After someone asked how I manage to come up with so many characters, I tried to explain my methods in a post. Basically, I’m a character creating maniac. I’ve churned out characters for as long as I can remember. Sometimes, I try to write a story for the characters, but many times I don’t. I just like creating characters for fun. I’m planning on writing the specific nature of my character generation methods, but for now, I decided to set a few characters out into the wild.
What am I putting up for grabs?
These poor characters were created and left abandoned for several years. The oldest ones are over thirty years old. I made dozens of characters in middle school. I liked them so much, I didn’t want to “hurt” them by putting them into a story and having bad things happen to them. Some are just a few years old and I made them just for the thrill of making characters.
Few of these characters will be presented alone. I love pairing up personalities that blend or clash. I think characters are more interesting when they are paired up with characters who egg them on and give them chances to play their quirks and eccentricities off each other.
If the characters came from a weak ghost of a story, I will also put that up when they go up for adoption. I think interesting times create interesting people. Events and locations aren’t just backdrops for characters. They will be affected by these events. They events mold and shape them subtly as the story moves along.
Why am I putting them here instead of the official NaNo forums?
Selfish reasons, mostly. I want more people to read my blog. So I’m hoping folk will come for the characters and stay for the… whatever it is my blog offers to people. Also, I don’t want to break tradition or unofficial rules of offering up characters. I want to offer things up my way and I don’t want to ruffle feathers and stir stuff up if I don’t do it the “right” way.
I may put up something once or twice, but I will also mention that I keep the best stash of giveaway characters on my own super cool blog.
What do I want you to do with these offerings?
Anything you want. If you only want one character, and not the others they came with, do so. If you like the story pieces and only want those, have at them. Change the gender, age sexual orientation, species? No problem! Set them up to be tortured or made fun of by your own characters? Yep. Once you take them, they are yours.
I only ask that you let me know what you did with them. You don’t have to, but I’ll be curious and very interested to see how they survive and live outside of their native habitat. I’d love to see what they were up to. You don’t have to thank me, if you don’t want to. It would be cool for you to do so, but you’re under no obligation. If you do your writer job right, these characters will very likely be unrecognizable as mine in your world.
Are you afraid of people stealing your ideas?
Nope. When it comes to characters, I think you could give ten writers the same character outline, and they’d have ten different characters that would have their own voice and personality. Even with identical vital stats and quirks, they’d still be a writer’s unique interpretation of the outline. They’d go into ten different stories and each of them would meet up with a countless variety of different characters and events that would shape them.
Visual artists frequently use those little wooden models when they draw human figures. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an artist give credit to whoever created those figures. I see my offerings as shadows of characters. They aren’t substantial enough to be considered skeletons. Once you fill them out and put them in a story, they will be in your world. When people see them, they’ll see your description. When they speak, they will have your dialogue. When they think, they will likely have your narrative voice. Everything that makes that character unique and interesting will come from you.
So with at out of the way, here comes my first set.
First Offering: “Sister Prayfast” and “friend”
When I put these characters up, I strip them of their names. This is because I’m horrible at naming characters, and while I’m willing to ditch characters, I keep the names. I recycle them and give them to other characters. Also, if you took the name, I’d recognize it easier and it would be harder to separate my idea of the character from the reality of what someone else creates. Imagine what Charles Dickens would think if he saw Oliver Twist portrayed as a middle aged transgendered orca piloting a starship in a space opera! So don’t mock my names! I just toss them out with awful names so I can describe them more easily.
She’s an acolyte in some sort of epic fantasy. She’s very young, eager, a true believer, and completely enraptured with living the cloistered life. Her order is devoted to preserving manuscripts. She loves reading them, studying them, touching and smelling them. She has an amazing knack for learning languages and translating texts from one language to another. Potentially, she could become a very wise and learned leader in her order with her talents.
The problem is, she’s not very good at being a priestess. She’s hopelessly clumsy, messy and forgetful. No matter how many times she is shown how to tie her robes, she ties them the wrong way. No matter how long she spends sweeping, the floor is just as dusty as it was before. Her handwriting is terrible and she can’t be trusted to transcribe anything. She loses anything anyone gives her and she forgets to show up for appointments with the Abbess on a regular basis.
There are a few in her order who believe that she’s insubordinate or subversive. They can’t believe that anyone would make the frequent mistakes she makes accidentally. They want her removed, or forbidden to do anything other than menial labor. No matter how good of a translator she is, many think she shouldn’t be allowed to translate because it’s an “advanced” task. She can’t even master basic tasks, like filling up ink bottles without spilling them, so he has no business doing anything until she can handle the basics.
Friend (or foil…)
Friend is the opposite of Prayfast. Her parents forced her into cloistere living. She hates it. She’s not at all religious or devoted to the life of a scribe. She’s constantly trying to get herself kicked out, but for whatever reason, plot doesn’t allow for it. She’s very charasmatic and outgoing, and popular among the less devoted acolytes. She loves pulling elaborate pranks and causing trouble for the sisters in charge.
She’s naturally good at being a scribe and living in the cloistered community. Her penmanship is not outstanding, but her work is always used as an example of what a solid transcription should look like. If she put effort into it, she’d probably be one of the best at the cloister. If she has to or wants to for any reason, she can easily tidy up and do just about any task perfectly. She almost never wants to do the right thing, however.
They have very different social circles in the cloister. They’d never socialize at all together, if it weren’t for the fact that they frequently endure punishments together. Prayfast is miserable about getting punished, because she always tries her best and it’s never good enough. Friend gets annoyed, but she’s usually satisfied if she’s done something bad enough to get a nasty punishment.
In my story attempts, they usually started out as enemies but became best friends through whatever trials I gave them.
- All if my attempts at storytelling would lead to Prayfast physically attacking Friend at some point early on. Prayfast is never happy when she discovers that Friend is naturally good at everything Prayfast tries, fails and gets punished for on a daily basis. This is always the first time Prayfast gets in trouble for deliberately doing something bad.
- They frequently get locked up in a cellar or closet together as punishment. When this happens, disasterous things happen and they can hear but not see anything. They never get discovered, due to various things that happen in the plot. They hide for a few days and come out when it seems safe. When they get out, everyone is dead or missing. Sometimes it’s fire. Sometimes its disease or dismemberment. Once, it was all three, and the corpses of the priestesses had gone zombie.
- Whatever happens to them, they always end up trying to solve the mystery. I never figured out what the mystery was, however. Sometimes they’d hide in the woods, other times they’d go to a town. If they went to a town, they usually discovered that they had to hide because the townsfolk approved of what happened to the cloister, for whatever reason.
So there you go.
Let me know if you adopt these kids. I’d really be interested in finding out what the heck happened while they were in the cellar. Or what happened to them when they teraformed that planet together. Whatever.
Anyone want more? I’m not kidding when I say I can give you at least a dozen. I have a massive scrap heap of characters. Some are several decades old. I’m fairly certain I won’t use them, and if I do, I’ll have my own unique spin on them.