Character Bible Part 3 – Rath*

I’m going to say right here and now that I am not going to be updating very frequently (as if you couldn’t already tell) because I’m ghostwriting a novel at the moment.  Writing a full-length novel is pretty tiring, so I don’t exactly finish my work for the day and then go, “Boy, I can’t wait to sit down and compose a blog post!”  It’s more like, “Boy, I can’t wait to just lie here like a damp potato until I get hungry enough to roll out of bed and forage for food in the fridge!”  Plus there’s the constant fear that this book idea won’t hold up, and then I’ll have done all these posts for nothing.  You know, the usual stuff.

That being said, here’s what I know about Rath*, whose name absolutely needs to change.  It was supposed to be a play on “wrath” with the inclusion of “Ra,” because he was originally supposed to be some sort of shadowy memory of the Egyptian sun god.  It’s a long story, but basically the first idea of this book was that this “planet” would be occupied by ancient ideas that had lost power.  Something really dumb like that.  I abandoned that idea long ago, so “Rath” has to go.

My inspiration for Rath* came from a couple different sources.  His look and personality is a little bit based on characters like the Prock from The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles (no picture available) and a demon from The Phantom Tollbooth known as the Terrible Trivium.  Pictured here:

Terrible Trivium

The running theme is we have a well-dressed, smooth-talking, third-hyphenated-descriptor type of character.  Now, since I decided that we’re looking at a slave race on a prison planet, the “well dressed” bit probably has to go.  But I still see Rath* as a smooth character who is a natural leader and who easily takes things in stride without showing fear or doubt.  That’s why he’s the leader of the wee rebel group.

Joss throws a wrench into things for just this reason.  Because she becomes like a daughter to Rath*, (I’m gonna stop putting asterisks on his name because I think you get it) she makes him start second guessing himself.  Some of the rebels in their group actually see Joss as a weakness, and they resent her for turning their leader soft.  They still work with her, of course, but there is underlying tension.  This is one of the ways I’m going to attempt to avoid the Mary Sue cliche with Joss.

Rath and another character, Thea, have basically the same origin story.  Rath is part Delliakite, and Thea is all Delliakite (You’ll see her later).  They came from the same cell block, as it were.  I wrote out a tentative backstory for them, but it’s too much like District 13 from The Hunger Games, so I’m reworking it.  Basically they tried to rebel and it had horrible consequences so they ran away together to live off of the Overseer’s radar.

I don’t have concept art for Rath because I am really bad at drawing at the best of times, and drawing a human/alien hybrid is probably beyond my ability.  I’m afraid he’ll come out too cartoony.  Maybe I’ll attempt it one day, but today is not that day.

Oh, Rath has powers.  Unlike Paxton, the loser.  It’s unclear how much of this is just really good psychological manipulation and how much is really happening, but he has shadow powers.  He can disappear into shadow and manipulate shadow so that it gets really dark in certain areas, and he can use shadows to grab people and trap their legs and stuff.  He’s kind of like a phantom in that way, where he plays on people’s fears.  But heart of gold blah blah blah.

At some point in the story, Rath gets captured and put in the super scary prison thing.  I’ve been calling it “the tomb.”  It’s basically where prisoners get a small probe on their heads that traps them in their own minds, slowly driving them crazy.  They’re sealed into closet-sized rooms and left there for indeterminate periods of time.  Rumor has it (in the book) that the inventor of the brain device tested it on himself, and went insane as a result.

Anyway, so Rath gets captured, and it just so happens that Paxton’s mom ended up in the same prison.  So the rest of the gang has a reason to work together with Paxton.  See how that works?  And then Paxton’s mom can stay alive so he doesn’t have the typical superhero origin story.

Okay that’s enough for today.  Next time maybe I’ll do Thea so you know what a Delliakite is.  I can already tell you that ensemble casts are hard, so I’m probably going to axe a character or two.  We’ll see.

Bye for now!

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Character Bible Part 2 – Paxton

Five years on WordPress.  Wow.  Maybe one day I’ll do something with my life.

Anyway, at time of writing I don’t have any concept art for Paxton and I don’t know if I will by the time I post.  I’ve been dealing with a stomach bug for several days and it’s kind of been making creative endeavors difficult.  That being said, I will do my best to draw something by the time this post goes up or shortly after.

Paxton is the other protagonist for this book – meaning the narrative follows him when it isn’t following Joss – and he is human.  Here is what I wrote for his entry in the character bible document:

Name: Paxton (Fun fact: I named him this because “Pax” means peace and he is not peaceful!  Irony!)

Age in Earth Years: 18

Species: Human

None LOL

Paxton lives in one of the old prisoner sectors with his mother.  His father mysteriously skipped off work one night when Paxton was six or seven.  The Enforcers later found him and killed him with no explanation, but Paxton continued to believe that his father didn’t just try to run and abandon the family.  He is right.  Paxton’s father discovered the truth – that the communications system on the planet works just fine.  The Overseer purposefully keeps it jammed in order to maintain control.

When Paxton comes of age, he knows he will be assigned a job like his mother.  Instead he decides to go over to the enemy’s side, becoming an Enforcer so he and his mother can have a better life.  A part of him also hopes he will learn more about his father’s arrest and death.  He eventually does learn this, right before joining the rebellion and sharing what he knows.

[This section omitted to prevent major spoilers.  I want to keep something a mystery.]

Black hair, olive skin, green eyes.  Tall and muscular.  Clean shaven.  Hard lines in his face.  Serious like Kocoum.

Kocoum is that one dude from Disney’s Pocahontas?  Yeah?  He’s too serious?  Alright moving on.

When I initially created Paxton, I didn’t want him to be the typical YA male hero.  Yes, he is full of angst, but I feel I did go in some interesting directions with him.  I made him ruthless and determined, so he ends up killing a woman on his first day as an Enforcer and then imprisoning one of his old neighbors.  I also made him bury all of his emotional problems somewhere deep inside of him, so he often finds an outlet in meaningless sex with his female coworkers.  I say “meaningless” for lack of a better word.  Basically he isn’t looking for a relationship with them.  He is having sex for sex’s sake.  Nothing wrong with that except when you’re using the sex as an outlet for your repressed emotions maybe.

Moving forward with the story, I’d like to keep this trend going.  I want to push him even more, have Paxton join the Enforcers because a part of him accepts that he wants power and security, and they are the ones who have it.  Yes they took his father, but they also don’t have to sleep with one eye open (usually), and they live in nice flats, and they get to eat food whenever they want.  So he believes the good outweighs the bad and throws himself into the work.  Until he gets in too deep.   And, of course, learning the truth about his father is kind of that breaking point that snaps him out of it.

My goal for him is to make him exist in a gray area for a while.  He’s not going to be an undoubtedly Good character, and he will have to redeem himself for a lot of misdeeds.  Paxton is a character who feels that the world is on his shoulders and he lives very much for himself because he thinks it’s the safest way to be.  Meeting the rebel group and Joss might change that for him, give him a different cause to fight for and a reason to redeem himself.

Oh, and since his dad is already dead, I am determined not to kill his mom (spoiler alert?).  I realize why heroes lose their parents so often now that I’m plotting out this story, because it would honestly be so much easier for Paxton to run away and join the rebellion if he didn’t have familial connections to worry about.  But I think I’ve come up with another way to make it work that doesn’t involve killing his mom.  Yay.

Okay so I sorta did some concept art, which you will see below.  It’s not as detailed as Joss’ for several reasons.

  1. I am better at drawing female figures than male.
  2. Along those lines, I couldn’t find a male reference that I liked to base my drawing off of, so I had to go from scratch despite not having any formal art training, which you will soon see.  Feel free to scoff at my inability to make proportions work.  I scoff at myself all the time.  Chances are I’m doing it right now.
  3. Humans are boring.  You know what they look like.

So I just kinda decided to sketch out some of the armor ideas I had?

Paxton 1Paxton 2Paxton 3

He looks straight out of Starship Troopers, huh?  I knew I’d gotten inspiration somewhere.

So those prongs on his arm come out of the standard-issue gauntlets.  They’re electrified when active, but they fold back into the gauntlet when not in use.  At the risk of drawing a face, I decided to give him a helmet with a visor.  Clever me.  And of course he’s got big, clompy space boots.  Gotta have the big, clompy space boots.  They have secret compartments and stuff.  He also has a standard-issue MWt-500 laser gun holstered at his hip.

And this is what he would look like if he were a butterfly with a suggestively open shirt!

Paxton Butterfly

That’s all I’ve got!  Tune in next time for an actual alien!

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Character Bible Part 1 – Joss

Now that you received some background on the story in the form of my last post, I can begin my character bible.  This is a YA Sci-Fi which, for lack of an actual title, is called Bamboo Pole.  It is called that because I had a dream about a girl who had a bamboo pole that she kept with her at all times.  She had a list of rules associated with it, something you’ll notice I tried to mimic in its first draft.  Anyway, I woke up and forgot everything except Girl+Bamboo Pole.

So the girl in question is Joss.  Here is what I typed up about Joss in the Word doc I made for the characters:

Name: Joss

Age in Earth Years: 18

Species: ????

Basic telekinesis.  Mostly used to fly/hover, but can be used to deflect melee weapons.

Her mother was a refugee, fleeing from her oppressive homeland in a basic shuttle.  Unfortunately,  she flew too close to the prison planet, Burg.  The planet’s automated defense system shot the shuttle down, and she crash landed.  The mother survived with her newborn (Joss) for several days in the wild.  She had managed to guide the shuttle into a cave where it wouldn’t be immediately obvious.  Unfortunately she couldn’t make repairs and she was injured.  Eventually she was found by Enforcers, who took her into custody.  The baby they were going to kill when they heard reports of rebel activity in the area.  They decided to set up a trap using the baby, knowing that would lead to the baby’s death as well as a rebel or two.  The woman was taken away, to be executed.  They never found her shuttle.  The shuttle was recording the incident from inside the cave so Joss could eventually find it and learn the truth about her origins.

Joss is found as a baby by Kanid and Thea and is brought back to Rath’s* camp where she is raised to become a rebel.  She is profoundly deaf, but makes up her own sign language and proves to be very skilled with staffs for fighting.

Coppery skin and light brown hair with some golden strands that glow in the sunlight.  A little on the shorter side, but very sturdy.  Muscular.  She has pointed ears and orange eyes.

After drawing my best approximation of Joss, I realized two things.  1. Copper doesn’t come across too well in Photoshop Elements.  2. Copper skin and light brown hair tend to blend in to one another.

So I kinda gave her dirty blond hair, and you’ll have to imagine her skin is a little more coppery.


She was drawn with a bamboo pole because I still haven’t decided what her staff is going to look like.

When I think about Joss, I think about someone who  is mischievous and headstrong.  She is one of the main characters because she is an alien among aliens.  (The prison planet has many species of alien on it, but Joss’ species is not among them, hence the ????)  Her deafness does not prevent her from becoming a good fighter and friend.  She is intelligent enough to develop her own sign language, so that says something.

A couple notes: First, if you ever see a name with an asterisk by it, that means I want to change the name but haven’t come up with a suitable replacement yet.

Second, profound deafness is actually incredibly rare.  Usually Deaf people hear some sounds, but not enough to make out speech.  In this case, I’m taking artistic license to make Joss one of those rare people who hears nothing at all.  Also, she’s an alien in a fictional universe so… yeah.  She probably doesn’t follow human rules.

I think one of the main things I have to concentrate on with Joss is why the story follows her half the time, instead of one of the other characters.  Part of it is that she and Paxton both hold pieces to a puzzle that solves the rebels’ problems.  Her mother’s ship is transportation and proof that other species can still make contact with the prison world.  Paxton’s part you’ll find out next time.

But other than that, I don’t have a character arc for Joss right now.  She will struggle when her adoptive father gets captured, and when she finds out what happened to her mother.  However, that doesn’t create a character arc.  She needs to have flaws and weaknesses (besides a hearing disability) or something else about her that changes as the story progresses.

I will think on it more.  Safe to say this blog character bible idea is working, because I didn’t realize the aforementioned problem with Joss’ character development until I started typing out my thoughts on her.


Next time – Paxton, a boring human.

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A Better Introduction

So I had the first character bible post all written up and ready to go when I realized it was going to be absolutely pointless without some sort of foundation for the story.  What’s the point of knowing about all these characters if you don’t even know where they are or why?  With that in mind, here is a better introduction to the story.

Once upon a time there was a barely habitable planet that the space government decided to use as a prison.  This planet was so cold, it was basically only possible to support life near the equator.  The space government called this prison planet Burg.


This wouldn’t be just any prison though.  It would be a rehabilitation center for citizens who had turned to committing some “lesser” crimes, such as theft or tax evasion.  Instead of cells, the prisoners were placed in houses.   Every day, they were allowed to go outside for supervised outdoors time. They were allowed to interact with their fellow prisoners, so long as said interactions were friendly and peaceful.

Housing 1

Instead of cell blocks, they had sectors.  The sectors were divided up based on species, so that record keeping for each planet that made use of the prison would be neat and easy.  There were nine planets in total that used this particular prison system.  They were spread out over four solar systems.  The nine alien species found on Burg were (and still are):

Goliaths – Giant, heavy people with stone skin.

Samaki – Amphibious race from a mostly water-covered planet.  Can survive on land for short periods of time.  Have gills.  (Their sector has specially designed houses that are like sad Sea World aquariums.

Creech – Humanoid race with feathers for hair and giant bird wings that they can use to fly.

Bortol – Vaguely canine species with animal snouts that make speech impossible.  Fortunately this species has the ability to communicate telepathically.  Highly developed sense of smell and hearing.

Rizzarian – Lizard-like species with tough scales that coat the body, and hair-like tentacles that grow from the top of their heads.

Delliakite – Somewhat feline species with pure black skin, spindly legs, and knees that bend backwards.  Giant, lidless eyes and small noses and mouths.  Large, semi-feline ears.  Can teleport short distances.

Lepthian – Shape-shifting, amorphous, see-through species.  Can heal minor wounds almost instantly due to fluid bodies.

Human – They look and act like humans from Earth, so they’re called human.  But honestly I’m not trying to imply that Earth exists in this universe.  It’s just there’s already a word for human, so why muddle the issue?

Aodik – Compact, humanoid species with dark hair and purplish skin.  Because they are shorter and not very strong, they often develop technology to do their work for them.


Instead of prison guards, the prisoners answered to Enforcers, who kept the peace by patrolling the streets and keeping an eye on things from their encampments between sectors.


Instead of a warden, Burg had an Overseer.  It was this person’s job to keep the Enforcers in line, give out orders, head up certain committees and hearings, and interact with the government outside Burg.  The Overseer’s word was always final in any matter.  But don’t worry, the power definitely didn’t go to any of the Overseers heads.


Note: I haven’t decided what species I want to make the Overseer yet, so for now he’s just Evil Space Elvis.

Mandatory re-education programs were conducted on a daily basis in each sector, to help show the prisoners the error of their ways.  Once prisoners had served out their sentence, they were evaluated by a committee and (usually) sent back to their home world to rejoin society.

A second infraction got them sent back to Burg for a slightly more permanent stay.  Unless they moved up from minor to major crime, in which case they went through the more traditional prison systems on their own planets.

Burg’s system worked out well.  Until one day, a war started.  Like they do.  Men and women from the military came to Burg and offered prisoners a chance to wipe the slate clean if they simply fought for their government.

Space Army.jpg

Many prisoners chose to fight.  Others chose to stay.

Years passed, and the war was lost, giving way to a new regime.  Shortly after that, all communications and travel to and from Burg were cut off.

More time passed.  Burg ceased to be a prison or a rehabilitation center or whatever you want to call it.  The new government had no idea it existed, and had no use for an old rehabilitation planet anyway.  Enforcers and prisoners alike were suddenly stuck on this world, with no way of escaping or communicating with their loved ones at home.  Yet, rather than band together, the old dynamic was ruthlessly, well… enforced.

Hundreds of years went by, and Burg became something new.  The prisoners started families.  The Overseer and Enforcers created a government of their own.  Soon only the ancestors of the prisoners, the original Overseer, and the Enforcers remained on the planet.  Yet the descendants of the prisoners were still treated like criminals, despite having committed no crimes.

Resistance groups cropped up within the sectors, attempting to take back their liberty from the unnecessarily cruel Enforcers and Overseer.

None have yet succeeded…

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Derp Dragon Says Hello

If you’re wondering where I’ve been lately, then please make something up.  I guarantee whatever excuse I end up with in your imagination will be more interesting than the truth.

What I wanted to do today was talk about my newest project, which is actually an old project.  I started writing a YA sci-fi book on this blog a while back and I stopped after a few chapters because I had no idea where I was going with it.  But you’ll see that I have linked to it because for a first draft it wasn’t totally terrible.  So you can check it out if you like.

The thing is, I still believe in that idea.  Also I need a new project or I’m going to go insane.  Since it had been so long since I’d written for this blog, I figured I’d get back into it.  What I want to do is create a proper outline and character bible before I start rewriting, and I thought there would be no better way to brainstorm and get my ideas in order than to put the character bible here.  I’ve decided to do a rundown of each of the main characters, one post at a time.  Complete with concept art probably!

I was going to get started today, but then I thought that procrastinating would be more fun.  So I drew a derpy dragon.


Is that his tongue sticking out the side of his mouth or is he smiling real big?  The world may never know.

I will begin this character bible thing soon.  Promise.  This time we’re gonna do it the right way.  And if the project still doesn’t work out?  Oh well!  As they say – Nothing ventured, nothing potato.


Oh, I also finished my Elemental Chinchilla series, for those who were on the edges of their seats.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, try clicking back through the past couple posts.  I think that explains them sort of.  Anyway here they are:

Ice Chinchilla

Fire Chinchilla

Air Chinchilla

Metal and Earth

That’s all for today!

Wait I lied.  I should probably give a brief plot summary for the new/old novel, huh?  Well, it’s a YA Sci-Fi, as I said, and it follows two main characters on a planet that was once used as a prison but is now kind of its own tyrannical dictatorship society.  It’s cut off from all the other planets in the galaxy – no communication, no ships in or out.  Think Space Australia, if Australia were a tyrannical dictatorship that was cut off in every way from the outside world.  So the main characters are trying to overthrow the mean government while dealing with personal issues and teenage angst and… yeah.  That seems like a good summary.

Okay bye!

Next time.  Character bible.  For sure.

Bye for real!

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