Keeping a character consistent

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Keeping a character consistent
« on: June 29, 2020, 10:05:12 PM »
So I'm writing a story about 3 house flippers and I tend to want to have funny things come out of all their mouths (situation depending).  I'm not sure if anyone here is a writer, but I'm not sure I want them to all be spontaneously funny.  But it's hard to keep track of what each character does as I develop them.  Anyway, I wondered if there was some kind of technique that anyone uses, if they are a writer here, to make sure their characters have a consistent personality.
aka luke

Re: Keeping a character consistent
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2020, 04:22:48 PM »
Sup, writer here. How much of a grip do you have on each of these character's personalities? Can you "feel" how each one would react in a given situation? It's like how when you become good friends with someone, you start to be able to guess how'd they react to certain things. You have to achieve that level of understanding with your characters for them to become truly alive and consistent, but depending on what you're writing you don't always have to go that far.

An easy way to achieve this is to have a separate document where you plan these characters out. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. List the characters, several major traits (i.e. age, gender, their past, etc) and then a few words for what their personality is like. With that, you now have a guide for you to consult back to if you feel like you're losing your grip on who these characters are.

Finally, the best way to guarantee consistency is revisions. Fight the urge to get everything right in the first draft, that urge is the death knell of good writing. Just get the shit you think of down, walk away from the material for a bit, then revise however many times you need to. Read through the piece and edit as you go. As you read through you can keep track of the characters to see if they're truly consistent, along with any other problems you feel you need to address. Hope this helps!
no don't

Re: Keeping a character consistent
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2020, 08:22:38 PM »
Thanks.

I do like the idea of a character sheet.  I suppose if what I was writing was long enough I could add a reference to every page where they engaged in a certain aspect of their behavior.  That way I could quickly see all the times they were say, edgy or quirky etc. 

Part of the problem is that I'm coming back to a story that I started years ago, so I have only a vague idea of who these characters are, so even though I know the plot points I want to go through, I don't really know the characters as well.

I appreciate the point about not getting everything right and just getting out what you have.  I think that's just another form of procrastination as is answering posts on wetfish.  Oops.

 
aka luke

Re: Keeping a character consistent
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2020, 10:46:24 AM »
maybe the characters develop as the story develops. maybe at the end of your book you have to go back and rewrite part of an interaction because it isn't congruent with what you've decided the character is. idk im not a writer.

Re: Keeping a character consistent
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2020, 05:00:12 PM »
Thanks.

I do like the idea of a character sheet.  I suppose if what I was writing was long enough I could add a reference to every page where they engaged in a certain aspect of their behavior.  That way I could quickly see all the times they were say, edgy or quirky etc. 

Part of the problem is that I'm coming back to a story that I started years ago, so I have only a vague idea of who these characters are, so even though I know the plot points I want to go through, I don't really know the characters as well.

I appreciate the point about not getting everything right and just getting out what you have.  I think that's just another form of procrastination as is answering posts on wetfish.  Oops.

Yeah especially with revisiting something older, you may have to recreate the characters anew in a way that may not agree with what you wrote previously. Revise, revise, revise.
no don't