How To Visualizing Characters for Writing

This might be obvious to most, something you automatically do. I’ve come to realizations of something that seemed so obvious after I learned or thought of it. So, I’ll explain a technique where you are the actor.

Observe how people behave. Watch how characters are done by actors, written in novels of course, etc. Then act that character out in your head.

Take Gir from Invader Zim. (Netflix Trailer. Gir talks at the end.) What would he say, how does he walk? If he says, “I saw a squirrel, it was going like dis.” and “But I need tacos. I need them or I will explode. That happens to me sometimes.”

I’ll create a new scene and add new dialogue never done in the show.

Gir wobbled and spun around. “It’s Tuberday.”

Zim squinted. “What’s Tuberday Gir?”

Gir frowned and looked up at Zim with puppy dog eyes. “I don’t know.” Running away Gir tripped. “I love saying Tuberday.”

Play the actor all the time. When you see or hear what someone says, try and come up with something else they might say like writing fanfiction. Don’t Plagiarize. That’s why you practice having another person’s character in a new location, situation, and saying something original in the first place. Once you create your own characters, you won’t be using what someone else already wrote.

Once you get many other characters down, you can do your own easier.

You can take acting classes. At the least, watch videos on YouTube about acting. You can translate this to your writing.

Sci-Fi, Giving names to technology

Science Fiction, especially military type Sci-Fi, is a genre where names for a technology of any kind is preferred.

For the names of spaceships/spacecraft, I go with the format of the class name, model name, maybe a ship’s number, then the given name of that particular vessel. A Dreadnought class Ballista named the Onager. I usually only come up with a number if there’s a reason in a book with a ship being identified by a computer system.

With weapons, I go for acronyms on military-grade ones and single names for handguns. ESAR is a gun and Falchion is a different one. Maybe nickname the military ones in dialogue.

For vehicles, I tend to go with acronyms and a nickname for the military ones. For my mechs labeled A.R.C.V, people call them Arkvees to give it a military sound in the story. One of the futuristic civilian cars is called an Alacrity. I search for names of real vehicles and find a name that sounds like it would fit in with the real-world ones.

I have an in head computer system for cyborg characters called an Aivot. I search Google and check out different language translations of English words sometimes. For this one, Aivot is a Finnish word meaning brain if the translator is to be trusted. It sounds cool to me, so the meaning doesn’t matter since it’s the name of a company’s product.

With drones, I give the model a name. The names range from basic Strike drones to the more out there Sepiida drones. They’re categorized by kind of drone as in the Sepiida is an Infiltration type.

Writing Fight / Action Scenes. With Examples.

Saw other blogs about writing fight scenes. I didn’t like most of the few I read. Plus I figured I had helpful information to add; examples being one of those things. I decided to attempt my own post on the subject.

I visualize the fight in my head like a movie. Every arm and leg movement to hair swishing about. I write down much less than I imagine. Well at least on edit. For the larger scenes, I do a map like a D&D RPG map or a football play to keep track of multiple peoples locations.

Having reactions to actions taken is important. Writing the visuals to having been shot or punched rather than simply writing “punched in the face” then continuing on to the next action.

I fear some of my fight scenes may be a bit too long for some people with all the action/reaction. Hopefully, I’ve got the pace down with short sentences.

I also find smaller paragraphs easier to follow what’s going on. The whole scene as one paragraph is usually too much.

I try to get emotion into each fight. Action: getting angry and lashing out. Reaction: crying from getting hit. Dialogue: making threats, begging, or whatever else I can think of at the time for the characters and the situation.

And of course, experience does help. Even if it is something simple like you fell and scraped your knee. Think back about how that felt, how sudden it occurred, how stiff and sore it felt to bend your leg after.

Example of a small fight scene where young men bullied a child. Web of Chaos Chapter 3

Stepping forward, the young man lifted his chin, frowning and glaring to intimidate Wendy. A mistake on his part as she did not hesitate to uppercut his angry face. With a crack, she felt pain shutter through the thin bones in her hand. The young man fell over dazed.

The boy took the opportunity and ran away from the bullies.

Fighting back her tears, Wendy walked off. The other young men did not stop her. While walking away, she tried to open her fist. The attempt hurt too much, so she left her hand curled up.

Example of a small Sci-Fi fight scene. Web of Chaos Chapter 1

Close enough for his system to ID the men, the Aivot listed their personal information in Gill’s eyes. Seeing both had lengthy criminal histories, Gill aimed his gun. His Aivot calculated where it pointed, showing him a circle and cross-hairs on his display. He fired. A red bolt of energy burned right through one man’s head at the ear. The man fell face first with a thump.

Startled, not believing what had just happened, the other man froze.

Running at him, Keren rammed him hard in the shoulder with her horns.

Yelling once from the sudden pain, he sprawled about on the ground. The guy tried to get up, desperate to make a run for it.

Gill was right next to him in a second, aiming the Falchion gun in his face. “Don’t move, and talk fast. Who recruited you?”

“____ you man, we’ll kill you.” The guy sat up. Fear and anger wrestled for control of his face.

Example of a Sci-Fi fight scene I modified from a WIP I have not released.

The spaceship’s access ramp came down. MC flipped onto it. A white and silver exo-armor slammed into him. They bounced off the walls, ceiling, and floor down the spaceship’s corridor.

MC threw the exo-armor into the ceiling. He backflipped out of the way as it fell. The exo-armor fired a few random blasts. None hit him.

As the exo-armor stood, MC kicked it in the head. The helmet cracked and the exo-armor stumbled back a step.

MC charged. The exo-armor grabbed him with one arm. With a jerk, it sent him flipping down the corridor. Landing on his feet, his claws scratched the floor as he slid back.

The exo-armor fired at MC. He absorbed the blasts and dashed at the exo-armor again. When it reached for him, he stopped the arm with one of his four hands while grabbing the other limbs. A shield came up around the exo-armor but fizzled out on contact with MC. He smashed the face of the helmet with two of his remaining hands.

With fragments of the exo-armor helmet in her face, the woman yelled. “I surrender.” The exo-armor’s systems shut down. The shield faded away.

Soren dragged her down the corridor a short distance and chucked the exo-armor out the access ramp. It fell with a loud thump onto the sand a hundred feet down.

Link: This Youtube video “8 Tips to Writing Better Fight Scenes” by Vivien Reis is worth watching.

Link: This Writers Digest post “Blow-By-Blow: Writing Action and Fight Scenes — 5 Tips” by Chuck Sambuchino, Fonda Lee is worth a read.

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Using Life Events as Parts of Stories

In celebration of the 4th of July here in the U.S.A, I’d like to point out things that may have happened to you, me, or someone at the time. You can use many things to spruce up your book.

When the fireworks went off, did your dog hide? You can add a dog into your story and have the explosions from an alien attack cause your dog to become fearful and hide under the bed or in a closet. Remember how the dog behaved; what their eyes did, if they ran in circles first, if they tried to drag you to safety, or did the dog go to you for comfort.

The dog can be changed to an alien child or anything you can imagine up.

Another thing. Remember the sounds of the fireworks. Maybe take notes from Youtube videos. Write out the starting whistling sound changing to the last bang. Different types do different sounds and can be used for weapon sounds in a story.

Do you have lightning bugs where you live? Did they flash about while the fireworks exploded? For me, other bugs, including mosquitoes, would pester me while sitting in the grass. A little beetle climbing up my T-shirt sleeve.

The fireworks caused children to cry. The long event made some children tired. Some slept, yet others were grumpy. A few still excited, jump around in the dark and try to catch lightning bugs while not paying attention to getting trampled by the crowd or cars slowly inching along to escape before the others.

Did you trip in the dark? I did on a curb. A detail that can be used for some clumsy character in a future tale.

Is the angry drunk ruining the night for someone? All too often nowadays its the boyfriend/husband screaming into his cellphone, making sure everyone knows he believes his girlfriend/wife is a _____. Oblivious to the toddlers around him. Perhaps that one standing back and not moving is his own.

Getting home I take a deep breath and let the anxiety out in a huff. I need to wind down before I can sleep. Maybe watch a show on Netflix. Oh, I know, It’s cathartic for me to write out things. I need a blog post for Friday which I’ve been having trouble coming up with what to write. Every little detail can be fodder for the needed details that make a novel interesting.

I know I’m still going to check all my social media accounts after this and watch a show anyway. Maybe even a 2 hour one. I’ll be in bed sometime after 2:00 am.

Sample

In the alien forest, strange insect creatures bumped into Alice. Some beetles careened off into the underbrush after their crash. One latched onto her shirt and climbed up her shoulder.

A small one with long wings beating in a blur bit her. She jerked away. Turning about she saw swarms of them. Alice moved forward then turned, running in circles to avoid another unpleasant encounter with the tiny creatures. She got bit again anyway.

Running for it, confused with what she should do, Alice’s eyes darted about in panic.

Spotting a local person, she ran to them. She grabbed their arm and hid behind them, not saying what was wrong.

End

I thought of putting another part with a drunk local going off on Alice being afraid of bugs. I decided I didn’t want to write negative stuff right now and for the post ending in that way. I’m sure everyone can see at least one way to add something of the other observations into the writing.

Do you like Mechas?

I’m not using “Mech” though I like the sound of it better. If you search that it tends to show “Mecha” anyway.

One key thing I find concerning Mechas is when they’re in a story, whether in a book, anime, or a game, there are lots of models and a tendency to have many swappable parts.

I come up with a bunch of information for my Mechas. It’s hard to come up with cool names for each Mecha type and a name for each weapon. I do enjoy doing the initial building and research, but I also need to stop doing that and actually write the story.

Are you hardcore on this? Do you just do art or write without going in-depth?

In the actual story, because people say it’s too complex, I try to limit how much detail is explained. Hopefully, I have managed to get a nice flow between description and action.

Do you fill out every detail with a purpose?

I have gone with most being humanoid and around 3 stories tall; though not all.

There are Mechas specialized for flying, land, underground, and water. There are attack, defense, speed, infiltration, and stealth models. Oh, and labor class models for construction, loading/unloading ships, and so on.

Does anyone go for all around models that fight wherever or however? Maybe just heavy armor tanks and light armors for speed.

I don’t have any that fully transform. There is one that has tank treads and they move into leg position.

Do you go for the transforming from a spaceship to Mecha or similar?

Special abilities are also something I try to add in. Teleportation powers, cloaking, a long powerful energy shot.

Does anyone do this or a more realistic military approach?

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