Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Two More Peeps Join the Party; and a Dirty One at That....

So August Script Frenzy month isn't really going well at all. I haven't worked on "Glitches" since before Spink's wedding. That's not to say I haven't written anything. I've just gone off the reservation on what I'm writing.

Temp's player from X-Future - Lyonish - has that Dread game I told you about last week. Well, it kept me THREE DAYS to fill out the 13-question profile questionnaire. There were some really interesting questions on that thing. Dread's full character questionnaire actually has 40 questions, but the GM picks 13 based on the archetype you choose, and possibly depending on what you have in your basic profile. For instance, Hubby said his character had a tattoo in his profile, and ended up getting a question about the tattoo.

Anyway, the questionnaire has a lot of hard-hitting questions I never would have thought to ask my characters. Mostly because it's designed to best set up tormented characters for a horror-setting game. Still, these are some AWESOME questions.

Here are some of my favorites that I didn't have to answer:
What did your last few breakups have in common?
Why do you have a picture of a person you’ve never met in your wallet?
How can you stand there and act so proud of yourself after what you did to your mother?
Why do you refuse to touch scissors anymore?
Whose face keeps you up at night?
When did you first hear the voices?
How might your life be different if you hadn’t driven off in a rage that night?
If the headaches are so bad, why won’t you go see a doctor?
How did you pass the exam if you didn’t sit for it?

And finally, the tattoo question Hubby got:
After how many tattoos did you realize nothing will hide those marks?
And here are the ones I DID have to answer:
What mental illness runs in your family?
What do you do for a living?
Where did you grow up?
What is your favorite game?
How old were you when you learned you could predict horse races consistently?
Why were you named after your cousin instead of your grandparent?
What made you think you could get away with it, and how in the world did you?
What is the recurring dream and why does it frighten you?
What addiction do you hide from your friends?
What can you do that most other people you know can’t?
When all else is quiet, how do you silence the screaming in your head?
Why is next month big for you?
What unusual hobby do you have?
Want to know the worst part? The hardest question for me to answer as Artie was the favorite game question! Something that should be simple, but in its simplicity I couldn't focus on a game. Is it a sport? Some sort of "recess game" like hopscotch? A video game? Board game? Card game? Puzzle? There are so many possibilities!

I think my favorite question to answer was "Why were you named after your cousin instead of your grandparent?" I almost instantly came up with an answer and I LOVED it. Artie has the "family name" that was supposed to be given to the first child. Well, the first child died as a preemie a couple weeks before Artie was born, and so the family name got "reused" as it were. It's more involved than that, but broad strokes.

Now, I only gave 23 out of 40 questions on this Dread character questionnaire, but I'm sure you can see by now where it goes, more or less. So much fun. Definitely something to go back to for any other tragic characters I want to build.

Part of me kind of wants Ronoxym to fill some of the questions out as Devon now that in-canon Devon has amnesia after being resurrected. I wouldn't give Ron a set of questions like Lyonish did for the Dread characters, but I'd have him go through all 40 and have Devon answer as many as he could. It might be fun to see the character development from that.

Speaking of Ron and Devon, that's where some of my writing went again this past week. Trish is SUPER dirty, and I'm in straight up smut territory now...

It IS fun though, to go so out of my comfort zone, and write something so fun! However, I'm hoping this will be my only trek into the world of NSFW, and once I'm done with this story it will be out of my system. I can't deny the drive I have to write it, though. Granted, I only allowed myself a couple hours this past week - more focus on actual work and character building - but I went from about 2100 words last week to over 5300 total. Yup, I more than doubled what I wrote over the course of this past week. Again, I only allowed myself A FEW HOURS TO WRITE because I was more focused on character building. Not just for Dread, too. I had yet ANOTHER character that I built this past week.

I know I haven't mentioned them in a while, so I'll re-introduce. Early last year Hubby and I got introduced to a couple I lovingly call Mouse and Bear. We were like peas in a pod. Our weddings were even hauntingly similar! Fun though; it was like I was attending my own wedding.

Anyway, Hubby and I didn't have much of a chance to hang out with Mouse and Bear due to my poor-quality car and them living almost an hour away. Unfortunately, it became infinitely harder for us to hang out because Bear got a job down south and they ended up sort of abruptly moving away. This super saddened me not only because I didn't get a chance to really hang out with an amazing couple we majorly clicked with, but also because Bear had started up a D&D game, and we all should know by now how desperately I want to play this game. I mean, I run my own monthly game, but it's not the same as PLAYING it.

Now, how does this relate to character building? Seems Bear started up an online D&D game via Roll20. He's wanted me and Hubby to join in for a couple of months now, but our schedules never seemed to match up. That's changed, and Bear was restarting his campaign anyway. Perfect time for me to jump in!

Well.... it WOULD have been. Problem is, I didn't have a character ready before the game session started this past Saturday, and so I tried to build one while everyone else played. Bear figured he'd throw me in once I was done.

I was never done.

I just froze up. I couldn't even think of her name! I couldn't think of what I wanted to do with the character. I just knew I wanted to be a rogue because every time I tried to set one up I only got about 3 sessions in before the game was dropped for whatever reason. I was determined to play through at least ONE campaign with a rogue. The follow-up issue was how diverse rogues are. Did I want her to be mostly focused on stealth? Sneak attacks? Trap mastery? Social manipulation? Master of Disguise? The list goes on, and I was a complete blank!

Well, it seems the old adage of "sleeping on it" really worked, because this past Sunday I brought up the Dread questionnaire as well as another one I had tucked away in my archives, and I just started answering whatever questions I could. I jumped all over the questionnaires. Whatever I was inspired to answer I did and moved on, regardless of order. While I only touched about half the questions, it was enough for me to figure out my character finally. I then managed to write up a 2pg backstory; about 1300 words. Hope Bear's up for some reading!

So, I'd like for you to meet my two newest characters to hop into my head. Thanks to character questionnaires, I was able to discover these two a LOT faster than I normally would coming from thin-air!

First up is Artie; someone I introduced last week. Artie is a Waif; a street urchin orphan. While technically a female named Artemis, Artie's small 14-yr-old frame and deep voice allows her to pass for a 12-yr-old boy. She's one of the few times that I'd justify using the term "Gender fluid" because she doesn't really perceive of gender as much more than a tool to get what she needs. Yes, when she addresses herself in her head she self-identifies as a woman, but to the world she is whatever people perceive her as. She's a boy if she's mistaken as one, and will act accordingly, especially as a defense mechanism to seem tougher or more capable. If she's discovered as a girl she will again act according to social norms as a means to get people to protect her. This and other means of manipulation are her main ways of surviving on the streets over the last couple of years since becoming an orphan.
Artemis "Artie" Makris 

Jolene was slighted by love one too many times in her youth. She blamed her cobbler father for not having a decent enough dowry for her to be enticing to suitors, and so decided to earn her own dowry. In the process she befriended a brothel's Madam and, upon seeing how popular and well off she was, Jolene decided to become a prostitute as well. She was good at the trade, but didn't like that the Madam decided on her clients. Jolene went off on her own as a "touring whore" but quickly discovered the protection that brothels provided to their workers. As a freelancer she had to learn to protect herself from dangerous clients. This lead her to train with a Thieves Guild in order to perfect her knife skills, as well as expand her repertoire to include thievery to help build up her savings faster. This means a long list of angry clients who discover that she took a bit more payment than agreed upon. So she's constantly on the move. We'll see what running into a party of adventurers does for her.
Jolene Crisslebalm
Wish I could have gotten a dagger for her
and managed to give her a high ponytail....
The hair and dagger are the way I want, but over-all,
I don't think she's as pretty as the previous option...
Rough edit job on the hair, but this will be
the picture I use as my avatar for the campaign.

Now, in regards to reading, I'm 56 pages away from finishing "Reformation" by local writing group member Sandra Brewster. While Keaton and DFL both sing the book's praises, it just isn't for me. I'm going to finish it because that's part of the challenge, but I feel like I missed the point. The villain shouldn't be my favorite character, right?

I dunno. The book utilizes the same narration technique that a lot of books I've read uses: multiple first-person narrators. You have the supposed main character David, and his siblings Paul and Sara, both of his parents Tom and Laura, David's Aunt Tamara - who FEELS like she should be the main character - David's grandmother Katelyn, and then the villain Mary Langston. Juggling all of these narrators alone is a bit of a task, but I personally don't see the point. I could maybe see keeping most of it with Tamara as she discovers the mystery behind David's random bursts of violence, and the occasional hop over to David as he battles his own brain to try to remain the peaceful, loving boy he's always been. I even like the chapters almost all concluding with Langston's POV. The rest of the family, though? Eh. I feel they bog the story down, personally. I feel there'd be a lot more emotion shown if their inner thoughts had to be projected via dialogue instead of them just taking control of the story, especially since these POV changes happen about a dozen times each chapter. It's a bit jarring for me to constantly jump narrators.

The characters also don't seem so distinct, either. Thank god each narration jump starts with the narrator's name, because I'd be hard-pressed to know the difference otherwise. Which is why I think I like Langston so much. Sandy clearly put a lot of thought into the woman, because she's the only one with a distinct voice.

Sprinkle in the fact that in the first 30 pages or so we're introduced to like 38 characters. Some are obvious supporting characters, some don't return until about 20pgs later, and others I have yet to meet again. I had to legit go back and write up a cheat sheet to remember who was who.

To be fair, Sandy's been reading her first draft of her sequel to "Reformation" in our group, and it seems a LOT more polished. She has also been going back through and doing a LOT of editing of "Reformation" for a second edition copy. So I don't want to completely discredit her. At least two women in my group enjoyed the book, and so I'll just say that the format it is written in just isn't "for me" but feel free to try to find a copy to check out yourself.

Now to get my butt in gear to actually have my own completed work some day. Can't very well do that if I'm spending my days creating new characters and writing dirty one-shots.

Then again.... maybe I can.... "Fifty Shades of Grey" IS a thing.....

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