A Galaxy of Possibilities: Discussing Character Writing, Diversity, Star Wars and Fandom – Week 25: Svetlana Ghemenaux

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Svetlana Ghemenaux, The Sovereign Galactic Empire
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Svetlana Ghemenaux is one of the earliest characters I created since joining SWRPG. While her background never changed, her image claim certainly did. I originally used actress Sophie Marceau and later on Eva Green. Both had a vibe that worked for the character, but there was something amiss. I could never put my finger on what exactly until the day the perfect claim hit me: Naomi Campbell. That is quite a stretch one could say, but when I had the idea, I knew that it was the face I had been looking for in the five years I had been writing Svetlana. I have between one fourth and one third of my image claims who are actors or models of color and while I try to have diversity as a conscious approach, most of the time my claims just happen because they feel right to me rather than a forced process. I also have several white claims who portray alien characters, albeit near-humans/humanoids.  The type of characters I mostly have to stretch myself out for are male ones, given the huge majority of females I write.

Svetlana is a businesswoman who was born and raised on the imperial world Commenor. From an early age she had an interest in science and technology and her father encouraged this. In her teens, she was accepted as an intern at his company and had to learn things like everyone else. He believed that not giving special treatment to his daughter would be more profitable to her. In her late teens, she was the one supporting the opening of a new research development about bio-weapons, as the corporation focused on weapons of all kinds, including for ship equipment. During her studies, she kept helping her father and took over leadership of the company when he passed away when she was in her early twenties.

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Around this time, Svetlana got married to an imperial senator but their relationship didn’t last long because he was killed along with the other passengers aboard his shuttle. The tragic news caused so much turmoil to her that she miscarried the child she was pregnant with. The businesswoman had never had any liking for the Republic, but she hated them even more after her losses. She was offered the possibility of taking her late husband’s political seat, but she declined, devoting herself to her company instead.

In the following years, she had many casual affairs but didn’t form any long lasting romantic entanglement again. She eventually met someone who would change her view on things, through her long time friend, the Empress, during a business trip to the imperial capitol, Bastion. The younger male politician was different and Svetlana enjoyed his company and spirit from the start. Despite several bumps in the road that even drew them towards a temporary separation, they eventually got engaged. Around the same time, the Empress made it clear to Svetlana that her informal allegiance to the Empire was no longer enough. After years of staying away from politics, the businesswoman joined the political branch of the Empire, bringing her strategic skills to the table, as well as expanding her contracts with the imperials, including their military.

  • Do you write business women characters?
  • How does your character’s pride influence their life?
  • How do your characters deal with mourning?

5 thoughts on “A Galaxy of Possibilities: Discussing Character Writing, Diversity, Star Wars and Fandom – Week 25: Svetlana Ghemenaux

  1. Chris Mac

    Pride is such a good tool for writing a good villain in my books. I try to incorporate it into all of mine, some more than others. Rel’Avauld for example: having wanted to kill his father all his life, if he could just accept that his father’s death happened because of something someone else did, he could have a life no bent on revenge. Something that is wasting his time and credits (as well as the credits of a certain secret society, shh), as well as putting his life in risk to get what revenge he is starting to think he doesn’t deserve. But pride again, he has gone too far with his plans to turn back now.
    Rakai, well, his pride is like armour for him, and it goes off of the memories of Derakai as a Darkside youth. He wants to see that monster alive again, and doesn’t care how he achieves it, when he could just have lived his own life instead of trying to make something happen that had already been.

    For mourning, Derakai is a quick mourner, because he knows those that have passed would want him to continue on strong. Hard for a person to do, but the Nagai’s resolve was always built like a rock.
    Rakai on the other hand… When he lost Fari-fax, the original, he fell into a deep depression, turning to alcohol, and fighting his fellow Sith. Luckily he was built back up into a completely new and improved Rakai, changing entirely how I played him, and now I honestly like him better. He became strong, and gained an uncalculatable amount of resolve.

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      Happy to see you back again for this week’s installment! Pride is very interesting to use, in many types of characters. Lynmeira was way too proud at some point, and she had to work on this a lot as she developed as a Jedi for example. Isn’t it great when you can rewire a character, take them into a new direction, as you did with Rakai? I had this with a few of mine, when I thought that they would just poof on me. 🙂

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