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:
Age in Earth Years: 18
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.