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So, I've been looking through the forums, and, I was wondering what people found works best for finding inspiration for characters. I personally find that music, beyond all other things, helps me to find and define a character. I often end up with a particular sound or even band or singer that when I hear, I can't help but think about and want to write for that character. I think music impacting mood is a common enough occurrence, but I've found that the song I pick to listen to changes the post. So like, if I were to write two replies to the same post, and I listened to song a for post a and song b (even by the same artist) for post b, they will be two very different posts. Perhaps not in actions, but perhaps in dialogue, and most certainly in tone. And I know that on the board I'm on right now, music gets tossed around a lot. We have a few OOC threads dealing with finding music and looking at what people are listening to, and it isn't uncommon to find youtube links in our Discord gen chat. I know some people can write without music, but, I don't think I could. And when I'm having muse issues, it is usually because I can't settle on what to listen to, or the song doesn't feel right. It just seems integral to me for finding that in to the character and the post.

Do you guys have other methods that impact your writing so much?

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I found your post a bit confusing, because first you are asking about the character, then you are mentioning posts, ie asking about the story. So maybe you want to know both.

 

When writing a character bio (ie inspiration for a character) I am first thinking what role would the character have in the story, and what nationality is he/ she most likely to be in order to meet that role (and as many additional roles as possible). From the role and nationality one would come with name, age, gender, history and personality, skills. For me, the history and personality (both including the skills) are written in a shuttle manner, asking questions: when, with whom, why, where, how. A phrase in the history would inspire a personality outcome, and a personality trait needed in the story has to be reflected in the history. 

 

A character can be inspired by a mix of music, history events, novels, movies, people around me, stories I have heard about other people. My mercenary was requested by the site administrator for a plot - "a mercenary based in Maracaibo, hating pirates and having some sailing skills". From this role, I decided that he would be a local from Nueva Granada (now Venezuela), and namely half Native and half Spaniard. I got inspired by the song "La Cruz de Santiago" by Mago de Oz, about a mercenary (there are rumours it's Alatriste), which gave me his name (Santiago), a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in his past (hence the cross of Santiago as the most treasured possession), military background and blades as favourite weapons. Then for hating pirates and sailing skills, I added in his history a shipwreck, being fished by a merchant ship which was latter attacked by the pirates and him being enslaved by pirates for a few months until escaped and took his revenge. I added the fact that he doesn't kill women and children, inspired from a short fiction happening in modern times in New York and Brazil, about a certain killer who didn't do it. (And who was tricked to accept it... and the employer ended the one killed).

 

Now, you are asking about posts - ie the actual story. I don't believe in writer's block. SOmetimes, brainstorming with the writing partners (or when writing alone, with some people who don't know the story) helps with inspiration. In most cases, I believe in being too busy or too lazy or haven't researched enough. If I can't write a post

 

1)  I have other real life worries and until they get solved or appeased, I can't write (the case lately),

 

2)  I am too tired and I need to relax, sleep, spend time outside

 

3) I can't see the scene well enough for lack of researching certain details, and I need to further research until I see the scene so that i can describe it. It had happened to me that I couldn't see properly what was eaten at a 1700s ball, or how exactly the sailors were working in the storm.

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Oops! Sorry bout that. I did wander a good bit, didn’t I? Yeah, I really just meant: what sparks your muse? I guess the other one I’m interested in, now that I’m thinking about it more is how do you pull yourself out of slumps? (Sorry for the lack of organization. I’m still trying to get my thoughts together a bit.) I really just meant that my muse seems tied to music and wanted to see what other people found worked for their muse with regards to any writing for a character, be that application, posting, whatever. Sorry for the confusion.

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Lately, I've really been getting into Pinterest-ing for muse! Creating general character aesthetics, wardrobes, home or business aesthetics really gets me into the feel of the character. If I don't have the muse to write, I always have the muse for Pinterest, which in turn gives me muse to write.

 

I'm also into creating spotify playlists. I have whole folders for OTP's and OC's and even threads. I agree that listening to different songs while writing can result in two very different interpretations, but if I'm writing through a playlist, I get all those different aspects in one. 

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a dark, urban fantasy;

inspired by sailor moon

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I've never really been able to take to music or visuals for inspiration. When my motivation for a character isn't there, a song won't help me it'll just stop me from writing through my slump. Sometimes when I'm stuck, I'll hop on site and work on bios, or hop into a plotter, and brainstorm things with other players and see if I can stumble upon a situation that I can get really excited about writing. Once I've found a good plot or rp partner that allows for the sort of character development I'm looking for, my muse just soars automatically. The process of  rping keeps the muse going, and if I get tired or stuck I can just say something. I might need to rp out a specific sort of scenario or write for a different character for a while.

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My biggest problem is sleep. When I'm well rested and on top of all my responsibilities, the creative muse/energy flows forth like seawater through a cannonball hole in the lowest deck of a ship. If my body/mind isn't well rested, nothing will be able to jumpstart the circuits for me. 

 

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