Tuesday, August 8, 2017

No Hourglasses in Zero G

I've started fitting out an extensive character sheet for Elsbeth Zogg, sci-fi villain. I'm not going to share all the answers here, because frankly, I don't want to. Describing characters makes me uncomfortable. Extensively describing them, even more so.

Now, I thought that this was just going to be an exercise in character creation, and a plot and everything would come later. World building and all that tiresome nonsense. But I realized something right off the bat when I started the character questionnaire. Something I need to think about in this story. Something I need to figure out.

How do you tell time in space?

Specifically, I'm talking about things like months and dates. If you're in space, and you, as a civilization, have been in space for quite some time now, how do you decide what year it is, or what month? Are you going to follow the ancient calendar of some long-dead planet? A planet which, by the way, couldn't even manage to agree on one calendar.

I think not.

This all got started when the questionnaire asked me the innocuous question: Date of birth?

"That's a good question," I replied, and started wondering what sort of month would Elsbeth Zogg be born in. Would she be born on the 37th of Pollux? In the year 4002?

I don't know.

I don't even know where to begin on that. The obvious and easy choice would be "just don't mention it." But where's the fun in that? If I'm going to world-build in space, I'm going to world-build in space. Sure, it doesn't have any real bearing on character creation, and I don't need to know right now, but there it is, right now, a black hole in the things I know about this world.

Time and black holes aside, I have made a little progress on the character sheet. As per usual, there are a lot of questions I'm skipping over because I don't really see the point. I know, I know, insight into the character, but I just don't care.

But still, insight indeed. There was one question: How do they wear their clothes? And for some reason I put: Like a suit of armor. Now, I don't know if that's really deep or I just didn't understand the question, but I think that might actually be useful. She wants to seem solid, strong, put together, like nothing can get to her.  Of course, that's a load of crap, and she's more than a little broken. The shiny exterior holds it in like a frag grenade with the pin pulled. Like an ocean liner slowly filling with water. Everything's under control, but we're totally sinking.

I think if my high school English teacher could see me now, she'd either be very pleased with my similes, or very disappointed.

Anyway, I'm trying to get an idea of who Elsbeth is as a person, aside from all the tragic bits. Before the tragic bits. She wasn't always like this. And that's going to be the next part, I think. Like, how was she when her son was little? I know that's going to be a pain in my ass because I don't get children. I don't know how or why people care about them. That sounds super terrible, I know, but that’s just how I am. I need to find a feeling I can relate to, that I can translate to this situation, and try to get that… thing. Because she has that thing. And then her son gets all… whatever, and now she still has that thing, but now he's gone. I have to understand what she had before she can lose it.

That's all for today. I'll see you Friday.

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