Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,
Rowyn
rowyn

Writing exercises: More Character Creation

The book had another exercise in this vein where it gave me three prompts and I was supposed to write about the resulting character, but it was even duller than the drug addict one. Also, the pre-made prompts are all very ordinary things because the book is aimed at writing straight fiction rather than genre, and straight fiction is also boring. So instead I made up my own prompts. Twice, because the last exercise in the chapter was "make up your own".

Controlling idea: Rule the world
Primary Orientation: Prophet
Fundamental question: Am I doing the right thing?

Elena was seven when she had her first vision. An angel in the form of a white stag with antlers of lightning and twelve wings of mist and storm clouds leapt from a chasm to land before her as she was raking leaves. He told her that it was her destiny either to rule the world or destroy it. "If you do not do the former, you will surely do the latter." He told her that she would have more visions, some sent by the gods, as he was, and some by demons. "The demons will torment you and tempt you. They will try to break your spirit, and they will try to lead you astray. Do not heed them."

"How will I know which is which?" Elena had asked.

"An angel will never lead you to cruelty. Only firmness. Demon and angels alike will give you gifts. This is mine." He touched her with an outstretched wing of silvery cloud. Elena fell backwards into the pile of leaves, startled, and was even more surprised as the leaves turned to fluffy white cotton beneath her. When she struggled to her feet again, he was gone.

Elena is twenty-eight now. She has had one hundred sixteen visions since that day; by her reckoning, seventy-eight of them were from demons. Sometimes the demons were easy to tell, like the time one who tormented her for a week with torturous sensations: stabbing pains in her hands and feet, burning brands that left demonic marks only she could see on her torso, making her feel flayed alive so that the touch of any cloth to her body was torture. Some of them are harder: was the one who showed her vision after vision of a desolate, ruined world from a demon trying to break her spirit, or an angel trying to warn her that she was on the wrong path? Some were easy to tell, yet tempting anyway. The Gift from one demon had been the ability to heal any disease or injury to any one member of any given race -- if first she killed a healthy individual of the same race.

Elena's rule spans eight countries and two continents. She conquered them without force; three kings pledged their fealty to her, and two republics amended their constitutions to make her themselves states in her empire.

Eight countries in twenty-one years. She will have to move faster if she is to rule the world. She prays for guidance and divine assistance, knowing that often it is worse when she receives it than if she does not.

She has one hundred sixteen Gifts. Some are simple and strange, like turning leaves to cotton at will. Others are subtle and amazing, like ignoring a train whistle going off next to her in order to overhear a conversation a thousand yards away. Still others are terrifying and spectacular, like calling down flaming balls of lava from the sky. She has used thirty-nine of her Gifts.

Often she wonders if the use of that one, questionable Gift means it is already too late. That the demons have already won, and she will never rule the world, only destroy it.

Controlling idea: Stop the cats!
Primary Orientation: Lunatic
Fundamental question: How can he cure everyone else?

Chosoon is a professional crazy person, in the province of Jade Valley where the priests teach that lunatics are touched by the gods and holy, to be treated with reverence and honored. Chosoon may be crazy, but he's not crazy enough to believe that. He knows he hasn't been touched by the gods, and it's not the gods that made him crazy.

It's the cats.

Cats hypnotize people with their purr, and then take control of their minds. They turn them into unimaginative drones who toil endlessly in factories and fields, with no concerns beyond the necessities of life, carnal pleasures, and spiritual matters. They no longer put their minds to ... to ... Chosoon's not sure exactly what they should be putting their minds to, because when the cats realized he was immune to their purr, they used a combination of mewing and brushing-against-ankles to drive him to madness. He knows that humans are meant for a higher purpose than grubbing for food, procreating, and worshipping the gods, who are probably a feline invention anyway. He can't remember what the purpose is, but he knows it's out there, and he knows about the cats, and that gives him a big advantage over most people. The cats have brainwashed all the other people so that they don't believe him when he tries to explain about the cats and purring. They just think he's crazy. Which is understandable, seeing as he is, but it's all because of the cats! He's trying to establish an alliance with the dogs, who obviously understand what the cats are plotting because no other carnivore hounds another carnivore as relentlessly as dogs do cats. Unfortunately, the cats have also driven most dogs insane, with the result that they only communicate in cryptic barks. Chosoon is trying to teach his pack of pet dogs to make a language of barks so that they can better coordinate their war against the cats. Maybe if he could find a way to turn the cats' purr against him, but they've been unaffected by his efforts at purring back at them so far. And he dare not stay in their presence long, because sometimes when he does he finds his will to resist weakening, and that soft purr convincing him that really, they're only dumb animals and maybe he should go get a regular job, or at least eat more regularly. But no! That way lie madness! No, wait, this way lies madness. That way lies the path of the mindless drones who have succumbed to the nefarious feline plot. He may be crazy, but at least he's not working twelve hours a day in a factory.
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