Getting my ideas on the page (getting started) also Preliminary prologue
The list here is just a brief snapshot of just a few of them mostly some of my older more fleshed out worlds
-A dystopian society based around a viral based vampire "species" that "breeds" through infecting a suitable host(they are biologically sterile). The addition of a severe weakness to cancer among these viral elite as well as a linking of the urge to produce more of their kind (basically think the sexualized vampire feeding however from a viral transmission perspective) that are capable enough to continue their viral line. Additionally they have high metabolic rates as well as limit lifespans and the inability to reproduce themselves have forced a maintenance of the human to "vampire" ratio in the population. Thus there is actually a lot of bureaucracy and regulation regarding the passing of a linage as they try and maintain balance. illegal infected are thus seen a scourge that drains resources that needs to be eliminated to maintain order at worst and at best suffer due to being unable to hold work permits, own property, have any form of legal Identification etc.
-"degenerate" strains are also present which can produce lower intellectually capable infected (Zombies ghouls etc based on degradation)
MC would be infected illegally by a rouge "vampire" naturally they are in a terrible place in a society where that is scene as "trash" to be removed.
-A high fantasy world under threat from a extraterrestrial foe(known as the Scourge by the denizins, while intelegent their enemy lacks the concept of names as they are wholly telepathic and can innately recognize their own kin). I have the world structure for this as well as general events pretty well laid out but the little details beyond that are near impossible for me to figure out how to do. (I have a Prologue draft written and an idea for how it will end) Too many details to summarize here... I really suffer from the inability to due names. yes names... Also not sure how to handle protagonists for this(there would have to be multiple to cover all major facets tied into the historical war)
Basically don't have protagonists set out so I need help there...
-A "modern" fantasy world suffering after a long environmentally cataclysmic war built of both nationalism colonialism and strong species oriented racial tensions. Complete with biological and chemical "super weapons", genocide and thermonuclear warfare. The main set point is the next generation after this war ended due to a bio-engineered virus mutating and becoming more virulent than expected, devastating all factions and forcing a truce. the surviving hominids are devastated such that elves have been forced to turn to cloning, dragons are solely able to reproduce parthenogenetically as the male line (or Z chromosome) is extinct. Three species of hominids based loosely on humans/elves/dwarves however the standard fantasy terms for these are actually racial slurs in this context so...
Dragons exist but are kinda suffering due to losing an entire chromosome line thus are all WW chromosomed thus are researching to restore the male chromosome but are running into the issue of DNA degradation. It doesn't help that their species already had a 10:1 ratio of females:males with an extremely territorial male population...
magic acts like martial arts in our world(not fantasy) in that it requires years of training to be effective at when there are weapons that can kill a mage just as easily as a non mage(i.e. guns)
I do have some character ideas here but it isn't enough to fill a whole story...
-A high fantasy world with a society built on the remains of a scientifically advanced magical society(i.e. they had developed knowledge of sophisticated subjects like chemistry, physics such as quantum mechanics, general relativity thermodynamics, biology, study of souls and spirits etc. but eventually met disaster due to social unrest and unhappy powerful extradimensionals. The result is a dark age collapse fueled by religious zealotry and strong moral code. however that is subplot to a survival vs nature relics of the old world for better or for ill... The environment is a powerful force here more so than any living power(expect drought, natural disasters disease etc.)
-a rationalized "Xianxia" started in my head as a parody before growing into a rationalized story version of a cultivation world
(MC breaks up w/ GF gets drunk w/ friends makes wish to a "genie in a bottle" gets wish granted in a very unexpected and brutal way (the artifact was indeed a high level or immortal grade artifact used by a powerful tyrannical cultivator to gather souls from unsuspecting mortals... will not say more than that because spoilers...)
Wish backfires into death->reincarnation as female divine beast equivalent for a human(because while humans think themselves as different they are actually magical beasts as well just ones that start weaker than normal but can grow fairly quickly)
MC somewhat genre savvy and will do some deconstruction.
(For instance divine beasts are determined via mitochondrial line and have difficulty reproducing as very few souls meet the requirements to be born as a divine beast which is a significant number of reincarnations )
-a rationalized RE: type world with evolution's and reincarnations (reincarnation with memories as well as dungeons are both part of the deity reproduction cycle. Find suitable soul which will have advantages give part of self(i.e. the typical cheat) in order to improve the odds of them evolving into gods. the first is self explanatory the latter is a parasitic approach that tries to forcefully capture enough essence to make the jump to demigod.
evolution's ranked by tiers however branch evolution's or sidegrades can happen with in a same tier altering an organism to a different branch. lower tiers are not necessarily weaker but ranked according to magic aptitude and sensory abilities
as you can see this is a small snapshot of ideas I just don't know how to make them into a story characters are really hard to figure out (especially names names are near impossible for me)
Help... I don't know how to best proceed I actually have more ideas then are listed here I just keep getting new ideas... I want to share them but I don't know how to write convincing characters and character interactions...
Where and how do I start? the story about the scourge has a written prologue that I guess I could share but I don't think it is good enough to truly be a prologue yet the latter part is just bad... And the names were literally random letters until something not totally hideous appeared but they aren't good enough for me...
*incomplete and crappy prologue starts here*
Despite the thin air, a cold wind howled under the dark sky illuminated by innumerous lights forming a great band dividing the heavens seemingly at random. A sight that could mystify nearly anyone interpreted by some as if some great being threw shimmering sand across the sky frozen for time immemorial, or perhaps they hinting at a greater whole beyond the world thus opening ones perspective to the scale of existence beyond.
The wind’s howls were occasionally accompanied by the twinkling of some of the many points of light as if perhaps the light was being distorted by the winds. At the edges of this expanse as if framing a portrait, great sharp craggy spires reached for the heavens, forming a great spine across the land. Atop the tallest of these snowy peaks a figure sat unmoving staring up at the heavens as if it sat deep in contemplation of the mysteries held by the great expanse above.
The being could barely be differentiated from the ground it rested appearing as weathered by the wind as the mighty crags. Though dwarfed by the peak which it sat, its body held a sense of age in its dulled and now and tattered scales. Atop the scales the most motion across this form was the wind creating light ripples on the creature’s feathers and wings, and the controlled signs of breath from its form.
Despite the aged look it seemed to defy time as it showed lasting signs of strength in its shaped muscles hidden under a veneer skin. The creature’s eyes looked on as if tracking the motion of objects above despite the foggy glaze that had formed across its right eye.
It sat unmoving as the lights proceeded across the sky without interruption until a trickle of orangey yellow rays began to seep across the horizon from the east.
Without warning the figure moved and ended the near silence “Wyenirkk, come.” the creature spoke with a sense of force and power that would move anyone yet the figure held signs of a sages wisdom as it closed its eyes after holding vigil over the night sky.
On que a mighty young dragon, still in its prime, raised the thermals underneath its admirable wingspan. The mighty creature quickly climbed upward aiming for the summit with purpose. Guided by a sense of duty and importance it soon lighted on the edge on the peak, quickly lowering its head and closing its wings. The dragons eyes looked forward, its gestures showing an honest sign of great reverence and admiration towards the ancient figure who stood as the centerpiece of the sacred mountain’s summit.
Immediately after reaching the peak the dragon humbly spoke “My Lord, you have called?”
“At ease”, As I sensed your return, I presume you have checked on the status preparations? How fare the others? At a glance reading the young dragons expression the ancient figure let out a breath and continued “So they still lack the sense of urgency blind to the true importance of events beyond the scope of their lives?”
“No my lord they continue to bicker amongst themselves as divided as ever, despite both our warnings and advice, they continue to ignore our advisors. Truly a pity that we have to send ambassadors to such pitiful creatures, yet continue to be ignored.”
“Forgive them, with such short lives two legs can never truly grow up for wisdom only comes with age, though I admit even among our kin some are blind to wisdoms light, and some two legs have glimpsed its light before time snuffs out their light.”
“The last month I have checked the positions, I’m afraid they used the great wanderer to change course as we feared.”
“Then its adjustment is confirmed? How soon long do we have now? “The younger dragon spoke unable to hide the worry in his voice.
“No less than a century, a true blink of an eye, I fear. “ Spoke the ancient dragon
My lord may I ask a question? Do you truly think we can win?
“Tell me youngling; do we have any other choice?“
*incomplete and crappy prologue currently ends here*
I don't know how to proceed this part was doable as the dragon king is a key character I have defined but he can't be the protagonist because well spoilers... (I can't even come up with a name for the story T_T)
Please help someone...
Second, with deconstructions, wouldn't that allow you to have easy characters to play with? If you're rationalizing Xianxia, you can analyze the typical characters found in Xianxia (also read some Wuxia) and examine what kind of characters they are. And since MC is from another world, you can easily base it off of people you know. Most Xianxia work as self-inserts anyway, so why not just make yourself the vehicle by which readers experience the world? How would you react if suddenly your GF dumps you, then dies, and becomes a gender and species you do not identify with?
This applies with Re: stories. Take the generic and just turn it upside down. Most Re: stories seem to feature an almost game-mentality MC. Judging by Re:Monster, they don't have higher aspirations. What if the MC just want to stay weak and not become great? What if the MC is 100% unredeemable scum? What if the side characters actually have depth?
Third, with the Scourge story, there can be so many characters. Since you have the events already planned out, surely you have some idea of the LEADERS, the GENERALS, the FIGUREHEADS of those operations. Make those people the main characters. Think of why they may fight. One character might be a FACTION LEADER or GENERAL. Another may just be a normal person trying to adapt.
Four, the Vampire story, that would probably be the easiest story to focus on. The world may be complex, but it has an identifiable character -- and only 1 to focus on.
Five, the MODERN FANTASY WORLD story, if they are lacking in resources, then there's bound to be people struggling. Place yourself/close ones into the situation. What extremes would they carry out? What do they cherish? Have a character just straight up be a Rey ripoff if you have to.
Six, the science/fantasy thing. You already said it yourself, zealots -- and religious zealots at that! -- so have some extreme people. Strict people. But then have immoral people contrast them. Yin and Yang.
Basically, watch people. Study them. Ask yourself why people do certain things. Base the characters off of people you know. Base them off of tropes -- work especially well with deconstruction -- and as you write, make them your own. I think, you just have to write and visualize how your characters interact with one another and what they want based on how the PLOT/WORLD affects them, and vice versa.
Of course, people aren't going to care about the world until they care about the characters. Generalize the characters if you have. Give ONE WORD to describe each of your important characters. Is the hero defined by his COURAGE? Then test his courage throughout by the shit the world throws at him. Is the villain defined by his GREED, show his greed by also his compassion. Use that ONE WORD and branch off from it to flesh the characters out. That ONE WORD could be a goal. If the Hero wants to become STRONG, then think of scenarios where he already is strong (physically and in other ways), but also the lengths which he strives to become strong.
I'm an amateur myself, and I am complete crap. One of my story has a MC that has not been well-established at all, but you flesh out the side characters, have the side characters grow/nurture the main characters. My other story is absolutely miserable due to how awkward (not the trait, in the strictest form) the characters were. The ONE WORD thing above is literally something I just came up with...and I wish I had realized.
Just list some basic stuff and roll with it. Ask questions which relate them to the world (including other people) and plot around them.
Are they a dog person? Cool. Do they like swords or guns? Nice. Sexuality? Unknown; roll with it. The things you don't know, just also make it things the characters don't fully know or accept.
Throw the most generic people into the worlds and have them change because of it.
And how the world and its natural history develops can be attributed to the characters you haven't created yet.
Most of the characters that I have a good idea on are legendary figures (in the case of one of the story with a prologue they are kinda worshiped as god class beings and tend to be powerful territorial eldrich life forms)
To be honest the part I am struggling with the most is names. I can't come up with good ones especially reasons behind the names.
So far my naming attempts have been random attempts to sound exotic /powerful to represent some of these powerful beings
Alchron-imprisoned abyss lord
Shendathdah-the great Mycelium that rules the southern continent. Extended over vast distances and extremely old. Has obtained self awareness it has formed an army of guardians via symbiosis to tend the plants which it it symbiotically depends on.
The first is actually quite important to the story and would actually appear, the latter is important however would only interact indirectly...
As you can see these names have absolutely no meaning yet they are very important entities so it is crippling my ability to get started... Most importantly how do you come up with a name for a story?
Names are abstract human-made concepts. Even if they have roots or are derived from almost hieroglyphic origins (like most Asian languages), in the end, it's cause we give them meaning. So, when I just don't care for the character, I'll just give it a string of letters. Look at Nyarlathotep, there's absolutely no sense for the name (except for the possible Egyptian suffix). If it sounds cool enough, why not. I'm sure there's a letter randomizer on the internet.
Other times, I think of the one thing I want the name to represent for the character. I'm of Chinese heritage, so I often just distort the pin yin (Romanization of the Chinese sounds) to make names. Or just use Chinese names in general for my Xianxia. And since you do have a Xianxia story, just Google Translate ideas or meanings. If a character is always butthurt angry...naming him Mad Dog wouldn't be bad, or Feng'Gou according to the 1st Google Translate result. Though I would use Kuang'Gou (meaning the same basically) just cause Kuang's a harder and harsher sound which fits the name better.
And simple like ideas for names isn't that rare. For example, the Watcher from the Marvel Universe. That figure has no official name, just a title. Or Doctor Who's titular Doctor. And in the novel Blindness by Jose Saramango literally use titles/roles for names. For example, the doctor in the story is just called the Doctor. And the doctor's wife is addressed as the Doctor's Wife throughout. And so on.
Other times, I google what name means [insert idea]. And depending on how pretentious I feel...which is often as I am a teenager...I switch the letters around. Petra becomes Petar. Or Repat. Or whatever.
There's also naming people after famous people. I once named a character Vosima...which is just an anagram of Asimov.
Honestly, I find naming people using Chinese characters more fun and at times easier.