This post is a response to The Future of Storytelling, the Massive Open Online Course, I’m taking this fall.
YOUR TASK IN GENERAL
Last week we have dealt with character profiles for characters that already exist. This week we build on exactly this task by using your knowledge about how to create fictional characters to create a new fictional one. This character can be entirely your own creation, for example created for a story you’ve already written or a character that you’re just inventing – or – if that’s too difficult – you can vaguely base it on a classic fictional character from Lady Macbeth to Sherlock Holmes – … it doesn’t matter as long as the character is unique and yours, with it’s own original name.
YOUR TASK IN DETAIL
Whether it is desires, enemies, professions, hobbies, religions, behaviorisms or else: Please think about who your character is, where he/she is coming from. Feel free to enlist the help of the profile sheet from last week. (that is also available as a pdf on the right)
Find a “home” for your fictional character. Meaning: give him a place to be, a blog, a Facebook account, a career on LinkedIn, a twitter account or else. Create his or her identity.
To clarify that this is a fictional StoryMOOC character, make this character state somewhere that he/she’s a friend/acquaintance/enemy/fan of (…well, give him ANY relation to…) a certain “Aunt Renie” (a friendly, old, world-traveling lady from Potsdam, and a character we’ll meet later in our MOOC).
If you like: Connect your character to other new characters.
I’m having trouble with giving any of my characters a home on the web. Most of them don’t live in a world where they are particularly well connected to the world around them. In the two big stories percolating in my head right now, one is defined by the fact that the characters aren’t well connected to the outside world, and one is a fantasy story where the Internet doesn’t exist (nor do computers, or electricity, or printing presses).
Instead, I’m working to flesh out a character I have been thinking about but not writing about. He’s an important secondary character from the novel I worked on for National Novel Writing Month last year. He is a challenge to me because his background is very different from my own, and I’m worried about getting him wrong as the story progresses. I’ve listed what I know about him, but I’m not sure how to connect him to the web right now. He lives in a little town in Texas, and though the story is contemporary, one of the major undercurrents that runs through it is how isolated the town is from the rest of the world. My character, though perhaps the most worldly person in the story, is not immune to this.
Name: Father Jesus Garcia
Physical Description (Size, Weight, Defining Attributes…): Roman Catholic Priest, 5’6 or 5’7 (short for a man), average weight for his height, very noticeable facial scar down his right cheek.
Age: late 20’s, early 30’s.
Personality/Nature: He is a man who has found peace after great personal experience of war. He is invested in helping others find God because God helped him to survive.
Ambitions/Desires: Part of him has always wanted to be special. He wants to have something happen to him where he’s able to save the world. That’s part of why he joined the military, and part of why he responded to it as he did. An event happens to one of his parishioners in the story that may be of the utmost importance to everyone, but he is torn as to how to respond to it.
Is mostly seen as: His parishioners don’t quite trust him, because he’s Latino and because he grew up on the “wrong side of the tracks.” He has had to work very hard to “act white,” so he does things like grow lovely plants in the churchyard and has developed a sophisticated interest in coffee and tea to help bridge the gap between his middle-class white parishioners who believe themselves to be upper-class and himself.
Sees her/himself as: Fair, honest, just trying to be a normal guy in a world that has dealt him a hand that is anything but normal.
Loves: God. In the broader sense, he genuinely loves to bring people closer to the faith that he believes saved his life.
Believes in: See above. He has faith in the power of his faith to save lives, and he goes to great lengths to bring it to those around him
Trusts: He trusts his faith more than he trusts the Church. He feels obligated to share a very important story with his superiors, but he realizes it may hurt those affected more than it helps.
Fears most: War. It’s interesting, because he is fundamentally altered by his experiences as a soldier. He would not have become a priest were it not for the danger he faced. He does not want to go back.
Fights for: He is fiercely defensive of his congregation. Though he is younger than many of them, he is their father. Even a new member like the main character is worth his defense, and he finds himself defending her against the larger church.
Hates: The ideas others have about them. Though he is a highly reputable, moral priest, many in the town still think he might be involved with some sort of gang activity just because of his tough appearance.
Most important event in life up to date: In his early 20’s, he was stationed in Afghanistan and he worked clearing mines. He was close to his chaplain, though he did not believe everything he said. At one point, they were attacked on patrol, and his chaplain was killed in action. He was saved through the chaplain’s actions, but was injured by shrapnel. This was the great event that called him to follow God and become a priest upon his discharge from the military.
Most influenced by: Experiences. Both the one described above and the one that plays out in the book. One of his new parishioners reveals to him that she believes her daughter is a pregnant virgin. He takes her seriously and becomes torn by desire to be obedient to church and obedient to God.
Best Friends: He is close to his family, who live in the town, but they go to the Spanish-language church, so they aren’t a big part of our story. For MOOC purposes, his favorite pen pal is Aunt Renie.
Worst Enemies: He doesn’t have enemies, but he is not well liked by the Anglo church ladies who mistrust him based on his ethnic background.
Relationship/Family status: Roman Catholic Priest
Social/Ethnic Background: Comes from a poor, Mexican-American Family in a small town in Texas.
Occupation: Roman Catholic Priest
Education: High School, US Army, Seminary.
Hobbies: Gardening, coffee and tea aficionado.
Special Skills/Talents: People-person. Very good at talking to people in ways that make them feel special and heard.
Flaws: Torn between what he believes is right and what he is told is right by his bishop.
Disabilities: Visible facial scarring, possible other things that aren’t easily seen.
Special behaviorism(s), quirks,…: He’s not a quirky guy. He has a slight Spanish accent, because he grew up in a house where English and Spanish were spoken.
Style (Dress/Life Style): Roman Catholic Priest.