Tag Archives: Prose

X is for….uhhh…

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It’s April, and that means it’s time for the A to Z challenge. I really must be a glutton for punishment; April is my last month of college, and I’m still an amateur blogger, but I must say, I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m going to be writing short little blurbs about some retired characters from my DISTANT past up until recently; all of them are failed concepts. Part of me is hoping that writing about these characters will inspire me…perhaps to write more during the summer when school is out.

So…for some reason I thought I had a character named Xerxes… I searched through a pile of notes for what seemed like ages. I asked a friend who remembers more about my work than I do. He thought the name sounded somewhat familiar. We dug some more. I think I had a faint glimmer of a concept once upon a time, but it got buried beneath schoolwork and suffering, so I’m going to do something a little different today. (YES. I can do that. Totally my challenge. I make the rules, so I can bend them…or break them.) I’m going to create a new character, and I’m going to take you through my creative process.

Phase One: The Art of Naming

I usually have no expectations when I name a character. In the past, you can see that I’ve tried very hard to make my names fit my characters perfectly. Now I just search for names I like and names that fit a character’s circumstances. I mean…it’s very unlikely that a character from pre-Revolution France would have a name like Katniss. And it’s probably pretty strange for a kid in our day and age to be named Lysander (even though that’s a super awesome name, and we should bring it back).

So I started out by searching for “X” names, since I need an “X” character for this challenge. I also decided that I wanted a more feminine sounding name. (Note: I’m not a big fan of making up my own names. Every once in a while, I’ll do it, but I prefer to search for names first.) Ultimately, I found that I liked the names Xahlia (no meaning), Xahria (“flower”), and Xandria (“defender of humankind”). At this point, I didn’t know which name I liked best, so I decided to move on to phase two.

Phase Two: Behind the Backstory

I’ve had a vague idea for a character for a long, long time. I get my ideas from a variety of different things. Sometimes I meet interesting people or read/watch interesting things. A lot of inspiration comes from music, and recently I’ve gotten ideas from poetry as well. (Believe it or not, Pinterest prompts are great too.) Because I haven’t had a lot of time to flesh this idea out, I’m going to give you a very, very brief synopsis with a few different directions I’m going to experiment with.

X___ is a teenage girl from a wealthy family. She doesn’t know the meaning of “to want” because she’s always had what she needed. (This is a generic enough idea.) However, while she’s out with a group of friends one day, she bumps into a young man from her school. He’s relatively unattractive, socially awkward, and not interested in making friends with anyone, but she notices that he has something in common with her which forces her to meet with him again. Slowly, the rich girl falls in love with the poor boy, but the poor boy isn’t interested at all. Plot twist: this doesn’t end up a love story.

As I mentioned, I could take this in several directions. I originally thought about it in a modern setting, but I rarely write in a modern setting. I considered a semi-futuristic setting as well simply because I’d like the opportunity to play around with technology. But regardless, the idea would stay the same.

Phase Three: Appearances and Personality

This is actually the part where I start writing little snippets to experiment with the character. At this point in my planning, I have a fairly general idea of how I want this character to act. I want her to be kind and sheltered rather than entitled and bratty. More than anything, she’s a big blank slate, and I want her to experience the world. My favorite way to hammer out a good personality is to practice writing “what if” scenes. For example…

  • What if X___ got lost and didn’t have any way to get home?
  • What if X___ was late for an important appointment?
  • What if X___ was given the opportunity to use three “rules free” wishes?
  • What if X___ was put in charge of a group project out of the blue?
  • What if X___had to choose between friends and family?

All of these questions help teach me a little something about her personality. Is she a leader? Does she handle stress well? Is she a perfectionist? Is she noble or selfish? After spending some time with her, writing these prompts, I get a clearer sketch of her and finally decide on an appearance. (Considering the origin of her name helps as well. If a name is traditionally Chinese, I’d make her Asian.)

Phase Four: Rinse, Wash, and Repeat

Even after I finish all of this, I’m not done. I usually use my characters many, many times before I have them set and ready to go. Even while I’m writing a story I decide to change things. But that’s the beauty of writing, right? We’re never really completely finished with an idea. For now, I’m going to stick with the name Xahria. But that may change!

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I is for Ivan

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It’s April, and that means it’s time for the A to Z challenge. I really must be a glutton for punishment; April is my last month of college, and I’m still an amateur blogger, but I must say, I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m going to be writing short little blurbs about some retired characters from my DISTANT past up until recently; all of them are failed concepts. Part of me is hoping that writing about these characters will inspire me…perhaps to write more during the summer when school is out.

Today I’m actually going to talk about a character I’ve actually spent some time writing with. He was the subject of a NaNoWriMo project in 2014 called The Evolution of Cyrus Easton. (I’ll give you a quick hint and let you know that I won’t be talking about Cyrus today. There isn’t an “I” anywhere near his name.) Ivan is what I like to call a “trap” character. He’s a pretty boy; most people might mistake him for a woman. Not that that actually has anything to do with his character. It’s an homage to my favorite archetype in the Fire Emblem video game series. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the series, there is almost always a young man with long blonde hair who is easily mistaken for a young lady.

Forest (c) FE 14                    Libra (c) FE 13

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Lucius (c) FE 7

And my personal favorite….
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Rafiel (c) FE 10

Ivan is in a group of anarchists, but he’s more or less the voice of reason that no one listens to. He doesn’t even possess any anarchist ideals. He’s mostly there to keep his childhood friend out of trouble which doesn’t always work. Unfortunately, Ivan is passive, and his influence over his friend is very weak. Ivan is a very religious young man which is the main reason he was able to cope with some childhood trauma while most of his friends turned to violence.

Honestly,I’m not sure how realistic this situation is which is why I decided to dedicate today to Ivan. His motivation is weak. Why stay? But then again, aren’t we always asking ourselves these questions? Rewriting that NaNoWriMo story is definitely on my to-do list. I really enjoyed it.

G is for Gottfried

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It’s April, and that means it’s time for the A to Z challenge. I really must be a glutton for punishment; April is my last month of college, and I’m still an amateur blogger, but I must say, I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m going to be writing short little blurbs about some retired characters from my DISTANT past up until recently; all of them are failed concepts. Part of me is hoping that writing about these characters will inspire me…perhaps to write more during the summer when school is out.

Gottfried Gwawrddur Kyrvach. I created him, and I literally don’t even know how to pronounce half of this kid’s name. What. Was. I. Thinking? That being said, allow me to explain a little bit about him first.

He’s a little snot. That’s the easiest way to describe him. He’s a stereotypical entitled rich kid (I say kid, but he’s really supposed to be in his twenties) who likes to use his power to get what he wants. He’s not all bark and no bite however. He’s skilled, just not nice about it. I guess he’s that guy we all like to hate because he gets far in life and karma never gets the better of him. But Gottfried gets turned into a a child by a witch who sees his lack of charity. So…yay for well-timed karma?

Overall, he’s a more humorous character, but it’s also rather cliche to have a witch teach someone the error of his/her ways. I don’t know. There are some cliches that are fun to work with, but the trick is adding my own twist. Why should people care about this guy? How can they relate to him? Adventure Time had an episode in which Finn got turned into a massive lumpy foot by a wizard disguised as an old man after going out of his way to help him. It was…reverse karma in a way? But I appreciated the twist in the cliche. I never got the chance to work with Gottfried or the group he’s associated with. I may return to him…once I figure out how to pronounce his name.