Posted by jeanne
thinking aloud here.
i have done practically no work at all on the characters in this story. it’s almost as if the events were driving this story. i have a boy and a girl. i might use these as their names but for the recent publication of a novel with the characters guy and girl in it. i’ve used thing 1 and thing 2 before as character names, but that’s just not right here.
kurt, the kernel programmer, named not only for the name itself but after an acquaintance (who gave me his old laptop) named kurt who was working on a quantum computer way back in 1998.
snake, the replacement programmer, named for his dominant character trait.
a female fan
a male fan?
this isn’t much. the only thing i know for real is that the boy and girl are one. that’s the message of the whole story, of course, and in the vision they have they end up being a single person. and of course, i as the author am splitting myself into pieces in order to write these characters, so i’m really both the boy and the girl, and they are one person inside of me, the author (god). but how does that help?
if the boy and girl are both me, then all i have to do is split myself into two characters. and that’s completely reasonable, because there are a whole slew of people inside my personality. but to be effective, i’m going to have to take the part of me that is most conflicted, and split that into two pieces.
so, one half of me is boisterous, outgoing, overly confident, take charge kind of person, a real evangelist for any cause i believe in. the other half is timid, insecure, doesn’t want any notice. so that’s not going to do, because neither half is well rounded enough to carry the part.
let’s work backwards. what kind of people are they when they get to the seventh level of antarctica and stand against each other? they’ve both grown to be powerful leaders, they both believe in the rightness of their position, they both think they’re the true upholders of their missions and the other is a sellout.
the boy is willful, tho. he has done things his way the whole time, playing fast and loose with the rules, doing whatever is necessary to win. he’s ruthless in his quest for power, but is kind and generous to those who support him without question. he’s got a sneaky look in his eyes, he sizes people and situations up according to their weaknesses, and interacts with them according to their usefulness. he’s pretty sociopathic, actually. he’d love to be more sociable with others, he’d love to be lazy and hang around with his friends, but he is driven to be right, and his way of arguing is to bring out the big guns at the first sign of disagreement.
i’m actually modeling this character on a blend of men i have known; real assholes. the worst of the men i’ve known.
they’ve all got good qualities – they’re most of them really smart, and they do a good job of protecting their loved ones (who are nevertheless prisoners). and they seem really strong and powerful and right. but underneath they’re scared little boys and are only putting on the strong and powerful thing so people will leave them alone. and, really, their inner voice puffs them right up with how smart and powerful and wonderful, even how enlightened, how above it all, how perfected he is. and he so believes it. because the sycophants he surrounds himself with are only too happy to puff him up. fluffers, really, the support system that enables him to go out in front of the cameras and give them the money shot. in public they are careful to project a pride of association, and so his women have to be gorgeous, submissive, and gracious to all, while being obviously smitten with him. in private he puts her down and abuses her emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically, makes her feel stupid, makes her feel like she’d be nothing without him.
and i hate him already. i don’t want to hate my character. so i’m not going to do him this way. besides, i got over hating this character when i wrote him as rick the prick in my last novel.
so let’s pick a working couple i know and try that on. he’s outgoing, she’s retiring. oh this is tiring already.
should i just pick two tarot cards and use them as templates? should i cast a horoscope for them?
they start out as a couple, friends and lovers, and work together on the game, and learn quantum consciousness together, and are in fact entangled in a quantum way, so that they really are one, and can tell what the other is going thru even when they’re not together. so neither wants to hurt the other except inasmuch as they hate themself.
he’s the one who insists on having pirates in the game, so he’s impulsive and headstrong. and he’s the one that listens to them when they want to take the quantum kernel away, so he can be manipulated and led away from his goal. he actively works against the principles of the game in the end, and choses the side of power all the way thru the game, even tho he knows that it’s the wrong choice given their quantum experience and the lessons they’ve been taught.
whereas she’s pretty boring about her duty. she’s steadfast about spreading the game and achieving critical mass, and she doesn’t get swayed by the temptations of them. she concentrates on creating power among, on building cooperation and a new society, on being a peacemaker. so perhaps she’s a little sanctimonious. and a bitch. and she’s got a wicked sharp tongue and isn’t afraid to say what she thinks before she even knows she’s thinking it. so she’s tactless. and she’s pretty sure she’s right about her analysis, so she goes off half-cocked, tries to do everything herself, and irritates a lot of people who don’t see things the way she does, because to her this just means they’re slow, and she doesn’t have time to play catch up. but she’s also unfailingly kind and generous, and does her best to compensate for her brusqueness by bending over backwards to empower others. she sets things in motion and then backs off and lets others lead, preferring to work behind the scenes. maybe like jacob she is afraid that he is going to hurt her, and tries to hide from him (esau), trying not to draw attention to herself. which doesn’t work very well because they’re entangled.
as for the other characters, i have kurt the kernel programmer, and snake the replacement programmer. kurt is so smart it’s painful, and so he doesn’t talk to people very much, and mutters and uses jargon when he does. he’s not very sociable, not very neat, not very graceful, and he’s got issues with the amount of pharmaceuticals that he consumes regularly, some of which interact. on the other hand, snake is meticulous, fashionable, polite, outgoing, talks a great game, and is upfront about what he wants out of life. he’s also smart, but nothing like kurt (nobody is as smart as kurt, anywhere). his smart is more wiley, outsmart, smartass, a knowitall smartypants. just for the record, kurt is more like my ex, and snake is more like a cross between a neighbor and a friend who visits now and again.
then there’re the fans. there are a bunch of them, but the one i’ve already thought of is the girl, who turns out to be some sort of offsetting character to snake. where he’s sabotaging everything, she’s going around turning npcs into fairy godmothers. both are comic foils for the boy and girl. but i don’t really have a clue as to any others.
there’s the shadowy them, but they can remain shadowy. the public figures can all be caricatures of public figures, mouthpieces.
in fairy tales, only the protagonist undergoes character development. all the other characters are stock, and are only there to further the plot. likewise here, but i need to flesh them out a good deal more because of all the work they’re going to have to do. because the secondary characters are going to become very important when they’re all playing the game, and when the real world catches up to them.
obviously i’m not finished thinking the plot thru. when i’m done i’ll have a good paragraph for every chapter, saying all the various things that will happen in that chapter. when i get it this large, i’ll be saying things like how the boy feels, the little things that the supporting characters are doing, little gestures the girl makes; things that have to be included for the story to develop the way it needs to. because if the boy is going to turn out to be an asshole serial abuser, then he’s got to become that from the fresh-faced dragoncon geek he starts as. and this needs to be paced, placed, traced thru the story.
gee, what a job. i sure hope i’m up to it. of course, all i have to do is persevere, because then a miracle will happen.