Many people are intimidated by the application process at Pokemon Crossing. It has a lot of questions on it, and if you've never roleplayed before it can be a bit daunting to answer them at first. Please note that these are my own opinions based on personal experience with creating a character, but I've tried to write as objectively as possible. I'm by no means an expert at creating characters, but hopefully I can share some knowledge I have—and I'm doing this, because I probably won't have time to critique last minute apps. (I'll be using Bennet as an example.)
Start Simple:The best way to make a character is to start with a simple idea, (e.g. "a shinx that was raised to use electricity the way we do by electricians"). Web sites like Bulbapedia are fantastic starting points for picking a Pokemon. Once you have that, you can build it up from there. Use this idea as your focus, while you explain how, when, what, where, why, they became this sort of character. While you may put bits of your own personality or life into your character, avoid writing a self insert. This will only stunt your progress and limit your character.
Nature:Consider how your character's Nature affects their History. A Pokemon's nature will have a significant effect on their decisions in life, and sticking to their nature is an easy way to come up with interesting, yet logical routes for character development.
☻ See also Nature at Bulbapedia
For instance, a Naive Pokemon may have a lot of knowledge about one area, but will have trouble connecting new ideas relating to it on their own. Bennet's parents raised him to understand everything about Electricity from an Electrician's perspective, how phone networks work, how electricity is generated for the public, etc. Until he came to Pokette Town, he had no idea that Electricity (specifically his own electric moves) could be used to defend himself or protect his friends—essentially as a combat medium. This was a great spot for character development, which comes easily to Naive characters who are constantly in need of learning new things, but is possible for every nature because each is lacking in some way.
Child Development:What were your character's parents like and how has this affected their early development? Did their parents have a profession that changed the way they grew up or their views on life? What sort of personalities did they have? Did their parents abandon them, were they neglectful—if so approach this from a logical angle. It is possible to write the story of an adopted/abandoned Pokemon, but only if you write their history with realistic attributes. Being an adopted Pokemon is hard, but don't over-dramatize their circumstances (adopted or not) so that they have an inappropriate reaction. In addition, do not let factors such as "luck" guide your history, connect the dots. In an app history that's your job, not the readers. It's best not to leave this section overlooked, because it is an important platform for shaping your character.
Focal Point:A hobby, a talent, a profession, give them something! If they are without any proficiencies it can be difficult to write anything about this character; and it makes it impossible to focus their story. If they're a pirate, give them the history of a landlubber-hating ship-fairing child come ashore to wreak havoc. If they're a taxi driver, give them a childhood full of cars. Find something that they're interested in or excel at, and use this as a way to define your character as yours alone.
Special Events/NPCs:Something that isn't entirely necessary, but if you're still looking for another avenue for character development, consider writing an unusual experience for your character. Their nature and previous history will guide this mini-story, but be sure to focus on your character. Do not add a special event to their back story if you're only using it as a way to introduce extraneous Non-Playable Characters (NPCs). Unless these NPCs have actually affected your character in any way, they should be excluded from your app. Consider who these NPCs are and use them with the situation you've put together to show how your character handles the scenario—and how this moment defined something about their personality.
For example, Bennet's older sisters constantly teased him about Bug Pokemon while he was growing up. This action, when repeated, instilled a sense of fear in the young Shinx, and his Naive Nature made him gullible and more susceptible to their teasing than Pokemon of a different Nature might be. This fear caused Bennet to constantly avoid insects, which only compounds his fear of them and makes them a foreign and alien force to be reckoned with on a daily basis in Pokette Town.
Another special event in his back story included his first experience with creating a glass marble with Discharge. This moment does not include any NPCs in it, and yours does not necessarily need them either.
Ability/Move Set:By now I hope that you've read through the mountains of Pokemon Pokedex entries and other data on Bulbapedia (or other sources). You may be starting to consider giving your Pokemon a set of moves and deciding on an ability choice. What many don't realize is that you can use these aspects of your character as outlets for more character development. They can also be used to aid you in Animal Crossing style activities such as Dig for digging, and Surf for surfing on top of the water as opposed to swimming in it normally. You can even find more ways to use Pokemon moves that suit your character's Nature, History, Hobbies, and/or Talents.
Shinx are known as the "Flash Pokemon" and they typically use this move in the wild to run away from danger (Pokedex entry). Strangely, shinx do not learn this move by leveling up, but Bennet inherited it from his parents. For him it acts as a built in defense mechanism triggered by his fight/flight response that he hasn't yet learned to control. He usually ends up "Flashing" himself, and fainting half the time when he is facing a great threat.
I've also used his move "Discharge" as a method for him to create glass marbles. High levels of concentrated electricity (usually lightning bolts) are capable of super-heating sand and changing it to glass. This is another way you can give your character a unique talent, or expound upon one they already have (Bennet's talent for art in this case).
Moving to Pokette Town:One thing that people often forget to think about is why their character is moving to Pokette Town. You should consider this point and decide whether or not they've moved against their will and why. If their original residency is far away, you should consider how they were able to make the trip to Pokette. If they have a family, how did they react? Did they encourage the move? Discourage? What does your character hope to achieve by moving to Pokette? And what talents do they posses that will benefit the town?
Bennet lied to his parents and told them he was moving to Pokette to pursue a Electrician Apprenticeship, when really, he just wanted to make new friends and practice art freely.
Give this section a lot of thought; it's extremely important to connect their past with their future. Avoid writing things such as "Pokette requested my character" or anything unrealistic. Pokette Town is just like any other community in the Pokemon universe; it is not recruiting characters for residency, and it is not a gated community that must be applied to in character.
Conclusion:Hopefully there are a few nuggets of information in here for you. Be careful not to write too much and always focus on connecting the dots rather than adding dots all over the place—create constellations, not starry expanses! Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions to add to this. Best of luck to everyone applying later this week; I'm really looking forward to it!
Extra - Things to Avoid:The Abominable Snowpoint City Character. Avoid starting your character off by having them live in Snowpoint City. I've seen this an awful lot without rhyme or reason to it and it personally bugs me.
Age-Date Stamps Roadblocks. Don't use numerical age dates to organize your application (such as "At 5 years old..."). This is a lazy way to organize the events of your history and becomes confusing when reading an app history. Use landmark events instead unless stating an age is absolutely necessary to a life event's record. Keeping your history's events organized by the chronological development of your character is a great way to maintain order though, so don't misunderstand me here. I'm only suggesting relying too heavily on stating the numerical ages takes away from its original function. I've seen this problem a lot and it's something I wish I'd suggested avoiding when I first wrote this guide.
Consider the presentation of these parallel examples of a character description.
At 3 years old, Bennet began experimenting with electricity. At 8, his father began to heavily train Bennet to memorize the way that electrical networks were arranged in the Sinnoh region. It wasn't until the age of 9 that he began to experiment with electricity on his own and discovered that he was able to create beautiful glass marbles with sand. He perfected the art around the age of 11, but wasn't able to introduce new color properties into the marbles until he was 12. At 16 he moved to Pokette Town.
Bennet grew up in a household with two parents and two sisters. At an early age, Bennet was already experimenting with electricity and learning its use as an application for powering cities. His father began to heavily train Bennet to memorize the way that electrical networks were arranged in the Sinnoh region, but the little shinx took no interest in this. When he began to experiment with electricity on his own and discovered that he was able to create beautiful glass marbles with sand. He perfected the art a few years later, but wasn't able to introduce new color properties into the marbles until he had practiced many times…His personal interest in glass making drove him to move to Pokette Town.</blockquote>