Shard-verse Rambling about multiplicity

I swear I’m going to start actually drawing the comic, but I keep getting distracted by my conlang.

I know I have at least a couple multiples who read my tumblr, so if you want to comment / critique / offer suggestions, I’d appreciate it.

I’ve been a bit annoyed because I have two multiple-ish systems 1  who are both villians / antagonists. 2 Which sucks, because that’s about the only exposure people get to multiples/pluralities.

I had already planned on having Delia’s admin assistant at Future-Tech be multiple, but that’s just one (and I want to change their system name) and I don’t know how often they’ll show up. BUT. I’m going to make Delia’s cook (Jane Quigley is the legal name) also multiple – and they helped the other guys get the job at Future-Tech (both groups belong to a multiple like club/support group thingy in or around Shard City). I gotta figure out how exactly that’ll work and work it into the story asap (Swordcat first appears in issue #5). Jane first shows up in the story after that.

I kinda want to keep things simple for the first few issues – keep the Burton’s to Delia and Joel, with her brother-in-law showing up briefly as support / someone to elicit some info-dumping. But I may switch those two stories around, because I’d rather some civilian / good guy systems show up before a criminal one. 3 And I still need to figure out who the people in the Quigley system are.

Darn me and my attempts to be a responsible writer.

  1. I say multiple-ish because in-universe they’re questionable. Swordcat doesn’t really have two people in one body – one has a body of its own, it’s just that that body is a sword so it also uses Swordcat’s. Because swords don’t have, like, legs. The other is Iosis/Ostanes who are questionable because they split themselves with magic alchemy.
  2. If Iosis/Ostanes were the protagonists, they could be anti-heroes, because although they kill people and stuff, they’re doing it for a good reason and they don’t do it indiscriminately.
  3. Iosis/Ostanes won’t get published for years still, so Swordcat should be the only problem for a while. And neither of them are really terrible people – Leon is kinda sweet actually  – but they’re still in prison and stuff, so…

What would you like to read from The White Knight?

I keep a wiki of notes and info about the world of the White Knight. While I’m still working on the character writing prompts, I thought I’d let y’all choose some stuff to see. Some of the entries are just a sentence or two, some are very long. A bunch of them are completely disorganized, still in progress, or no longer correct. A lot of them still refer to the White Knight as Dale or he, aka the first version.

But, anybody can ask to see any of them and I’ll post what I have, and possibly expand on it. Or you can pick a general topic, like religion, heroes, villains, geography, or whatever, and I’ll post some relevant entries and thoughts.

Some general info: The story of the White Knight is set in Shard City, in Clermont, an abetary (=state) in the Anitian Mirivea Federation (AMF). About a generation ago, some people started spontaneously developing powers. They were soon declared legally not human and dubbed Ex-men. There had been super powered people for ages, usually scientists of one kind or another. They are generally admired, especially as a coalition of them stopped The War that was quickly enveloping the globe and decimating a generation of young people.

Shard City itself is plagued by gang violence and the streets are pretty much abandoned to crime come nightfall. Or at least that was the status quo until the mysterious hero, the White Knight, came along.

Easiest fix: make everyone amoebas

Don’t have to worry about diversity when everybody’s genderless, asexual, shapeless, and transparent.

But anyway.

This is going to be one of those awkward things, where I say a dozen things wrong. I apologize.

There’s a discussion over on Shakesville of how everyone is sick of white straight able-bodied male protagonists. And I’m in agreement, but…

Neill, the protagonist of the novel I’m revising, hits three of those (He’s asexual). So, I could make him black or Hispanic or something. He comments on the antagonist being mixed-race (for example: ‘The tip of his tongue moistened his bottom lip, very pink against his dark skin.’) and I don’t know if that would be weird coming from a POC. If not, yeah, he’s now Hispanic. (He probably will be) (And once he is, none of the main characters will be white. Which is groovy.)

But I kind of want to make him disabled as well. But he’s a doctor in a criminal mental institution and a major physical disability would put him more danger, so they wouldn’t allow that? I think? I do think I’m going to make him dyslexic. So, um, suggestions. He had meningitis as a kid, so I don’t know if that could cause something (besides cognitive disabilities. But he’s very smart. Maybe a problem with balance?)

There’s one other character, not for this story, that I want to give a disability to. He’s a guy in his twenties, very smart, and extroverted. He does tech support and that sort of thing. I’m open to suggestions.

(Content notice: discussion of gender essentialism, sexual harassment)

What I’m finding with this is, I’ll think, oh, do this. But then that means that event will be read as something completely different. Okay, so do this other thing, but now that other event reads as… And you’re all looking at me, going use your words, give us examples.

Okay, so I make Neill a woman. Cool, we’ve got this highly educated, very smart woman. Groovy. Exceeeept… at one point Ostanes kisses Neill, without consent. Now, it’s just a kiss, on the lips, no tongue, no groping. That still comes off as much scarier than a dude kissing a dude. Okay, make Ostanes a woman as well. Now people will interpret it as straight women kissing to get attention of guys (even though it happens in a gay bar). (I think – I might be overthinking that one).

But that raises another problem. Ostanes is a dandy. He likes really nice clothes, in bright colors, and he pulls it off. A woman doing the same is going to be read as, well, ‘women like clothes’. So I don’t want Ostanes to be a woman. And there are other problems with changing Neill to a woman, that come down to people thinking girls like girly things. It’s frustrating.

I do want to make things diverse, and I think even if I screw up it’s better than not trying. But sheesh. In story I can say, oh well the society doesn’t think like that, but that doesn’t actually fix anything.

Update July 16: So Thomas Neill is now Tomas Maurell. And he’s overweight and has a bunch of minor problems caused by the meningitis, including a balance disorder and chronic fatigue. I’m still working on editing those in. And the other character I mentioned, has something like Parkinsons (he’s young and in college, so I have to do some research.)

Overthinking how to fix Ostanes

So instead of finishing writing, like, for example, the short story that’s about half done and would only take a few more hours, my brain insists on going back to Ostanes. Aside from the obvious (making it so it’s not so much talking heads), I noticed it’s basically a sausage fest, at least for the first half. And most of the characters are barely described right now (yes, that’ll be fixed), which means everyone will assume they’re white, able-bodied, straight, and cis. The last two aren’t things that will really come up without me having to force it in.

This is not acceptable.

But let’s talk total diversity (because I want people’s opinions on how to improve it). Diversity bolded and my questions in blue (so you can skip the teal deer if you want).

(Spoilers likely – also, this doesn’t take place in our world, but for simplicity’s sake I’m going to use Terran nationalities.)

Dr. Thomas Neill. White, somewhat overweight (although not mentioned very early), asexual.

Ostanes and Iosis. Multiple (not considered a bad thing in this setting). I need to do something about them denying they are, because it comes off as silly (first, research). But that’s a different issue. Ambiguously brown, probably mixed because he has curly hair. Their mom shows up and is Southeast Asian. We know basically nothing about their dad. Tall and very thin. Ostanes is pansexual. Iosis says he’s asexual, but likes to have one-night stands and make out with people at bars. Ostanes says it’s because it’s a power trip. I think it’s just complicated. Opinions? Iosis at least possibly has a mental disorder or personality disorder (that or he’s just a giant self-centered vain asshole). Ostanes has selective mutism, which I need to clarify.

Various undescribed guards. Easy place to add diversity.

Security chief. Pretty much undescribed. Woman, which I need to mention earlier.

Dr. Caro. Jerk. Male. No description.

Dr. Callis. One of Ostanes’ ex-doctors. Woman. Tried to seduce him, which is problematic. (Or at least Iosis insists she did, but he may not be an entirely reliable witness…)

Dr. Ginson. One of Ostanes’ ex-doctors. Male, no description. Could easily be a woman, which would make up for Dr. Callis.

Dr. Tross. One of Ostanes’ ex-doctors. Male, no description. Iosis thinks he’s a jerk.

Iosis’ victims. The few that are described are men, presumably white. I’m pretty sure that’s fine with me.

Uco. Overweight. Male. He has a heavy accent, but I don’t say from where. He could easily be a woman, but I’m afraid that that’s saying that making clothes is woman’s work? Or am I overthinking?

Uco’s assistant. Male, has Café au lait spots on his face. Could also easily be a woman. Maybe make Uco a woman and the assistant a man?

Delivery people. At least one is a woman. They’re otherwise undescribed.

Anita Trevino, Ostanes’ and Iosis’ mom. Southeast Asian. Woman (duh). Gorgeous. Probably has the same mental/personality disorder Iosis does because their personalities are very similar. One of the few people who can get the better of Iosis, and it’s wonderful.

Dusty. Who still needs a name change. Currently male. Going to be changed to a woman, possibly a woman of color. (Also, probably pansexual, but that won’t come up. I am NOT going to write young Ostanes walking into the kitchen and seeing his mother making out with his mentor. Not happening, but it’d be hysterical. Because I’m a jerk.) The other person who can chew out Iosis and it’s even better. Shows up as a fox (trickster archetype – actual talking animal fox) later. If I change him to a woman, is it problematic for her to be a fox? If so, suggestions for a different trickster type?

Mr. Hiddles. Rabbit of various anthro states. Male. Not changing, because oh god I lurve him. I lurve him to bits.

Elliana. Woman. Probably going to be changed to overweight, possibly a woman of color. Neill had a crush on her. She’s a fairy princess. Opinions wanted. The real Elliana was Neill’s kindergarten teacher, when he had a crush on her. Any problems there that I’m not seeing?

Three old women / witches (presented without judgement). I’m tempted to do the crone/maiden/mother thing, but I don’t think it fits. The king of fish and an ogre. Yes, this story gets odd. I need to foreshadow the change and read a lot more fairy tales to get the tropes right. It’s beautiful and I need to expand it more. It’s just so so lovely.

 

30 Characters – Swordcat (WIP)

He’s done except for deciding on the color of his pants. However, I’ve been staring at it too long to make a decision. Therefore, I’m putting up the color tests I’ve done and getting opinions.

The only things that can change is the pants and the legwraps/belts. Everything else is set. (The swords on the side are an old image, which is why they’re shaded and the main stuff isn’t. I’ll talk about it when I put up the final image).

(More added)

So, pick one. I’m leaning towards the aged bone belts and wraps and the dried blood pants (… he’s not a nice person exactly.)