Town Line Tuesday: Daphne Pendragon Part 2 (Continued)

Hey guys, for this week’s Town Line Tuesday I’ll be continuing to answer the Character Questions I started a couple of weeks ago. The questions are all from this tumblr post by @lanqu-e. If you missed the first part you can check it out here.

Part 2: Miscellany (Continued)

 

16. What kind of job does your character want/not want? What is their dream job? What do they think of their current job? Daphne’s dream job would be any job where she can help people, and in that way, her current job as an agent for AEGIS–a secret vigilante organization bent on keeping the peace between humans and Supernaturals–is perfect for her. However, when we meet Daphne at the start of the novel, she’s had her faith in the organization seriously shaken and the novel will deal in part with her struggle to make peace between her love for the job and the unshakable feeling that maybe the cause she devoted her life to isn’t as noble as she believed it to be.

17. What are your character’s greatest fears? Weaknesses? Strengths? Daphne’s greatest fears would be being unable to save people she loves and becoming the monster so many people have accused her of being. Her greatest weakness is maybe relying too heavily on her gift–when you have such a strong innate gift it’s hard not to rely on it but it rarely shows Daphne the whole picture and relying on half a picture of a situation has and will continue to cost her. Her greatest strength is seeing all the horrible dark parts of humanity (and inhumanity) and still being able to see the good in it. 

18. What kind of music do they listen to? Do they have a favorite song? Daphne mostly just listens to whatever local pop/rock/top 40 station comes over the radio. She likes music mostly for background noise not for the lyrics so she’d probably like Lindsey Stirling and similar artists/styles. 

19. If they came from their world to ours how would they react? What would they do? Daphne’s world is essentially the same world as ours except for the fact that in her world supernatural creatures such a ghosts, vampires, demons, and angels exist and live side-by-side (mostly) with humans. That being said, if she stumbled into our world somehow I imagine she would hate it because she would feel like even more of a freak and outcast than she does in her world. She would probably do everything she can to keep her head down and not attract attention to herself as she works to find a way home. (I also like to imagine that in her search for a way home she’d find me and although I’m pretty sure she’d cuss me out for the shit I put her through it’d probably be the best day ever).

20. What personal problems/issues do they have? Pet peeves? Umm this is way too vague I’m not sure how to answer it. Daphne has a ton of issues, I mean the poor girl has recurring nightmares nearly every night, she’s haunted by her past, and she sees her dead best friend everywhere she goes. To say she’s not the most emotionally stable person out there would be putting it lightly. As for pet peeves I’d say people not heeding her advice about their future (they never listen it’s beyond frustrating) also decaf coffee.

21. What kind of student were they in high school? For all that she never ended up going to college, for the longest time Daphne was convinced that college was the only chance she had of getting out of her hell hole of a hometown so she took her classes seriously. She was an A and B student for the most part despite her teachers’ blatant dislike of her. As for extracurriculars/social life… they were practically nonexistent. Spencer was her only friend and while he did his best to invite her into his social circle she kept to herself–both out of dislike for his popular friends and out of fear of dooming him to the same social outcast standing as her.

22. What is a random fact about your character? When she was four or five, Daphne wanted to be an angel when she grew up.

23. What is their outlook on life? What is their philosophy / what do they think in general about living? Daphne’s basic outlook on life is that there’s always something worth living for–that no matter how awful and bleak it can get sometimes (and she knows firsthand just how bad it can get) there’s still beauty and goodness in it too.

24. Who is the most important person in their life? Why? Who is the least important to them (who still has an impact) and why? Most important is Hannah–Daphne’s best friend, partner, and the reason Daphne joined AEGIS in the first place. Least important is Daphne’s father…he’s important in that he affected and continues to affect Daphne but he wasn’t a good father so he earns least important.

25. What kind of childhood did your character have? Well, it wasn’t a good one.

26. What kind of nervous habits do they have? Do they have any addictions? Daphne runs her hands through her hair a lot and, while it’s not necessarily what I’d call a nervous habit, she goes for runs when she’s stressed or scared. Closest thing to an addiction she has is an unhealthy love for supernaturally enhanced coffee.

27. If they could choose their epitaph for their grave, what would they choose? “The beauty of the soul revealed.”

28. Do they want to get married? Would they ever want kids? Daphne would love to get married to someone she loves. Kids are another matter–she’s not sure she would be a good mom–but with the right person she would consider it.

29. If they could have one thing in the world, what would it be? For her best friend back.

30. Would they ever kill someone? What would push them to kill someone? She has killed people before. It’s part of the job sometimes. Granted those people are usually monsters… What would push her to kill a human? Maybe killing someone she loves…but then that would make them monsters too right?

 

 

Town Line Tuesday: Daphne Pendragon Part Two

When in doubt about what to write, go back to the basics right? Right. Ok so I stumbled upon this post on Tumblr that was 50 questions about your original character. It was meant to be an ask game where followers send the blogger that posted it a number corresponding to a question on the list for the blogger to answer. Well, no one’s asking but I think this could be a really fun exercise to help me with character development for Daphne. I’m not sure I can do all 50, but I guess I’ll just see how many I can get through in let’s say a couple of hours. I skimmed this post to make sure the questions were actually decent but I didn’t read every question so I’ll be doing this mostly on the fly. Should be fun. Credit for these questions goes to @lanqu-e on Tumblr.com. Check out the post here

Part 2: Miscellany

 

  1. What is your OC’s favorite color? Green. 
  2. Does your OC collect anything? What do they collect? I’ve got this idea that people imprint little pieces of themselves-of their souls-onto the things they own. I mean say what you will about it, we tend to get emotionally attached to our possessions. Daphne can sometimes get readings off of items because of this–never as complete a reading as she can get off a living person, but she can get little snippets this way. Things like favorite childhood toys or that necklace a character’s mother gave them that they wear every single day give stronger readings but less personal items like pieces of clothing or less emotionally significant jewelry works as well. Anyway, I’m not sure I’ll ever address it in the books but I think Daphne collects these odds and ends of significant people she meets in her travels as a way of feeling close to them even when apart. She’s sentimental like that.
  3. What kind of things is your OC allergic to? Daphne isn’t allergic to anything. She does sometimes get readings that cause adverse physical reactions. Like migraines, nausea, etc.
  4. What kind of clothing does your OC wearCasual clothing that is easy to move/fight in and can take a lot of wear and tear.
  5. What is your OC’s first memory? Ooh I don’t know that I can really get into this one without delving into some spoiler-y topics. Let’s just say her first memory is of the first time she got a soul-reading off of someone (or at least the first one she was old enough to remember) and the resulting confusion and fear and permanently damaged relationship with the person she got the reading from.
  6. What’s your OC’s favorite Animal? Least favorite? Daphne would never pass as a Disney Princess. Animals hate her, they seem to sense something not quite right with her. Frankly, the feeling is mutual. You only cry over so many cat scratches and dog bites as a child before you stop wanting to be friends with the furry little demons. She usually fares better with magical creatures. 
  7. What element would your OC be? Are we sticking with Avatar the Last Airbender four elements here or are we including the infrequently mentioned fifth element of spirit? Because obviously she would be spirit. But if we’re only including the main four, I guess she would probably be earth. Strong, dependable, stubborn and enduring. Plus I can’t help but think Toph’s way of “seeing” through vibrations in the earth is comparable to Daphne’s own gift.
  8. What is your OC’s theme song? I don’t really have a theme song for Daphne but a couple of the songs I have in a playlist that remind me of Daphne are “Control” by Halsey, “On the Inside” by Daughtry, “Broken Angel” by Boyce Avenue, and “I’ll be Good” by Jaymes Young.
  9. Do you have a faceclaim/ voiceclaim for your OC? (AKA who would play your OC in a show/movie) I don’t really have a particular actress in mind for Daphne but I will say that Gypsy on The Flash–played by Jessica Camacho–always makes me think of Daphne for some reason. 
  10. What deadly sin would best represent your OC? Pride. When you are omniscient-adjacent you can get a little arrogant at times. It happens. I just have to make sure she gets humbled from time to time.
  11. What are your OC’s hobbies? Running, Knife-throwing, hand-to-hand sparring…wait those are all job related you say? Um she tends to be a little work-obsessed but she enjoys TV as much as anyone, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a hobby per say but she spends a lot of downtime looking for answers about what, exactly, she is. 
  12. How patient is your OC? How hot-headed are they? Daphne is generally a very patient person. She doesn’t get angry often but you do not want to be the person on the receiving end of her wrath.
  13. What food does your OC like to eat? What are their least favorite foods? Daphne is a burger and fries kind of gal, but she’s not a picky eater and will try pretty much anything. That being said, get that vegan fake meat crap away from her.
  14. If your OC could have any pet, what would they choose? Why? Like I said before, animals + Daphne is a recipe for disaster. Better stick with pet rocks.
  15. What does your OC smell like? Hah! That’s a hilarious question. What’s the often laughed at fanfiction formula for personal scents? Two obscure scents plus the phrase “and something uniquely (character name)”? Following that, because why not, I’m going to go with motel soap, the forest just after its rained, and something sharp and clear and uniquely Daphne. 

And I think that’s a good place to stop for now. This was fun! I definitely want to do the rest of these questions at some point. For now, thanks for reading and I’ll try to post again later this week.

Town Line Tuesday: Daphne Pendragon Part 1

 

I spent a while trying to figure out what I should talk about in this week’s Town Line Tuesday (shh it’s still Tuesday on the West Coast, it counts). As the first official post in the series, I needed it to introduce this project to you in a way that would hopefully reel you in and keep you coming back every week for more and, in turn, help me stay motivated to write this novel. In that vein, I thought about starting off the series with a summary of the novel… but then it came to me, where better to begin Town Line Tuesdays than where The Demon of New Salem began. Usually when I set about writing a new story I start with a concept, something that sets up the world I’m creating and drives the plot. However, in the case of The Demon of New Salem, I instead began with a singular character. So that’s where we’ll start, with Daphne Pendragon.

 

Part 1: Powers

 

With bright purple eyes and the rather unsettling ability to read people’s souls—everything that defines who they are: their past, their personality their secrets, and occasionally a limited glimpse at their future—through touch, Daphne Pendragon has never had the luxury of believing she’s normal. And yet growing up in a town where any sort of supernatural ability is outlawed hardly affords one the ability to believe she might be special either. To Daphne, her gift—or curse as she sometimes prefers to call it—is something that just kind of is what it is, there is no training to make it stronger or learning how to control it so it doesn’t run her life, at most she can suppress it underneath gloves so it’s not constantly bombarding her senses. So Daphne’s story, unlike many super-powered protagonists’, is not about learning how to use or control her powers, whether to act as some sort of chosen one to defeat a great evil or not (Not. Definitely not. Daphne would laugh in anyone’s face if they tried to tell her she was a chosen one). By the start of the novel Daphne is well-traveled and has already seen and experienced a lot in the way of the strange and supernatural and due to the nature of her powers she knows people, their ins and outs, the good and the bad, something that simultaneously makes it easier and more difficult for her to connect with them—easier for her to know who to trust, harder for people to like or trust her—so she tends to know more than the typical protagonist. Where she is blind, however, is herself. She knows how to use her powers but she doesn’t know where they come from. She’s met a lot of Supernaturals but never in her travels has she come across anyone else like her. She can sometimes see people’s futures but try as she might she can’t quite…. Well what’s the point in having these powers if she can’t save anyone? Daphne’s story is about trying to find out what she is and what her place in the world is. Daphne’s story then, like anyone’s, is ultimately who am I?

 

When I was working on creating Daphne and her powers, I wanted to give her a magical gift that would be simultaneously powerful and almost useless. What I mean is, I didn’t want to give her a traditionally useful gift like telekinesis or spell casting. Anyone can use moving objects with your mind or creating something out of nothing as a weapon, I wanted something that wouldn’t necessarily be useful in a fight but that, in certain hands could still be considered dangerous. In other words, I wanted an inactive power. At the same time, traditional telepathy and precognition are both overused and potentially overpowered—if a character can hear another’s thoughts a lot of obstacles in the plot could be too easily avoided and it’s the same with seeing the future. So in order to create something unique and to avoid the problems of overpowering my protagonist (although admittedly the latter is one I struggle with a bit, I am constantly tweaking Daphne’s power and making sure it works in a uniform, limited way) I began with basic telepathy.

I loved the idea of a power that was knowledge-based rather than strength-based so telepathy seemed a good place to start. But, like I said, reading minds is hardly unique, so I thought about what, besides the brain, Daphne could “read.” What I came up with was, of course, the soul. Reading thoughts is all well and good but anything you found there would be based purely on opinion—when you read someone’s thoughts you’re seeing how they see the world, or, more interestingly, themselves, you’re not seeing how the world or the person whose thoughts you’re reading actually are—but if you read a person’s soul, their very essence so to speak, you see them as they really are for better or for worse. Of course, while more rare than telepathy, soul reading isn’t entirely unique either; I needed something that would make this power uniquely Daphne’s.

In television, when a person with telepathy or precognition’s power is presented, it’s more often than not presented as a visual sense—something the character sees if not exactly with their eyes. Daphne’s gift, however, is a tactile one. Rather than seeing into a person’s soul, Daphne feels it through her sense of touch and I use tactile descriptions to illustrate her power throughout the novel. As an added bonus, being limited to skin-to-skin contact for the power to work helps to keep Daphne from becoming overpowered. Another way in which I keep Daphne limited is that Daphne’s power has a major blind spot. Herself. Daphne can’t read herself in anyone else’s soul: she can’t see how her presence in someone’s life affects his or her life; she can’t see her own future; she can’t see whether the person whose soul she is reading loves her or hates her; and if her life is too tangled with someone else’s in places, she may not be able to get a full reading of them. As I said before, I’m still working out the kinks in Daphne’s abilities as I write but I truly enjoy doing so and I’m really proud of what I’ve managed to work out so far.

One of the reasons I love working with Daphne’s power is that I believe I can use it to create some really interesting relationship dynamics between Daphne and other people. After all, if you know someone inside and out at first handshake there is immediately going to be an imbalance of emotional connection between you and them. I wonder what it must feel like to instantly fall in real, honest love based on knowing someone better than you know yourself with someone to whom you are a complete and total stranger.

Motherboxes and Infinity Stones: Or Why Character Development is Crucial

As a storyteller, one of the most important–if not the most important—elements that make up every great story are its characters. If plot is the backbone and setting the skin, characters are the heart and soul of a story. Without interesting, well-developed, loveable (or hate-able), and relatable characters a story is little more than an empty shell. This is a principle I believe wholeheartedly in whether I’m writing a story or consuming it. Plot may be what drives me to pick up a book or start a TV show but characters are what keep me from putting it back down or abandoning it in search of something new. So when the excitement over the Avengers: Infinity War trailer that dropped last week had subsided I was struck with just what, exactly, sets the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far apart from the DC Extended Universe. First, let me preface this post with: I will try to avoid spoilers but if you have not seen Justice League yet (or any of the MCU or DCEU movies for that matter) and want to avoid being spoiled, you should probably stop reading now.

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