A Galaxy of Possibilities: Discussing Character Writing, Diversity, Star Wars and Fandom – Week 9: Sabriyya Dalenak

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Sabriyya Dalenak, The Sith Empire
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Sabriyya is one of my most recently created characters. She already existed despite having never appeared in any thread, because she was one of my other characters’ younger sisters (for his sisters are identical quadruplets). Her older brother, Sebarek, will be discussed when we reach the imperial characters. I don’t know whether some friends will eventually write one of the other quadruplet sisters, but I was excited nonetheless to create one of them myself.

I originally chose actress Madeleine Mantock when I created the character. I liked her in the short lived television series The Tomorrow People. I had the inspiration to make a character who looked like her, so that’s how I went for one of the quadruplets. Yet, I wasn’t totally satisfied with the claim as the character began to flesh out through writing and plotting. I had a few other choices in mind but it was difficult to make up my mind. Thanks to one of my partners in crime, I was able to figure out who Sabriyya’s, her sisters’ and Sebarek’s parents looked like and it helped me make up my mind. So, I went with my favorite claim idea: actress Lupita Nyong’o.

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While I can be pretty flexible in how a character’s story evolves, which is part of the joy of writing, roleplaying or not, it helps me to have some background when I start writing a new character. I already had the family setting, the planet of origin and the species, since I already wrote Sabriyya’s brother. They are Lorrdian nobility, but their parents made sure that they were able to learn and experience much as to be prepared for life, whether they chose to stick to the administration of the family’s lands and political position, or that they embarked on their own journey.

As a Lorrdian, Sabriyya has uncanny abilities to read body language, which adds to her observing nature. She uses it instinctively and can find it challenging – and exciting – when she faces someone who is very guarded and difficult to assess. When I created her personal background, I realized that she could be either imperial or Sith material. I decided to make her specialized in public relations and communication, both from her studies and because of the small business she created a few years before. I also like the secret garden that I chose for her, a little out of the blue: she is a very talented slicer/hacker. I don’t know how much it will play into her future stories, but I’m curious to explore it at some point.

She isn’t interested in becoming the next one in her family to hold the political position and is fine just wearing a title, as it is the custom in Lorrdian nobility. She feels she needs more, especially after certain things that happened over the past years, which made her thirst for new ventures. As I thought about which faction she could eventually join, I realized that I already had tons of imperials and that I was unsure how I would be able to create someone who was different in said faction. I had also been toying with the idea of a new Force user for months. Add plotting with a friend and Sabriyya’s first thread and I could feel her on the right track to become a Sith. Being so different from both Alice and Baska, I knew that I had the potential to come up with some special angle for her.

Writing multiple characters belonging to the same faction also pushes one to come up with new ways and roles for said faction. It can be challenging but it also keeps things fresh. As much as I can give up on characters when I know there is no muse at all, I don’t like the thought of restarting the same kind of characters once I have one hit the higher rank. Some of my characters can share traits and directions, but I like them all to be their own person.

  • Do you have specific ways to come up with new characters in an already busy universe?
  • How much does body language impact communication between your characters?
  • Do you write identical siblings, whether twins, triplets or quadruplets?

9 thoughts on “A Galaxy of Possibilities: Discussing Character Writing, Diversity, Star Wars and Fandom – Week 9: Sabriyya Dalenak

  1. CCKoepp

    Designing complex characters can be fun.
    When I come up with new or alien cultures, I try to pay attention to differences in body language, idioms, and culturally acceptable/taboo behaviors. That helps keep the cultures unique and not just Generic North Americans in Funny Clothes.

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      Paying attentions to such things can help a lot when designing alien/new cultures! I started in original fiction before dabbing into roleplaying but this experience in roleplaying has given me lots of insight into my own world building.

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      1. CCKoepp

        Yes, I used a role-playing adventure for the basis of one of my tales. The final novel is very much mutated from the original RPG scenario, but if I track the history back, that’s where it started!

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  2. hannahgivens

    I feel like I’ve probably mentioned this in another comment, but I have persistent problems in recreating the same characters several times and needing to cut or merge versions as I go along. I’ve started coming at it from the opposite direction, only creating characters at all if there’s a sore need for one in a particular spot. I imagine the character creation methods and motivations for RPing are a bit different, since characters aren’t necessarily created with a cohesive plot in mind, and are often created within existing structures of allegiances. (That is to say, if I was RPing Star Wars, I would have a LOT of trouble coming up with varied characters since I would always be choosing from the same pool of options — Sith, Jedi, Imperial, etc. This is one reason I have trouble with fanfic, too, but obviously not everyone has that problem! 🙂 )

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      I have characters who come to life without a warning though I have discussions with them to make sure they have enough back story/personality/need/place that it can work. That works for both original fiction and RP. Agreed on the existing structures of allegiance in RP, especially since non-allied characters aren’t allowed where I RP. I don’t mind it because it can be a good creative challenge to have multiple characters in the same faction and come up with new ways to make them unique in the herd I write. There are factions where I am more active than others. 🙂

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        1. Natacha Guyot Post author

          Yes! It’s also why I’m quite excited about my upcoming fiction series that will consist in short stories. It helps me explore more of my characters, especially as these lovely monsters love to get a life of their own!

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