Category Archives: Characters

Longing for the Good Old Days

Recently I’ve been talking with someone about Star Catcher and it’s been great getting to hear the thoughts that have gone through their head while reading the story.  I love hearing what people have to say about my stories, how they view the characters, if they like them or hate them, are drawn in by one aspect or another of the story.  But lately it’s gotten me thinking about how I wrote Star Catcher, the style that I used, the wording, the description, the emotion, everything.  Thinking back on when I first wrote the story during NaNoWriMo, I remember pounding out as many words as possible to meet the count for that day and nothing else, but I when I go back and read the story, the level of immersion that I feel with the characters, with the universe, boggles my mind.

Over the last year or so I’ve been working on two more novel length stories that follow after Star Catcher and as I think about how I’m writing them, the wording that I’m using, the description, the emotion that I’m trying to convey in them, it feels forced.  The characters have changed and it feels as if they are only partly there, like I’m missing some aspect of them that I somehow included in Star Catcher but seem to have lost in the preceding time between the stories.

I guess in that time between stories, I’ve changed as well.  I find myself rarely thinking about the universe Star Catcher is set in.  Granted there have been times that I have had spurts of inspiration to write and post some random scene from that universe to here, but even in those, they don’t feel the same as Star Catcher does when I reread it.  So, what’s missing?  Is it the forced creativity brought forth in the rush of NaNoWriMo?  The innocence of a freshman college student?  The lack of stress during those days?  The new-found freedom of being on my own?

I also find myself reading less and less these days.  I have not had the drive to search out or pick up a new book to read.  I attribute this mostly to financial and college stresses.  There were days when I would give anything to stay lost in a bookstore for hours on end and spend my wallet dry.  I find the same thing happening with video games.  My list of unfinished games is growing and though I have some initial elation from getting new games I barely make time to pick them up, instead turning to mindless internet surfing to fill my down-time.  Granted, Minecraft has been an addiction that has helped to fill my time as well and I enjoy playing with family and friends, but even that has suffered from this lack of drive that I seem to have acquired.

I would like to attribute this all to the stresses of college and working to obtain an engineering degree, but I feel there’s more to it.  I have lost habits that I have had in the past and have developed new ones to replace them that I feel are less productive in some sense of the word.  While anime has sufficed to provide me with the level of story immersion that I recall experiencing from books, I do long to return to my paper-bound roots, as it were.

While my thoughts these days reside with financial, career, and future choices, as well as food and house-hold chores, in my late night introspective musings, as I write this, I find myself considering all the changes that have happened in my life to bring me to this point in my writing.  I started this blog as a way to promote myself, Star Catcher, and any future writing.  I have long since fallen off with updating it regularly, much to my own disappointment and possibly that of others.  Since going a second year in the dorms, obtaining roommates, and having lived in two different apartment arrangements, I feel I have lost that sense of freedom that I once had when I first was left to my own devices at college.

Now, I know I’ve rambled completely off topic I’m sure from my original intent for this post, but let me come full circle.  Rereading sections of Star Catcher, Jayko’s character, while reserved and not without troubles, is happy and care-free.  While I tried to capture some of that in the second story, I find he is less of the character he was, without depth and missing that extra energy.  The setting of the story doesn’t help this in any way I suppose as I decided to start crumbling his world around him, but even with that, he should still be able to achieve that depth of character.  I feel this is worse in the third story, where I have thrown him into the military war-machine in an attempt to mold him into the future character that I had set up so long ago.  But I feel he’s losing that happy, care-free side of himself in all of this and that part of him needs to survive if I want to keep that depth for him.  And truth be told, I’m probably describing my thoughts on this in the most side-ways way possible and this could all be attributed to random, delusional, late-night, caffeine-induced, introspective musings.

But, and I stress that ‘but’… I have gained several things that I know I need to do:

  1. I need to pick up a book again.  Maybe a past book, one that I loved, get myself back into the series, reread it to bring back the enjoyment that I once felt when I first cracked it open.
  2. I need to reread Star Catcher.  I need to get that feeling of the original story back in my brain.  Hopefully I’ll be able to pick up on my old writing style and merge it back into my current stories, improve upon it, etc.
  3. Revisit character bios and get a feel for who my characters are again.  I’ve lost touch with them, that much I can feel.  I need to do more character spotlights and develop them, build upon old bios and flesh them out to get a feel of who they are in the current stories while retaining certain aspects from past stories.
  4. I need to write.  Doesn’t matter what, I just need to start writing again.  Not bi-monthly, not bi-weekly.  I need to do some sort of writing at least every other day to pick up the pieces of my shattered creativity.  (We’ll see how well I stick to this one.  It is something I need to do however.)

I guess as the days march along I will find out if I will stick to any of these goals or if they are just random, delusional, late-night, caffeine-induced, introspective musings that won’t amount to more than another blog post.  Here’s that I will.

 

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Aaron Black

As I’m sure most of you know I’ve been writing a lot about Aaron lately, continuing his story and for those of you readying it, I hope you’re enjoying it.  College has been tough on me lately so I haven’t been able to do much with my writing save for a small scene here or there and those scenes have taken the shape of the next installment of Aaron’s story.

And having that creative outlet has kept me sane.  Lately I’ve been thinking about where Aaron’s story is going when I have down time.  I’m not sure where it will go, but I figured I should at least define Aaron’s character more since his story is going to be dominating my thoughts for a while yet.

Aaron is a very strong willed person, and was from a young age.  He has no memories of ever having a family.  He earliest memories are of his initial training to be a Protector when he was still relatively young.  So from that day on he was shaped by his training and those who trained him.  He had little knowledge of the outside world and when he was finally ready, they sent him out to be part of a force that was supposed to bring peace to a war torn and broken galaxy.

It wasn’t soon after that he was selected to be the wielder of a special weapon.  He was told nothing about it and was sent on missions to see his reaction and how he used it.  That weapon was a large, heavy, black, seven-shot pistol.  All that he was told was that it was a powerful weapon and that it was one of a kind so not to loose it.

What he found was that the weapon was cursed and that curse soon consumed him turning him into a shell of his former self.  Unlike the others who the weapon had been tested with, his mind did not break down under the curse.  Instead, he slowly, steadily became a demon, carrying out his orders with an efficiency that went beyond what was required of him.  He found himself committing more and more atrocities as the years dragged, gaining him the name Black-Heart amongst his peers and others.

It didn’t take him long to realize he had to get rid of the weapon and escape if he ever wanted to regain control of himself.  There was no way to do that though.  Then, in the midst of a large battle in the city Ksalvis he found his chance.  As the city crumbled around him, he was mortally wounded and buried under a collapsed building, the pistol buried somewhere underneath as well.  He’d awoken after the battle, in the calm, his body having regenerated due to the enhancements that he had received during his early years of training.  What he found was that he was suddenly freed of the curse’s grasp.  Leaving the weapon buried and forgotten, he escaped and was able to make it to a far flung fringe world where he set up a new life for himself.

And that’s where his story starts.

So with that little bit of background info, let’s take a look at who he is as a person.  From his training he became a very hardened person with not much being able to phase him.  He speaks in concise sentences, not feeling that his words need to be explained.  As he had no memory of a family, or any relations outside of those he trained with, he doesn’t keep very many ties to people and as a result has very few friends or acquaintances.  This works out fine for him as he likes the solitude of the skies and hates when people intrude upon him.

With his new found freedom he, generally does what he wants and doesn’t let the whims of others deter him.  He has a strong will and a underneath the shell that he projects he is a generally caring person, though he would never let anyone see him as such.

He developed a taste for alcohol when he tried to drown himself in it while the curse still had ahold of him, but found he could not due to the enhancements he’d received during training.  So instead he uses it to try and blur the memories of his past.

Physical traits include, short-cut, jet-black hair, grey eyes, average height, and a well-toned build to his body.  He wears a dark leather jacket that and a set of thick-weave work pants.  For the most part he tires to blend in, though his physical abilities are the opposite of the average human.  From his training and the enhancements he received, his speed is greatly increased as well as his strength.  Augmented by nano-machines his healing and regenerative abilities are well above normal and he can survive some of the most fatal wounds that would kill a normal person.

As for this gift everyone keeps telling him that he has, even he does not know what it is.

And that about covers everything I think for him.  I’m sure there will be more to develop during the story as I continue with it.  Next post, if I get a chance, I want to talk about the thoughts I’ve been having on adding immortals to the story.  That could get interesting.

Until next time!  Cheers!

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Violet Reyes

Violet is another of my major characters in Star Catcher and I wanted to develop her some more outside the story so I could see what I could improve upon with her in the story.  I want her to come back in future stories too, so I need to have a solid background for her.  In Star Catcher I created a sort of love interest between the two.  And I want to pursue that in some ways and in others I want to drive them apart.  I’ll let the story take it’s own course though, but here are my thoughts.

Somehow, I want to model Violet after Jayko as he will be in the future in some ways; experienced, trained, yet determined to get her way.  She has to have a strong personality to put up with Jayko and yet be able to show her feelings for him.  She needs more of a past too if I am going to bring them together (I never did really define her past in the story).  What I want to drive them apart is her irritation at Jayko’s inability to open up to her.  She wants to be sympathetic, empathetic and to help him overcome this emotional block that was put in him by the trauma in his past, but he keeps pushing her back.  What I want to bring them together is Jayko’s determination and fighting spirit, something she admires.

Starting from there and what I have in the story already, I’ve come up with this for her personality:

She is strong willed and always ready for a fight, yet she is caring and respecting of those who deserve it.  Not particularly an introvert but does like her alone time just like anyone. She is mature, but can goof off when she feels like it.  She likes getting to know people; is a bit of a teaser, mostly toward Jayko though.  She is a team payer and always looks for ways to help out. And she’s a bit of an adventurer too.

Building off of that for her skills:

She has her infantry training from her time in the military (mentioned this in Star Catcher) consisting of hand to hand combat, weapons training, as well as survival training.  Knows basic maintenance routines for ships (the reason she works maintenance on the Star Catcher).  She is a decent shot with any weapon she can get her hands on.  Has basic field training with a medical kit.  She likes to watch old vids so she knows lots of movie trivia (don’t know if that’s really a skill or just an interesting fact).

As for her history, this is what I am leaning toward, but I’m still working on building her background, so I’m open to criticism and suggestions.

She was born on a fringe planet where her parents owned a large plot of land that they worked to make a living off of.  This wasn’t the life for Violet though, she wanted to see the galaxy so she signed up with the military to look for some action and travel at the same time.  She served four years in the military before her tour ended rather uneventfully.  Not wanting to end up with another boring tour stuck on a carrier as infantry she decided to sign on with a freelance cargo crew to gain a different type of adventure and outlook on life.  She signed on with the Star Catcher which ended up taking her all over the fringe and showing her more action in two years than she had seen as infantry in four.

And that’s about what I’ve got for her.  It’s a rather rough idea that I’ve tried to develop into something and for a background it’s not too bad.  I really want to use her in the next story that I’m going to do for NaNoWriMo 2011, and I want her to be a big part of it.  Jayko will still be the main character, but she is going to be the one to keep him strong.  But that’s a story for another post!

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Jayko Troven

As I said in my last post, I wanted to talk some about my characters from Star Catcher, my NaNoWriMo project.  That is more or less what I am going to do now.  I want to outline and give a perspective of how my character development is going with each character individually and see where it goes.  This may or may not work, and it may reveal some things about the characters that I have not yet put in the story, but then, these are just notes about what I want to do with them.  Anything I write here could end up in the story or not.  So I’ll think I’ll dive right in, but with fair warning that I am not sure what I write may spoil some things in the novel for you all.  I will try to keep spoilers to a minimum though.

Jayko Troven is my main character who I am currently trying to develop at the moment.  Star Catcher is supposed to be a background story for him.  It tells the tale of an event in his life that forced a decision that placed the weight of a whole world in his hands.  This leads him to realizing that he needs to get out and see the galaxy from a different perspective.

While that is more or less the direction his character takes in Star Catcher, it wasn’t always the direction I had in mind for him.  This story takes place in his past and I had to redesign his character for it.  I wanted to accentuate some points of his personality that I had not been able to do in my ‘trunked’ novel the Titan Mystery.

Originally I had him as an adventurous person who was at the top of his league, a little laid back, always cheery and full of advice and always seemed to know what to do in certain situations to keep them under control.  I realized that with this model, he was too perfect, too well rounded of a character.  He didn’t have many flaws, if any at all and no background to him that wasn’t a mystery.  I did give him plenty of enemies and put him in plenty of hard situations, but there was nothing that he couldn’t overcome.

The protagonist of a story is more or less supposed to overcome the obstacles in his or her way, but it’s the character flaws that help drive the conflict, along with some form of antagonist or another.  And Jayko didn’t have much conflict.

Essentially I want to somehow define the fact he is not in the role he wants to be.  What he wants to be is an engineer/inventor and travel the galaxy.  What he has been pushed into is a leadership role.  He never wanted to fight, lead, or solve the galaxy’s problems (which seem to keep cropping up wherever he goes).

So far I’ve been trying to develop his personality like this:

Not too outgoing but not too solitary.  Likes to do things on his own as this is the way he was taught by Aronon (his mentor in Star Catcher), therefore has a hard time accepting help.  Despite this he is always looking for ways to get into trouble as there was not much room for him to have fun while growing up on a working ship.  Thus he also goofs off whenever he can and generally tries to make the most of any situation he is in.  He is even tempered and there is not much that can throw him off the hook. Gets a wistful look as he daydreams about his life, his past and the adventures he could be on.  Also tends to over-think things at times when the answer is right in front of him.

As for his skills, this is what I have come up with so far:

He knows at least several languages from living on a trading ship.  Good with his hands and anything technological.  Excellent pilot/navigator.  Knows some dirty fighting from Aronon, not very skilled at it though.  He is a decent shot with his gun when he is really focusing, otherwise he is a terrible shot.  Great with with all of his senses (has to be with Aronon as his mentor).

And that’s about what I’ve settled on for the moment.  I don’t know if I will add more skills that, but who knows.

A few more notes on him:

He follows the arilian (one of the alien species in Star Catcher) code of honor (I haven’t really defined this in the story yet and I may or may not).  He has a knack for anything engineering or technology wise; would go anywhere or do just about anything for Aronon.  He has trouble talking about his parents or his past, mostly because he doesn’t remember but also because the night he lost his home and family left a deep scar that haunts him still in his dreams.

That last part is supposed to be a very prevalent part of the story.  He was very young when his home was destroyed and his parents killed, so it rather traumatized him.  It’s supposed to be a large part of who he is and sort of define him.  I don’t know if it really does, but it defines his past and why he doesn’t talk about it much.  And I think I’ve more or less iterated that twice in this post now.

I think that’s about it for my defining of his character so far.  So far I’m happy with the way he’s turned out for a main character, certainly a little better defined than he was before, but then again, that’s open to debate.  I think in my next post I’ll talk about Violet and see if I can better define her as I’m still trying to flesh out her character.  See you next post then!

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