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Makai White Mage

Annabel Ashcroft

Faerie [Aether]

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  • 17

Anna's writing advice: Crippling your character

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It has been a long time since I have written one of these, but I got in the mood to do it again. Will it help anyone? Who knows, but hey, MY blog people! ;-)


If you are one of those people who give your FF14 characters backstories or write about them, do you ever consider crippling them?

Why would one even consider doing this? Quite simply, to make them more interesting, more relatable to the reader. After all, although reading about someone who is 'perfect' and powerful can be a fun fantasy, reading about someone who is more normal like yourself and triumphs over issues and problems can be far more fun.

Look people, there is a REASON Batman and Spiderman are some of the most popular superheroes around. IE: It's their flaws, their problems in their lives, them trying to deal with them while still being a hero. This makes them more relatable to people. It makes people say, "wow, they have kind of the same problems I do, that's pretty cool."

"But wait you stupid Blonde Ditz," my haters of my writing say, "do people REALLY want to be reminded of stuff they go through in real life in what they read and watch? I would think they want to ESCAPE from it!"

And the answer to that my silly Annabel hating secret fan is YES, they DO!!!!

Believe it or not, it is FUN to read about someone LIKE you who has interesting things and situations happen to them, being able to say, "Hey, that character is JUST like me!" This is why many of the most popular young adult novels ARE popular. They have stories of kids going through the same things their readers are going through!

And even though FF14 is fantasy, with magic, super skills, monsters, and all the tripe, one can STILL make that Godlike character relatable to your readers IF you cripple them in some way.

How do you do this you may ask?

Well, there are basically 3 ways. Physically, Mentally, and Socially.

First physically: This one is pretty obvious. Something happens to their body, their mobility, their strength, their endurance. They function less than optimally. They can lose a hand, an eye, a leg or arm. It could even be a wound of some kind. This in turn causes them to have to deal with either loss of function or limited function. It is up to you whether they regain full health and functionally again.

Mental issues. This one I am familiar with as it is what I use for Annabel herself to cripple her. Mental issues can take a broad range of forms from actual mental problems and insanity to more behavioral problems.

For example, Annabel is a bipolar woman. This causes her to be rather bitchy at times with wild mood swings, depression, and constant doubt about her ability to deal with things. She is also rather incompetent, which brings on a lazy attitude and dislike for learning. After all, WHY learn when Annabel knows she will probably fail at it. Yet Annabel is not stupid, she just thinks she is because of her failures in life.

Social Issues: This is a rather interesting one since it involves not the person directly, but how the world around the character perceives them for good or bad. Putting them firmly in the lower echelon of society can cripple them in a way that does not affect their power per say, but their place in the world.

For example: making them poor, a lesser class, race, gender, age group, rank, or outsider. Basically, anything that makes them in the eyes of their peers NOT very acceptable to many people.

I also use this for Annabel, showing how her failures in Shedell with her family and upper Shediallian society have ostracized her, forcing Annabel to leave her home to try and make a better life for herself as well as improve her standing and reputation.

As you see, although Annabel is the Warrior of Light, with the power of the Echo, she is still human, with many real life flaws and problems she needs to try and deal with. Problems that power WON'T solve. In fact, some of these problems are BECAUSE of the power she has received.

With great power comes great responsibility, but that great responsibility can come with a LOT of its own issues when the character in question can't deal with them.

When making up your character concept and backstory, try to think of these things. It brings depth to them, makes them more human, more relatable to the reader. Plus it stops them from being a one note dull cookie cutter power fantasy that is easily forgotten.


Comments (17)

Bear Ironfist

Faerie [Aether]

back during ARR when I wrote and played as Ember, she lost most of her fights, and the ones she won required the help of others, and often ended in death and negative consequences.

I can't write as Bear though, since he is too much of a self-insert, and I'm perfect irl.

Annabel Ashcroft

Faerie [Aether]

Ah, so Bear is the Kirito of the gay world, got it. LOL

That's interesting what you said about Ember, sounds like it was before my time since I did not start till near the end of the Heavensward era. Maybe I'll did through your early blog posts.

Bear Ironfist

Faerie [Aether]

It was all written in present tense, I wouldn't want to put you through that lol.

But have to agree, characters should have flaws. Though having a "flawless" character doesn't stop people from liking them *cough, Y'shtola, cough*.

Annabel Ashcroft

Faerie [Aether]

Well technically, she DOES have a physical flaw: (blind), and a behavioral one. (emotionless elitist bitch)
but hey, being a cat girl makes people forgive them. ;-)

Bear Ironfist

Faerie [Aether]

I don't see the blindness as a flaw, her ability to see aether has shown to be more useful than traditional sight and being emotionless hasn't hindered her in any way.. Textbook Marysue.

Annabel Ashcroft

Faerie [Aether]

I am sure in her actual day to day life it has. They just choose to show her in the 'best' light of the overpowered sorcereress Mary Sue as you say. Typical NPC cog, needed where she is needed with little character development.

It's funny, most of the other Scions actually GOT some development, but not her. Just goes to show you how shallow and empty she truly is; there is very little there to work with. They just need her for aether technobabble explanations. Kind of the same with Krile.

Elril Moonweaver

Phoenix [Light]

I personally don't have a backstory for Elril, haven't put in the time to come up with one, but I have a personality for him, based around what I chose for him. He is an Ul'dah citizen, his patron deity is Thaliak, thus he is more attuned to magic and other such disciplines and he is also very curious and eloquent (seeing that he is first and foremost a scholar). However, he has problems dealing with the events he's experienced, especially during the Shadowbringers and Endwalker time periods.

Elril Moonweaver

Phoenix [Light]

He has PTSD from the pain he endured during the ShB story and is paranoid over the idea of losing his friends, especially G'raha who he feels a kinship with. In the story I made for him, losing G'raha breaks him so much he falls into despair and he wills another reality for himself into existence. He puts a very brave face for the people who look up to him, but it really starts to take a toll on him in my story for him.

Annabel Ashcroft

Faerie [Aether]

LOL, it's funny Elril, when I read that first paragraph the first thing I thought of was, hey, PTSD! Then you mentioned in in your 2nd one. ;

But those flaws you put in are GOOD! Things like that make a good foundation for character development and story hooks if you ever wrote any stories of him.

It might sound hard to keep up with the messed up mind from story to story, making it consistent, but it isn't; just practice and remembering. stuff you wrote. Comedy is WAY harder than drama! LOL

Elril Moonweaver

Phoenix [Light]

Also, severe panic attacks. I don't experience them myself, so I have no first hand experience but I have my twin sis who is prone to flying into panic attacks. For PTSD I will draw on my own experience here and look at anything that triggers a PTSD episode in me, relating to my 2018 depressive period, and draw inspiration from that. That part of my life is far enough away from me that I can take inspiration from it.

Elril Moonweaver

Phoenix [Light]

However, I won't promise that I will not tear up whenever I write anything for Elril's story that reminds me of my own depressive episode and that's where the PTSD comes in. I feel like I'm reliving it whenever I'm reminded of it. That's what PTSD is basically.

Bear Ironfist

Faerie [Aether]

in her day to day life you catch her sleeping around a stack of books.
Books, like the ones you read with your eyes that can see...

Leonie Hawke

Faerie [Aether]

I have written a few blind characters… Sophia was blind before yshtola was in game… I also wrote a mute once. Runa had there main character missing an arm, I’ve done one where the character had damage to her arm bone that could not be repaired… soooo I do consider this a lot lol

Annabel Ashcroft

Faerie [Aether]

I think that is total bullshit Bear that 'magic aether sight' allows one to see just fine to read. Oh NOES, Cat bitch is BLIND! Oh wait, don't worry, it don't matter. All good! Ugh!

Thank GOD that thing is too motherly incompetent to actually have and raise kittens. She is so self absorbed she would definitely neglect them in favor of her precious books.

Silly? Not at all, Many skilled career women in high positions prefer their job to having kids and dealing with them.

Annabel Ashcroft

Faerie [Aether]

That's interesting Leonie. Glad you are thinking of stuff like that. Did the disabilities really affect them much in day to day life and their adventuring or did they compensate well?

Speaking of compensating, I guess it's totally up to the writer how much they are truly hampered by it. Pulling bullshit reasons to negate it kind of defeats the purpose of it and makes one wonder; WHY did they bother in the first place?

Leonie Hawke

Faerie [Aether]

Well Sophia could only see aether. It hindered her in many ways, particularly walls.

The one with a bone problem in her arm could only use her unhindered arm for attacks and such.

The mute was a woman whom in her clan cut the tongues from there women to stop them from talking. She was an assassin so it helped her in the long run despite hating it.

As for yshtola they kind of stopped talking about the issue of her sight which should eventually be a hindrance upon her body.

Leonie Hawke

Faerie [Aether]

The last one wasn’t entirely blind but her echo was too strong so she tried to not stare at people directly or had to sash her eyes. What would likely be considered a seer.

Also I Was writing a story about espy from the bad future whom had bad damage to her heart which stopped her from using magic. The end result was pretty interesting, using a machinist gun and having a device designed by Cid to halt the progression of her wound. At times it would still cripple her and this got worse with age
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