The Character Consultancy

Home Consultations Blog

Doing a No Frills - A Customer's Perspective

Guest post by OccamsSword

The power of creativity we, as writers and worldbuilders, can call upon is absolutely incredible. Sometimes, though, it can get a little overwhelming. Have you ever thought up a great idea for a character only to realize you have no idea why they act the way they do? Or maybe you’ve come up with an alien race to people your story or a world to set it in, but you just can’t seem to hammer down all the details or set them in order? Or maybe you already have a defined character in mind, but you’d like to get to know them better? Well, then a No Frills is the service for you.

I have an original character of my own I love to write about, but I thought her backstory could be more clearly defined, the sources of her personality more clearly defined. So, I chose to start with a No-Frills character piece. It couldn’t have been easier to get started. I simply mentioned my interest to the Consultancy, and I was sent a form asking for a brief rundown of who the character was, what made her tick, and requesting a brief summary of important formative periods of her life. I found it was neatly structured and organized, and it made me think about details of the character I hadn’t considered before, but it was organized so that either elaborate details or a “broad strokes” approach would have been appropriate.

After sending that back, I soon got the beginnings of an outline of the character from the very beginning, with startlingly good insight into how she would think and, more importantly, possible reasons why. Most importantly of all, the Consultancy is working with me [See Occam's answers to my new questions in our first draft here ~ Hayley], not creating things from whole cloth but providing prompts and questions [Like here in draft 2 ~ Hayley] about the character in order to better understand. A section or two is completed at a time, with each part of backstory bringing up more possible reasons for later behavior, family dynamics, and the like. Each time I look forward to getting more insight, and I’m finding that merely having the questions asked helps get my creative gears turning!

[Below are the rest of our drafts, with Occam's responses. ~Hayley]

Professionalism and expertise are on obvious display here, too, real-world insights into fictional characters that make them feel as real as any actual person. I’m excited to see how this one turns out, and if I’m ever stuck for inspiration or just looking to expand the worlds I create, I’ll know where to turn to!

[This review was written while Nakhta's profile was still in progress. Now that it's finished, click here to see the finished profile! ~Hayley]


Credits

Thank you to OccamsSword for this review.
Title image by redvelvetbat and used with their kind permission.