A while ago I talked about my method for creating characters: (1) Choose two Defining Characteristics, (2) Select a Major Mannerism that exemplifies both of them, and (3) Some other stuff.
I don’t have a pressing need for any new characters right now, but one likes to keep one’s hand in. Which is why I’ve created the Deck of Many Things.
The Deck of Many Things is basically six or seven 50 cent poker decks, with a different character trait written on the face of each car. Things like “Childish,” “Optimistic,” and “Brave.” Qualities that are positive or neutral are written on red-backed cards, and the blue-backed cards have flaws.
Then all I have to do for a little character-creation drill is just flip over two cards, one from each deck. Let’s try it now, shall we?
From the Flaw Deck: Incompetent
And From the Virtue Deck: Skilled
Are you kidding me? Incompetent and Skilled? Is that really what I just pulled?
Ok, well, maybe I can work with this.
Mrs. Noah Pembleton
A monied old widow living in New York around 1920. Kind, fat, and cheery. Has been taken care of all her life, either by her parents, her husband, or her servants. Known to her long-suffering niece Carol as “Aunt Wilhelmina.”
Generally incompetent in all things, including, but not limited to: driving, paying bills, household management, and fashion.
Skilled in exactly one area: matchmaking.
Major Mannerism: Throwing wonderful, overblown parties at which everything goes wrong with sitcom-esque wackiness. Exactly one thing goes right: the two protegees for whom she has thrown the party always wind up falling in love. The rest of the mess must be straightened out by dear Carol.
Hmm… have I been watching too much Jeeves and Wooster?