Think about the whole lot of characters you’ve created so far in your writing / roleplaying career and consider these questions. Answer as many or as few as you’d like.
1. What gender of character do you play or write most often?
I think it tends to be a pretty even split, although I tend to write women more than men. The women that I do write are fairly unconventional. For a while, when I was writing male characters, particularly in the early days of the internet, I absolutely would not let anyone know that the hand behind that character was not in fact male. I did this because I found that some people really do tend to treat your character and you completely differently if they know it is a man writing a woman and vice versa. Of course, ther are always those who will accuse you of some dubious purpose when you do this. I just felt it was no one’s f***ing business about my private life and wanted the other writer to deal with the character AS the character, and not as a woman trying to wing it and pretend she is a guy. I have since relaxed on this rule and don’t care. I have reached the point in my life where I write to please myself. If someone wants to RP great, if not, I am certainly not going to get into a tailspin or wank about it. I can easily walk away and have had to do so on occassion..
2. What age group do your characters tend to fall into?
My characters tend to run the gammut as far as age. I have written children as well as old people and of course immortal persons such as Sidhe (Fae) or High Elves, so they may be hundreds if not thousands of years old as far as that goes. To look at them, they tend to appear as if they are in their early 20’s to Mid 30’s.
3. Do you tend to play or write characters that are outside your own demographics (different gender, ethnicity, or sexuality) or ones that are the same as your own? I wrte characters that are all over the map. Because I am of mixed race, that part may find its way in how I write Fanny, for instance. Fanny / Faelyn is a halfling, just as my father is half American Indian and Scots Irish. Most of my muses tend to be heterosexual but I have had incidents where that line is also crossed. I like to borrow a term that I heard years ago from some musician friends: “I consider myself omnisexual: But I do draw the line at children and goats. ” Spirutualy, I tend to have characters that are from a wide range fo spiritual belief from devout Protestant , such as the case with nomanselizabth, to Ancient Egyptian as sekhmet_mrytamn and Fanny being Fae, dedicated to the worship of Danu. I have even written God Himself (complete with a Morgan Freeman PB!)
4. Do you tend to write characters who are of a certain religious, political, or social class?
I tend to write as the situation demands. Most of my characters are Pagan or from faiths other than Christianity, although I do have a few that fall in that category. I know my scripture and have a wide and varied religious background, but I don’t like to focus on the dogmatic unless it is in a piece of historical fiction. Definitely that comes up when I write for nomanselizabthor ardethbay or other characters. When I write about the spiritual views of my characters, especially in the realm of magic, sorcery, religious belief outside the mainstream – there is either experience or a great deal of research that goes behind it.
As far as socio-economic concerns, because everyone experiences changing fortunes – whether one is a prince or a pauper, a Queen or an Indigenous person living in a lean-to , I can adjust to the situation. Not all my characters are richer than even the 1% . Sometimes they have been below the 99% and resorted to digging in dumpsters or even eating dirt to stave off hunger.
5. Do your characters tend to have tragic or idealistic backgrounds?
Everyone, including fictional characters, have unfathomably low places they have been in their lives and incredible heights that they enjoy – even if it is for just a moment. It’s capturing those moments that I love to focus on. The background of any character is the result of that person’s background, big and small events that shaped them into who they are. With Fanny, she lived in a very poor village, her mother was in an illicit, out-of-wedlock incident (a rape) from which she was the product. As a devotion to her religion, Fanny’s mother ended up as a sacrifice, leaving the child without family, except for an elderly uncle. The things she went through shaped who she was indelibly and she understood as a very young child that those with Power could pretty much live as they chose, while those without it served as mere stepping stones for the ones at the top. Thus began her obsession with and hunger for Power. (The muse will always insist that this word be spelled with a capital ‘P”!)
6. Why do you tend to choose to write for these types of characters?
I write them because something about that individual character is interesting. I love to take a character and dissect them in totality. I constantly ask things liken Why do they do what they do? What is the motivation behind what anyone does? If the character is a villain, what made him or her that way? If another character is afraid of their own shadow, what inner demons hold them frozen on the precipice between where they are and what they want to achieve? What person, place or thing has a major influence over them and why? What would it take to break them out of that familiar pattern? Will they ultimately succeed in this or fail? Or will they choose to do nothing at all and fade away? I have always been fascinated by questions like these in trying to understand how it all fits together. I suppose I ask those questions of myself a good deal of the time, and have driven writing partners completely nuts when I do the same thing to their characters, too!
7. Have you ever written / would you ever write a character outside your comfort zone? Why or why not?
I am constantly trying to push the envelope of how and where and in what situation(s) I will write my characters in. I have written characters I loathed. I couldn’t stab them in the head or the heart fast enough or enough times when I started out, and yet later on those are the ones that are most memorable for both me and the reader. I intensely dislike writing conventional characters. The June Cleaver-esque housewives or uber-Christian zealotry, for example, make me want to fling my notebook across a room with their single dimensionality. I say that because these are the people I will go out of my way to avoid. I cannot stand repression, and yet I will use those things in an adversary or a character that I will later take great delight in torturing and killing off. Call it cheap therapy if you will! 😉
I am fortunate in that I have had some very good writing partners and beta readers over the years and they help me by letting me bounce my ideas off of them and give me feedback about what works and what doesn’t. If something sucks, they will tell me in the style that I prefer – which is brutal and very straightforward.