Day 2 – B is for Bellicose

Bellicose 

(adj.) having or showing a ready disposition to fight

 
Bellicose. Like most of the upcoming words-of-the-day, I picked bellicose because 1) I have never heard of it before and 2) it made me think.

I personally know very few bellicose people in my life. I am, most days, an easy-going person and a recovering doormat; so I tend to shy away from people that are looking for a fight. In fact, I really can’t stand real confrontation at all and it makes me break down into really embarrassing girly tears nearly every time, so a bellicose nature would send me running for the hills. 

Since this nature is nearly opposite to my own, the very idea of it lends new meaning to the way I think about the characters that I write. I can honestly say that none of them has even the slightest hint of that trait; they are all variations and mix-ups of me and the people I know. Not that this is bad thing per se, but now I can’t help but wonder what other personality quirks my characters might be missing out on just because I’m an introverted recluse.

 
I guess what I’m getting at is that it’s Saturday morning, and I’d like to be sitting on my couch playing video games and instead I’m thinking about how a random word I found online is changing the cast of characters that I write about on a day-to-day basis. What would a person who is ready to fight all the time be like? How would they live their everyday life? Is it easy for them to make friends? What kind of people would want to be around them? Dang it, I’m missing out on major Saturday Morning Cartoon time thinking about this!
Which I suppose is the point…*sigh* I suppose I can always watch Saturday AFTERNOON Cartoons instead, since they’re all on Netflix anyway.

 

Do you have any bellicose characters in your writings? Or better yet, do you know people like this in real life? Or are you one yourself? Have I deeply offended you by my ignorance and now you want to punch me? (Please don’t.) Let me know in the comments!

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(A note for long-time readers: Please excuse the mess! I accidentally messed up my blog’s theme and formatting, so I’m trying out some new stuff to see if I like it. I realized last night that I didn’t really fix anything, so yeah…it’s kinda broken right now. But I will fix it as soon as I eat my s’mores cereal and watch old reruns of Pokemon!)

My Favorite Characters: Part Two (The Good Guys)

Part Two of my favorite characters collection (click here for Part One). This time I’ll be focusing on my favorite characters that I didn’t create. Also, these are all protagonist/hero types. Who doesn’t love a good hero?

1) John Marston, Red Dead Redemption

I don’t like cowboy flicks. I wish I could give you a nice, organized list of reasons why, but I’m not too sure. Too much grit? Not enough magical whimsy? We’ll go with those. But John Marston changed all that for me. Red Dead Redemption is a video game that plays out as an old-western movie. You play John Marston’s story of, you’ll never guess, redemption as he travels across the West and into Mexico to round up kill his former gang partners. In return, the government has promised to grant him amnesty for his past crimes and will allow him to live on his farmstead with his gang partner-turned-wife and their son. I really got into this character and enjoyed his story more than I ever thought I would. He was just the right mix of good guy and badass. A morality system in-game allowed you to play him as good or dirty as you’d like, but the choices weren’t always easy. I distinctly remember stopping to help a poor woman stranded on the side of the road, only to have her steal my horse and gallop away. Or the time I tried to help a man that was being chased by two strangers, only to find out they were cops and he was an outlaw. His story is captivating and is one of the few video games to have left me sniffling at the end of it all.

2) Captain Katherine Janeway, Star Trek: Voyager

For many years I have been a nerd, but it was only a few months ago that I found Star Trek. I had seen various episodes here and there and had never been too interested, but Captain Janeway of Star Trek: Voyager changed all that for me. The debate for best Star Trek captain always bounces between Kirk and Piccard, but my vote’s with Janeway . I was never worried when she was at the helm; I actually trusted her as much as her crew did. She put her ship and crew first at all times and never let them down. I don’t often see women portrayed well in leadership positions (how many bitchy bosses exist out there?), but she handled the position with equal parts grace and tenacity.

3) Dean Winchester, Supernatural

I couldn’t get this far in the list without mentioning Supernatural. It just wouldn’t be right.

Besides being easy on the eyes, I really like Dean. But I don’t think I would like him if he didn’t have his foil/brother Sam. Dean is the badass, Sam is the nerd, at least on the outside. But outside all the monster-fighting, Dean wants nothing more than to kick back to some hard rock albums and eat some pie. For being such a tough guy, he is full of self-doubt and even self-loathing. Most people would try to justify their past, but Dean makes no excuses for himself and I can respect that.

4) Steven, Steven Universe

Steven is probably my favorite little kid character. Steven has a heart full of childish joy and innocence and wants nothing more than to run around with his super-powered caretakers and save the world. He has doubts, he often fails, and he’s all-around awkward. But none of that stops him from being himself and doing his best at all times. His character growth is measured in the people that change just from being around him, and I love it.

5) Master Chief / Cortana, Halo series

Yes, I am putting these two together because they make such a great team. One is a genetically-modified super-soldier, the other an incredibly powerful A.I. hologram, that coexist in the same power armor together and save the human race. Repeatedly. I never thought I would like a faceless sci-fi soldier protagonist, but his back-and-forth banter with Cortana won me over.

Those are a few goody goody characters out of many that I like. Let me know your favorite goody-two-shoes in the comments!

My Favorite Characters (Part One)

Over at the NaNoWriMo facebook page, it’s been declared Character Week. In honor of that, I decided to write about some of my favorite characters. Today features Part One: my favorite characters that I’ve created.

1) Rayne

Blonde hair, blue eyes, a little on the short side…and also a magical Muse, pretending to be just a normal, everyday bard. Rayne is a good guy in a bad situation for most of his story. I really admire his joyful attitude about life, despite all his hardships. And being a goodie means he’s always willing to go out of his way to help. I really shouldn’t torture him the way I do…but then I wouldn’t be a very good writer, now would I?

The fact that I could, and have, written pages and pages about this character makes him near and dear to my heart. Also the fact that he was first character I ever created, waaaay back in elementary school when my only writing was Jurassic Park fanfictions. No, he is not part of a Jurassic Park fanfiction anymore, thank god. His story has evolved as I have grown until it has almost become something of it’s own. He is the main protagonist of my NaNo 2014 project, and I hope to have the kinks in his story ironed out within the year.

2) Crowe

From the same story, Crowe is basically a spiritual being in a physical body. He has wings, a sword, and means business all the time. In his species, it is common after completing warrior training to go into the world of the mortals and take on a human charge, protecting them until they die. If they do so, they are rewarded with great power and a higher standing in their society. Being young and fresh from warrior’s training, Crowe mistakenly chose Rayne to guard, not knowing that Rayne was a Muse. Rayne thinks this is hilarious and goes out of his way to point it out whenever possible.

I really enjoy Crowe as a foil to Rayne. He is so serious and I think his eyes are stuck in a permanent roll due to Rayne’s carefree antics. If he had his way, he would lock Rayne in a dungeon just so he wouldn’t have to drag him out of trouble all the time. Yet at the same time, Crowe respects the choices Rayne makes, at least morally. He would just like it if he didn’t have to clean up the mess every time.

3) Ashlyn

Oh, Ashlyn! You poor, poor character. She deserves a little side-story, so bear with me.

Ashlyn was originally part of the same story as Rayne and Crowe. She was another Muse, pulled from the past to complete a prophecy. She was the magical healer of the group. Note that I use the past tense for her…

I have a great fondness for her because she was the first character to really surprise me. As I was working on her backstory, it hit me that she was more interesting than my main character. She was an unwilling time traveler in a future that she should never know, fighting a battle that she was destined to be a part of…Soooo much better than my boring non-time traveling protagonist. So I did the first thing that came to mind…I nixed her from the story.

She was too good a character to play second-fiddle in a story that wasn’t her own. Taking her out of the story allowed it to move in a very different direction and saves her character for future use. I hope to someday write her a proper story where she can really shine.

4) Lyra

I haven’t actually written about Lyra, and that’s why I’m interested in her. Same story as before, but she’s a Muse that has hidden herself away from the world. I don’t entirely understand her motivations, but she is immensely powerful (stuck in meditation all that time) and entirely naive about the world. I am very curious at how she will come to grips with what she is and how the world perceives her.

5) Wilder

Wilder is a relatively new character for me, and I am eager as anyone to find out more about him. He came to be a few weeks ago when I started working on a story about summoners. Unfortunately I don’t know a lot about summoning magic, and neither does Wilder, so we are learning together. He’s young, dumb, and prideful, the perfect combination for shenanigans. I look forward to getting to know him and his summons over the next few months. Lucky for him, his book is gearing up to be my project for July’s Camp NaNo.

Honorable Mention:

Elsa

First off, I made this character before Frozen came out, I swear. You can look at the dates on game files, I have proof! Yes, this is a video game character I made for the game Skyrim. After spending over two hundred hours with her, she can’t help but make it into this list, despite not being completely original. She is my first ‘lawful good’ character, always doing what is right without a second thought and trashing the bad guys whenever she has a chance. She was born with a playful sense of adventure (think Fionna from Adventure Time, as was her original model). My favorite memories of her include racing across the whole of Skyrim to try and time the ride (34 minutes from Solitude to Riften!) and one particular scene where she was asked to give up an Elder Scroll for 5000 gold and refused the money, knowing that giving up the scroll was the right thing to do. I have literally never had a character so all-around good before, nor a character that was so dang good at combat. If I had too, I could write volumes on her and her adventures. Ahh, good times.

What are some of your favorite characters? Are they as troublesome as mine? Or even more so?

Please Make Your Characters Evolve

It is my duty as a blogger/person of opinion/human in general to tell you whenever I am upset over something trivial. I regret to inform you that this is one of those times.

Every weekend, my friend and I watch a few TV shows in the morning. Since we live about 1200 miles apart, we do this over the internet and it is a precious time. Our latest show is Being Human (the U.S. version), a show about a werewolf, vampire, and ghost living together, regretting their existence, and trying to be as human as possible. It’s a great show, with fantastic actors and interesting characters that help make what would be the “usual” supernatural problems something worth watching. The first season is especially fun and I would give it a view if you like supernatural things. (Just try not to think of the actual show Supernatural, because the entire cast would be dead if Dean and Sam ever stumbled upon them.)

My beef is with the very last season. The beginning started off with a bang, and I was pretty excited about it. And then, the middle of the season blues. It seems like the characters are going through a repeat of problems. The werewolf couple who has been through thick and thin is blown apart by a problem that doesn’t even compare to things they’ve gone through before. The vampire is going through his “I kill people and drink their blood” woes, despite being 200 years old and going through this EXACT emotional journey in season one. The ghost…*sigh*. I don’t spoil anything, but she’s making some pretty bad decisions. What really upsets me is that these are problems the characters should have learned long ago.

When characters repeat their drama, it makes all their previous struggle meaningless. Perhaps you have a character that is upset by what he’s done. He cries, gnashes his teeth, tries to atone…and eventually starts making some headway. He makes good decisions, renounces his ways, maybe has a few slip-ups but is ultimately overcomes and becomes a better person. That’s good. I’m okay with that, and seeing his growth encourages me as viewer/reader. But then three books/seasons down the line, he slips again back into his old ways and does the exact same ‘woe is me’ routine…I’m gonna admit, I don’t have as much sympathy for him this time around. This is old news, the character should know better. Perhaps this is closer to real life, where people do make the same mistakes over and over throughout their lifetime, but storytelling can’t be exactly like real life. We don’t have eighty or ninety years to tell a character’s whole life story, and we need to make it entertaining. Problems shouldn’t just exist to be drama-bombs, but should arise from an actual conflict in the character or setting or circumstance. It makes me think less of the character, and of the writer, to see a situation repeated.

I suppose what makes me the most irritable is the fact that this was a non-issue for the characters for so long. A little warning that this was still a problem would be nice. Unless I put on Days of our Lives, I don’t want to watch a soap opera. Problems should rear their ugly head and actually affect and change the characters, for better or worse. Maybe having a character fall back to his/her original state could be a statement of your story, that people can’t change or something similar…Just make sure you’re torturing your character for the right reasons.

Hopefully the end of the season justifies what’s going on with TV characters, but right now, it’s just incredibly frustrating to watch…But the first three seasons? I highly recommend them 🙂

Have you ever had a book/TV show/movie irk you in the same way? Please share your examples so we can share our character pain together.