A Galaxy of Possibilities: Discussing Character Writing, Diversity, Star Wars and Fandom – Week 6: The Deleted Jedi Files

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The Deleted Jedi Files: Hildegard, Strakisia Mirian
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When I first came up with the idea for this blog series, I knew that including all my deleted roleplaying characters was important. While I have twenty nine active characters, I had requested deletion of about a dozen ones since I first started roleplaying back in summer 2008. Just like I don’t delete my old videos, no matter how they can make me cringe because of technical issues, I believe that being forward with the characters I don’t write anymore in a series discussing character writing, diversity, Star Wars and fandom, is crucial. Hiding them under a virtual rug would diminish what the creative struggles we face as writers and artists, regardless of our medium.

I don’t come to delete roleplaying characters very easily; but I have learned that when I truly feel that a character isn’t working for me, often in its early stages, there is no reason for me to keep them around. It tends to clutter my mind and hinder my creativity for the rest, so I need to make fresh space, whether I replace the deleted character with a new one or not. It helps me keep the muse flowing and this is why I have learned to recognize the moment when asking for deletion is the healthiest choice I can make.

HildegardWIKI

Hildegard

I had two Jedi characters who got deleted over the past couple of years: Strakisia Mirian and Hildegard. The two didn’t even make it to the beginning of their training and were only written in a single (and unfinished) thread each. Both stemmed from my interest in actresses due to specific roles. For Hildegard, it was Evangeline Lilly‘s portrayal of Tauriel in The Hobbit, and for Strakisia, it was Michelle Fairley as Lady Stark in Game of Thrones. Appreciation, no matter how strong, for an image claim isn’t enough to build a character.

With Hildegard, I once again toyed with the idea of having a lightsider turning dark at some point. I should have known better than thinking it could actually work, as it seems to be a narrative arc that just don’t work with me. I have characters who changed factions as they evolved, and I will mention them during the course of this series; but Jedi turning dark siders still doesn’t work. I theoretically find the ambivalence extremely interesting, but the actual fall doesn’t do it for me as a writer, even though I like reading or watching such stories at times. I had some background for Hildegard already, including Arkanian genes somewhere in her bloodline, to keep Tauriel’s Elven pointy eared look. I also liked the idea that she used a bow as I didn’t really have this before. It eventually went to another character I have developed in 2014. I had ideas for her, but I realize that I wasn’t able to come up with anything from her that would make Hildegard her own person and I couldn’t see past the fall story line I didn’t have muse to go with.

Strakisia Mirian

Strakisia Mirian

Strakisia had a much more solid background and was somewhat accepted as part of the Jedi Order in the only thread I did with her. I liked the idea of writing a more mature character, since many of mine fall into the 20-35 age range. After having lost her husband during an attack on their ship, she had been separated from her three children and captured by slavers. The slavers were stopped by people from the New Republic and she had found shelter on Republic soil, helping in a small tavern as she recovered. She still hoped that at least some of her children were alive. She met a Jedi Master while working in the small village and the two women got along very well and the Jedi Master was the one showing her about the other possibilities she had, notably by becoming a Jedi. I have great memories of this thread. Yet, my muse for Strakisia dwindled very easily and I knew that I didn’t have the energy and creativity to keep her going.

I don’t necessarily delete characters because I don’t like them. The understanding that I am stuck whenever I write them, even after plotting over possible approaches, is what drives me to let go of them. This is what happened with Hildegard and Strakisia, even when the latter had a much more solid development already.

  • Are there specifics in a character’s back story that tend to come to you first?
  • Does having a general direction for a character helps you building them?
  • Is there an age range that comes more naturally to you?

6 thoughts on “A Galaxy of Possibilities: Discussing Character Writing, Diversity, Star Wars and Fandom – Week 6: The Deleted Jedi Files

  1. njmckay

    I always seem to lean towards the teens when creating characters, that or the early twenties. There’s something about that age group that deals with maturity and coming of age that I love to read and write.

    I’ve had similar cases with some of my own deleted characters, Ardia from the DJ being one, though it was mostly because the DJ forum wasn’t active enough that I could really dive into her character and find some fuel to write her. I usually have a simple background set up for my characters before I write, but since they are usually younger I wait and see how they interact with others before building upon it and their personality. When i don’t get that choice, the character usually ends up drifting away from me.

    I’m also one of those people that makes loyalty part of each character. There are times i’ve toyed with the idea of characters changing factions on SWRPG, but it would never fit any of their personalities. They will always serve the faction i’ve originally set them up with. Maybe that’s just part of who I am and why that is always in there.

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      The age range of my characters is mostly 25-35 I think. I don’t think I have many teenagers now. Agatha and Alienor might be the only ones, and they are 19 if I recall well now. Maybe it is because I was personally happy not to be a teenager anymore. Even in my original fiction that I’m working on now, there are few characters who are below 25 year old.

      I remember Ardia! I liked the character. And yeah, the activity in the DJ group can be a bit difficult at times. I only have one DJ out of my 29 active characters, though I have found renewed inspiration for her in the past few months.

      I now know that characters falling to the dark side are a no go for me, if they were Jedi before. I don’t really know why since I could have former dark sider change life, since one of my only two active characters who changed factions was Alienor who went from Sith to Imperial. I like sticking to a faction, unless it doesn’t fit the character at all when you develop them. I enjoy being able to have a character struggle but not hop back and forth between factions.

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  2. hannahgivens

    I usually get the character’s attitude first. An overall vibe, usually to balance out my ensemble of characters. Then I get some specific skills, a reason for the character to appear (if I don’t have one already), etc. Usually if I have to just erase the character it’s because I’m already doing another one that’s extremely similar, can’t do enough to make the second one different, and the second one just peters out…

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      It is so interesting how every writer has their own approach to character creation. The attitude is something I rarely get first. It appears rather quickly but I’d say personality rather than attitude per se, is what comes earlier. Of course, it can depend on the character as well as this is such an organic process. And yes, if you can’t make a character stand out on their own and be too much like another one, it can be problematic!

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