What I tell my wife – “I’m plot-planning” or “I’m doing some characterisation”
What I’m actually doing – hitting the Seventh Sanctum site and other random generators, generating names for taverns, pirate ships and magical artifacts.
Actually, there are some really cool generators on there that have turned out some great things I’ve modified to fit some of my plots and characters. It’s so easy to lose time randomly generating names and things, and also great fun. Try it for yourself – but only when you have time to procrastinate.
I went one whole step better today in my procrastination, and made my own manual random generator. I printed out a whole bunch of different character traits on paper, cut them out, folded them up and put them in a shoe box. The idea is that I come up with a character name (probably from an online generator or randomly picking a page in my baby name book), and then pick three traits for my new character and go from there. I have a couple of wild cards in the box called “Specials”. If I get that trait, I get to pick from the Special Traits box, which includes such things as has super powers, has an addiction, is famous, is pregnant, is dead among others. I’ll add to it as I come up with more interesting things with which to terrorise my unsuspecting characters with.
So today I was randomly generating some test characters, just to grease the wheels, and came up with the following:
- Jenny, accountant, 36 – innocent, attentive, (special) has super powers – sounds like she works for H&R Block
- Henry, waiter, 22 – determined, impolite, (special) gay – like most of the waiters I’ve encountered
- Manuel, truck driver, 46 – mischievous, imaginative, (special) dead – being mischievous and imaginative may be the reason he ended up dead
- Clementine, student, 16 – decisive, sullen, (special) engaged – teenagers, huh?
- Delores, star ship captain, 48 – charming, restless, (special) invisible – great to spy on your crew and make sure no-one mutinies
Can’t say I’d find a use for any of these characters in my novels as yet, but you never know. Enough procrastinating for one day. I’m off to randomly generate a Ninja for the YA novel I’m working on. Then maybe a pub for my underage characters to get busted in.