I can’t believe we are already at the halfway point of this Workshop! We started working on our “idea” through crafting a Pitch then we expanded on that idea by creating a world for it to exist in. Now we are adding people through sketches! I must confess, I do love the process of creating a story almost as much as I enjoy writing the story itself. I enjoy this process so much I can no longer stay on the sidelines, just facilitating the Workshop, I want to join in! So during one of these Parts you’ll find my two Character Sketches as well as my Pitch!
Pitch: Investigating a distress signal from another spaceship containing no survivors happens from time to time for the members of the Starship Integris. But this time, after leaving the empty ship behind, Captain Dawson finds his team being mysteriously killed one by one and he must figure out who in his crew is the killer before it’s too late. (revised)
Name: Edward Dawson
Occupation: Captain of the Starship Integris
Role in Story: Protagonist
Physical Description: Dawson is quite the regular man. He is not muscular, but he is not thin; he is not that tall, but he is not a short man. His well-shaved face is round and he looks trustworthy and serious. The wrinkles on his eyes show his experience, along with the gray hair on the sides of his head. His hair is not as black or as thick as it used to be, but Dawson still keeps it short, tidy, and well-groomed. He is the Captain after all.
Personality: Captain Dawson is a serious man. He believes fun is healthy — and sometimes crucial — to keep a small group of people such as his crew cohabiting peacefully and working together, but he also believes there’s fun time and there’s work time and one must know how to differentiate those. He is warm-hearted and comprehensive, but somewhat strict. Keeping this balance is a struggle sometimes.
Background: Edward was born on Altar-2, a human planet not greatly developed if compared with the older ones. His father had what he called a small interplanetary store. He would buy and sell all kinds of things from distant planets. When his father died he struggled a couple of years to keep it running before selling the store and buying the Integris. That was 12 years ago and, since then, he travels from planet to planet buying and selling every kind of weird thing.
Key Relationships: The Integris is his baby. The people on the ship are not only his crew members but also his friends, especially Red, the ship’s medic. They’re together since the beginning. Also, Captain Dawson has a new assistant, Ben, and he is trying to make the kid his apprentice, but it’s not going that well.
Internal Conflicts: Changing between good cop and bad cop is the struggle of his life as the captain.
External Conflicts: Customers and bureaucrats can be a pain in the ass from time to time but lately his main source of headaches is Ben.
Flaw: He can lose his temper sometimes when he wants people under him to take things seriously and they don’t. He thinks he could be more open-minded about it.
Goal: Save enough money to leave his current life and buy a big house on one of the upper-class human planets. It should be full of plants and have a great view of the city or the mountains or whatever it is. He misses living in a planet; he has been living in space for over 10 years and he is tired.
Name: Benjamin “Ben” Presto
Occupation: Captain’s assistant
Role in Story: Apprentice
Physical Description: Ben is not a fully grown man yet. He is thin and has long clumsy arms. His face is long and vertical and his eyes are bright with innocence and adventurousness. His disheveled hair is dark brown and thick, he cuts it irregularly from time to time when some strand is starting to get annoying. All in all, he is not a man yet. He is a boy.
Personality: Ben thinks he is funny and likes to joke around. He is friendly and curious. Ben likes to meet new people and get to know them. His time in the Integris is helping him with that.
Background: Ben never got to meet his parents. He lived with nomad salesmen on the planet Bunes since he can remember and that’s how he met Captain Dawson. On one occasion he was trading on the planet’s biggest commercial center and he overheard Captain Dawson talking with someone. He got interested because he always wanted to travel the galaxy. Ben helped Dawson with the local dialect and asked him to become part of the crew. After some hours, (the kid just wouldn’t leave) he said Ben could come onboard if he got his hands on a very rare rock called “the eye of Bunes”, they would be leaving in two days. Somehow the boy did it. That was almost two years ago.
Key Relationships: Ben never loved anything enough to care about leaving it. When he came on board of the Integris, he started a new life and, in this new life, he has many friends. He is very curious and spends entire days asking people about their jobs and helping them. His favorite is Captain Dawson, followed closely by Berta, the ship’s programmer.
Internal Conflicts: Ben wants to be a great man, like Captain Dawson. He doesn’t want to be as strict as the captain is but it’s like there’s no problem Dawson can’t handle. He wants to be like that, and he hates to think he is just a boy. He doesn’t want to be a boy, he wants to have his own starship and travel the galaxy. But he knows he’s still just a boy.
External Conflicts: Captain Dawson likes to be tough on him and tell him he is just a boy. That infuriates him, but he shouldn’t say a word. Most of the time, everything is fine, but there are days when dealing with the captain is hard. There are other days when it’s even harder.
Flaw: He doesn’t remember to take things seriously enough. Most of the time he doesn’t ever want to take things seriously. But he knows he must.
Goal: Ben wants to see everything there is to see in the galaxy. Talk to every intelligent life form, step on every kind of ground on every habitable planet. He wants to travel and get to know everything there is to be known. He is just starting, but when he gets his own starship, everything will be easier.
Pitch: While staying with her cousins as her family’s farm undergoes construction, Ashlyn Warren joins the neighborhood kids in playing a game of manhunt in the woods behind their house. When she ignores their instructions to perform the safe passage ritual, she accidentally invites a new player to the game, a dangerous entity intent on devouring the kids. Now Ashlyn must complete the game without being caught, or allowing anyone else to be. (untouched)
Name: Ashlyn “Ash” Warren
Role in Story: Protagonist
Physical Description: Ash is of Irish-Korean decent, with her features favouring her Korean side. She’s tanned with muscular legs from her years of running track. Ashlyn stands at around 5’2” and carries the stocky build of the Irish side of her family. Her hair is black with the tips dyed electric blue. She dresses in a pair of baggy black pants, a stained grey shirt and a black leather jacket that’s far too hot for their weather.
Personality: Ash is fiercely independent. She is quick to anger and not afraid to resort to violence. Ash feels the need to question everything, and won’t do thinks if she thinks they serve no purpose. Normally, she prefers to be alone and hates when she’s forced to engage in conversation with others. Her image, though, is very important to her, and she’s always loved that her younger cousins looked up to her. Even though she doesn’t know them that well anymore, she’s very protective of her cousins.
Background: Ash grew up on a small farm out of town. Even though it was a hobby chicken farm, she enjoyed the fact she had all her classmates convinced she lived on a farm with a ton of horses. Always striving to succeed, she found happiness in the track team. During the summers, Ash’s family would have her younger cousins over for a week. She became something of an idol for them. Since the summer, though, she’s fallen in with the punk crowd at her school, resulting in her losing her place on the track team. Things got worse when her parents finally went through with construction on the farm, resulting in her being sent to live with her aunts and two cousins for the summer.
Key Relationships: With her cousins Finn (12 year old male) and Tia (11 year old female), and the Entity
Internal Conflicts: Independence versus public image
External Conflicts: Protecting her cousins and their friends
Goal: The survival of her cousins
Name: “Belle”/The Entity
Gender: Presents as female in this current form
Race: Will of the Forest
Role in Story: Antagonist
Physical Description: Standing at 7’5”, Belle looks like someone stretched the rotting skin of a small, young woman over a massive skeleton. Almost all her bones are visible and she has no muscle mass. Her greying skin is covered with tracts of black veins, most notably showing under her eyes. Her hair is black and trails down to her waist. It is thin, but unwashed, matted together from years of being left uncared for.
Personality: Belle is hungry. She’s the very embodiment of gluttony, both in regards to food and knowledge. The most she eats, the more she learns. As she learns, she becomes more powerful. Though she’s as intelligent as her last sentient meal, a 14 year old girl, she cares little for ethics. She’ll do whatever it takes to get her next meal. The original Belle was vain and short sighted, and this has been passed onto the new Belle.
Background: The Entity, before she was Belle, was born out of the forest’s will to survive when local humans began to threaten the wildlife of her small forest. Originally weak, she learned to grow stronger by devouring intruders. She gained the intelligence of the people she ate and eventually grew clever enough to lure folks into her forest. Eventually, the people living around her forest learned a ritual to appease her. She would allow them safe passage if they offered her blood and secrets. She ate very little after that. One day, not too long ago, though, a runaway teen named Belle wandered into her forest. The Entity devoured her and became her. The human Belle had been near the point of starvation, and this had made the new Belle all the more aggressive.
Key Relationships: Ash as her primary target
Internal Conflicts: Desperate to learn more about the world and satisfy her hunger
External Conflicts: Confined to her forest and restricted by her pact the humans of long ago
Goal: To eat the kids playing in her forest
Due to the ENORMOUS amount of work put into these Character Sketches by each participant there will be FOUR parts this Round. Take your time giving feedback for each character. This Round is probably the most crucial of all the rounds. Without a compelling character the story will fall flat. And seeing as how the next two Rounds are all about the story, it’s important we get it right.
I want you to think about the following questions when giving your feedback for each character sketch:
- Can you “see” the character or get a sense of what the character should look like in your mind?
- Is the character compelling enough to care whether or not they reach their goal? This applies to an antagonist as well as any other character.
- Combining the Pitch and the Character Sketches, on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = not interesting enough / 10 = can’t wait to read it) how invested are you at this point in wanting to know more? Be honest and tell us why?