Even if you never write down what your characters look like in your story, there has to be an idea floating around inside your head. For me those ideas are very precise and have an input into the plot.
An input, but how? Ah that is the secret, but I shall let you in on a little. As a society we see things more in symbols than most think. Society, as history has shown us, tends to see physically strong leader superior over intellectually strong leaders. Humans in general, tend to look at the color surrounding an item in judgment, without even realizing we are calmed by that blue tranquil room and set on fire by the strong oranges and reds. We see faces in clouds, rocks, any item as a throwback to internal warning sensors buried deep in the subconsciousness.
Symbols, subtle or in the face, can influence a story. In my series, the makeup characteristics of the characters have a major impact on why they are who they are and what is the consequences of that.
Let me verbally illustrate some examples from my book series. Ready, set, go:
For my main male character I went, of course, straight to the Hercules idealized version, that being the strong fearless, though flawed, hero. While the idea of a Hercules like figure is common, thus easy for anyone to imagine a power warrior without much convincing. The V-Frame body, the strength to wield a sword, and yes even the agility to perform complex maneuvers effortlessly. A combination of all the great warriors, the 6 pack abs, and yes that dripping machismo factor to mesmerize the ladies at the palace.
The perfect warrior, or so we think he is perfect, but really is anyone perfect. He is a fantasy hero, who probably cannot be match in the real world. But that is okay here since I am off world in an alien land where one has more flexibility to have fun in imagination land. Back to the body of our ultimate hero:
By making his form that of the classic warrior, then I can tweak those parts that make him special and unique, let alone alien. Think in the areas of hair, eyes, innate abilities, intelligence, etc. as we can expand those areas out from the physical body to psychological influenced acts, societal taboos, or even personal behavior traits. Our hero while feared for his temper and skills on the battlefield also can command the adoration of the people and his military. His temperament and moods are influenced not only by addition but also a degraded manipulated DNA forced upon him in a fetal state.
One must also remember that just because the person looks a certain way, does it mean he acts in a prescribed manner as deemed by stereotyping for he may be totally not what you expect. Then again…..
So how does this hero act? Is he brash, sweet, or a jerk???? You will have to read to figure that out.
Now this character, as described above, is the main character as far as I am concern. However there are 3 other male characters that are essential to the book on the positive side, i.e. the old-fashioned notion of the good guys in the white hats, though those hats are very far from pristine.
The father of our main hero, while much older, is also of that warrior framing assertiveness. I see him as the older Hercules along the lines of a dedicated warrior Leonidas. This man is the one who has survived the trails, the sadness of deaths, yet is still seeking that adventure. His experience is of course ingrained in him forming and molding his actions in his daily life. He has maintained his appearance of youthfulness in body, still displaying that V-Frame muscular physique. He is the older sexual dominant figure in the book, shall we say. Whereas his son may be more powerful, the father is not in any ways or means shabby. He is a domineering figure, who has learned in life how to handle his position, the severe consequences of his actions, how to wrangle a problem into his favor, and of course how to woo that what he desires. He has also learned from his mistakes as he grows older.
I have two more semi-major male characters, also a father and son. The son is lean, though muscular. He is not as toned as the hero above, but that is due to his lifestyle of drinking and partying. He is a lovable lush that is well liked by the citizens yet is also seen as a spineless leader to replace his father. In the background, he does realize his drinking causes problems after he almost kills someone and does try to kick the habit but is dragged back into that lifestyle fairly frequently. He uses women for what they can do for him, having little regard for the bounds of matrimony. While he may look pretty predictable, the story hinges on him changing and applying that change to the future. The question remains, will he change or just show a faced of change. Consequently never discount the ones who look like losers, they may have an ace up their sleeve, or is that the author’s sleeve.
And finally for today’s discussion, the father of our loveable lush. This man is around the same age as our dominant older warrior. He, like his son, is leaner but still very muscular. He was trained to be a genteel leader, to govern. All his training has been in that field, diplomacy, state politics, and how to be a fair leader. His warrior skills are limited in sharp contrast to his warrior counterpart. This political leader is the type who is laid back, lets things slide that are not important, until that is the final straw when he will strike out with fists or by a sharp damning verbiage.
So as you can see by these simple examples, I have 4 males all different, all variations of generalizations of people, yet they are all unique in the situations that surround them.
And these are the good guys? Oh dear…. want to see the bad ones… muhahahahaha