Character Sketches

So today I felt like doing some descriptions of characters because I hadn’t much yet. I typed these up on a whim, and they maybe do not make all that much sense in hindsight, but these are the kind of images I would draw if I was any good at that. Basically my idea was to try and capture a piece of the person’s character in their appearance, and so that is why some of the descriptions kind of ramble into strange territory sometimes. So here they are, the members of the council. (A note: most of them are at least similar to how I pictured them back in sixth grade, but with more detail. I used to have a notebook of pen sketches I made at that time, and although it was lost/destroyed some time ago, I still have some of those images in my head.)

Nora

Nora’s hair was dark, straight except for pieces around her face which curled irritatingly, just enough so that she could constantly see them out of the corner of her eye. Her nose poked up in a perky way above a thin face with prominent cheek bones. Her lips were puffy and nearly always chapped. Her eyes were gray and sometimes seemed lighter than they actually were due to her dark eyebrows and long eyelashes. She was just over five feet tall, and so always carried her chin a little high to make herself look taller.

Zena

The Usomian practice of women never cutting their hair was one of the only ones Zena followed without complaint. Her hair was a smooth brown which moved lightly and easily with a turn of her head and was always simple to braid. She had the round face of her mother, but the long nose and sharp eyebrows of her father, also with a strong jawbone.  She had a very light complexion, even in her long-fingered hands. Her eyes were light brown and clear, similar to her hair. She was tall like her brother, and used that to every advantage she could.

Sheena

Everything about Sheen proclaimed her heritage. She had the dark skin and plain brown hair of a sneak elf, and was slender as well. Her eyes were brown as well. Both Zena and Sheen had very distinctive movements that signified their confidence, Zena was graceful and stately, everything done for a reason, every motion deliberate. Sheen’s eyes were always darting from place to place, and a million little movements made each action. Her features were clear cut and simple, yet connected at the same time. Her eyebrows curved just slightly, flowing into the lines of her nose, under which her mouth sat small and precise. Sheen was a perfectly constructed puzzle of many pieces, which all fit together leaving no loose bits or awkward angles.

Jacques

He had a very oval face, where everything was lined up from his hair, which was brown and spent most of its time standing straight up, to his chin. His cheekbones stuck out, but his cheeks below them were rounded, balancing out the picture. His eyes were blue, courtesy of his father, and appeared to be sunken into his face a little bit due to his eyelids, which were puffy, but not in an obvious way. He had barely any facial hair to speak of. He was broad-shouldered and a medium height, about the same as that of Sheen.

Atkin

His hair was blond and short, combed carefully every day. His eyes were gray and his eyebrows arched, giving him a scholarly look, especially when he raised them. His nose was flat at the end and he had smooth cheeks as well, as he kept them neatly shaved according to custom. He was tall and slow moving like many Kenezian men, radiating dignity.

Sections of the Colony

There are five sectors of the colony, each centered around a mountain-ish landmass. These are the same from the original, with a possible change regarding the Pass (formerly home of the Tangas; however I’m strongly considering relocating them to Mt. Yenin.)

Here is a map I made for the original story way back when:

 

orange=Nora's land (colony), blue=Tangas, purple=Irkas

Here is a new map, made from Nora’s perspective:

Grayish lines=official paths/section perimeters, solid lines=Nora's known shortcuts. Slang names used.

And here is the official council map:

Area numbers used. Non-offensive common names in quotations.

 

So. That is the basic layout of the Snow Mountains. (I’m finding myself with not much to say here…)

Jhacks/Jacques

Original Jhacks was comic relief. Purely. I mean, that’s all he did. He was descended from some original people who lived there generations ago, and the only interesting thing about him was that Nora hired him to baby-sit Petto, which is really stupid because a) what the heck is she so busy doing? and b) Jhacks is like the most incompetent person ever and Nora spends most of her time rescuing Petto from Perilous Situations and then yelling at Jhacks about it. He is the first character I knew I had to alter, starting with a good spelling of his name.

The essence of his character, (fairly light-hearted, slightly clueless) I kept, because I do know people like that (namely me) and I didn’t need a whole cast of depressed people (Nora, Atkin, Cragg, Sheen). Jacques is optimistic, which is good because he has the worst home life of  anyone, as he lives with his alcoholic father in the worst neighborhood (the Slope) and Laios missionaries come knocking on his door every other day.

I really am not nice to any of them, am I? I haven’t even posted about Zena, who is made fun of all the time by her sexist community, or Sheena, who is struggling with an identity crisis.

Main Plot

The main plot of the original:

Nora and Petto live alone in their half of the Snow Mountains. Nora hears ominous sounds from the other half, belonging to the Irkas. Zena, Sheeno, Jhacks, and Bob the Scout all show up at some point. They spy on Irkas. Nora befriends one of the mysterious Tangas, who hide in a region right near hers, but the leader doesn’t trust her. Irkas attack. Petto speaks to one of them. Irkas are defeated. They attack again while everyone is sleeping and force a surrender due to holding Petto at spear-point. Nora surrenders. They are planning to kill Petto anyway when Bob, who has been working as a double agent for Nora’s group, jumps at the Irka to stop him and is killed. Horrified, the Irkas, who are, after all, middle-school age, start to retreat and have to go through a battle with the Tangas in the process. In the end, they sign a peace treaty and the one really evil Irka is kicked out after he protests. It ends with Petto preparing to move out because she wants to live in a tree on the nearby prairie and Nora still being sad about Bob but being hopeful about the future. (In a very cheesy ending line that I hated even as I wrote it.) Read the whole story Here.

I don’t quite know the ending of the re-imagined version yet, but I know the beginning. Kana, currently in a very long war, drafts all able adults from the ages of eighteen to fifty, leaving the young adults (ages fifteen to seventeen) of the household in charge. This seems like a big task, but all food is still supplied to the colony and being in charge of the household is really only keeping it running in terms of chores and such. The real problem, which all main characters will get involved with, is the running of the town council and keeping tension down between religious sects. (Each one occupies a different mini mountain, so town council members are almost always representing the religion of the area.) “Irkas” is a derogatory term for one group, which will be seduced into separating by the new version of the one really evil Irka. (An adult, not originally of the colony.)

Petto

Petto is one of two characters that really make me hate myself when I read the original draft. Nora’s six-year-old sister, she has virtually no faults and is one of those annoying adorable children in fantasy who “see clearly,” blissfully ignorant of the world yet completely wise. Petto saves the day because she’s able to trust everyone and “see the good in them.”

Most of my characters I’m trying to grow and evolve, but Petto I’m shrinking. She’s going to be minor. She can still be kind of smart, but no more plot-changing accidental friendships.

The other thing is the name. I’m attached to it, but I think it’s a nickname. Ivy, their mother, is going to have too much sense to name her daughter Petto. I’m toying with the idea of having her be Ivy jr. according to a family tradition.

Nora

Nora was me. My persona in the game the sparked the story. Originally she lived in the mountains with her little sister, having watched her parents die at about age six, lived in an orphanage for a while, and eventually brought herself and her sister (Petto) back home.

All by the age of eleven.

For Nora to pull that off, she was going to have to be either really gritty and closed or really messed up. (I’d already decided to make them all older.) She was acting like a strange combination of what I wished I could be and do in her place and what I would actually be and do in her place. (She was the only character with a crying scene and a weakness that didn’t make her stronger.) Either way, she was too close to me and had to be changed.

So now (keep in mind I am not very far into it) she is a pessimistic teenager who, having no idea what her purpose is or why they live where they do, gets pleasure out of life by thinking of smart-mouth answers constantly and cynically discussing life’s problems with her single friend. In other words, she’s lazy, arrogant, cynical, and equipped with a nice “whatever, it’s not like I can do anything to help” attitude.

Perfect.

Setting

I dubbed Snow Mountains “soft-core fantasy” because it is fantasy in the sense that I made up the place (The Snow Mountains are located in the fictional country of Kana) but there is no magic or anything totally inconceivable. What I call soft-core fantasy exists in a world that could be our own, where the physics and the people are familiar.

The names of the original places remain the same in the new version. The main difference is how they are used. In the original, the mountains got fairly warm but never melted. The people who inhabited them had for generations, despite several problems of violence and a few displacements. The current members of the families who were tied to the land were children, the last pieces of a feud between their parents. (More on that later.) It was all a bit melodramatic.

The first thing I changed was to add tons more people. The snow mountains became a colony, consisting of people of many religions and cultures. As in the original, Uto is the nearest Kanian town, which supplies the still-young colony with food and cast-off clothing. Oh, and the mountains are cold most of the time, as I couldn’t find a logical reason they wouldn’t be.