I like to think that one of my skills as a writer is that I have a very good imagination. This comes in handy when I’m trying to create characters. Sometimes though, I need more of a visual helper to help nail out the details. Sometimes I draw in a giant-ass sketchbook I picked up, but I’m not the best drawer, so I tend to resort to a few unconventional (?) methods. I kind of hate to admit this, but when I was younger, I used to go onto those doll/girl dress up sites to try and virtually create my characters. Needless to say, with their limited formats and design choices, they all kind of looked the same.
Within the past year or two, however, I’ve found a new way to create the characters, and it even works to help develop a little bit of their personalities and how they might react in a situation, like the death of a mentor or something similar.
I use video games.
Specifically (cause it’s a goddamn miracle that my computer can even run this), I use Skyrim. Like with (almost) every RPG, you can design a character to live in the game’s world and make choices depending on which path you want to take. I have two characters right now who I’m working into stories.
The first is my general Original Character, who I’ve been developing for a couple of years, I just don’t know where I’m going to use her. This is Evangeline, leader of a crime syndicate and witch.
My other character is actually for my survival story, and while not exactly how she’ll be in the story, the appearance is what I really wanted to focus on.
Her name in the game is Malika, but for the story I think I’ll go with Alya. The general idea is that she was born in a desert, her settlement/home was attacked, and she and the other survivors ended up wandering until another settlement in a different environment took them in.
I’ll probably keep using Skyrim to visually create characters as much as I can, or until I get a new computer that can run better games.
My point is, video games are definitely my favorite way to “see” my characters.