A Galaxy of Possibilities: Discussing Character Writing, Diversity, Star Wars and Fandom – Week 3: Lorenza Pyrrin

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Lorenza Pyrrin, Students of the Light
SWRPG Wiki Page | Tumblr Gallery

I have precise recollections of how I originally came up with some characters. Lorenza Pyrrin, née Jokardho, isn’t one of them. I know that I didn’t hesitate when it came to the image claim – Kandyse McClure, because I had loved this actress since seeing her in Higher Ground in 2000. I had thought that she would make a great Jedi even as seeing her as Dualla in Battlestar Galactica. She was one of my early characters, as I created her back in 2009. I didn’t reflect on diversity as much back then, but she came up to me looking this way from the start.

For a few years in the SWRPG setting, the imperial legislations forbade any Force user from entering their territory. Shall one be found out as such, they were to be arrested and executed. This is also what prompted some of Lorenza’s back story. She was an Artificial Intelligence expert born and raised on imperial territory and was a military scientist. I am no scientist and always was more of a literary oriented person, but just like combat makes me go crazy as a writer, I like to have some scientist characters so I have research to do and envelopes to push. I didn’t get to write much about Lorenza’s scientific side since I created her though, which also led me to create other scientist characters later on.

Lorenza had recently lost her husband, who served in the Navy when the new law was put in place. Having suspected that her young daughter, Nara, might be Force sensitive, she decided to resign from the military and escape imperial space to make sure that her daughter would be safe. So they traveled to the Jedi Temple for shelter, and she had the surprise to realize that she was Force sensitive as well and that her strong bond with her little girl was a sign of her empathic talents. Yet, being accepted as a Jedi padawan didn’t make Lorenza feel so good and she struggled with impostor syndrome for a long while.

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She eventually began training with the father of one of her daughter’s friends. The two single parents eventually forged a friendship besides their mentor and student relationship. This even developed into a romantic one, despite their initial concerns. They married a few years later, and Lorenza had the good surprise to be well accepted by her in-laws, despite how she was older than their son, which was a stark contrast to the issues she had had with her first husband’s family, who never wanted Lorenza – or even their granddaughter Nara – to be part of their family.

To counter balance Lorenza’s slow process of finding her place among the Jedi, I had her be comfortable as a mother and being good with children generally speaking, which also helped her build ties with her stepson. That made her able to hold on and keep the family together when dramatic events happened both to her stepson and her husband, no matter how difficult it was.

As mentioned above, I don’t use much of her scientific background, but there still are traces of it showing up at random times, just like her military past sometimes makes appearances too. While she learned to wield a lightsaber, I hinted a few times how shooting a blaster was possibly more natural to her due to her life in imperial service, and I plan to further this in the years to come.

Lorenza is one of the few characters I write who lost a limb (so far). I knew that if I had her go through this, I wanted to take the time to have her adjust with the cybernetic replacement. Not only did it make sense but it was something I didn’t get around to write before. I had her struggle with some daily tasks and then with the construction of her lightsaber – for which, just as for some random tasks at first, she needed assistance for. It also prompted me to have her go through basic lightsaber training again because of the new hand, no matter how well it worked, had to be “befriended”. Even now that she is acclimated to the cybernetic limb, it still participates to the slow process of her picking up drawing again, after years of not doing it.

While I am aware that this was acquired disability and that with the technology in the Star Wars universe, things are “fixable”, I still wanted to use this writing possibility as the opportunity it was for character development. Sometimes, focus on her recovery was given, but I also found it important to have smaller mentions in other parts of the stories she partook in. Throwing Lorenza into this hardship when she seemed to have gained more confidence as a Jedi also helped confirming that she had made a lot of progress in her training and life, as it would have been counter intuitive to just toss her back to square one.

  • Do your characters tend to experience parenthood?
  • How do you find balance between strengths and weaknesses for your characters?
  • How do you incorporate a character’s experience of disability in their development?

14 thoughts on “A Galaxy of Possibilities: Discussing Character Writing, Diversity, Star Wars and Fandom – Week 3: Lorenza Pyrrin

  1. Mishka Jenkins

    I love how complex this character is! Being able to write a character who has to come to terms with a cybernetic limb is a great idea, and I can imagine a good writing exercise 🙂

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      Thank you very much for your comment! It was important to me to address the recovery and not just put it beneath a rug. And it was indeed a great writing exercise! 🙂

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  2. BroadBlogs

    I do non-fiction so it’s interesting to hear about how a writer thinks through character development. Interesting to get glimpses into other people’s worlds.

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  3. hannahgivens

    I don’t have a lot of parental characters, which makes sense in that I’m not a parent and have never wanted to be a parent, so they’re challenging for me to write in much the same fashion as a disabled character would be. I have some, but it’s more effort and more research and not part of my overall ethos. I do have more mentor bonds though, and I’ve never had or been a mentor (with a few vague not-really-applicable exceptions), so that explanation may not actually hold up. 🙂

    As far as strengths and weaknesses, I usually make them the same thing. A character’s pride will be both a strength and a weakness, for instance. That’s more plot related and dictates how they react in different situations. They’ll also have areas of expertise and areas of struggle, like being good at languages and bad at math or vice versa, and those things are more character development than plot-related. (Kind of backwards, now that I think about it… Most people seem to do it the other way around, with personality flaws being for character development and skills being for plot…)

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      Parenthood is something that is present or that develops for a lot of my characters, even when I don’t think that it might be the case. Many of my characters have problems with their own mother and/or have their parents dead on the other hand. I enjoy writing characters who have children, and it has become even more important over the past couple of years, probably because I have been thinking about it myself and it invaded my writing. Children characters are more difficult for me to write (as I’ll bring up in 2 weeks) than writing from the parent’s point of view. I hear you about the mentor bonds, which has also been developing especially since I began to roleplay because of how much I want to become a teacher.

      I never thought about skills or flaws serving character development and/or plot. With how organic things are for me, I think that everything blends together in how both aspects of the story evolves. 🙂

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      1. hannahgivens

        🙂 It is different with RP characters, but I don’t do that much anymore except with Rose, so the constraints are different. My RP characters do end up with kids more often, and there’s not as much plot/it’s more disguised where the plot points are. Very interesting.

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      I am not even surprised. I named the mother of one of my characters Isaly, but I’ll have to change the name because the mother isn’t a positive character and it weirds me out to have her be an Isaly then.

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  4. The Wookiee Gunner

    I have one character in my story who is a parent. She has a son who’s in his late teens and reaching twenties. Although I’m currently not a parent (and I don’t think I’ll ever be a biological parent), I’m an observer by nature, so I’m aware of how a parent should act based on my mom and how parents shouldn’t act based on my dad. My character has similar qualities to my mom, so I know how to go about writing her as a parent because, even though I don’t have the experience myself, I know how she should be.

    As for finding a balance between strength and weakness…I know my character’s strengths are that she thinks outside of the box and she’s quick on her toes. Her weakness is that she’s a risk taker. I don’t know if that’s really considered a weakness, but when she sees something that far out there and clearly dangerous, she would go for it. In the end, that “weakness” of risking her own life for the thrill or fun of it, ends up being the thing that saves her life and the lives of many others. So I guess, the balance is trying to make your weakness into a positive or transform it into a strength. I hope that makes sense, haha!

    I’ve been meaning to revise my character and see if I could incorporate a disability in her. What really inspired me to rethink that was seeing Hiccup’s heroic end in How To Train Your Dragon. So to make my character more inclusive, I want to revise that and have it be something that she uses to her advantage (in a positive way, of course). Still thinking!

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      Parenthood runs a lot in my stories, regardless of how I am not a mother either, and have no idea whether I will ever be one, especially biologically. Our observation skills and experiences definitely helps. All you’re saying about your characters make me want to read your story so much!

      Many skills and personality traits can be either a weakness or a quality, depending on how we write things. It is interesting to see how things can play out and possibly evolve depending on the situation.

      Regarding disability representations, I am very much enjoying my friend Rose B. Fischer’s series about this, as she explores a lot of aspects of it and also presents tips for storytellers.

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  5. Pingback: A Galaxy of Possibilities: Discussing Character Writing, Diversity, Star Wars and Fandom – Week 5: Nara Pyrrin | Natacha Guyot

  6. Chris Mac

    I personally like to have my character’s weaknesses be crippling, because I find that it makes for far better story lines.

    Two of my characters share a weakness, one being a clone of the same character. Where any lullaby sung by a female species, even in a language they don’t understand, will put them into a deep, highly suggestive trance which, one has no defense against.

    The good version has the traditional hero’s weakness of having to keep the innocence safe over his own health.

    The evil version has another hidden weakness in that he can be controlled with hypersonic commands given by his creator, through high pitch “whistles”, making him completely helpless.

    The other well, he has so many weaknesses built in, flesh eat virus, hardships in personal interaction due to being almost all metal, as well as a self choice of making his physical Force powers weaker than his rank.

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      I have 3 clones among my characters, all had different lives and growing processes (Alienor, Haranea and Syrenia). That’s very interesting about the hypersonic command for Rakai. I’m suddenly wondering whether some high pitched notes of music could impact him as well. Two of these clones are the ones most akin to cyborgs (Syrenia and Haranea) while Alienor’s body wears tons of scars due to the abuse and torture she suffered before she went to Munto Codru.

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