A Galaxy of Possibilities: Discussing Character Writing, Diversity, Star Wars and Fandom – Week 2: Satkia Wayne

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Satkia Wayne, Students of the Light
SWRPG Wiki Page | Tumblr Gallery

Satkia Wayne, née Beltrak, is the first character I created when joining SWRPG in July 2008. There was no hesitation that she would be a Jedi looking like Gillian Anderson and Mara Jade (Anderson’s character Dana Scully in the X-Files and Mara Jade have both been role models for me when I grew up and are still strong inspirations to me even now). Satkia could be considered a Mary Sue by some, because the fierce redhead who can steal traits from her writer goes back to my first novel, a dark fantasy piece still unpublished to this day. I had carried this character with me for a long while and it naturally led to Satkia be my first character on the board. Satkia eventually got a third claim associated: Marvel’s Black Widow.

The irony is that the only other – and very brief – attempt at roleplaying that I did – in the Farscape universe – was with a character named Satkia Telkis, also using Gillian Anderson. She was a ruthless Peacekeeper officer. While the character didn’t last long under this guise, it eventually served me to create another Star Wars roleplay character, my Empress Tatiana Renkl.

Why I think that Satkia Wayne isn’t a Mary Sue is because she always had defects; and even as I conceived her, I wanted to give her things I don’t. Do I have a strong connection to this character who has remained some kind of main alt after six years? Of course, but seeing the connection stem from both how her development fascinated me and how she stole elements from me without a warning at times (which happened with many of my characters), made the process extremely organic. This is why I don’t consider Satkia a Mary Sue and yet don’t mind if some people who know me well think of her like that, because she is a very layered character. I personally believe that incorporating elements of our own self as writers in our characters is something extremely natural, either on a conscious or unconscious level. To me a problem only arises if a potential Mary Sue becomes too perfect and too annoying, but this phenomenon doesn’t even require an actual Mary Sue and can happen through different types of characters.

Original Satkia art made by Khasidel Ihendrethan @ SWRPG

Original Satkia art made by Khasidel Ihendrethan @ SWRPG

Wanting to write a Jedi was kind of common choice. I had always played my character light side in Knights of the Old Republic, and she was called Satkia, which is where the name comes from, while Beltrak originates from another of my original stories. Beyond the name and face, there were a few things that were at the core of the creation process. I didn’t want her to come from a fancy planet and was drawn to Nar Shaddaa, the shady world controlled by the Hutts. I loved the idea of showing that beyond the general ideas and cliché, there were good people on this planet, who didn’t necessarily chose a life of crime. Even now that she is a Jedi Master, Satkia still has a great fondness for the planet.

Another planet normally not associated with positive elements that is very special to Satkia is Mustafar. She has always felt that this planet protected her. Not only did she make peace with her twin sister’s death there, through a vision, but twice she faced lethal threats and survived.

I had no idea when I started her that she would eventually become one of the sword masters of the Jedi Order, with proficiency in all forms, including Vaapad, nor that she would wield regular lightsabers, dual bladed ones and even light whips. She didn’t develop a strong inclination for this until she was a Jedi Knight. She very much surprised me with this, just as her love for elemental skills did, with her predilection for fire. She always was into mechanics and flying ships but she wasn’t lightsaber oriented. I still don’t understand why some of my characters love becoming combat experts when this is the most difficult type of writing to do for me.

Limb losses are a common pattern in Star Wars, which is why I am careful not to overdo it with characters and go for different health problems or grave injuries if I choose them to have some. In Satkia’s case, she had part of her internal organs upgraded after heavy battles, inducing permanent alterations to her diet for example. She also suffered from fertility issues cause by two different set of wounds, and even with technology and Jedi healing, she had little chance to conceive a second child, though it will eventually happen – which causes a risky pregnancy.

Original Satkia art made by Killian Quane @ SWRPG

Original Satkia art made by Killian Quane @ SWRPG

With Satkia learning and teaching so much about lightsaber combat, I now can demonstrate (things that doesn’t require the Force to exist at least!) a lot from the different forms, which isn’t a skill you put on a resume, but that makes me feel somewhat (and nerdily) accomplished, just as I enjoy knowing the Force skills Jedi can learn on this forum by heart! Satkia is one of my two primary teacher roleplaying characters and I know that it taught me a lot about adjusting to students, besides my writing craft. She has trained or mentored more than thirty pupils and it has been quite challenging! I find it fascinating when writing also spread out to other skills both because of research and actual writing.

While I don’t pretend that my characters can’t have a “larger than life” dimension, I find it important that they have weaknesses. For Satkia, it was her blatant lack of healing skills. Given that this is an emblematic skills for the Jedi Order, I found this all the more interesting to give this to her. Between that, her fierce personality and how she had ties to Dark Siders (and some former ones) most of her life, it made it enjoyable to have her never stray from the light side, despite when some other characters (or writers) believed that she was a solid candidate to be tempted by the dark side. She never even flirted with darkness. It wasn’t the kind of conflict that interested me to her, not the kind that felt right. She had to juggle with the loss of her twin sister, their mother wishing that it had been said sister who had survived, and several other losses. Finding her strength in these dark hours and how she could keep going was more fascinating to me than having her turn dark. She could have been a great villain, but it never was the suitable choice for her, though I understand what she could have been.

I support the term of “strong women” because I believe that this label is still needed and that there are many forms of strength, that don’t necessarily go rely on the physical. I consider Satkia a strong woman, but not simply because she has become a combat expert. She was this way before this development and is strong for many reasons. She is a teacher, a leader – who also supported the now reformed alliance between Jedi and New Republic, a mother and much more: she is her own person. She stood up for her conviction no matter whether captured by high ranked imperials or when deciding not to apologize for having found love with a former Sith Master who still held that position when they turned a long friendship into something different. And this strength also resides in admitting when she was wrong and that she still has things to learn, no matter the rank she holds. Just as the Jedi Code says: “Ignorance, yet knowledge.”

  •  How can your role models influence your character creation process?
  • How much of yourself tends to be found in your characters? Do certain elements tend to show up more than others, no matter the type of characters?
  • What do you think about strong female characters?

14 thoughts on “A Galaxy of Possibilities: Discussing Character Writing, Diversity, Star Wars and Fandom – Week 2: Satkia Wayne

  1. Harliqueen

    I really enjoyed this post and your character. You’re totally right, characters don’t need to be able to defeat someone in five moves to be a strong character.

    Satkia (amazing name!) sounds like an amazing character to roleplay with 🙂

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      Thank you very much! I am glad that you enjoyed the character. That’s why I approve of the idea of “strong women” characters, because to me strength is so multiple, including in being strong enough mentally and emotionally to allow one’s self to be vulnerable.

      This name is still one of my better ideas, if I can say so! It is interesting you bring the name up, because as some kind of follow up to this series (i.e. next year) I am toying with the idea of discussing name’s origins!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. njmckay

    With N’yssa being my own first character on the site, and for a long time my only character on the site, I definitely started her out to be basically me reincarnated into the Star Wars universe, (with a few modifications).So it was no surprise that much of my personality and interests were thrown into her. However, as the years went by, she began to grow on her own and now I’m impressed with the way she turned out. (in fact envious at times)

    I love strong female characters, yet they all still need some sort of flaw to make them more human and help the reader identify with them more. As a shy, quiet, but happy character, N’yssa has grown to be a much stronger female character than I ever imagined her to be. She isn’t strong in physical or combat moves like Satkia, but her strength is with healing and the Force. LOL, which I love as our two characters have become friends and can be opposites at times.

    Great post Natacha!

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      Thank you! I am always fascinated with how characters take a life of their own. Satkia still has a lot of me, and traits I gave her from the start, generally speaking, but there is so much I didn’t see coming! I can be a bit envious of my character at times too!

      I like how N’yssa and Satkia became friends and are so complementary as well!

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  3. hannahgivens

    I find my characters mostly mimic the Doctor from Doctor Who, if anyone. Some of them mimic Spock. They’re not “really” the Doctor or Spock or Batman or whoever, but I notice threads of those characters more often than threads from myself. Of course I have things in common with my characters, but sometimes I have to look for them… If I’m struggling to understand a character I’ll sit down and try to point to some things we have in common, or I’ll purposefully draw on some aspect of myself and add it to the character to deepen them and make them more realistic.

    I’ve got lots to say about the concept of strong female characters, I’m actually working on a post for the feminist Friday discussions about that, so I won’t repeat it here. 🙂

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      Thank you for your comment! It is interesting how your characters can mimic these two other fictional ones! I don’t always expect or easily see what my characters can have from me. For some I will write about in the upcoming months, it took me a lot of time to realize that they borrowed pages from my own book.

      I am very much looking forward to your post about strong female characters! 🙂

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  4. Pingback: Living in the Galaxy of Possibilities #2. 1: Star Wars, Education and Motherhood | Rose B Fischer

  5. Pingback: Living in the Galaxy of Possibilities #2.2-Star Wars, Anger, and Audience Assumptions | Rose B Fischer

  6. The Wookiee Gunner

    With a slow work day today, I’m gradually catching up with your posts. So here we go:

    I really love all the influences that went into creating your characters. Goes to show the importance of current female characters in media because they inspire us to create and imagine our own female protagonists.

    My role models vary from those in television to those in comics–similar to yours, actually. There’s one female, Devon Adair, from Earth 2 that has always inspired me. She was a “strong woman” by your definition–and I completely agree with your thoughts on how the term “strong woman” can mean other things other than the physical. She was a woman with emotion and a leader through and through. I base my protagonist on her most of the time.

    As for how much of myself tends to trickle down into my characters, I will say quite a lot. I tend to give them similar fears or wants or physical characteristics. This main protagonist that I’m working on is Hispanic/Latina–my stories are very inclusive. She bears similar features that I do, but she’s more obstinate and fearless than I am. All the things I’d like to do, she does with ease. I really like that about her.

    What do you think about strong female characters? That is an excellent question. Like I mentioned earlier, your definition of a strong woman is the one I agree with the most. I know some people steer clear of that term, but I don’t mind using it–especially if I used other adjectives, like self-assured or confident, etc. We’re all strong to a certain degree. We have strengths in certain areas. Strong female characters are a necessity today because of the lack of respect we get from media and parts of fandom in general. Without them, we wouldn’t have our role models to create our own female characters. 🙂

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      I see you’re on a roll for replies! It makes me giddy! I am glad to read your comments. Oh, I still need to watch Earth 2! I remember getting it upon your recommendation. I’ll probably watch it before the end of the year!

      I think that it is important to see “strong female characters” as possibly wrong in so many ways. I love what you said about how we need strong female characters. I am also not surprised that your stories are very inclusive, knowing you. This is a good and important thing!

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  7. Pingback: Living in The Galaxy of Possibilities 2.3: Character Creation and Role Models | Rose B Fischer

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