Good character?


#1

There’s a certain character I’ve written into Magnus Knights that I can’t make up my mind about. Her name is Baluur, she’s a terramancer, and a bit of a feral child. She’s lived alone for her whole life on a stone island that her parents raised from the ocean floor, with barely any human contact. She speaks almost exclusively in one word sentences, and is superhumanly strong since she spends her day picking up and carrying boulders. When she another human washes up on her island, she barely recognizes him as the same thing she is. This is how I introduce her into the story…

The enormous shadow, easily twice as tall as Falquin, sauntered almost casually into the arena. For a terrifying second, Falquin thought it was the black Magnus, come to finish him off. But as it emerged into the light, he realized it was a woman. The biggest one he’d ever seen, dressed in a leather dress that must have taken five cows to make. Long brown dreadlocks, greasy and matted together, hung down to her waist, and muscles big enough to arm wrestle a Magnus bulged with every step she took.

“Halt!” Tenlash yelled, brandishing his sword. “You are trespassing on—”

The woman glanced at him, then looked away. “Meh.”

She stopped, and a strange jangling sound came from her. Two chains dangled from her neck like necklaces, both of them thicker than Falquin’s arms. Glass jars hung from them, and whenever she moved they would clang together like Sylva’s most out of tune xylophone.

Her eyes fell on Gavenkein up in the seating above them, and she pointed. “Ah! King?”

What do you think? Good character? Bad character?


#2

She seems fascinating and that’s a well-done introduction but to really know if a character is “good” you have to ask yourself what purpose do they serve in the story.


#3

I just know that I’m already on thin ice since she’s technically fat, and I can see people getting pissed if they think I’m trying to make her fat and retarded or something like that.


#4

I see her as buff not fat. She’s been on a island for most of her life so of course she’d be a bit dense and have less knowledge with those who’ve been in the world. Any reader with common sense should know that much. I think her character being ignorant is something great.


#5

This is the second scene she’s in.

Finally, Falquin whispered, “That’s the fire from the rogue Magnus, isn’t it?”

Sebal nodded silently, and Falquin didn’t push the matter. In truth he wasn’t sure how to feel. For a split second, he’d been overjoyed at seeing his friend alive, but then the memories had come crashing down, smothering his joy with bitterness. Even after everything that had happened, just thinking about their argument made his blood boil. Sebal’s reappearance was an inconvenience. A distraction.

“Fascinating,” Master Sherrash said, backing away and knuckling his old back.

“Indeed,” Jatar Luka agreed. “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

“Bad,” the large woman interrupted.

Jatar Luka glanced at her. “What do you mean?”

She shrugged, and a growl echoed through the throneroom. “Food?”

Falquin had been surprised the first time he’d heard her speak. From her size alone, he had assumed she was an adult, at least forty. Listening to her voice, though, he realized she couldn’t be more than a few years older than him and Sebal.

King Gavenkein gave her a look that plainly said he thought she was crazy, and gave an order to have food brought. Then his eyes turned to Sebal.

“Young man,” he said, “I would hear your side of this.”


#6

I agree with the user above that she seems like a well designed character, and because you provide a logical reason for her lack of intellect, it doesn’t come off as offensive. The biggest thing is making sure she plays a role in the story that has an impact, but that is the same for aby character, and it seems like you’ve put time into considering this.


#7

She calls Sebal Fish because he came out of the ocean, so she’s convinced that he’s some weird kind of fish.

“Fish?” asked the woman’s voice, chasing that fantasy away. Sebal struggled to lift his head, and saw her sitting nearby, back against the wall and knees to her chest. “Fish… awake?”

“I’m…” He coughed, which made his dry throat flair with pain. “I’m not a fish. Where am I?”

She tilted her head. “Where?”

“Yes! Where am I?”

She stared at him for a minute, and then put a fist to her chest. “Baluur.”

He narrowed his eyes. “What?”

“Baluur,” she said again, tapping her chest as she said it.

“I don’t…” comprehension dawned on him. “That’s your name?”

She nodded. “Name! Baluur! You… Fish?”

That doesn’t have anything to do with this. I just think it’s funny.


#8

First, the concept of people making an island by raising it up from the ocean floor is fantastic.

Second, we see lots of male characters (not just in literature) who are large, maybe short on vocab and powerful … but rarely do we get to see women in that role, so you’re on to something that sounds original to me.

The isolation of this island shaping everything she sees, experiences or encounters is also great - your reader has to take on her perspective to “get it” and once you establish that, you get to enjoy the fun of taking the reader into her mindset as she sees and interprets things (and then has to negotiate unfamiliar stuff with her limited range of experience and understanding, and fill in the gaps where it doesn’t serve, maybe?)

Right now I’m thinking of those “World’s Strongest Man” competitions, but picturing your character Baluur flipping tractor tires, carrying giant stones, besting those Icelandic strongmen …


#9

It’s interesting, though your description beforehand does raise some questions like, if she was raised in isolation why does she have a sense of modesty and is therefore wearing a leather dress? I assume her parents were also on the island as well, but if not why is she dressed and “feral”? You mentioned very little human contact. How little are we talking? Reason for asking is because feral children oftentimes completely lack the ability to form speech if that area of the brain wasn’t stimulated as a child. Its not like in Tarzan. Speech doesn’t just come back to you if you’ve hardly had it in the first place.

These are usually the things I look at while building a character, but then again, you’re the author/artist. We the reader see things through a straw whereas you see the world whole and complete.


#10

Her story goes like this: her parents were terramancers. The only way to become a terramancer is to do something (haven’t decided yet) on the only mountain in their country. But that mountain was taken from the terramancers by the pyromancers hundreds of years ago, and now the pyromancers kill any terramancer they find on there.
Baluur was raised in the wilds by her parents, so even at a young age she had some basic survival knowledge. When she was three, her parents snuck her onto the mountain to become a terramancer herself. It worked, but they were spotted by some pyromancers and chased all the way the coast. Her parents killed themselves to make the island, and somehow got her out there, away from where the pyromancers could ever get to her.
So, she was old enough to speak in fragmented sentences, old enough to dress herself, she taught herself to use her powers, and uses them to catch food. A ship got wrecked on her island when it came up from the ocean, and she uses wood from it to make fires, cook her food, etc.


#11

Got yah. You’re the storymaster here, so I’m not going to contradict or argue a point, though I will say that, having a wife who’s a preschool teacher, a three year old isn’t capable of most of that, but this is a fantasy setting, so the rules can easily be skirted, especially when superhuman species enter the mix.


#12

Oh damn dude - when that shipwreck’s resources run out … I wonder will you write to have her seek out another ship (spotting one on the horizon? Swimming toward it like a Grizzly after a salmon?) or will she be forced to move out of routine when she burns the last plank?

I’m effin’ digging this, holmes …


#13

That’s not going to be a problem, because she goes back to shore with Sebal after he washes up on her island.


#14

Thinking of your character surviving on a ship’s carcass is fascinating, you have so many opportunities to allow that to flavor (correctly or incorrectly) her understanding of what world(s) lay beyond her island.

I have to share this, when I think of an island raised from the depths of the sea I picture Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway. Since this allows me to upload a photo I sure as hell will:

The geometric shapes of these pillars reminds me of the board in Settlers of Cataan! Yeah … you’ve got a board game nerd loose in your forum : )


#15

Her island is more… flat. Like a sandbar made of solid stone. It took all her parents’ power just to raise a huge chunk of rock up from the bottom of the ocean. No time or energy for anything fancy.


#16

Right on : ) Forgive me if it seemed like I was trying to steer your vision toward that, I just couldn’t shake my own mind from bringing that up constantly.

Re: contributing to other people’s work: If you like “American Dad”, the very best episode is called “Frannie 9-1-1-”, (S3E9) and there’s a part where Roger is describing the setting for the opening of a play:

ROGER:
This is great. And what a location for a kidnapping. If I were writing a play, which I am, but not about kidnapping, I’d set it here. "Interior. Lanceton Ice Factory. Magic hour.

FRANCINE:
And maybe the call of a lone crow can echo in the distance.

ROGER
Maybe. Maybe that could be in your play.
*
My wife and I whip that onto each other any time one of us starts jockeying the other’s project.