Creative Outlets


  • Pitcrew

    What ways beyond the standard (background, RP, basic wiki) do you express things for your character? Do you do any to help you get into your character's head? Or any that are just for fun?

    Additionally, what creative / inspirational methods have you found that work for you? What helps kickstart ideas? What helps organize ideas? If you're in a rut, creatively, what gets you out of it?


    I've begun doing some aesthetic boards for myself and others. They fall squarely into the 'for fun' category. Been doing them here and there because, well, I've gotten to that point of the last few months of my degree where I'll hit a wall some days and just have to do something wildly different for a little while. There's an etsy store full of neat cross-stitch designs from a guy who did similar. Though his was initially an all-nighter of "design pixel cross-stitch instead of study!"

    These are a Tumblr RP thing, I think? I'm guessing. I was introduced to the idea by a friend. She makes pretty awesome ones. I'm still kind of new to it.

    But as an example, here's one I did for John Constantine on Gods & Monsters:
    alt text

    (You can see the others I did here.)

    It's fun, relaxing, and so wildly different from the other stuff I do (work + school) that it's a really nice brain break. But it also helps me keep in the mindset of the characters I'm working on. I honestly might begin using them for stories I do moving forward because it could be used for characters, settings, scenes, plots... You could even expand and make them bigger.


    Another thing I've done with my recent plot is break out Microsoft OneNote. I love the structure of it; haven't found a replacement I like (Evernote just doesn't do it for me, I'm afraid).

    Anyway! I like that I can arrange things sort of like a physical scrap book. I have sections: notes, brain storming, a place to put logs, a place to put my summaries, a place to put NPC profiles, location profiles, etc. Instead of just a big GDoc or .txt file (the way I've usually done it!), I have this one thing I can just flip to and it's arranged more how I think rather than a big document I have to scroll through or a series of them open in multiple tabs. It's all self-contained in one program that's neatly organized and labeled.

    I'm not sure I'd apply it to anything outside of plotting, but I really appreciate it for that purpose. Honestly, it's done wonders for me for organization as a tool. I highly recommend trying methods until you find one that really truly works. It's like going from 'yeah, I use this and it does the job but I don't enjoy it' to 'holy shit I actually have a passion for this again.'


  • Pitcrew

    For me it's pictures and photoshop, a good PB and time on my hands. I need that visual stimulation sometimes. I mean I'm not great at it, but I enjoy myself. Of course I tend to play Changeling or mortals

    https://imgur.com/a/tgFq5

    https://imgur.com/a/Q7DAs


  • Pitcrew

    Music.
    Music music music.
    Playlists everywhere.
    (Derovai@Arx would listen to The Shins' whole back catalog if it were IC, basically. Spencer@New Prospect theoretically listens to the Killjoys album from My Chemical Romance -- don't knock it; it's very good. Last PC a few years ago theoretically listened to a lot of Foxy Shazam and The Clash. And so on.)


  • Pitcrew

    @fortydeuce said in Creative Outlets:

    Music.
    Music music music.
    Playlists everywhere.
    (Derovai@Arx would listen to The Shins' whole back catalog if it were IC, basically. Spencer@New Prospect theoretically listens to the Killjoys album from My Chemical Romance -- don't knock it; it's very good. Last PC a few years ago theoretically listened to a lot of Foxy Shazam and The Clash. And so on.)

    I totally forgot about music! Yes, I love to build playlists for my characters, too. Though they take time, often. It'll start with a song here, there, and build up over time.


  • Pitcrew

    I’m always inspired by my PB. If I can cobble together a decent set of pics, I spark off and get the juices flowing.

    Second is for getting in their head. It’s basically an interview that is conducted (in my head.) I find voice, quirks, flaws, hobbies, all manners of fluff to fill in gaps. This can lead to ideas that are tough to connect but thinking in their voice is immensely helpful to me.

    To a fair lesser extent is popular media, outside of documentaries (That’s for the cruchy research stuff). For example, I use Norman Reedus as a PB on Reno. I avoid The Walking Dead usually because I find the influence to be generally detrimental. Shane and Daryl have stark differences. Any little thing I’ve stolen is quite purposeful, like an easter egg of sorts.

    At the same time, sometimes I need to see them move, emote and react. This is because of a visual issue I seem to have. (I have a hard time envisioning places and characters.



  • I have been working on writing up more of the theme and background for the home brewed '3rd Republic' antagonist group for Fading Suns and, speaking of music, the big inspiration I have been using for them is Christopher Tin's Sogno di Volare, the main theme for Civilisation VI.

    Here

    Yes, they are the 'antagonist' faction and yes they have their fair share of flaws (even up against a bunch of neo-feudal assholes in the Known Worlds groups) but they have their own 'national myth' and idealistic core that they can be genuinely inspired and driven by. Their civilisation spend centuries without even access to flight let alone space and their viewpoint is quite different to the 'end of history' medieval one more common to the Known Worlds.

    In practice they are not in fact idealistic, enlightened crusaders for democracy who are returning equality and the true words of the Prophet to the worlds of human space in defiance of encroaching night. But they can definitely sell it to themselves that this is true and be heartfelt about the uplifting, glorious story.


  • Pitcrew

    I once made a sumo character, that I spent about 2 days researching sumo culture, training, diet and various other things for. Gave me a lot of insight on how that character would be have.


  • Pitcrew

    PB helps me a lot. I had to change a PB the night before the character went live because I wasn't clicking with it and hadn't found their voice. Changing helped a ton.


  • Pitcrew

    The only way I can get fully into a character's head is to see them do their thing. If it's a political character, I have to get a speech written for them, or do some wheeling and dealing. If it's a combat character, I have to play them in a fight, whether it's a spar or real combat. If they're a pilot, I have to see them behind the wheel/in the cockpit.

    PBs help. Sometimes music helps. But I have to see them do what they do best.

    Also, movies and books within their genre help. With my swashbuckler, I've been reading a lot of Sharpe and watching The Musketeers and The Adventures of Robin Hood (and if they were streaming, I would totally watch The Sea Hawk and/or Captain Blood).


  • Tutorialist

    @wretched said in Creative Outlets:

    I mean I'm not great at it, but I enjoy myself.

    You are. You are fantastic at making mien-pics. I always wish I could get you to make one for me whenever I make a new PC. :P


  • Admin

    I've never gotten a character right in my head until I played him in at least 5-6 scenes with different people. It just takes me that long to stretch him out, see what makes him tick and experiment with different voices until one just feels like him.

    Artwork can help. Photographs - the kinds we use for PBs - almost never did it for me. Now and then I use one of my saved quotes (I keep a small document of ones I like) and in that case it can inspire something... but it's short-lived. Once a PC hits the grid and stays there long enough he departs from the original concept, by design.


  • Pitcrew

    @arkandel said in Creative Outlets:

    I've never gotten a character right in my head until I played him in at least 5-6 scenes with different people. It just takes me that long to stretch him out, see what makes him tick and experiment with different voices until one just feels like him.

    This is why i hate writing backgrounds more than a couple sentences long. I don't know how they are, how they were shaped, until I get a chance to play them a bit


  • Admin

    @wildbaboons said in Creative Outlets:

    @arkandel said in Creative Outlets:

    I've never gotten a character right in my head until I played him in at least 5-6 scenes with different people. It just takes me that long to stretch him out, see what makes him tick and experiment with different voices until one just feels like him.

    This is why i hate writing backgrounds more than a couple sentences long. I don't know how they are, how they were shaped, until I get a chance to play them a bit

    I love writing backgrounds. They don't help me one bit, but I... like writing backgrounds.


  • Coder

    I love writing descriptions.

    I just wish people read them more.

    For me a description is how the character comes to life in my head, it's not the background, it's not the sheet, it's the description. I /hate/ how I am /required/ (by people who don't read on a reading based medium) to find a picture. It rarely matches my description.


  • Pitcrew

    @wildbaboons said in Creative Outlets:

    @arkandel said in Creative Outlets:

    I've never gotten a character right in my head until I played him in at least 5-6 scenes with different people. It just takes me that long to stretch him out, see what makes him tick and experiment with different voices until one just feels like him.

    This is why i hate writing backgrounds more than a couple sentences long. I don't know how they are, how they were shaped, until I get a chance to play them a bit

    I love that more games are letting me write bullet point backgrounds. Let me write the high notes and fill things in as I play the character.


  • Admin

    @lithium said in Creative Outlets:

    I love writing descriptions.

    I just wish people read them more.

    I love posing descriptions. I just wish people posed them more often.


  • Pitcrew

    I write little mini-stories in my head about my character interacting with things that no one on-screen cares about. My character on Darkwater had this whole, elaborate relationship with his mortal boss, a nameless NPC who mattered absolutely nothing to anything and was never once on-screen, but I enjoyed scribbling out or visualizing confrontations and complications coming from it. All of my characters have similar situations in their off-screen life that help me flesh them out and enjoy dynamics that are uncommon among PCs. (Typically, as a corollary, when the offscreen headcanon interactions become more consistently enjoyable than the on-screen interactions, it's usually a sign a character is played out on a game, and I need to move on.)


  • Coder

    @arkandel said in Creative Outlets:

    @lithium said in Creative Outlets:

    I love writing descriptions.

    I just wish people read them more.

    I love posing descriptions. I just wish people posed them more often.

    See I love posing /actions/ people can respond to, not stuff that is a barrier to entry to RP. They can easily look at my character and read what I look like, or if they know me, they have already done so and posing it over and over again can be... intrusive.

    To me.


  • Pitcrew

    @lithium I don't think the full description ever needs to be reposed, but I love posing the elements of change. What are they wearing? What do they smell like? Wet hair? That you may pick up in conversation depending on how perceptive your character is.

    For me these are huge indicators of mood and where the character was and where they are going. Also I love writing about lighting, but that one may just be me.


  • Admin

    @zz The best thing about it - for me - is that it gives me an instant idea of what the other person's mood for RP is currently like. Nothing gets me more creative than someone sinking effort into their poses.