About Character Customization


#1

I don’t like CC one bit. Not to be a contrarian to what seems like the majority of the Episode population, but I just really dislike CC. I don’t leave a story just because it’s CC though, but usually leave the character default when given the option. *When I refer to CC, I typically mean full CC. Sometimes I’m fine with naming/gender options/minor tweaks, though really it depends specifically on the character.

I get that lots of people like it, because perhaps they can connect to it from the get go, but I can’t say I share that sentiment. A lot of the time with full customization–but of course, this isn’t always the case–the MC’s are a stale piece of bread with no remarkable qualities and are the most forgettable thing ever. Maybe they’re stubborn, or some other very mild generic MC personality trait, but nothing remarkable or distinctive from the next CC MC. And if they react to a situation in an interesting way, lots of the times, I feel like it’s nothing like myself and feel a tad bit uncomfortable (which is probably why the personalities are so dull to begin with). Similarly, I love Choices (the app), but I absolutely hate that there’s always customization. Especially in those stories, the MC is hella bland, words can’t even explain how terribly boring they are. For me, even though CC is supposed to allow you to slot yourself into the story, I just get so much more detached from the actual character.

Maybe this is because I prefer character-driven stories over plot-driven stories, so if the characters are internally boring, especially the MC since you follow them for most of the story, it makes it very difficult for me to get through. Also with CC, I just feel likes it’s just a CharacterxReader fanfic/Imagines, except it’s not a fanfic so there’s no source material to have prior sentimental attachment with. And even then, I’m personally not into that stuff (although I will admit, I love dreaming up scenarios for myself, but just in my own head 'cause I have full control, heh). I don’t like envisioning myself in the stories (and I also I just can’t). I like to follow someone else’s journey, like I’m stepping into their world. If the author did it right, l feel like I’ve had a very deep connection with them that will follow me long after I’ve finished the pages (or episodes) of the story. I get that the “interactive” part is integral to what makes Episode Episode, but eh… I prefer choices that more ingrained to the actual story.

This is just my opinion as I’ve seen so many people express their liking towards CC (i.e. trending stories and scrounging the forums), people who made non-customizable characters who received fanmail asking for CC, or non-CC stories being a no-no. At the end of the day though, if you like full-on CC or none at all or anything in between, more power to you.

And if you are a fan of CC (or even if you aren’t), do share your thoughts. I’d love to hear them! :slight_smile:


#2

I agree with your thoughts on customization. I’m not a big fan of it and will skip it when possible. Even then, I usually have to insert some random name for a girl anyway. I usually just use the same name I use for drag, but then there’s a chance of mixing up main characters between stories.

I have two published stories with no CC at all, but I’ve been fortunate enough to not get fanmail begging for it. Probably because not many people have read them and they’re not exactly the types of stories that get read often. I am working on a romance/suspense story to challenge myself though, and that one won’t have customization, so I’m already bracing myself for the worst.


#3

Same. I just leave all the customization and insert the same random name for all of it. Also to add on about the mix up thing, I would think it’d get a bit confusing having a billion stories with the same MCs. :stuck_out_tongue:

I remember listening to a friend rant for hours and hours about fanmail they were receiving over readers wanting customization. Some fanmails were pretty rude too, and if I recall correctly, had threats how they would abandon the story if CC wasn’t added. Like, how badly do you want to live as this character? I wish you the best luck with facing that in the future. I’d love to read it if it gets published.


#4

I don’t mind CC being an option, but I don’t like that it’s expected in every story.

Some stories are just written in a way that would work best with a actual character.

I don’t like CC in stories where the protagonist makes rash decisions I wouldn’t. It’s not really relatable.


#5

Character customization used to have a high demand when it was first released in 2016 along with Ink being made available, but I think that has changed (or decreased in demand) over the years. Personally, I have always skipped it, leaving the default settings, and I just use a random name generator if I need to pick a name for the character.

I love to read/play the story as the author intended it to be, and this includes how they originally envisioned their characters’ appearance. I feel that it fits more when the author sets the stage for a specific main character because what they do is meant for that character - not ourselves as individuals since we are all different if you get what I mean.

I don’t think there is anything wrong in particular with customizing the character; I just feel like it’s unnecessary and can act as a distraction from the story itself due to time, but it depends. For example, in my opinion, limited customization is fine in several instances. But I would still leave it with the defaults anyway unless there’s an element or plot in the story that calls for a change in appearance, then I’ll just change and adjust accordingly. But generally, I just want to get to the story and focus on the character and plot development instead. Not the appearance of the characters. Doesn’t really matter to me, to be honest. So, I always just skip it by leaving it with the default settings for the reasons I’ve stated above. I will always be happy and totally satisfied with the characters that the author has presented us with each story as long as it’s written well, and try to connect with the plot and characters and understand what was written by them.


#6

I always let people have CC but have the default settings as a character with a unique look so that if you don’t want CC you will still have an interesting character. I never let readers choose the character name as a name for me is way more important than what the character looks like. I always choose names that people won’t normally use and I detest cliché names like Landon, Blaze, hunter etc for boys as they annoy me so much. I see enough of that crap on Wattpad. It doesn’t need to be on here too.


#7

Oh my god, Wattpad Teen fiction names are the death of me. It’s like the authors only know of three different names. Someone should make a “take a shot every time…” for the bad boy names lol. I think someone could get pretty wasted if you threw in, say, a Hunter.


#8

I stop reading stories with the name Landon in it. I’d rather read an actual book than waste a pass on a story with a character that has an unoriginal name.


#9

Yeah, I love reading it the way the author intended it for me. I feel like it’s more special that way. It can detract from the experience, and whenever there’s more than one character of CC, it just gets so tedious and it becomes a chore for me.


#10

I do like CC, but it takes too much of my time putting it into my script. However, sometimes CC is good if the reader doesn’t like how the default character looks. I kind of feel this way because I would like to make changes to the character when I read a story. Sometimes the default character will not be to my liking so therefore I would like to change how the character looks. I do know readers that only read stories with CC… If they can’t customize them, they won’t read it. I try to allow my readers to customize SOME characters, but not the MC.


#11

Agreed. Though… some of those notorious teenfic Wattpad stories are now published and actual books (unrelated, but which from a writer, that’s pretty cool), and I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future Episode stories could be converted to other established medias. There’s even less escaping now! :laughing:

Also some stories don’t have too common names, but some authors are still selecting their badboy’s name to exude toughness without even trying to be subtle about it. It’s kind of hilarious. Like, what parent would name their kid that? Did they know their child was destined to be a badboy™?


#12

Genuinely curious, but how does a character’s appearance bother you so much to the point of feeling the need to change their appearance and how does it contrast to say, book characters? Does it affect you the same way, or no because they’re different forms and serve slightly different purposes?


#13

I agree with all your points. Like, I wouldn’t make a character customized to be myself where I was going to get accidentally pregnant whilst being a student… That just doesn’t reflect my own personality at all (at the very least I’d be a lot more cautious and adamant about protection lol), but maybe it does to some people?? So doing customization to “insert” myself seems pointless. (Not that those stories are my cup of tea personally. :stuck_out_tongue:)


#14

Well personally, I just like to change the way the MC look. It doesn’t just have to be the MC, but it can be minor characters. I just have different opinions about it.


#15

I see. And I respect your opinion, of course!


#16

I’m glad you brought up the bland personalities.

These MC’s are always portrayed as stubborn, ignorant, and down-right annoying. 99.9% of episode stories have this sort of MC and it drives me up the wall.

Character development and portrayal is one of the most important aspects to a story. I want to understand this character and see the reasoning for some of their choices.

Relating to CC, it understand what you mean. If the Writer perhaps gave us the options to not only create the character but choose a personality or backstory then it would be fitting. But creating a character only for it to serve no purpose but to be the MC is ridiculous. “Oh boy, this character looks like me… but acts nothing like me?” Stupid.

Before writing a story, you need to brainstorm and maybe list all the characters with what personalities they have. You can build your story around this. Creating characters with personality is not as hard as some people think. It’s fairly easy. Rather than just jumping in and throwing in a few choices that don’t even matter to make up for your MC’s boring personality; maybe take a few weeks to write the story and it’s characters separately.

I don’t mind CC as long as the character has personality and Isn’t a blank slate.

That’s just me.

Sometimes characters are a little busted looking so CC can be good. Especially if you just let us change features but lock some options so the character can retain its quirks and personality. (Eye color, hair color, skin etc.)


#17

That’s actually pretty smart, your suggestion about choosing personalities. Granted, it would take more branching, but I think it’s definitely a lot more meaningful than just having a somewhat similar looking character with a completely different personality.


#18

My current story has no CC, but the new one I’m working on does. However, I did not include the option to change the names of the main characters, one because of narrative purposes (such as nicknames that are shorter versions of their names, or another character referencing a historical figure with that name…) but also because I don’t like making ‘blank slate’ characters.
I never name CC characters after myself because they hardly ever act like I would, so what’s the point in having her look like me and have my name if I can’t choose her personality?


#19

While I’m on team ‘No CC,’ I understand the choice of authors to include CC as lots of readers seem to prefer it. However, I 100% support and encourage your decision to have set names for the characters. For me, there is just so much in a name: It may have symbolic meaning, it could reference a person/event/place, it captures a certain feeling, it just sounds cool, etc. If I were to customize a character, I would rather do so with a set name in mind so I could design my version of that character to match the name. I also don’t name characters after myself because I too prefer not to insert myself into the story, so, I run out of names to use very quickly. In turn, I end up confusing stories because my MC always has the same names.


#20

Almost every story now has cc. It’s quite annoying. I have 31 limelight stories that are currently on my shelf and 27 of them have cc. Sadly these 27 have very similar main characters all named Maddie. Half the time I forget what story I’m reading, I get so confused! I wish there was no cc so I wouldn’t get so confused and because I think it’s important to see how the author pictures their characters.

But I totally respect the authors decisions. They get so many requests from readers which must be annoying.