Tag Archives: Deaf

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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In Pursuit of Not-Boredom

Sometimes when I’m writing a book, I get an idea for a completely different book.  And then I end up writing two books at once.  It happens.

I am still working on The Dreamcatchers, but man does it get boring.  I mean…I already wrote that book.  Twice!  It’s not new or fresh to me.  So I started working on a different project.  It had been gestating in my mind for quite some time.  In fact, I’d already tried to write it once and boy did it suck!  Second attempt?  Better.  I might be on to something.  Or not.  It’s not like it explores any unique themes, and it might even border on cliche.  But it’s fun to write, and it’s good practice, so what do I care?

Now that I’ve done an absolutely stellar job of selling this thing, I’m going to come in for the kill: I will be posting this book here on my blog!


One chapter a day, until it’s done.  Then there will be an entire book on my blog that you can read.

This is going to blow up in my face very soon, since I am eventually going to hit some Writer’s Block.  The hope was that by setting these arbitrary deadlines for myself, I’d be able to motivate myself to keep writing.  It might work.

A word of caution: This book is not yet completed.  That means the writing is very rough, and it also means that the inevitable reworkings, plot changes, and edits will all be put off until after its completion.  So what you read will probably be nowhere near what the finished product will look like, yeah?  That being said, I’ll try to keep updating the blog every time I edit a chapter.  Not that anyone’s about to go back and reread, but anyone who joins the story late might benefit from it.

So that’s it.  I don’t have a title for this book, but we’ll go with the working title: Bandu Pole

Without any further delays, here’s Chapter One!


One – Never let your guard down.

Joss pressed one end of her Bandu pole deep into the earth, feeling the gentlest of vibrations traveling through it. Her fingertips tingled. Someone was close. She planted her feet, trying to feel those same vibrations, but finding them a bit elusive.

Two – Always be one step ahead.

Dragging the pole through the earth, she felt for the subtle increase of the vibrations. When she felt the change, she did nothing to indicate it with her body language. The person sneaking up on her from the southwest – an Enforcer perhaps? – would continue to believe she was none the wiser.

Three – Never leave camp without your Bandu pole. The Bandu pole is your best friend.

Joss readjusted her grip, keeping her stance relaxed but ready. She could tell by the increase in vibrations that he was getting closer. He would emerge from the trees soon, entering the clearing in which she stood.

She’d been searching for food and supplies. It was her turn. She’d never seen an Enforcer come out this far into the wilderness before. He was uncomfortably close to their camp. They might have to pack up and move soon.

The vibrations were getting stronger. He was behind her now. She took a deep breath. If it was a Goliath, she would employ Rule Number Five (If you can’t win a fight, run!). If it was a Kreech or a Bortol, she would fight. She’d been able to take those guys on since she was seven.

She waited just a moment longer, still feigning ignorance. The vibrations were stronger now. It was time.

She hefted the pole, spun it over her head, and whirled to face her attacker.


Tune in tomorrow for Chapter Two!  Which will be significantly longer.

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Writing Wish List

I have decided that I do want to talk about Grotesque briefly (Or as briefly as I can manage.  What I’m saying is it won’t be brief), but first I wanted to get a different post out of the way.  It’s something I’ve been wanting to write for a few weeks now, and I have to admit it is more for my benefit that for my readers’.  That said, you might find it interesting.  What it is, as the title of the post suggests, is my wish list.  There are several books that I want to write, some that I even have a shaky plot for, and I’m hoping to get them written in the coming years.  What I’m going to do is share this list with you, as well as my reasons for wanting to write that particular book.  Obviously I will be excluding all the books that I have already written (including the three I have reminisced about in my last few posts) since I think I have made it clear that I want to write them.  Having written them once already.  So, let’s start.  Keep in mind that they’re not in any particular order.

1. A werewolf book – Say what you will for vampires.  They’re okay.  Hell, I’ve enjoyed some vampire novels in my time.  But none so much as werewolf novels.  Mercedes Thompson is one of my favorite fictional characters to date.  And I am a fan of Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ Raised by Wolves series as well.  Why?  Well…um….because wolves are cool?  Look, I like the idea of exploring pack-mentality that’s been forced onto people.  In a book I’ve tried to write several times over, entitled Lupine, a group of friends makes a pact that turns them into a pack of friends.  One of them suddenly becomes the Alpha and they all have to learn to reconcile their human friendship with their newfound wolf pack instincts.  I want to write that book.  As soon as I have a strong enough plot.

2. A book in which the protagonist is deaf – I have a shaky plot for this one, too.  Inspired by a dream, as so many of my books go.  A human baby girl is found on a prison-planet of sorts that is ruled by tyrannical “enforcers.”  The girl is adopted by the rebellion leader and his ragtag group of aliens who are not convicts, but descendants of convicts, treated just the same as their less-than-law-abiding ancestors by a ruling class that is no longer kept in check by an apathetic government (galactic government?  I don’t know.  I don’t usually do sci-fi).  It soon becomes apparent that the baby girl is deaf.  The book, which I’ve been calling, The Bamboo Pole, for reasons I’ll explain only if asked, would center around the deaf protagonist and her Enforcer love interest.  Why?  Because I think Sign Language is fascinating.  Not just because it is a beautiful, visual language (and that’s a HUGE part of it; I love studying language), but also because it evinces humankind’s remarkable ability to adapt.  I would want to encapsulate that in the book, but I think I’d need a Deaf consultant first.  Wouldn’t want to accidentally insult anybody, after all.  And while I’m not a huge proponent of “Write what you know,” I do feel some background knowledge (besides my stumbling grasp of basic ASL signs) would be required for a project like this.


3. A book about a writer – I have a feeling that I am not alone in saying that there is a very strong, egotistical drive within me that wishes to put my struggles and experiences as a writer into well…words.  That’s what I do best.  Or what I claim to do best anyway.  The problem is that my several attempts to write such a book have fallen flat.  Firstly, because I can never get a good plot in mind.  Secondly, because I am terrible at writing realistic fiction.  And Thirdly, as my sister once pointed out to me, a book that is cathartic for me to read and write would not necessarily interest anyone other than myself.  Not that I shouldn’t sometimes write just for myself…hmmm…maybe I’ll write a book just for myself.

Anyway, that’s where I’ll stop.  If I think of others I’ll write them in a new post.

Word of the Day: Catharsis (n) – the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music.


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