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TIGSource ForumsCommunityTownhallForum IssuesArchived subforums (read only)CreativeWritingHow do you develop a lone character?
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dirak
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« on: July 13, 2014, 07:26:58 AM »

How does a character, who is isolated, develop? A story I'm telling has a character who has absolutely no contact with other people. Flashbacks and sentimental items are useful for the exposition, but don't provide much of a catalyst for character growth.

This could relate to video games (as in my case) or just in general: How do you develop such a character?
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Kyuugatsu
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« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2014, 08:20:51 AM »

Internal conflict
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Kytin
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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2014, 05:45:53 PM »

Character growth means that the character changes over time. This generally means that what the character wants changes. For a character that is all by himself this could mean starting out desperate to reestablish contact with civilization and ending with him finding himself terrified of seeing people again. Or he could start a determined survialist and have that determination whittled away. The important point is that he have a different character at the end.
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guybrush
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2014, 03:46:49 AM »

How does a character, who is isolated, develop? A story I'm telling has a character who has absolutely no contact with other people. Flashbacks and sentimental items are useful for the exposition, but don't provide much of a catalyst for character growth.

This could relate to video games (as in my case) or just in general: How do you develop such a character?

I'd go dig deep in his/her interactions with the world: even if only interacting with non-people, surely the character would have feelings and thoughts upon making contact with "things". Go there, try and express what the character thinks and feels, and try to imagine what the character would think if left in that situation for a long period of time.

Try imagining how you would react, where your thoughts would go, how would you keep your mind busy, how you would save yourself from going insane.  Or the opposite, how you'd appreciate being alone, having not to comply with social customs, and so on. Or, again, how you would start enjoying the situation only to "change" into despair after the "novelty" effect wore off.

You have quite a range of emotions and human psyche processes to explore there... Does this experience make your character better? Or worse? Does he keep positive and active, or does he give in to despair and just lets things happen to him? Does he find a renewed appreciation for humanity, or reverts back to bitterness shortly he rejoins society?

Just giving you a few prompts, I am not sure how your story develops so I can't really speculate too much. Hope it helps.
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Mittens
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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2014, 03:55:44 AM »

Make the game about introspection, dealing with difficult memories, internal conflict like Kyuugatsu said.
The character can, in the end, become someone who is resolved, has figured their life out, has dealt with their emotional issues blah blah etc.
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medieval
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« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2014, 11:49:12 AM »

Develop a narrative on the character having a. been alone for his/her entire life, or b. separated from family/friends/loved ones by conflict/loss/etc c. some crazy shit done happened? who knows the possibilities are endless

anyway, by doing that you get a solid foundation on which to build your character's personality/traits

hope that helps
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shelsoloa
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2014, 02:52:41 AM »

I am someone who has experienced a lot of isolation in my life, therefore it is one of the themes that I want to explore with my games. It's hard for me to say how your character should react to isolation, because for every person it's a little different. I'm strange because I both love and hate being alone.

When I am alone, warm in my room, listening to my favorite music, doing whatever I do most days; I feel safe, invincible in a way. Going from a place where I feel safe to being faced with judgmental eyes, liars, disappointment, and the other negative aspects in humans is hard. It's hard to admit that the reason I do not like people that much and that I prefer interacting behind a computer screen: is because I am scared of people hurting or judging me.

These are feelings that I feel are hard to express through gameplay, bur not impossible. The fear of rejection, the feeling of safety isolation brings, the constant loneliness. It's not something that can easily be put into words, but there is definitely stories than can be told around.

I feeeel like I went off topic, sorry I kind of went into a rant there  Tongue
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Alder
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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2014, 07:56:23 AM »

The way they interact with the world around them. You set up patterns of behaviour, you sprinkle in a few pointed deviations from those patterns. If you show us them doing something, without signs telling us otherwise we usually assume that thing is just what they do, and we can infer things about them from it. Think about the things you can tell about, say Samus Aran or early Mario, just based on what they're doing and what that gets across to us.
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2015, 03:45:17 AM »

What gets across is that they're both insane murderers stomping or shooting everything in their way. Surely there are better examples.
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Ammypendent
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« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2015, 12:21:22 AM »

Developed habits.

An isolated character with no contact with others often develop unique habits to occupy their downtime from surviving. This could be anything from crafting animal dolls from pine needles to performing strange ritualistic-like routines for basic tasks.

Alternatively, the character could focus their social outlet to other animals or even creating a "Wilson" to converse with.
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« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2015, 10:32:31 AM »

How does a character, who is isolated, develop? A story I'm telling has a character who has absolutely no contact with other people. Flashbacks and sentimental items are useful for the exposition, but don't provide much of a catalyst for character growth.

This could relate to video games (as in my case) or just in general: How do you develop such a character?
Probably this character would be autistic (not asperger's tho), and I'm not even joking. An individual living in a world made only of self, with no social interaction, would have some symptoms of autism spectrum. It developed in a world without no "other". And never learned language, probably, even if it could.
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LeonDaydreamer
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« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2015, 03:27:11 PM »

How does a character, who is isolated, develop? A story I'm telling has a character who has absolutely no contact with other people. Flashbacks and sentimental items are useful for the exposition, but don't provide much of a catalyst for character growth...

*Shellbot, props for being open about the issue.

That's a very broad question. The first thing you would need to know about this character is whether they are isolated by choice, happen to be isolated, or are forced into isolation. As in, they hate being around people and only interact the bare minimum with the outside world, but still live in their own little corner of the city; or that they got lost as a child and wound up living in the woods their whole lives, just surviving; or that they have been imprisoned or kidnapped by someone and spent their entire lives in solitary confinement.

These fundamental issues will vastly affect how they develop. If they are locked up in a room all their lives, they might be agoraphobic, afraid of going outside, and only feel safe in enclosed spaces they're comfortable with. Did they have any social interactions before being isolated, as in did they learn how to interact with other people, and can they appreciate human contact? Do they have any desire to make a connection with another person? If they haven't, can't and don't then they are missing nothing. If they do, they are probably terrified that if they put themselves out there they are going to be rejected. What is available to them? Do they have access to the internet, to movies, to games, to porn? Maybe that's all they need, and they live through the experiences of the people on the screen. If they are a complete recluse living out in the woods, they might have a very strong connection with nature, and that's all they need. Etc... There are many ways this character might develop depending on the circumstances.
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autumnspark
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« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2015, 10:04:34 AM »

@shellbot
When I am alone, warm in my room, listening to my favorite music, doing whatever I do most days; I feel safe, invincible in a way.

I think that in itself is a great way to help develop a character, and it might be something Night in the Woods is going after as well. Having a character be invincible or completely unfazed by things in their home, village, etc. but be harmed by them in the rest of the game world could be a good route to take. Seeing what stimuli in specific situations causes harm, and then having the character and player examine and understand why this is so would be a really interesting way to progress in a game.
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