Monday, November 19, 2012

Howlina - Day 19 - What if?: Character

" Today, we're going to apply our "What if?" wondering to the characters...exercises for your protagonist(s), additional primary characters, antagonist(s), and any
love interests in the story...For the purpose of these exercises, I'm going to refer to the character as "Joe."...Every time you answer a question, write down at least one follow-up what if?"

  1. "What if Joe met his nemesis in a neutral public place?"
  2. Describe Joe's physical appearance, age, educational background, and speech patterns:
    1. What would a stranger notice 5 minutes after meeting Joe?
    2. What would a companion notice after 5 days of travelling with, working with, or being around Joe?
  3. Who are Joe's parents?
    1. Are they still alive?
    2. What if Joe met his parents? How would he behave?
  4. Where did Joe grow up? 
  5. Who is Joe's biggest hero? 
    1. What if Joe met his hero?
  6. What if Joe had a family, kids, etc.? 
    1. What if Joe's kids were part of Joe's problem?
  7. How does Joe fit into your speculative element? 
    1. Does he not believe in it? 
    2. Is he an expert in it? 
    3. Is he an outsider?
    4. What if Joe encountered something he didn't believe could happen? How would he react? 
    5. What would that something be?
  8. What secrets does Joe have? 
    1. What if his nemesis knew his secret? 
    2. What if a love interest knew?  
    3. What will Joe do to protect his secrets?
  9. What does Joe not know about himself? 
    1. What if Joe wasn't who he thinks he is? 
    2. What if he learned about himself? How would he take the information?
  10. What if Joe left home? 
    1. What if he returned? 
    2. What if Joe became an outsider or outlaw?"
For the purposes of this I'm going to call my Protagonist, Pete (because I haven't named him yet); my Antagonist (or someone who could be my antagonist), Ann; the Catalyst (love interest) Kata; the Sleuth, Slu; and the Victim, Vic.

For the purposes of this post and because I only know for sure two characters that will be in the story, I'm only going to do the exercise for Pete and Kata.

My primary vision of Pete is as a Cowboy.  He is much more than that, but the mood and snapshot of him is that.

  1. It would depend on the action of Pete's nemesis, if provoked then Pete would fight.  He would respond to violence with the appropriate level of violence to win the day.  If argued with he will calmly and rationally argue.  He is very intelligent and can make very good arguments although his opponents are often frustrated because he does not rattle, and he is sure of himself and his point of view.  He will, if presented with sufficient facts and valid points, change his mind.  He is determined and steadfast, not stubborn.
  2. Pete is 5'8" and thin, but very muscular.  He has sandy hair he keeps short and dark green eyes.  His skin is dark and his nose is wider that what would match his otherwise Nordic features.  He is 29.  He has a degree in Library Science and Geology from the University of Montana.  He speaks slowly and deliberately in a Midwestern US accent.
    1. Strangers notice his height; purposeful, confident walk; his intelligent, searching gaze; his quiet, polite demeanor; and his warm but reluctant smile.
    2. After five days you may learn that Pete is miles deeper than the stock cowboy, that he is more intelligent than even he knows, and that his family history is complicated, but happy.  You would learn that he is tone deaf.  You might learn that he went through a life changingly devastating divorce fairly recently.  He has a doctorate.  Though it is quite possible that you would learn nothing except that he is a very close person.
  3. Pete's Mom is a Swedish immigrant to the US and his Dad is from Argentina.  He learned both Swedish and Spanish at home before attending school.
    1. They are still alive and living in the US.  His Dad is an activist and academic; and his Mom a firefighter.
    2. If Pete met his parents it would be a heart warming reunion.  He would feel like a prodigal son because he did not turn to them during his divorce, but he has always been his own man and wanted to deal with it on his own.  There is a great deal of love in their family.
  4. Pete grew up in Minnesota and went to college in Montana.  It was in Montana that he got a job in the rodeo to pay for school.  He was a city boy before that, spending almost all his time in libraries.
  5. Pete's biggest hero is Galileo.
  6.  Pete and his ex-wife never had children.  That was part of their fight.  I think Pete can't have kids, but I'm not writing that in stone.
  7. Pete is only vaguely aware of Transhumanism, but he is in favor of it in moderation.
    1. He believes in it as soon as he sees it and is more aware of the consequences than most people would guess about him.  Actually he is more aware of the implications than even most in Howlina.
    2. He is no expert in it, but he immediately grasps it.
    3. He is an outsider, twice removed as an outsider of Howlina and an outsider to Tranhumanism.
    4. Pete is shocked at first, but only for a moment.  He processes it very well, accepts it and embraces it.
    5. His first encounter with a Transhuman is a Cattress he meets in a bar.  She picks him up and in a short time takes him out back to rape him.
  8. Pete's secrets are twofold, his wit and intelligence are simply masked by his quiet demeanor and rugged appearance; the pain of his divorce is actively hidden though.
    1. If his nemesis knew of his intelligence then the nemesis would be better prepared to act against Pete.  Since he doesn't, he can't.  Pete's nemesis would actively use his divorce and its result (loss of his job tenure he had built up and home; moving out of the country he was married in) against him to discredit him and to cause him to make bad decisions.
    2. If his love knew of his intelligence she would appeal to it to solve any problems.  If she knew about his divorce she would understand him better and worry about him more.
    3. Pete protects his secrets by clamming up.  He just doesn't talk about it.
  9. Pete doesn't know that he is passionate, and optimistic.  He thinks he could never love again, yet he will.  He also doesn't know that he has an enemy.  He has a real blind spot for enemies, not because he is naive or to optimistic about human nature, but because he tends to deal with what is in front of him.  He doesn't worry about what goes on behind his back.
    1. Pete would not be any different if he found out he was adopted.  On the other hand he thinks he has now scarred emotionally and is a person without love.  When he finds out he is still able to love it frightens him.
    2. If he knew he was vulnerable to enemies he would just shrug it off and deal with it when it comes around to his face.  When he learns of his continued ability to love it brings out a fight or flight response.  In Pete's case he is all fight, no flight.
  10. Pete did leave home for school, but he is always welcomed back.  He returns every chance he gets.  When he can't go back he is disappointed.
    1. If he went home there would be a party
    2. I think he will become an outlaw of some sort in the story.  The story will explore what then happens.

Kata is a Transhuman Super.  She is Pete's love interest.
  1. I'm not really sure I know who or WHAT Kara's nemesis is.  Assuming it is a whom, she would be cagey, try to evaluate before anything else.  She would be defensive and use her intellect and beauty as far as it would get her.  She tries to persuade her opponents to do things in such a way so they think that they wanted to do those things.  She is not exactly manipulative, since she doesn't necessarily do this for her own benefit, but for the benefit of the opponent.  She is quite aware that she has superior strength, agility, stamina, and skill, on a level with the greatest athletes today.  She would avoid using it, but not forbid herself if it called for it.   If you think of Florance Nightingale as a Femme Fatale with the highest level of blackbelt in several major fighting styles, you might get an idea of what kind of opponent Kata is.  She will still surprise you though. 
  2. Kata is 30, but you would never guess it.  She will look about 20 for many decades to come.  She is a full 2 meters tall (about 6'7") with curly dark hair (dark hair is unusual in Howlers).  Everything about her is perfectly proportioned, from every possible angle and point of her face to the dimensions of her body.  She has a perfect hourglass figure and is absolutely stunning to behold.  She carries herself like gravity isn't enough to keep her down.  Her eyes are a color of violet not found naturally mixed green and blue.  She speaks with a slight tinkle in her soprano voice.  All of her features are standard for female Supers.  What is truly striking and unique about Kata is her nose.  She broke it as a youth and refused to have it set.  Unlike every other Super's nose hers is aquiline as a result.  She has three PhDs in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Nuclear Engineering.
    1. One would spend the first five minutes simply in awe of Kata's beauty and grace.  It would be very difficult to see beyond the perfection.  In fact most people spend the first five minutes after meeting a Super trying to find a flaw.  People familiar with Supers try to find the thing about the Super they are talking about that is unique and mundane enough for them to relate to.  In Kata's case if you happen upon her nose early then you can get on with a normal conversation.
    2. After working with her for 5 days you would find that she makes every attempt to accommodate whomever she is working with.  She never seems like she is dumbing something down, even if that is what she is doing.  She  is approachable, friendly, helpful, and considerate while being so capable and accomplished that she never has to compromise.  Instead her manner encourages others to their own personal bests.
  3. Like all Supers, Kata has biological parents and adoptive parents.  Her biological parents are really an amalgam of genes that have been so altered and improved that the people they originated from are indistinguishable.  Her birth mother is her adoptive mother, and she is a multiple PhD as well.  She is married to another scientist.  They both worked on the Transhumanism project at The University of Kaurorapolee.  They were loving, but fairly cold parents.
    1. Her mother is still alive and her father passed away a year ago.  I don't know how the Howlers deal with that, but I suspect that the widowed try to find a new mate, since a single person is considered half a person.  Kata has two brothers who are not Super and one who is.
    2. When she sees her mother, which is several times a year, they are cordial, but cool.  Neither fully approves of the other.  Kata's mother thinks that the role of Transhumans is perfectly clear and does not understand why Kata is constantly questioning herself.  Kata doesn't understand why her mother assumes The Solution is so easy.  She is also jealous of the clear favoritism her mother gives her super brother, and is frustrated by the lack of attention she gives Kata's two oldest, and normal brothers.
  4. Kata grew up in Kaurorapolee, went to college in Rokafopolee, got her first job in Protopolee and recently left that position for another, less prestigious position in Cheekagopolee.
  5. Kata's biggest hero is Cleopatra, followed by Catherine the Great, Marie Currie, Florence Nightingale, and Amelia Earhart.  She admires women who can make an impact while being extremely feminine.  She also admires the concept of the goddess Aphrodite.
    1. If Kata met Cleopatra she would speak to her in Ancient Greek and have a friendly conversation.
  6. Kata has not met her soul-mate as per the Veebeelo.  She is a devout follower of the great book and is struggling to fit her life into the guidelines presented there.  She actually doesn't hold much hope of finding that soul-mate.  This frustrates her and gives her whole demeanor a melancholy air.
  7. Kata is up to her extremely tall eyebrows in the speculative element.
    1. She believes it IS The Solution, but is really unsure how those who provide the Solution should live their lives as they are doing it.
    2. She is not an "expert" in Transhumanism.  Her field is network intelligence and nuclear science, not biological engineering, but she is aware of it and understands it probably more than any normal person who is not a Transhumanist scientist (like her parents).
    3. She is an insider as a Transhuman, but an outsider in her attitude.
    4. There is very little that any Super does not know.  Kata understand that there is a possibility that there could be something she doesn't know, and is prepared for it, but she has never experienced it as an adult.  She would approach it skeptically and investigate it thoroughly before coming to any sort of conclusion.  She would operate from a null hypothesis.
    5. The thing in the story that will knock her for a loop is falling in love with Pete.
  8. Kata feels that her biggest secret is her broken nose.  There are many theories as to how it got broken, and why she refused to have it set.  The most widely accepted idea is that she did it herself as an affectation, a distinguishing feature.  The reality is that she was trying to push the boundaries of her own abilities, knowing full well that failure would result in a scar.  The point was to push the boundaries, but she considered the scar as an added bonus.  She did keep it as a distinguishing mark, but also as another test.  She wanted to see if her being a Super would heal it alone, and what would be the result of hundreds of years of a broken nose.  It is also a test of her bravery.
    1. If Kata's nemesis understood her broken nose they would probably understand her better, but still not know her better than she does herself.
    2. If her love knew, and he were truly her soul-mate then he would appreciate her all the more, but he would never speak of it.  He would observe, learn and marvel.
    3. Kata never speaks of her nose.  If asked directly and she cannot be silent about it she will lie, but it is almost impossible to corner her verbally so that she would have to lie.  This is probably the only thing she would ever lie about.
  9. Kata doesn't know if she can live the Veebeelo.  She knows that she doesn't know this and it bothers her.
    1. Kata is exactly who she thinks she is.  Sometimes she wishes she weren't but she is.
    2. If she ever learned that she cannot, in fact follow the Veebeelo then she would be heartbroken, but dedicate her life to those who can.
  10. Kata did leave home for school and work.  She deliberate goes further and further away each move she makes.  She is now as far away from Kaurorapolee as she can be without leaving Howlina.  If she left Howlina she would cause an international sensation and she would if that would further the cause of Howlina and help fulfil the Solution.
    1. If she returned her reception would depend on her success.  If successful she would be considered a hero and treated like the prodigal son.  If unsuccessful then she could never return.
    2. If she were an outcast she would still follow the Veebeelo as best she could, make very profitable investments and live out her extended lifetime in seclusion, helping charities as best she can.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great descriptions; I feel I fully know these characters, and can't wait to see them interact. A. Char xoxoxoxox ;-p