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Feb 7, 2018

How To Create Your Main Characters


The topic for this week is how to create the main characters for your series.

I’ll provide some tips and give examples of how I created the four main characters in Spirit Warriors. Before I get into each one of my characters, here are a couple generic tips for creating your characters:

-Think of all your characters (main and minor) as pieces of a puzzle, each one has to fit with your other characters, so plan ahead and think about how each character will interact with the others, and what impact that will have on your story.

-Try to keep the number of main characters between 2-6, any more than that and it will be harder for each character to stand out (especially if each one is getting screen time each episode/chapter).

-For naming your characters, I find it’s best to keep the number of letters between 4-7. Also, try to make the names unique, using regular names like “Sam, Dave, Bob” etc. isn’t going to make your characters stand out. If you look at all of the characters in Spirit Warriors, they pretty much all have short names that are unique. Short unique names make it much easier for the viewer to memorize.

-Giving each character their own costume color is another way to make each one stand out, this is especially effective for comic/animated characters.

-One final generic point, when creating all your characters (main and minor), think about your personal strengths as a writer. I knew Spirit Warriors was going to have a lot of comedy, so I had to include as many possible comedic options with the characters. For example, Lock is dim-witted, which gives me the ability to write jokes where he does something stupid. Tino is a nerd, which gives me the ability to write nerd jokes, Headmaster Ozana is fat and senile, which gives me the ability to write both fat jokes and senile jokes. This same principle applies to a story with fight scenes. If all your characters are fighters, think about what kind of fighting styles they can have. Giving each character a different fighting style not only makes them unique, it will give you as the writer more options when you write their fight scenes. 

The Main Spirit Warriors Characters

I created the main characters in this order: Lock (the protagonist), Tino (his friend/sidekick), Breta (the lead female), Hanzo (the anti-hero/rival), and Juzan (the cool guy). As I stated earlier in the post, I knew I wanted diverse personalities that would give me a lot of options in terms of comedy. Hanzo wasn’t going to arrive until later in the series (episode 34 for anyone who read the scripts), so I just focused on shaping the personalities of the other main characters first.

Giving each one a personality was really a process of elimination, I wanted a nerd character, so that made sense for Tino, as the sidekick he didn’t need to be a strong physical character. I wanted a dim-witted character for comedic purposes, that obviously couldn’t be Tino since he was going to be a nerd. It couldn’t be Juzan, because he was supposed to have a cool personality. So it came down to either Lock or Breta. I was initially hesitant to make it Lock, because I figured the main comparisons for my series would be Dragon Ball Z and Naruto, both of which feature lovable but dim-witted protagonists. Making Breta the dim-witted character would certainly have given me the option to write a lot of funny “dumb blonde” jokes, but the more I thought about it, I felt it would make her character too unrealistic. As a female martial artist that had to be able to defeat physically stronger male opponents, it just made more sense that she would be able to outsmart them. So Lock was the only choice left, and although it did make his personality a bit similar to Goku and Naruto, I knew it was the best option.

Each character’s name was also supposed to a part of their personality. Lock got his name because it represented the two sides of his character. You can say “Lock” and it sounds hard and tough, which represents the fighting side of his character. However, you can also say “Lock” and it sounds a bit silly, which is the non-fighting side of his character. I gave Tino his name because the word sounded weak, it didn’t sound like a cool name, which matched his character. Similarly with Juzan, I thought the word sounded cool, which reflected the character’s personality. Breta’s name was both unique and feminine, essentially it’s just Greta with a stronger sounding letter “B” in place of the “G”, it fit her character perfectly. Each name was short, unique, and I hoped it would subconsciously portray the characters’ personalities to the reader.

Lock:

For the character designs, I started with Lock first. As I mentioned earlier, I knew Spirit Warriors would be compared primarily to Dragon Ball Z and Naruto, and both series’ protagonists wear orange colored outfits. I wanted something different, and since blue is the most popular color it was a no-brainer to assign that color to Lock. Similarly with his brown hair color, it was something that would make him look different than other anime protagonists. His messy, uncombed hair was also a way to reflect his character’s easy going personality.

Tino:

Tino’s character design was unique from the rest of the characters, he was the one character that I didn’t want to look cool, which again, would reflect his personality. Tino’s main color of white was chosen because it would be the dullest color, and you’ll also notice how much lighter the blue of his undershirt is compared to the blue of Lock’s costume. The outfit also didn’t include the complimentary stripes that the other main characters have on their costumes. Tino’s “mop top” hair was also designed to fit his character, and of course there is that one hair that’s always sticking up. One final point about Tino’s costume, I also made his martial arts belt unevenly tied, which reflects his martial arts skill compared to the other main characters.

Breta:

Breta’s costume was probably the most difficult to design, it had to be a balance between sex appeal and practicality for a martial artist. Considering that she was going to be in a lot of martial arts fights with male opponents, I wanted to make sure her costume was more feminine. The dress and glove style was a good way to portray this, and really makes her costume stand out from the others. Ultimately I selected the Chinese style dress, the slit-leg design not only looked good but it allowed her a full range of motion when throwing a kick. Her belt design was also changed slightly to better suit the dress style. I picked red for her main color because it’s a very strong color, and would be a good match with the blue of Lock’s costume.

Juzan:

With blue, white, and red assigned to Lock, Tino, and Breta respectively, I had to pick a color for Juzan. I thought about a couple different options but after considering what would look good next to the other characters, I selected a vibrant green. I also added a couple red items to really make his colors stand out. Juzan’s character was going to be more flashy than Lock (which would play well during their rivalry), so I gave Juzan jewelry to make him look cooler. His personality also likes to show off so I didn’t give him an undershirt, as he would rather show off his muscles.

There’s a lot more I could add about each character, but I don’t want this blog to turn into a book. If any readers have questions or want more information about the main character designs feel free to email me at webmaster@spiritwarriorstv.com

Next week will have a similar format to this, except I’ll go over the minor characters: Musa, Headmaster Ozana, Ms. Hancock, and Rondo.

Best Wishes,

Jeff