Extension of the author. I don't think it is possible to create something that you don't have ANY connection to. I do think the connection can be really minor (I like to think I have very little in common with my characters who rape, kill, cheat, lie), or very obvious (I have a couple characters whom I can really relate to--I have writers, bibliophiles, characters who get picked on a lot, characters who feel really out of place in the world).
I've also had characters who have their own minds, who decide they want to be something other than what I originally intended them to be. I find it easier to change plot or circumstances than I do to change the personalities of the people in my stories. Once a personality takes root, that's how the character is going to be.
I see rasp's comment, and your reply, and now I am QUITE curious, so I will be scrolling up and seeing what all that was about...
I'm pretty with you there - I'd rather change my plot than a good character. If that means they end up in a more difficult situation than intended, well, I'd better start getting more creative to get the out of it
The thing with *raspil actually began in this comment thread: [link] When he/she came to my poll with that comment, I could immediately see they had no interest in a reasonable discussion, so I blocked the account to avoid letting things get out of hand/ incite any public drama.
Yeah, exactly. I think plot is super important--there has to be a good plot, or I won't keep reading--but if the characters are good, well-rounded and dynamic, I think you can justify saying "Well, yeah, that'd make the plot hella easier to write, but he/she just wouldn't DO that."
Knowing *raspil, she probably took your making this poll the wrong way, thinking you were trying to prove a point or something. Knowing you, you're genuinely curious to see what people think about the process and characters and such. I think you two just aren't seeing eye to eye. I'd be annoyed if someone came to my poll and left that kind of comment, though, so I totally understand your reason for blocking.
...Actually, this is kinda funny, because I just realized *raspil 's recent forum post probably stemmed from the same thing this poll did. In her post, she was talking more about one-dimensonal pet characters than characters in general. I saw that post before I saw your poll, or the conversation either thing came from. I wound up commenting saying yes, plot is important, but good characters are, too, and she agreed.
Most of my characters are an extension of some aspect of myself, or represent some trait I wish I could have. I have control over them, though the plot can surprise me sometimes. I have a bad habit of not planning things out in stories, and will often think of details to flesh them out as I write.
I don't do much planning either. Sometimes I might have a goal in mind, but it's usually something like "use mathematical terms to forge an emotional response" or something abstract like that. When I do plan, I feel like it takes something away; I feel obligated to stick to the plan.
i create characters before i create plots; characters make or break great literature. my characters may not be "real" but they influence my writing because they make up the bulk of it, especially because i tend to write stories centric to the human element.
I think I identify with characters more than anything else as well, even when reading. Even if you've got a fantastic story, I usually feel the need to get attached to at least one character. If I can't, I kinda lose interest.
i don't necessarily need to feel "attached" to a character so much as the characters need to seem like they're more than plot devices. "real" i suppose, if you understand. maybe authentic is a better word? anyway, there are genres where looser characterization works ( high fantasy&action&horror especially, though there are always exceptions) because the audience has already suspended their belief so far that they are really only engaging with the environment/plot (see james cameron's avatar), but generally speaking, i like the characters to tell the story, through their thoughts, actions, progressions, etc. people are my favorite animal, and they're worlds inside themselves.
I definitely understand - like, I always get kinda weirded out by shows with excessive fanservice because it feels like the characters are being treated like toys. Which is worse than treating them like plot devices to me.
And I can see what you mean about looser characterization as well; in something like a deconstructive work, exaggerating their character traits can make a point about the genre or archetype. (I kind of love deconstruction, so forgive my tangent )