Pre-made Characters or Your Own Characters?

United States
July 5, 2012 4:29pm CST
When I first started writing years ago, I was greatly inspired to write stories using characters from movies, online games, and books. These characters were usually fictional fantasy characters created by someone else. I didn't know what I was doing back then but I discovered that that type of writing was called Fan Fiction. Often discouraged by some authors but unhindered to keep writing it, I kept doing it as it gave me a lot of pleasure and practice writing. Naturally, I could sell any of these stories as I soon learned they were copyright protected. Then I venture with a fellow writer and we wrote "Realmwalkers" (see profile) which required us to use our heads and imaginations to build a world called Tiaera. I did a lot of research online and that included looking at other worlds and characters created by my peers. Now I have a book and blog with cities, countries and races. It's wonderful having the freedom to write now using my characters. I have given up fan fiction and recognize it as being part of my learning process to becoming a published author. Have any of you done the same? Do you still prefer using pre-made characters and worlds rather than creating your own?
2 people like this
3 responses
@carmelanirel (20979)
• United States
5 Jul 12
What do you call it when a writer take real life people and uses their personality, looks, etc.. for a character? That is what I do, I don't use a person 100%, just some things that I find interesting, so it really isn't based on 1 person, but possibly a mixture of many people.
• United States
6 Jul 12
That's still creating a character because you are combining elements from various people to make one character. Lots of authors do that. Some may not even be aware of it. =) Tell me about one of your characters, Carmel? Do you use character sheets to keep them update and to help you remember their various traits, skills and physical appearance?
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Jul 12
Okay, then that is what I do and yes, I have downloaded this organization tool for writers. I not only have their description, but also who they are, who they are related to, what their homes look like and even can upload pictures to help me visualize the scene. I can't remember the name of this program, it's on my flash drive which I don't have plugged in at the moment, but if you are interested, I will write down the name next time I open my story.
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Jul 12
Yes, now you have my curiosity going, Carmel. Sounds like a neat tool to use. I decided to custom design my character sheets using MSPublisher. Made individual scrolls that can be moved around as needed for every character. But yes, let me know what this tool is you are using. Is it free?
1 person likes this
• Philippines
6 Jul 12
To be completely honest, until now I couldn't ride along the general idea implied by writing/reading fan fiction. Maybe I have just gotten used to writing/reading stories with original characters, instead of what you have referred to as "pre-made" ones. I don't know. Maybe that is how I just prefer things to be. However, I could tend to get interested with fan fiction, especially when it comes to the stories made from the movies or shows that I really like. Sometimes it may just depend on my mood, as well. I prefer the direct fiction over fan fiction, but I still believe that fan fiction has its own perks as well as challenges. With the latter, your challenge is to relive the story and trying to maintain the atmosphere that the original creators of the story had made. As for the former, the whole challenge is to start from scratch or from basis of the stories that inspired you to write a whole new plot. :)
• United States
7 Jul 12
You've made an interesting point there, AnachroniSam. I never thought of fan fiction that way but yes, trying to keep true to the character and their reality is a challenge of its own. Still, if you have references ready, like the book or movie, you can turn to for help it's not much of a challenge. When I wrote "Realmwalkers" I kept files and files on my laptop/PC and printed many out for faster reference and kept them all in 3-ring binder. The binder was divided up by divider sheets into sections for outlines, glossaries, maps, character sheets, etc... My mind could not remember it all so I needed to write and print it all out. But at least it's all there now at any other stories I decide to write. My next book shouldn't take as long next time.
• Philippines
8 Jul 12
Of course, you could find possible ways to overcome these challenges. Besides, if you are very much determined to complete your works, you will do whatever it takes to reach the finish line and see satisfactory results with your project/output. :) Good luck with your writing!
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Jul 12
Indeed, we writers need to do what we must to create good quality stories the continue from book to book without errors or discrepancies. Thanks! And good luck to you too! =)
• United States
5 Jul 12
I'm actually the opposite, I LOVE making up my own characters. That's actually one of the funnest parts of writing for me! When I have a new story idea I usually start off by creating and fully developing at least 1 character for it, if not more.
• United States
6 Jul 12
That's great! I do enjoy making them now also, but I was just so unsure of my imagination and ability to in the past. It was just easier for me to borrow someone elses to write about. But now that I have my world and realm, I revel in expanding what I have done and will continue to rely on myself for future characters, places and things. :) What kind of characters do you use? Are they normal fictional people? Did you ever try writing fan fiction?
• United States
6 Jul 12
No I have never written fan fiction. By "normal" do you mean like everyday people? Like a police officer or a teacher? Things like that. Some are pretty normal like that, but I do have a couple characters that, while they are still people, they aren't quite normal! Haha I'm glad you have confidence in your own imagination now, and are able to create your own characters that you can be proud of.
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Jul 12
Heheh! Yes, that's what I meant, Lily! =D But I like the idea of your characters being... ehh... supernatural? Gifted? Unusual? "Normal" can be boring to readers so if you can do something to make your characters quirky or different from a normal person, that's a good thing! Do you have many characters? And which is your favorite?