What if you could live your life over again?
We know that it’s highly unlikely to get a re-boot, but what about living a double life? Whether you’re a tinker, tailor, soldier or spy, you might get a kick out of living life as an alter ego....
Some of history's most important and distinctive figures have created alter egos for a vast array of purposes. A good alter ego can keep your true identity secret or help you mentally compartmentalize particularly difficult opinions or actions. Whether you're an amateur superhero looking to hide your true mild-mannered self or a subversive writer hoping to protect your reputation from the backlash of a society that's not ready to accept your vision, a good alter-ego can be vital to helping you achieve your goals. Alter egos are a form of drag.
RuPaul’s Drag Race · 5PM today at Bacchus
How to create an alter ego?
Seek inspiration from famous alter egos. Hundreds of figures throughout history have adopted alter egos. If you're lacking for inspiration, look to history books for plenty of examples of how to immerse yourself in your new identity. Many alter egos, like musician David Bowie's famous “Ziggy Stardust” character, have become cultural touchstones for music, fashion, and other forms of art. Others, like actor Sacha Baron Cohen‘s characters (Borat, Bruno, etc.) have eclipsed their creator in terms of fame and recognition. Understand your historical context - your alter ego is, knowingly or unknowingly, probably influenced by past alter egos.
It's also useful to look for examples of alter egos that didn't work out. For instance, 90's country star Garth Brooks was widely ridiculed for his darker “Chris Gaines” persona. His alter ego's serious, angsty alt-rock image appeared ridiculous and forced in comparison to his relatively earnest country work up to that point. Try to compile lists of what, historically, has and hasn't worked in terms of alter egos in your field - writing, music, etc.
How to create an alter ego? Come up with a name, a persona, and…
Fill in the small details about your alter ego. Give your character real depth by giving him or her unique, specific traits. Real people have peculiarities and quirks, so your character will seem more real if he or she does too.
You may want to choose details that match your character's role or personality - a grizzled mercenary alter ego may walk with a slight limp as the result of an old unexplained injury.
Conversely, you may want to pick traits that contrast interestingly with the background you've given your character. For instance, you might give the same mercenary character a childish enthusiasm for playing tiddlywinks. Good alter egos, like real people, are complicated and often contradictory.