Character Writing Finale!

Let’s see if I can’t finish off these character building questions that I’ve been working on too long!

What does your character’s bed look like when he/she wakes up? Are the covers off on one side of the bed, are they all curled around a pillow, sprawled everywhere? In what position might they sleep? (TW: child neglect)

Wild Rush – the thing you need to know about Wild Rush’s sleep habits are that his parents were super neglectful. He slept in the basement on a cot from an army surplus. If he’s stressed at all or having nightmares, he’ll toss and turn winding himself in the blankets, and make himself as small as possible (but not curl up, because the cot was too narrow). If he’s relaxed or dozing, he’ll splay out which takes up most of the bed. He’s not a fun person to sleep with, is what I’m saying.

Daisy – As absolutely terrible as her dad was, he at least bought her a proper bed. She tends to curl up and snuggle with a pillow or somebody if they’re there. She gets warm and throws the blankets around and they end up in the floor by morning.

Charles – Charles runs hot, so usually just wants a sheet. Ne sleeps on neir back mostly. Ne sleeps really hard and sometimes snores.

Andre – He runs cold, but luckily he sleeps with a human furnace. He’s a side-sleeper that starts curls up and straightens out as he gets hot. He drools and snores. If he’s sleeping alone he buries himself under a pile of blankets until you can hardly see him. Half of them end up shoved to the side by morning.

Delia – she prefers just a sheet and light blanket. She often ends of sleeping on her front, especially after long days. She likes to splay out and if sharing a bed, to just barely touch each other’s legs and arms. She sleeps really hard and has a hard time waking up.

Joel – Joel buries himself under blankets and sleeps on his side with his limbs relaxed. He snores, but not that loudly, and will talk nonsense in his sleep. He’s a zombie in the mornings.

How about we finish off the Troy-Burton family?

Leonard Burton – he absolutely prefers to sleep with someone and will start as snuggling on his side of the bed and not move until morning no matter where the other person moves to and how much of the blankets they steal. If he has to sleep alone, he’s got a body pillow, but he doesn’t sleep as well and ends up wrapping himself up in the blankets.

Nathan Burton (Delia’s husband, Leonard’s brother, Joel’s dad) – he tends to splay out on his back or side and hog the covers. He moves a lot in his sleep too.

Are there any blood relatives that your character is particularly close with, besides the immediate ones? Are there any others that your character practically considers a blood relative?

Wild Rush – Nope. He hates his family with a passion and will have nothing to do with any of them. If he considered someone a blood relative, he’d loathe them.

Daisy – she never really knew any of her grandparents. Her mom was an only child and her dad’s brothers died in The War. Andre and Charles are like brothers to her.

Charles – not really. Neir extended family lives in different states and ne never saw them much. Ne thinks of Daisy as a little sister.

Andre – He’s got a whole bevy of cousins, but nobody he’s super close with. Like Charles, he thinks of Daisy as a little sister.

Delia – she’s got an aunt that she visits often, and then Leonard, her brother-in-law.

Mask – most of his family is in another country, but he’s close with several of his cousins and tries to spoil the younger members of the family. He’s good friends with several of his aunts and uncles too, although they don’t talk about his work much. He’s got a friend in a monastery that he’s practically brothers with, but that doesn’t approve of his work at all. He considers his lieutenants like younger family too.
What’s your character’s desk/workspace look like? Are they neat or messy?

Wild Rush – super messy. He’ll have pencils, pens, and markers everywhere and doodles in all the margins. He has a huge desk he works on and ends up with a pile of rejected ideas on the floor. He pins tons of stuff to the walls too.

Daisy – she has a smaller desk in her room for homework. She tries to keep it neat, but sprawls out when she’s working, then shoves everything inside when she’s done.

Charles – neir workspace is the kitchen. Ne’s a super neat cook, washing dishes as ne goes and such, but ends up with splatters of stuff on neir clothes and in neir hair. Which is why ne has a collection of cute aprons.

Andre – the closest thing he has to a workspace would be the bathroom when he’s primping. He makes a mess, but cleans it up when he’s done, otherwise Charles nags him.

Techrat – is super neat. Everything has a place and that’s where it stays.

Gimmick – also very neat, but will misplace stuff when he’s focused. His neatness is learned because he was a messy kid and got tired of it.

Delia – her workspaces end up a mess, but she knows where everything is. It all gets taken care of when she’s done of the day.

Joel – about the same as his mom, although he’ll often leave things out because he’s going to get back to them.

Donna Cooper – super neat. She’s got an inbox and an outbox and stuff is in one or the other or being worked on.

Harry Suchek – also very neat, although he tends toward the pile method. He’s got a clear desk by the end of the night.

Kella Aurita – she drives Sucheck (and Cooper) nuts because her desk looks like total chaos. She says she can find everything, but a lot of the time it’s after several minutes of searching. Nothing ever gets lost, but that’s because it won’t leave the desk until she’s done with it.

What might your character’s ideal romantic partner be? (TW: sex, misandry, misogynistic stereotypes, BDSM…)

I’m going to have to diversify, since most of the people I’ve been doing are or were in relationships…

Joel Burton – he says he’d like someone to spoil him at home and just relax with, but he ends up dating extroverts and going to concerts, theme parks, outdoor stuff, and other exciting events.

Jill – she wants excitement! And maybe a sugar daddy. She wants fast cars, fine dinners, dancing, and really hot sex. And he has to be smart enough to keep up with her. Which is why we know two of the people she’s dated were Gimmick and Wild Rush (and WR’s brains are only borderline good enough).

Techrat – if he were to think about a romantic (non-sexual) partner, he’d want somebody that would take care of him. Basically a mother.

Tectrix – …probably a harem of brainless beauties that he’d mostly ignore as they got up to lesbian fun… That or somebody as twisted as him.

Mick Adler – a very smart, very independent domme that would treat him harshly, take care of him after, and leave him alone when he’s working. … He may be the character with the healthiest, most reasonable idea on this list…

Describe your character’s hands. Are they small, long, calloused, smooth, stubby? (TW: weapons, violence)

Wild Rush – he has large elegant masculine hands. He’s a master at sleight-of-hand and watching him work, whether it’s lockpicking, doing card tricks, or playing with guns and knives can be mesmerizing.

Daisy – she’s got small soft hands. Everything looks big in her hands, but she can be as mesmerizing as Wild Rush when need be.

Charles – he’s got very strong hands. He keeps them soft, but everybody knows he can crush anything in them. He likes to keep his nails a little longer and will paint them sometimes, often doing Daisy’s too.

Andre – his hands are rough and calloused. He’s not as strong as Charles (not surprising), but he’s quick and nimble.

Delia – her hands are large, very strong, and tend to be rough. Her nails are always battered and short.

Mask – his hands are gnarled and stiff. He can be strong when necessary, but pays for it later.

Techrat – his hand are beat up, rough, calloused, but he has long elegant nimble fingers. His nails and cuticles are always broken and bitten.

Jill – has very feminine elegant hands, but they have a ton of scars from working with her ferrets. She forgets to use lotion, so they’re usually rough.

Mick Adler – he’s got stubby fingers that are often rough from working. He likes to get manicures and will even get his nails painted, but he’s got tough calluses from working in his lab.

Stuart Ashbow – he has beautiful hands, with a wedding ring tattooed on one finger. It’s garland of rose branches with a small rose where the diamond would be. He gets manicures often (sometimes him and Mick go together and maybe drag Delia along) and takes good care of his nails and hands.

Swordcat – has fuzzy, super strong, clawed hands. They’re big (… I’m noticing some author appeal here… ) and with thick fingers and knuckles.

Where my stories come from

I generally prefer to call my stories that, instead of writing, because I don’t write the majority of them down, and even the ones that I decide I should, usually don’t get written immediately. (For example: my vampire mystery novel that might have to end up being a trilogy or getting a lot of stuff cut out.)

All my stories start as daydreams, generally when I’m laying in bed, but I’ve started stuff to keep me from falling asleep in class, when I was in the car, visiting family for the holidays, etc, whenever I have mental energy that isn’t getting used (which is often…). Most of the stories start with me using the names and characters of whatever I’m currently obsessing with. The characters will get stretched and molded to fit wherever my mind roams. I also have character types of my own creation that show up under a variety of names.

A lot of my imaginings are blatant Mary Sues, interacting with my favorite characters. My most current one, who I’ve been using in more or less the same form since I graduated high school (so thirteen years now) is a fire mage who can do anything she can imagine in fire terms, including shape changing and traveling between worlds and into stories. She beats up demons, monsters, and the occasional god. And runs a school for other superheroes, including recruiting a young version of the Phantom of the Opera. Like I said, blatant Mary Sue. Incredibly blatant. Which is why I’ve completely discarded the notion of ever recording those stories (just getting rid of the copyright infringements would… well, basically remove most of it, honestly, and it’s too much of a massive crossover for me to want to do it as fanwork). I’m trying to replace her with another mental centerpiece but I haven’t come up with a story for her yet (and she’ll probably end up horrendously overpowered as well. It’s a recurring problem.)

I lot of it, I’ll just repeat the same stuff over and over. The fire mage and her friends have been working as singers at the Iceberg Lounge for like three years now, with various misadventures including demons showing up to fight Erik, helping Batman, and mostly just lots of snark and banter. Before that she was redoing the file room in Arkham and occasionally getting dragged into doing security work. Yes, it’s all very very self-indulgent.

But some of the smaller stories, the non-epic length ones and the one-shots, end up pretty good. And I try to write them down. The problem becomes when it’s a series of adventures with no specific end. And then I don’t know where the plot is going and it becomes a mess. I have two of those novels in process.

A lot of them I can pick out what influenced them. Some of them I can’t, aside from liking certain things (why do I like whump? No idea, but I sure do. I only just learned there was a specific term for it, for pete’s sake.) And it’s usually a giant mix of things (I have one – that’ll post once I get it edited a bit – that has an character inspired by Alpert, one of BaaingTree’s characters, some of the set-up inspired by a Sherlock fic, and most of it just my own really messed up brain.)

Of interest to no one but myself: my recurring themes and tropes

I have a ton of stories and characters that I come up with that I never write down (mostly because, hooo boy, Mary Sue and self-insert ahoy, wow.) I’m including those in these, because, well, I can. It’s my site. ;)

At nothing else, you can use this as a reason to get lost on the TV Tropes site for a few hours. I’ll be adding stuff as I think of it, basically so I can then get it out of my head and preferably stop making the same list over and over again.

  • Villain Protagonist I love writing villains and bad guys, so I tend to write more of them than heroes. It does mean some of my other recurring themes get some Unfortunate Implications because every time I write that kind of character it’s a bad guy.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink, Even Evil Has Loved Ones, Even Evil Has Standards, Blue and Orange Morality. It’s hard to write an absolutely evil character when you’re in his head (although I manage if the situation calls for it). And, well, complicated characters are more fun.
  • Mind Hive. I like to write characters who have a couple of people living in their heads. Unfortunately, this is one of the ones that bugs me, because right now all those characters are bad guys right now. And I do believe in Healthy Multiplicity so I want to fix that (The one good thing is that those characters are generally complicated and are more grey morality than black. So, that helps. Still need to fix it though.)
  • The Sleepless. Several of my characters have weird or irregular sleep schedules that don’t impact them poorly. For some of them it’s to emphasize that they’re odd. Some of the others it’s just the way they are.
  • Tall, thin men in nice suits. Yeah, it’s Author Appeal. Also cat people, barefooting, and a bunch of things that don’t need to be mentioned here.
  • Superpowers. Mutants. Spandex. Yeah, I read too many X-men comics as a kid and now I read too many Batman comics.
  • Hurt / Comfort. Sometimes without the comfort. (aka Whump)
  • Masks and Scars. Partially goes with the superhero stuff. Partially just because masks are cool. Sometimes goes as far as Full Body Disguise, especially for superheroes (I’m not a big fan of the domino mask…)
  • One True Love. Which is silly, because it’s not something I believe in real life. At least when I write it, it doesn’t mean that the relationship will be easy. Usually combined with some sort of soul-link thing (I rarely go as far as telepathy. Because telepathy is highly overrated).
  • Nearly instant language learning or Universal translator. Generally through some sort of telepathy or magic.
  • Older than they look. I keep writing these characters that are practically immortal or have a healing factor that keeps them looking young. (yes, alright, I read too many comic books, okay?)
  • Characters with mental illnesses or personality disorders, usually things that don’t exactly match up with anything real. I did mention too much Batman, right?

30 Characters Challenge #5 – Swordcat

Name: Leon Smith / Lenxoli, aka Swordcat
Hair Color: Red
Eye Color: Yellow
Skin Tone (fur): Gold

Leon Smith was a fairly ordinary man. Divorced with shared custody of his daughter, Melinda. He preferred to spend his time camping, hiking, and fishing, well away from people. It was on a camping trip that he found a strange sword in the debris from a recent landslide. He made the mistake of picking it up and found it had a personality of its own, Lenxoli.

Lenxoli had gone somewhat mad after the destruction of its home planet, floating in space for countless eons, and laying buried on Earth for millions of years. It wants nothing more in the universe than to recreate the civilization it came from. The first two steps, in whatever order necessary, are to destroy the hairless beasts and uplift the felines, the creatures that are most like its makers.

It meant to completely overwrite Leon’s mind, but didn’t quite succeed. An unexpected side effect was for Leon to change from a grumpy misanthropist to someone who wanted nothing more than back scratches, good food, and a nap in a sunny space.

The sword itself grows  from dagger size to full-length sword. (The two swords as drawn are in scale to each other, I believe). Lenxoli’s mind is connected to the sword which is usually kept in the mental institution freezer, which helps quiet Lenxoli. The staff otherwise find Leon quite pleasant to deal with, especially compared to many of the other inmates.

Swordcat is a villain for my comic series, The White Knight.

I was trying to find a way to make him look fuzzy without having to draw lots and lots of hair, because I’m don’t draw that fast and I need ways to get out pages of the comic (when I make it) without each page taking forever. I use Manga Studio. With Swordcat I tried using the Brush Pen which has a little bit of texture for his skin. It showed up better in the giant version (duh, I know). It wasn’t a successful method from the time saving stand point either, because to preserve the texture I had to paint in all the blacks – without completely blacking them in – instead of using the Fill tool. Oh well, I had fun.

The swords on the bottom were drawn several years ago, which is why they’re shaded. I’m trying to get away from that shading style because, again, it takes too long. And, yes, the eye on his back is correct. It shifts to stay upright. And it’s watching you.