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How does/has your 'character doll' inspire you?

Apr 8, 2010

    1. I know alot of people have 'character dolls', in this thread I'm specifically refering to dolls that people have based of their own unique/original characters. (vs based off of other peoples subject matter).

      I hear about how people get 'inspired' by having their characters based in doll form, but how? Do you just look at the doll and suddenly you have the inspiration for what that character does next? Do you talk to the doll as if it were a sounding board?

      I'm interesting most specifically for people who have storys in their heads that they want to turn into actual sellable original novels. What sort of tangable work have you created from this doll inspiriation?

      Few storys are set in a house with just two characters talking and interacting the entire time. How do you handle having to write parts for which you don't have a doll for one or more sides of the situation?

      I have heard and read about alot of people who get dolls for their 'characters' and their storys, but then they don't seem to do anything with the story. The doll seems to become the outlet for the story vs an inspiration. They are more then happy to tell you the whole story and world they have created in their head, but which they have never gotten around to writing down, even if that had been a goal before they got into dolls. So does having a doll of your character(s) actual stop you from creating a tangable non-doll work of art/creativity? If nothing else, having a new hobby to devote your time to, and away from the actual writing process?
    2. I guess I will try to answer this one. My dolls are all shells for original characters. I do find that having them around me helps me when I am in a writing slump. Sometimes I talk to them, but really just the act of holding them, dressing them, finding the right wigs, eyes clothes ect for them and so on is really what helps me. It is just another level of interaction with my characters. My mother says these characters are like the imaginary friends I had as a child, and in a way she is correct. They are very real to me. I know every thing about them, and I enjoy having extra ways to interact with them. Sometimes just holding a physical shell for my character will help spark an idea. Aric frequently sits next to my lap top while I edit or add to his story.

      I do not specifically have the goal of having my stories published. I am sure that is something every writer dreams of, but I am very self conscious of my own writing. Right now hubby is the only one allowed to read it. I write it simply because if I don't it makes me crazy. I have a problem with "living in my own head" and it is only worse if there is a story floating around in there that hasn't been written yet. It will drive me absolutely crazy. I do not find that having dolls of my characters prevents me from working on their stories, if anything it helps me. I don't let the doll hobby take up nearly so much time that I don't have time to write, reading is the hobby that eats into my writing time, but when an idea hits me it has to come out, no other hobby is getting in the way. I think the fact that I am no good at photography prevents me from telling my characters' stories through photos instead of through writing and helps me stay more focused.

      I don't actually have to have every character from a story in doll form to write. The dolls are secondary to the writing, just another way to enjoy my favorite characters. But there are "worlds" that I have quite a few characters from. Noble, Amaryllis, Kitsune, Kisten and Phaolan (when he arrives) all come from the same world and interact with each other. Phaolan is actually a really good example of a doll that inspired me. I had a basic idea for his character simply as another character's younger brother but hadn't focused on him at all. When I saw the Angelheim Luka I loved the mold and it sparked an idea for Phaolan's character. I sat down and wrote the first 30pages of Phaolan's story in the course of a week because I was so inspired. It also helped me further develop Kisten's character. He has been a bit character in Noble's story for a long time but he finally has his own story, and I understand far more of his back story now.

      I'm not sure if that made sense. I know I rambled a bit. What it really comes down to for me is that the writing is always there. These stories exist in my head whether I want them to or not and if I don't get them out I have a hard time functioning. The dolls are not necessary for me to write, I just enjoy the extra level of interaction with my characters. It is relaxing for me and does sometimes help get me through the rougher patches in a story. Just having something to talk to (and without the dolls I will talk to stuffed animals or pets) and look at or cuddle helps.
    3. For the first two years I've owned BJDs, I never actually tried to come up with legitimate characters or stories. They were just dolls that hung out around the house doing whatever it is that dolls do. The most I'd come up with for them was their personalities. Now I'm actually trying to create characters and a story behind the three that I have. I already have a good cast of original characters in my art and writing that are completely separate from my dolls, so coming up with stuff for the dolls isn't too difficult.. I guess by developing a story behind my dolls, I'm establishing some sort of connection between my hobbies of drawing, writing and BJD collecting. Up until now, my dolls have been completely set apart from everything else and I guess I just want to include them in the little world that is my imagination.

      Right now they're in the developmental stage as far as their story goes. I'm working on replacing their generic doll personas with something more deep and interesting and coming up with the universe they live in and the conflict between the two of them so I can start writing. It'll be a while before I actually start up an actual story, but just being around them and interacting with them has helped give me all sorts of ideas. They're excellent little muses~
    4. Oh yes, absolutely! I mean, with everything I have (this isn't boasting) there are hundreds of characters in everything I've written and I have no real hope of actually 'casting' them all as bds unless I win the lotto. Probably a couple of times over. :sweat

      But what I like to do is to get touchstone characters. If a doll really speaks to me, like Angelheim's Zion did (funny about Angelheim, isn't it?), then I just have to have 'em. Soom Heliot was the same way, if I'm buying a big doll it's usually because they represent a character to me.

      As for the distractions, no, I wouldn't say it distracts me from writing. More like a mental focal point, as I can look at a doll and it's like a way for me to direct my thoughts by looking at a subject. I really do appreciate having a representation I can work with, as I'm not able to draw my people out, so it's awesome to be able to get that visual aide like that, and to be able to change out hair or clothes as I'd see fit.

      But I don't act out stories, or anything quite like that. I've never looked at a doll and seen a specific scene or anything. They more draw me to writing in a certain world versus writing something else, they may bring a sense of renewed passion to an older storyline, if that makes sense. I'm just so happy that the dolly world can really begin to encompass some of the non-human characters living in my head! :D

    5. That's funny, because it's an Angelheim doll I'm looking at that would be the first, and most likely only of my original characters that I cast into doll form. He would ofcourse have a HP character as well. I am just not sure if having him will do anything for my writing.
    6. So far...my dolls 'tell' me little details about the characters that I didn't know before...normally during photo outings...Like my character Ken LOVES trees, but HATES water. He's terrified of water. When I took his original doll form out for photos, the best ones I took where with him in a tree...he looked like he belonged there. Ones on a root over a small pool of water...were harder to take. He wouldn't come into focus, and he looks UPSET in the photos that did turn out, to me anyway. My girl, Yllora, in that same spot on that same root, with me snapping shots from the same spot...every one turned out beautifully. She looks serene and peaceful there. But then...she's half Water Nymph, so she SHOULD be comfortable around water.

      Two more characters...I had their very basics worked out, as they won't appear for a long time. But now...I know that one is a LOT like my middle sister was when we were kids. Shy and quiet most of the time...but convince her that there's an adventure in something, and she takes charge on her twin, and leads them into more trouble than the other would have on her own. And they both have freckles...because while their doll forms don't...yet...every time I glance at them, or see them out of the corner of my eye, they have freckles. So they must want them.

      Things like that are what come to me because of the doll versions. And even those small details, those tiny changes, inspire me. Be it to figure out the WHY of it, like Ken's deal with water, or just in wanting to write more about them, do more with them.

      In the end, I hope to have a doll to represent each of the MAJOR characters in my stories...both the good and the bad. Working on the good first. In part because I enjoy collecting dolls, in part because I enjoy working on the dolls, to make them just right, and in part because I love to photograph them, and want to have enough to do real photo stories with the characters.
    7. I don't actually have my first doll yet, but though I love writing and aspire to be published, I don't plan on or really want to make dolls of any of my OCs, or even give my dolls definite characters or histories. My first doll is going to be a member of one of the races in a YA fantasy novel I've been working on, but no particular individual. It just doesn't fit into my vision of what I want to do with my dolls. There are sculpts I want that I would totally cosplay as particular OCs now and then, but they wouldn't be stuck in that character at all.

      On the other hand, I can see how having a doll of my OCs could be great for character development and such, because it's there, it's in your hands, it's real. Even though I never describe it much, I love coming up with the clothing styles for my different fantasies (I even have a character who's a seamstress), and plan to have a lot of fun making costumes from the various places I create.

      Also, nearly all of my OCs would require at least moderate modding to the doll, depending on when in their stories the doll represented, and that's not counting the ones that have fully animal forms, so for now at least it just wouldn't be realistic. That said, I have decided to make a back-burner long term project of having representations of all the major humanoid races from the aforementioned fantasy book in the 30cm range.
    8. I have one true character doll (not a bjd) and I wrote the character's story -- or part of it -- before I got the doll. I have found that the doll continues to inspire new ideas for future stories featuring the character, but mostly, he is an outlet. When I am super obsessed with the character but don't have the mental energy to write, I can play with the doll a little bit or do a photoshoot. :) This in turn just makes me want to write more, so sometimes I actually do. It's hard because I'm almost too busy writing for school to do any original work at all, so the dolls are a nice outlet for my creativity.
    9. As I'm not really into writing long novels, I'm not sure how well I can answer the OP's questions, but I'll try. I prefer to write short, bite-sized stories and I usually develop a doll's "character" while playing (dressing up, face-upping, taking pictures, etc) with it. If a doll appears to pose like a wet towel in casual clothes, but takes poses like a dream in formal wear, I'd for example say that doll likes fancy clothes, is a snob or like to dress to impress.
      When I later on want to write a short story I could draw inspiration from that. How did that character become to like formal wear or what would happen if that character is forced to wear casual clothes? I also like to work with short story writing exercises where you get a few rules/guidelines and a limited amount of time. Sometimes it's easier to actually have a character you know than to make up stuff on the spot and that's where the doll character may come in handy.

      In case of "housing" an existing story character in a doll, I've noticed that the doll character and the story character start to develop separately. They may exchange some acquired feats or traits, but a "story character" is "free" and a doll costs a lot of money and I've learned that sometimes certain things can't be forced on a doll or it will just look bad. So I have one story character with a different eye colour than the doll that represents it, because I'm not going to change the story character and the other eye colour looks ten times better in the doll. In the end I prefer to have a doll that looks good over a doll that is forced to be something I made up in the first place.

      When I write (short) stories, I'd like to try to make it entertaining for others to read. It's usually more about plot, plot twists or something funny or touching than about the characters. Characters are more like tools in my stories to tell the story to other people. I have my own dolls and their characters to entertain me. They are probably very boring to other people, but I don't want to change them to entertain others. So that's why I rarely write long stories about them.
    10. I am one of those who has a story in her head, but doesn't seem to be able to write it down and am making my characters into dolls. The reason I did this is to help me expand their stories, not stopping me from writing. It's not really helping yet, as my blockage comes from language problems. I don't like writing in Dutch (it's just a horrible language for that) and my English is not good enough to write a decent novel.

      I love my characters and having them in dolly form makes me happy. The dolls help me get at least something of the story out of my head. Not in words, but in 'images'.
    11. my fav doll also the first doll is the character doll for my fav virturall person, it's the reasion i bought the doll just i feel he is the image of my jimmy . i love the character so much , so i bought doll and start doll hobby due to that . i just want the doll (i see him as jimmy) and his lover to be together and happy forever in my world. hahaha
    12. Do you RP online? I know a lot of people (both native speakers and non-native speakers) who attribute a lot of their skill in writing to RP, and most communities are really forgiving about different skill levels :)

      This thread is making me start to seriously consider making character dolls, but my problem still stands that it's going to be a while until I have the space, income, or skill to do the serious mods most of them will need.
    13. For me, all my characters 'live inside my head'. I don't know if it's like this to my extent for everyone, but all through my day I'm watching my characters live their lives in a parallel place from wherever I happen to be. I've always been like this; since I was a young child. Making up characters and watching them live, their characters, it hardly feels like I make them up, they spring up on me like something unknown. But I know everything, every single thing about them.

      My mother's boyfriend thought I was weird because I said something along the lines of;
      Me : "I need to bleach the denim I bought because Nate wont wear darker denim he wants paler blue jeans like ...."
      Nick : "He is your character can't you just MAKE him wear darker denim."
      Me : "I have no control over what they are like."

      ^^ Is that normal ? Hahah xD

      After the double, {triple, quadruple} lives that went on in my head, I started telling them to my friends who encouraged me to write them down, with the writing becoming more and more relaxing, like the feeling you get when you tell someone something you had been bottling up, I felt closer to my characters so much more than ever.

      Anyway, When I first saw dolls; I had characters at the time {that I don't have now} but when I finally got round to buying my first doll, I had plucked up the courage to buy him because I had writing so much about him {and all his 'friends' in the Novel}.

      The doll inspires me to no end. Just looking at him, I see Nathanial in him and it makes me happy, content and I just get motivated to write more than anything. But I find having the body in front of me, means I can, with detail, describe the angles and flowing features better. I guess in the same way, it's easier to draw something realistically if it's in front of you to make a direct copy rather than through memory. Though the doll is Nate. Nate is not the doll; and when I have a cuddle with the doll. It isn't me hugging my favourite character. Its just me, hugging his form. Because having him in 'doll form' gives him a sense of reality. Otherwise, he can be just seen as a fragment of my imagination, at least now, this doll, it holds part of Nathanial's characteristics to him; makes the character more alive I think ~!
    14. Normal or not, I COMPLETELY understand. XD My cowriter and I talk about our dolls (and their characters) like that all the time. The average bystander probably thinks we're talking about people we know...

      I'm not sure I can explain how having my characters in doll form inspires me, but I'll give it a shot. My co-writer and I roleplay all of our stories, so a lot of the time I don't know exactly what will happen next and have to come up with a character's response on the spur of the moment. I used to look at artwork of the character I was stuck on to help my brain come up with a response. I've found however that actually having a tangible form of the character, such as my dolls, and figuring out how to pose them and dress them makes me think about how they do things in their normal lives and why they act the way they do.

      Basically having the dolls has inspired a deeper connection to the personality of the characters in my head. Does that make sense? I hope so.
    15. My characters are constantly going off and doing things without my permission. Like falling in love and stuff. It's irritating.

      nekonezumi that sounds a lot like me and (one of) my cowriter :)
    16. Clover appeared in a story (I wrote) before she was a doll, so I just gave her that personality as she looked the par to the character in the book I wrote
    17. While my dolls are shells for the characters that I created and have floating around in my head, I actually never indented to write a story for them. I know everything about them and how the interact and relate to each other, so I felt that there was no need to write up a story for them to fit into. Just having the physical form of my characters was suppose to be enough. However, it is my dolls that have inspired me to write. I decided to write their story, so that I could better flesh out the characters. I wanted to make them more real; to be able to explore their potentials. Just looking at or thinking about them fills my head with ideas that I feel need to written down. The story however, is for me and me alone. It is simple a tool to which I use to give realism and depth to my characters. I don't plan on sharing my writing with anyone, I am to self conscious and critical of the things I create. My poor boyfriend has been yearning for the day I show him my writing among other things, like my photography ^_^.
    18. Hmmm in my case, my current dolls has somewhat inspired me to do a manga of their story :D I just somehow built this whole little world with them and additions seem to run on fate at times lol The issue I'm facing right now is the the story is moving faster than I can create the "pages" of the manga ^^;; (still working on the cover title for the 1st volume) so I'm keeping tabs on how it's going so far and using the "events" to create and separate into volumes. But not only that I look at them and I can get inspired on an artistic level. Ariana is so photogenic, I've yet to make a bad pic of her that I couldn't use at all. When I made my first photostory, all the dolls i've worked with somehow made it all work in the order I wanted it, even when there was "bad" pics it was used somehow in the photostory. I look at them and they inspire me to make things for them, so it's something to get me moved emotionally and artistically.
    19. I definitely find that Nancy helps me write her story, I find that she "talks" to me, as it were, a lot easier when I have her sitting on my lap whilst I type. Furthermore, being able to customise her inspires me, for instance, I was thinking about her body blushing and what I was gonna do when I realised that she'd need a serious big old scar since she's been bitten by a werewolf. Now canonically I don't know where she was bitten, so I started researching wolf bites and looking at placements and then I started writing out the basic plot line for the night she was bitten which evolved into the morning after and the first time she met her partner Sterling (whom I don't have yet); which finally lead to me looking on the Internet for the perfect sculpt for Sterling and so the cycle continues.
    20. The only "character" doll I have is my BBB Nissa, Taruun. I modeled her after my online character in FFXI, although she still has no real "character" clothes. I've lately thought about reshelling her into a slightly bigger size, which would (hopefully) make finding/making clothes easier, but I haven't totally decided yet.


      Here she's sitting on LJ's shoulder (this was taken when Evan arrived)