CFS: Part 1


Here is the first section of our Character Fractalling System.

1. ‘Who’ Stage

    1. Who is your character as described in one sentence?

      Write one sentence giving an overview or summary of your character. This is generally pretty hard to do (and that is good), but it is very helpful. It will not cover everything in the character by no means. It will simply give you a snapshot view of the character. Do not include anything about what the character looks like! That is not what this is for. Wait patiently for that.

    2. Who is your character as described by several key words?

      Take several key words from the sentence in the last step. Now think of some other words that might help describe your character abstractly. Is he more like Lightning, or more like an Ember?

    3. Who is your character as described in one paragraph?

      Take your key words and expand them into a paragraph of several sentences. Remember that this is not primarily a description of your character’s appearance, but his persona, his inner self. You can also put some of his history in here, if they are vital to his existence and explaining him.

    4. Who is your character as described by several key phrases?

      Take several phrases out of the paragraph that you just made that seem to be key to your character. Stuff like ‘fighting for liberty’ or ‘enveloped in shame’ are good. Then make some more that you couldn’t fit into the descriptions so far. Make a list.

    5. Who is your character as described by several paragraphs?

      Now you get to write a whole page or more (or less) about your character! Take your key phrases and expand each into a full paragraph talking about that particular aspect of your character. If this is getting repetitive, not to worry, that is how fractalling is done! Don’t lose your steam: keep right on going!

    6. Who is your character as described by several essence maps?

      Alright, this is where it gets confusing, maybe. Hopefully not. Understanding essence, meta-essence, and essence mapping is very very useful, and is crucial to these last two steps. If you can do it, do it, because it will help the rest of your development of your character tremendously. Anyways, take each paragraph that you wrote in the last step and create one, small (or large if you wish), essence map for it. Each essence map will give you a glimpse into that facet of your character that will be invaluable to you. If you really do not get essence and are starting to liken it to a hulking, slimy monster that wants to stir fry your mind in molasses, skip it. Just write down a list of similes or metaphors for each paragraph.

    7. Who is your character as described by an essence map?

      Now write one big essence map for your character. You should already have a bird’s eye view of your perception of him, and so this should not be too hard if you understand essence mapping and meta-essence at all. If you still cannot bring yourself to make an essence map, just give a very artistic description of your character’s personality and character and etc. using lots and lots of similes and metaphors (don’t let yourself focus on the character’s appearance, remember).

  1. This is the first and most foundational of all the stages. This is where you create an abstract character to work with. You are mainly creating the material with which to create a character, if you will. If you have a general idea of your character, no idea at all, or even if you already have a well developed character, then this step needs to be your first step (which pretty much exhausts the possibilities, hence our placement of it at the beginning). At the end you will have an abstract, summarial view of what the character is going to look like after you are done with the fractalling. But expect this to change: this and all other steps are subject to revision from later steps!

Have fun!


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