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DoctorJest
01.03.2013 , 02:32 PM | #10
Cliches are used because they work. There's nothing wrong with starting out with a cliche as a basis; in fact it's probably going to turn out alot better than the person who thinks they're clever by playing a good-natured happy Sith who likes daisies and puppies and rainbows.

So I don't think avoiding a cliche is a good idea. Rather using it as a guideline is probably a very good idea. From there, what you do is embellish the character with personal details; who they are, how they become what they are, what their personality is like. The nice thing about the cliche is that it has no depth, so you can add as much color, depth and flavor as you like to flesh it out into a "real" person.

The first place I start is where does the character fit into my legacy and what is their relationship with, and thoughts about, the rest of the characters in the legacy? What defines their relationship, and the relationship with the others? From there I can extrapolate and build on who the character is, what motivates them, where their weaknesses are, what their hotbuttons are, what they care about, and so on.

The rest arises organically through play.