Sunday, January 22, 2012

Characters of Bradshaw

Over the last couple of weeks I've been poking at an outline for the story i want to set in faerie-haunted Bradshaw, based on my home town. Most of this has been figuring out what I want to write about.

I am mostly a discovery writer. I get an idea in my head, run with it for a while, and this works as long as I can keep momentum going. When it stalls out, however I run into trouble. Time and time again it happens that I get to a certain point, and find I don't know where to go next.

This sort of stop-and-start is great for an amateur, but I want to move on into the big leagues. I want to cook up a story and finish it. So for this project I've started outlining scenes and characters.

Getting ideas for neat characters has not been a problem for me. Fleshing them out may be problematic, but getting a core idea for a character is not. So I've been building ideas for the characters I want for this story, and here's what I've come up with:

Character notes:

Mr. Silver is a True Fae who is trapped on Earth because of his obsession with trying to create life. He is an exceptionally talented Fetchmaker, and is convinced he can make fetches that are better than the originals he kidnaps and sells to other fae. He is Gepetto trying to make his precious little Pinocchios into real boys. He's come close, but sometimes his fetches fail. To prove that he can create life (by his definition), he weaves a clause into the contracts he takes...the people he replaces will inevitably return back to the real world and have to face down the fetches that have supplanted them. To date, all of these contests have been in the changeling's favor, but Mr. Silver is convinced that soon one of his doppelgangers will win. Janet's counterpart has just escaped her master and is returning home, so Mr. Silver is eager to do everything he can to give Janet the tools she needs to destroy her other half.

Janet is a fetch created by Mr. Silver to replace an artist he abducted as part of a contract. She was created 10-12 years ago, in between Winter and Spring Semesters at Bradshaw College. She has lost her ability to create art. She's decent at reproductions, still lifes, portraits, and the like, but suffers from a lack of truly original content. The stuff she produces comes off as nice, but not especially innovative. After being told by a well-meaning teacher that “there's a fine line between being inspired by something and simply copying it,” Janet gave up her dream of being an artist and instead started to study business. After graduating, she decided she still wanted to be involved in the art world, so she started a Gallery called “Reflections” showcasing works that showcase images that reflect the human condition. One of her clients is, in fact, Mr. Silver, who pawns off failed fetches as manikin sculptures. Janet is married to Henry Atwood, an artist she met while setting up her gallery. They're talking about adopting a child because Janet seems to be infertile.

Jack Flash (true name unknown for now) was an investigative reporter who explored and debunked the paranormal. He came to Bradshaw to look into rumors and ghost stories, but one of those ghost stories (the tale about Ivy House) turned out to be real. Jack got stranded in the Hedge, captured by a goblin slaver party lead by The Cheshire Cat, and sold to The Gentleman With Thistledown Hair (may want a different name). He was turned into a candle in The Gentleman's hall because the Gentleman “liked his spark”, and was forced to endure constant pain from the flames and being unable to move, speak, or even close his eyes. He spent ten years in Faerie this way, until a maid (another person stolen from our world) came to the castle. She hummed a snatch of one of Jack's favorite songs (“Jumpin' Jack Flash” by the Rolling Stones), which allowed him to remember that he'd once been human and escape. He tried to bring the maid with him, but they were separated in the Hedge and he was forced to go on alone. Jack came back to find that only half the time he'd endured in Faerie had passed on earth, and that something was living his life in his place. He came across his fetch in bed with his wife, and killed the both of them in a rage, after which he burned down his old house and fled. He returned to Bradshaw to find and destroy all the links to the Hedge he can, so that no one would have to suffer what he went through. He's taken to hunting down fetch, destroying them, and stealing their shadows, which he hopes to return to the people they replaced. He's paranoid and prone to violence, and doesn't have a reliable income. He acts as a foil to Janet.

“Jill” is the real Janet, freshly escaped from Arcadia. She was taken in college, and for her only a few years have passed. She's much younger than her fetch because of this. She spent most of her durance forced to tend her master's garden of stained glass flowers, stealing colors from the mortal world to please his sensibilities. She will bear a few oddments of that sort with her. Her time in Faerie has left her brittle, like the glass she worked with, though not to the same extent that Jack was changed. She has no idea what to do now that she's free, and jack will be pushing her to confront and destroy her counterpart.

Henry Atwood is a local artist/writer that met Janet through her attempts to start a gallery. They worked on the gallery together, fell in love, and married. I don't know more about him yet.

I'm also working with a program called Dramatica, which is a group of story theories which I've read in the past and enjoyed. Dramatica was developed for screenwriters, but it's really good for a lot of different types of writing. I'm using it as an attempt to get a handle on my story, as well as Dan Well's 7-Point System, which I've pimped on this blog before. I expect that as I write and discover, I'll toss parts of the outline away, but it will be good exercise. We'll see the fruits of this as I post more bits from the outline up here.

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