Witty Wordsmith: Developing Great Characters | UFOP: StarBase 118 Star Trek RPG

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Witty Wordsmith: Developing Great Characters

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So your bio is filled out and submitted.  You have a great picture to go with it and even picked out the perfect name.  Now you need to move that character to the (electronic) page.  Or maybe you’ve been playing the same character for years but need to get the spark back into them.  For every simmer in the game, your character is your window to the story, and this article will present some advice on how to make a competent character into a great character that your fellow players will remember for years.

Once you have the bio and concept for your character done, your character exists only in your mind.  The challenge is getting that character written in a way that engages your fellow players.  The first step is to let everyone see your character’s point of view, and our simming style provides a great foundation for this.  Focus on really re-writing the action you see posted by the other characters in your character’s point of view.  Put their spin on it, and let your fellow players know what your character is thinking and how they are reacting to what is going on.

The next important step is to make sure your characters are active, not passive.  Your character should always have a goal they are seeking – even if they are not sure what the really want, or seeking something that is harmful to them.  Whether that is short term (“I want to get off this planet”) or long term (“I will be captain someday”) every post you submit is a step in your character’s journey.  When a character strives for something in the narrative, it becomes easier to decide how that character reacts – and from those reactions you will get great scenes!

The third thing to keep in mind is characters need to be emotionally engaging.  Even the most stoic Vulcan should engage the audience’s emotions with their struggle to stay logical despite the chaos around them.  In order to be engaging the character needs to have strengths as well as vulnerabilities.  For every shining success there must be a flaw or failing in the character.  This makes them compelling and easier for the audience of your fellow players to empathize with.  And the more your fellow players empathize with your character the more you will connect with them.  This not only makes your ships bonds better, but provides more fun for everyone playing!  It’s a win-win scenario.

Do you want more information on writing great characters?  Check out this article from the BBC Writer’s Lab on script writing essentials: character

Want to discuss character development?  Check out this forum topic in our writing improvement forum.  You can share your own character goals and insights with fellow players – it’s a great way to show off your favorite characters as well as meet other characters from across the fleet!