throw in a bunch of muscles just for the hell of it. If you’re going to make a guy who’s strong, explain it and make sure that they’re not somehow scrawny too, because it just doesn’t work.
- 11) Team sports.
People don’t seem to get the idea that Panem is set in the future. This includes the fact that any sports with an abundance of rules/guidelines aren’t likely to show up in Panem. Basketball, baseball, soccer, football, etc. Whatever it is, I probably won’t allow it. However, that doesn’t mean that all activities are banned. Gymnastics and dancing of any sort are allowed, but only in the upper Districts. If you have any questions about other activities, ask a staff member.
- 12) Technology in the Districts.
If you’ve read the books, this is just common sense. No cell phones/iPods/cameras/laptops. I might make an exception for the upper Districts for the camera/computer bit, but it just depends. If you’re unsure about something technology-wise, PM a staff member before you assume anything.
- 13) Transportation in the Districts
The only people who would probably have access to cars would be the high-ranking officials of the upper Districts and Capitol characters. Everyone else, tough luck. They’ll have to tough it out and walk wherever they go.
- 14) Hospitals/Medical care in the Districts.
Are we seeing a pattern yet? Poor Districts, their lives are different. Please, no hospitals in the lower Districts. There might be a few small facilities in the upper Districts, but that’s about it.
- 15) “OH NO, my parents are DEAD!” DDDDx
Wow, okay. It’s getting old. It’s understandable that the occasional character might have a dead parent (and I really can’t make you fix that..) but it’s still annoying. The events of a character’s history can have an effect, yes, but randomly throwing in the fact that his or her parents are dead just to make a character seem more interesting is not okay. A character can be interesting and still have a pleasant past.
- 16) “Normal” traits.
“Bob’s face is normally shaped.”
When you say that something is “normal,” you’re really not saying anything about your character at all, because what is normal? Rather than being lazy and labeling something about your character as “normal,” please just go into detail about it.
- 17) Young age, unrealistic abilities.
This follows what I said about research, and common sense rules into it too. Kids can only accomplish so much, so I don’t want to see any more 10-year-old runaways or 6-year-old murderers, mkay? Awesome. Please think realistically when you’re judging the intelligence of your character at any given point in their history.
- 18 Laws-- unrealistic punishments.
If your character has ever committed a crime and been punished for it, you must consider the idea that maybe their punishment isn’t strict enough or is too strict for this setting. A lot of this relies on what District they live in. Anyone living in District 11 would have been a worse punishment for their crime than anyone in District 12 who had committed the same crime. Punishments are generally worse in Panem than they would be today, so keep that in mind if you’re going to make your character a criminal.
- 19) Immigrating from other places.
As I’ve said before, don’t just assume that something is okay. In the books, the status of the rest of the world outside of Panem is unknown, so we are going to be safe with this and say that every character must be born in Panem. No exceptions. Along with that, I don’t want to see any characters running around knowing some other language other than English, and accents are out too.
- 20) Specific years.
The exact year that the first book was set is unclear, so rather than saying “Bob was born in the year 2231,” or something of that sort, please put the Hunger Games year. (i.e “Bob was born in the year of the 34th Hunger Games.”)
- 21) Human muttations.
Nice try. They’re not allowed.
- 22) Odd occupations.
Unless you can give me a good reason why your character should have some occupation other than something to do with his or her District’s industry or some other job that makes the world go around (e.g. baking, teaching, etc.), I won’t allow it. Please remember that the wealthy are more likely to be able to deviate from the norm while people who aren’t wealthy probably won’t have such a luxury.
- 23) Weapons.
I could possibly understand concealable knives if you explain why your character might have them, but a character who carries around a sword or some other gaudy weapon? No. Nor should they be able to handle such weapons unless they happen to be a Career.
- 24)Surviving out in the open.
Yes, this site has wanderers that DO survive in the forests. Does this mean that every single character should be able to do so? No. It's difficult and horrible, so an 11-year-old wanderer just wouldn't work. This also qualifies for characters that shouldn't be able to handle it. This includes Capitol characters, characters who were previously wealthy, and anyone below the age of 12, though that's a bit of a stretch too.
- 25) Capitol-like appearances.
In any of the lower Districts, I don't want to see anyone walking around with tattoos or dyed hair. They don't have such opportunities in the lower Districts. Honestly, seeing a detail like that in any of the character bios that aren't for the Capitol will annoy me, but I'll let it go if it's in District 1 or 2. Maybe Districts 3 and 4 if you can give me a good explanation.
- 26) Non-Careers training for the Games.
Characters that aren't Careers shouldn't be training for the Games. It's plain and simple. Why would you even include that? Tributes are pretty much equal in our Games, so saying that your character is well-trained for the Games won't get you anywhere, and if they are picked, I'm going to sit back and laugh as they die first. xD
- 27) Lack of organization.
Please put a space between each paragraph that you write to make it clear where one paragraph ends and another begins. It just makes it easier for the staff to tell.
- 28) Mentioning characters from the books.
This site is a prequel to the series, so it wouldn't make sense for your character to randomly know about characters from the books.
- 29) Illegal hunting.
Just because Katniss hunts illegally in the books, people feel for some reason that their character should be able to do that as well. I'm going to go ahead and say that this should not happen unless a) they're a wanderer or b) they are in dire need and you can give me an excellent reason as to why they know how to handle weapons.
This is a running list, and I will be sure to add things as I remember them or come across them.