Ramble: Story & Character Development

Pretty sure I’ve done something like this before. Have I given you guys my recent thoughts on character development? No? I guess it’s time to do that, then.

Since I started in on writing in earnest I’ve written quite a few short stories. I won’t say that they’re all spectacular, but I’m pretty sure they’re not terrible.

One of the key things that I always, without fail, do for my characters is let them tell themselves. A character, when allowed to grow to h/er full extent, is a versatile thing. While many authors use characters to tell a story, I like to use stories to tell characters. For me, nothing is as important as the characters in a work. Anyone who has ever asked me how I write I answer pretty much the same way– I let my characters tell the story. All I do is write what they would say. Continue reading

Exercise 1: Character Ideas

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m sensitive to criticism. This post has nothing to do with that. I just decided today- well, yesterday now- that I was going to write up five characters. These are those characters. It’s sort of an exercise and sort of just an excuse to post something worth posting. Progress on the new novel, ‘Deceive’ is being faltering again, and, because like anything I ever write, I can’t stick with one idea, I’m tossing around other stuff as well. We’ll talk more about Deceive in the post following this one.


PS: Sleep. Who even needs that stuff anymore, you know?

Name: Adial Shard

Species: Human

Age: 27 Sirius Spins [Station rotations, each equivalent to an earth year]

Gender: Male

Occupation: Captain of the Guard

Height: 2 meters. [about 4 spares.]

Weight: 82 kilograms. [8 teeth and 2 nails]

Biography: He grew up in Arcton, onboard Sirius Station. The measurement system there is unique to the station’s ecosystem, being in the wild part of the Station, living in areas mostly overgrown. While not the best of environments for a growing boy, he hardened quickly after his family moved from the Star Dome of Sirius. His father died shortly after the move– of Mortality Syndrome. Since then, life has taken a toll on Shard. What remains of Sirius Station has become dangerously unstable. It seems to be filled to the brim with genetic mutants, aliens, and refugees of all kinds, and sparks of conflict threaten to bring the entire station down. Shard feels that it’s his job to keep that in check.

Name: Vae of the Thorn

Species: Anthroelemental

Age: 4 earth-like revolutions around a similar star [20 equal-hour day, 503 day year split unevenly into 5 seasons]

Gender: Reproductionless /w female pronouns

Occupation: Guardian

Height: exactly 2.8 meters [earth measurement standard]

Weight: exactly 100 kilograms [earth measurement standard]

Biography: One of the original Elemental Statues created by Puck the Thief, Angus of Thought, and Sirius Traveler. Her aspect is of Sirius, and her function is to wait until she is reactivated by those who seek that ancient artifact, so that she may judge whether or not they are worthy. Until then, she travels from town to town, deactivated and causing incidental havoc. She is incapable of responding to anyone but those destined to seek Sirius.

Name: Grav Orlay

Species: Genetically modified human

Age: 30 Station Standard Rotations [earth-year model]

Gender: Bigendered [With modifications to make switches painless and simple]

Occupation: “Of the Colony 50.”

Height: merely 1.9 meters [about 5 ft 9 inches (male and female)]

Weight: precisely 40.9 kilograms [90 pounds.]

Biography: To be “Of the Colony 50” is to be quite special. Bred and aged to be exactly the right weight, size and disposition, Grav is perfectly fit for the mission the Colony 50 will be sent on. As to where exactly that is and what exactly that will entail, Grav does not know. Grav Orlay is the only bigendered human in the colony group.

Name: Mack

Species: Human

Age: 19 earth years

Gender: Fluid

Occupation: Station Mastress

Height: 1.6 meters

Weight: 50 kilograms

Biography: Sh/e was originally born on Centauri Station. Mack is now almost all that’s left of Centauri Station- with the advent of FolTechD and the rising popularity of outer limit colonization, Mack is a bit lonely at hi/s station. Sh/e isn’t lonely for always, though. After Centauri developed FolTechD, hi/s role was promoted- especially since hi/s parents were both obliterated in the gravitational forces involved in the FolTechD drive’s creation. Mack was instantaneously given a condolence memo as well as congratulations as sh/e was made Station Mastress for Centauri. Needless to say, Mack, who had loved hi/s parents dearly, was less than thrilled by the transition’s implications. The highlights of hi/s day is watching newcomers Fold in, dealing with their problems, and deciding which of the dark green suits in hi/s closet would be best to put on this cycle. Thrilling.

Name: Madria Stormsway

Species: Artificial lifeform class A / Half-demon

Age: 47 standard earth years

Gender: Construct / Female

Occupation: Rogue Weather Rectification Construct / Wandering seer and mage

Height: 1.8 meters

Weight: exactly 150 kilograms

Biography: Originally created to help control the weather, locals believe her to be an incredibly powerful half-demon. While magic does seem to hold some power on this plane, her abilities stem almost entirely from constructs of technology. Her slight frame belies an incredibly heavy body, and while she was originally built with pacifist programs, they have malfunctioned over the years and are now no longer compatible with the way her system has evolved.

Character Study: Winter

Ye who are caught up, read on. Ye who are just beginning to read, hold up a bit. Try to catch up before you read this, or, if you don’t care ’bout spoilers, don’t worry.

Winter is one of the most complex characters I have ever written, while simultaneously remaining very, very simple. Her reactions to problems at the start were always pretty easy to figure out- from the beginning it’s obvious that she runs. And she runs a lot. Later she starts getting braver and braver, naturally. But since she’s often the one in control of her body, Summer finds that horribly inconvenient.

But this Winter is much different from the one before she lost her memory, and she doesn’t care what Summer thinks. The one before, as Winter later discovers, would only do what she thought Summer wanted her to do. She was basically a puppet, and one whose strings Summer yanked freely. BB, as the past Summer is affectionately referred to, gleefully would shove Winter around.

Something happened in the duel between Summer and Lord Autumn- no one seems willing to say anything about it yet, and I’m sure as heck not going to spoil it for you. But know this- Winter-Long-Frost is a lot stronger than she ever was before the fight with Fall.

The character of Winter started simple- my friend, who shall remain nameless, gave me this lovely idea for a character. In fact, she gave me the character as part of one of our character swaps. Since then I’ve expanded on the concept, and she went from one person in two minds to two people with two bodies and two minds, sharing the same space. The leap made it possible for me to do all sorts of fiddly things to spacetime, which I love. There is nothing more satisfying than finding a continuity error in my own work and correcting it, and without Winter, there would not be a work to look through to find the errors. And I know there are errors. I’m not a perfect writer- no one is a perfect writer. There are so many laws (guidelines, really) in the english language I cannot fathom how someone could construct a truly grammatically correct sentence.

Yet Winter presents a much different problem, because the errors are in continuity. Since Summer and Winter are essentially two different characters- see polarized opposites who have to share the same mindspace- in one space, it means that Winter could be bleeding out and Summer could be just fine.

It does weird things to Winter, psychologically, too. Some people have a conscience pointing all the things out they did they should regret. Summer is like a reverse conscience, pointing out everything she thinks Winter should do to benefit herself. In that way, Winter and Summer are completely different. When Summer is in control, Winter is always trying to protect the people Summer might hurt. She rarely seems to care about her own safety, or even Summer’s safety.

Winter, who Summer thinks is too soft for her own good, is constantly berated for trying to save people. The two balance each other out in a lovely synergistic way- or would, if they weren’t constantly at one another’s throats. While the whole [SPOILER]* incident helped cement the two of them together firmly in mind as well as in body, they still have very distinct character differences. It’s part of what makes Winter so enjoyable to write. Alone she would just be another heroine who tried to handle too much. Along with Summer to be the superbitch [not a real word] she’s balanced out.

I don’t generally think about that so much. I think about the relationships between my characters, but rarely do I actually meditate on why they are as they are. I think it’s a good exercise to go into depth about what experiences drive Winter…

And the main one I can think of, the first one that really struck her, was the [SPOILER] of the two men early on. She was just starting to learn what and who  she was. And look how far she’s come now!

What amazes me most is Winter’s flaws. Despite having a kind character… Winter still manages to come off as a bit childish in her views of the world. While she’s terrified of Lord Autumn, one of her major flaws is her lack of true understanding of what’s happening. She gets fragments of knowledge from her memories, but the fascinating thing for me is that even when she’s getting all this help, she’s still only brushed the first of hundreds of webs of intrigue wrapping around her. She’s blindly flailing, trying to figure out what exactly is going on at the same time as the reader. Fortunately I’m coming close to [SPOILER] the messes all in, and it won’t even need to be [SPOILER] heavy.

But I’ve already said too much. That’s it for Winter, for now.

As always, enjoy!


*[Hint: I’m not going to tell you what I put in the spoilers unless you ask me really nice.]