Things I learnt while reading 因与聿案簿录: characters need their ‘one thing’
Something I really like about the 因与聿案簿录 series is that it’s packed full with vibrant characters.
虞因 (Yu Yin) – main character
One thing: supernatural (can see spirits of the dead, and this ability leads him into a lot of trouble)
少荻聿(Shao Di Yu) – main character’s little brother
One thing: loves sweets (to the point that he starts experimenting and making them for himself)
虞夏 (Yu Xia) – main character’s 二爸 (second dad)
One thing: casual violence + short temper (confuse him with a high school student and you’d get a beating on the spot)
虞佟(Yu Tong) – main character’s 大爸 (big dad) and Yu Xia’s twin older brother
One thing: Yu Xia’s mellow counterpart who cooks very well (yeah, he got the short end of the stick, but the series isn’t finished yet, maybe we’ll learn more)
严司 (Yan Si) – a forensic doctor (and the guy with brown hair and glasses hanging from the rope with a smile in the picture)
One thing: talks nonsense and isn’t afraid of things he should be afraid of (like dead people painting their faces on his wall)
玖深 (Jiu Shen) – a forensic analyst
One thing: very scared of the supernatural (to the point that he dashed away towards the window so hard the window broke)
一太 (Yi Tai) – goes to the same university as Yu Yin
One thing: amazingly accurate gut instincts (he passed multiple eye tests even though he couldn’t see because he kept guessing the right answer)
言东风 (Yan Dong Feng) – really smart guy
One thing: also really hates eating (so naturally, everyone keeps giving him food to eat. It even starts to work, then things happen, and now they’re all the way back to square negative one)
It’s easy to describe the characters in a sentence. And even if sometimes, there’s nothing else to say about the character than that one special characteristic, it’s not that bad, because the characters’ interaction with each other also makes the best of their idiosyncrasies.
Characters: violently short-tempered Yu Xia + scared of all things supernatural Jiu Shen
Scenario: Jiu Shen gets into a bad situation because of all kinds of choices that stemmed from him avoiding going home at night because he was scared of being haunted by spirits. He actually was being haunted by one, but that’s another story.
Enter Yu Xia, who finally finds Jiu Shen after a lot of effort, and gives his underling his usual kick to the ankle. Except, Jiu Shen sprained his ankle earlier, and the kick ends up breaking it.
Aftermath: Jiu Shen (and everyone else because this police branch is like family) gets to see the usually fierce Yu Xia look apologetic while his ankle heals.
There are many such situations throughout the series. The author sometimes exaggerates a trait, or adds a twist, or brings in real life consequences, or just mix people together to see how their personalities clash, usually with humorous results.
Take-home message: assigning characters their ‘one thing’ can make it a lot easier to write characters and their interactions without making everyone sound the same.