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Character Meme and How Well Do You Know Your Characters? - Mo's Journal
June 24th, 2005
10:58 am

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Character Meme and How Well Do You Know Your Characters?
This is in two parts, but both deal with characters.

The first is an old meme, from my pre-lj days, but we did it on a list or two as well. I thought I'd put my attempts here and maybe someone who didn't do it back in the day will see it and try her hand at it, too. It was pretty interesting to do. The idea is that you do a one-page or so description of your version of a character by starting with "My [insert character name]" and then saying things you think describe him or her best. I did Scott and Logan.


My Scott...

Likes being the one who tells everyone else what to
do.

Wants a break from that sometimes.

Hates it when his orders are challenged.

Unless there’s a good reason.

Feels responsible for his students.

Feels responsible for the team.

Sometimes wishes he didn’t feel so responsible.

Doesn’t let pain - physical or psychological – slow
him down.

Can’t see in color.

Sometimes dreams in color.

Has lousy night vision.

Hates the damn glasses, because they make him so
conspicuous.

Loves the damn glasses, because he remembers being
blind without them.

Argues with Charles, but usually ends up agreeing with
him.

Fights ferociously, but doesn’t kill anyone.

Sometimes thinks about making an exception to that
rule.

Knew by the time he was 15 that he was gay.

Managed to forget that for close to 10 years, through
pure force of will.

Cursed Logan for reminding him, but now he thanks him.

Will always love Jean.

Loves the Shakespearean sonnets, Wilde, Whitman, and
Eliot.

Feels a little guilty that all of his favorite poets
are DWGs.

Has a sardonic sense of humor.

Loves to teach.

Loves to tell stories.

Loves to swim.

Prepares his lectures in his head, often while
swimming.

Thinks that if you get the jokes right, the rest of
the lecture writes itself.

Usually has a couple of students he’s really close to.

Gets embarrassed when students develop crushes on him.

Has learned to live with embarrassment.

Would be bored out of his mind if he were only an
English teacher and unfulfilled if he were only Field
Leader, so it’s good he’s both.

Brings them back alive.

Except Hank.

**************************************

My Logan...

Loves deep but not wide.

Hates wide and deep.

Likes teaching, but didn’t expect to.

Likes fighting, and expected to.

Doesn’t like a lot of the other X-Men stuff, like
uniforms and semi-communal living.

Doesn’t talk much.

Falls in love about once every hundred years or so.

Has been in love three times.

Killed the first person he loved, and found the second
one murdered.

Is hoping for a different pattern with the third.

Knows more than people give him credit for, generally.

Knows more than he lets on about a lot of things.

Is a little inarticulate, but not stupid.

Has demons he can’t control.

Uses sex to keep them at bay.

Gets mad really easily.

Gets stupid when he’s mad.

Almost never says “I love you.”

Says he isn't any good at "interpersonal shit."

Is sometimes a lot better at interpersonal shit than
he gives himself credit for.

Doesn’t mind pain – giving or receiving.

Is a loyal friend.

Has a “vanishingly short refractory period.”

Thinks that’s a stupid way to talk about always being
able to get it up.


The other character thing I've been thinking about is just how well we know our characters. For some of them, I feel like I know them inside and out. For others, who are more on the periphery of my fiction, I feel like I know a little bit about them. And how do you measure that, anyway? Here's one way:

I got to thinking of situations where people get asked a lot of questions about themselves - their backgrounds, their work, their relationships, their feelings. A few I came up with are:

* a first date
* an intake interview for a new therapeutic relationship
* appearing on Charlie Rose's program

So I started to wonder which of my characters I know well enough to handle those situations. And I don't mean writing those scenes. It's easy if I'm not only my character but the therapist, the date, or Charlie. No, I want to know how many of my characters would I have ready answers for without knowing what the questions will be, if someone just throws them at me (feel free to do so, anyone reading this, if you'd like to go on a date with, begin therapy with or be Charlie Rose to one of my characters). And for the characters I know really well, I would know not only what they'd say, but how true it is, and what they're thinking that they choose not to say. With those as guidelines, I think I could send the following on a date, to a therapist, or to Charlie:

Canon Characters
Scott
Logan
Jean
Jean-Paul
Charles

OCs
Adam
Billy
Oliver
Wendy



I feel like I'm close but not quite there with the following:

Canon
Warren

OC
Jake
Anjuli
Jamie
RoseAnn


Interesting (to me, anyway) is that I don't necessarily know my OCs better than the canon characters. I find I go through the same process with some of them, of getting to know them over time. Jake, for example, was pretty much a cipher when I introduced him. I got to know him better writing "A Time to Every Purpose" and even more so while writing the one I'm working on now. Similarly, I introduced Jean-Paul originally just as contrast with Scott on the closet issues. I didn't know him much beyond his basic story in the comics. He became a real person to me as I wrote more about him.


Anyone else want to play?

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