Create a Character – Lyla
Create a character from scratch.
Let’s have some fun and create a character, shall we? I have no idea where this is going. I’ve done no prior prep. This is completely from scratch, and I’ll just share my thought process while we create. Good? Good.
Let’s dive in!
First, we need a vague idea of who they are. I usually choose female because I don’t understand what goes through men’s heads and don’t think I ever will. If I’m going to be following along in my protagonist’s thoughts, I want to make them believable. The easy choice for me? Female.
So we have a female. What do they look like? I think it would be super fantastic if we went a little wild with this character. Let’s give her purple hair. Because we can. And I think hazel eyes would go fantastic with purple. Maybe more of a darker olive skin tone. Just envision that for a second.
What a unique beauty! And for some reason, I keep picturing her with a crown so…BOOM now she’s a princess.
Our purple-haired princess now needs a name. We could go with the name of a shade of purple. Lilac. But that’s obvious. So what if we tweaked it? Lila? How about Lyla? Cuz everyone knows if you put a “y” in a name it’s cool…
So! Lyla the purple-haired princess? Guess what? I looked it up and Lyla means “island beauty”, so where will her castle be? On an island!
What does our princess normally wear? Is she a classic princess in a dress? Is she a rebel in ripped jeans? I think for royal appearances, she wears a pastel purple dress to compliment her brilliant purple hair. But when she’s sneaking out and about, she wears a little, black romper with boots to explore the island.
A Dash of Personality
WHY is her hair purple? Besides we made it that way. Is it natural? Does she dye it? It seems to me that she dyes it because it’s the family’s royal color, and she wants to show her dedication in a unique way. I picture it shoulder length and beachy waves.
Lyla princess of the Isle of…where does she live? When I think of our new protagonist, I think of gorgeous, ivory stonework and manmade pools lined with white rock. Lots of water and lots of extravagant stonework mixed in with the rich, dark colors of the jungle surrounding the castle. So let’s look through our suffixes and prefixes and make something up, shall we?
You might recall these ancient pieces of paper from my Character Names post. Seriously, I use them all the time. So helpful.
(I did not make them. Looking up the website, it doesn’t seem to exist anymore. I found a PDF to print clean copies since mine are all marked up, but nowhere to point you to give credit.)
After scanning the list, I see a combination I like. “Leuc” which means white, bright, or light. And “dendr” which means tree. Shuffle some stuff around, I came up with Leucden (pronounced luke-den).
Hey, that doesn’t sound bad. Look it up to make sure it’s safe. The main result is a town in the Netherlands with a similar name, but not the same. I think we’re all clear.
Sum it Up
Lyla, princess of the isle of Leucden is our purple-haired, hazel-eyed, dark olive-skinned protagonist who lives in a white castle surrounded by jungle. On an island.
And just like that, we’ve created a character!
Now, we’re going to find out who she really is.
I say we meet Lyla when she’s sixteen because I like writing young adult, and that’s an interesting age. An athletic sixteen-year-old who loves hiking in the jungle around her castle. She’s being groomed to inherit the throne as she is the only child of the King and Queen. Classic stuff.
We talked about how she dyes her hair the royal color purple as a sign of dedication to the kingdom. She loves the people of her kingdom.
Now for a twist. There’s just one problem. She’s scared of the ocean. Why is that a problem? How can we use that to have conflict? She avoids royal responsibilities because that means she might have to travel to the surrounding islands which are part of their kingdom.
Good, we have a greatest fear. But…why?
WHY is she scared of the ocean? Did something happen? She lives on an island for crying out loud, why wouldn’t she like the ocean? Maybe she did have a sibling. She had a little brother and they were going to the other islands. Maybe she has a tragedy in her past.
Losing her baby brother at sea when she was a toddler would definitely shake her enough to have a serious fear. So she always disappears for a bit when her parents go to the other islands.
Let’s go back to where we meet her. It’s the day of her sixteenth birthday, and she celebrates with her family and the children of the other royals. Then she finds out since she’s now sixteen, she needs to start touring the other islands with the King and Queen. Conflict.
There would be conflict within her too. If she loves her kingdom and wants to be the best queen she can be when the time comes, but she’s too scared to island-hop, she’s battling herself. Conflict like that would bring self-doubt, anger, maybe depression. Dump that on top of a moody teenager? Yikes.
So poor Lyla has a lot going on. Her relationship with her loving parents might be a little strained because of it. She probably doesn’t tell a lot of people what’s going on, but I feel like her parents would kinda just know.
Who does she turn to? I think she turns to her bodyguard. Or wait…her bodyguard’s daughter. He has a daughter her same age, and they’re best friends.
I think she talks fast to hide her emotions. She doesn’t have close friends besides one bestie. I think she has a temper because she bottles things up.
She hikes and explores the jungle when she can to clear her mind. When she can’t hike, she practices being a royal and avoids the palace pools.
And that, my friends, is sixteen-year-old Lyla of Leucden in a nutshell. A purple-haired, hazel-eyed, dark olive-skinned princess living in a white castle surrounded by jungle. She lost her brother to the ocean, thus she’s afraid of the ocean, and her fear keeps her from visiting the other islands within their kingdom. She’s a fast-talking, lonely, pistol of a girl with one best friend and a hobby of hiking.
Creating a character from scratch can be intimidating, but if you let your imagination run wild, it can be fun to see what comes out on paper. Next time you don’t know what to write, try something like this. Make one small decision about your character at a time, and pretty soon, they will start to take shape!
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