So I have been moving towards making characters that are not cisgendered in my fiction. While none of the main characters in the Noble Bard are explicitly non-cisgendered, there are some minor characters that are, for example. Largely there is a race that has four ‘genders’. Two ‘regular’ genders: Male and female. Then Two ‘other’ gender that lie someone in between. The simplistic version is that one is intersexed and one is gender-fluid. Gender and sex are relative and rather unimportant. The race, the Sidhe, is very fluid with gender, sex and sexuality.
For them, it’s more ‘You are whoever you want to be’.
But I bring this up because of Adrienne’s Story.
Rana Basira is a Cambian. Child of an Incubus, which, according to traditional mythology, are notorious for switching their sex. A Succubus will seduce a man, steal his sperm, turn into an Incubus and impregnate a woman.
I want Rana to be similar. She’s a shapeshifter, and she fancies switching genders, switching her sex. And when Adrienne explains it to someone she explains it like this: “I suppose Rana’s a women. Likes that form the most, but Rana’s a cambian, can change gender at will, so you might get confused calling Rana a women when ‘she’ is in a female form, and calling Rana a man when ‘he’ is in a male form.”
So I want to use a gender-neutral pronoun for Rana, but I’m not sure how to handle it.
Since there is not the same social implications for a Cambian as there are for a trans-person, it will be a little bit different. As it stands, since I am not trans (ad am not good friends with anyone that is), I don’t currently feel comfortable delving into the role. (Genderqueer I’m a little more comfortable with, mind you, but onto the point…)
So I would love any insights from readers on the best way to handle a gender-fluid character such as Rana. And also, which pronoun sounds the best. I’m leaning towards the Middle English ‘ou’.
I’m currently going over the book Plot Versus Character in order to get a better, concrete example of the characters in my story. It isn’t a theoretical book, but rather, it’s intended to be instructional. Sort of a ‘Here’s the steps, get to it!’.
So, on the subject of getting to it… Character ‘layering’ is the first step including. Picking the core personality and moving from there, until your character is a fully-fleshed person. Not just a cardboard cut-out.
As characters are my forte, this shouldn’t be too hard. I am, however, not only doing the main character in each story, but also the important characters. IE. All of the main characters. The ones listed here on a regular basis. And I may even do some of my fanfiction characters as well. Just for the heck of it.
Well, that took me a few minutes because I checked and double checked a couple different sources to make sure I had it write. But. I think that these are correct. Took long enough. Definitely interesting to think about, however, since I already have some idea of the characters in my head. Which ones are similar, which ones are more different than I thought.
Part of this post was inspired by the fact that just last week, my family got a new puppy. Just seven week old Boxer, full of life, named Brutus.
And it reminded me how undercredited the animal companions of fiction often are. My stories contain their own, after all.
Mairwen with her mare of black and brown, who is smarter than one would suspect for a horse. (Is it magic or is it nature that Mairwen and her kind can tap into? Or perhaps the mare is special?) The mare whose name is currently Kobolt, but that is subject to change as much as Mairwen’s name did.
Adrienne with her plethora of serpents. All with separate personalities, some magical, some mundane, but all of them unique. Shiroi, the python who acts more like an adviser than a pet. Benevueto, whose lazy disposition makes it far less of a threat than it looks, and Giada, the cobra quick to sense deception. Not to mention the other creatures she keeps. Not all of them as malicious appearing as her snakes.
The animal companions in my stories, and in many other stories, are sometimes just as much of a character in their own right as their masters. They have their own back stories, their own personalities, and their own limitations.
It is often when you see these sort of animal characters, however, that you can tell the writer is an animal lover.
As I mentioned, I now have three characters for one story that doesn’t have a very stable plot. Desarmement, however, is the newest story, and one that I want to wait before getting ready to publish. So I’d rather write the other ones first.
The issue with this however, is the opposite.
The Noble Bard and The Exiled have plot and purpose, but the characters lack the same depth as those in Desarmement.
So in addition to readingPlot Versus Character, I am also going to be working on some character prompts, practices and whatever sort of things I can find. I’ll be adding links, and sharing some small snippits of these prompts.
Sometimes you get a character so powerful in personality that they insinuate themselves into a story. They take over without a second thought and you reread and suddenly, there they are!
You certainly did intend for them to be there, or do that, or anything of the sort.
Adrienne was one such character. I created her, back as an RPG character, and she quickly took on a mind (and story), of her own.
And it seems that Adrienne is attracting more characters like her. Soroth, a secondary character in her story, briefly mentioned in the snippit I posted. When I wrote that, I only had a general idea, really. But now he is his own character in the same manner that Adrienne is.
If I’m writing and they wouldn’t do such a thing they let me know. Interactions are seamless, natural, as if they are two real people and I’m watching them.
Their ilk has, of course, invited another such character. Still in her infant stages, she’s Adrienne’s friend, Soroth’s lover, and a Cambion to boot. Her name is Rana Basira, and I don’t know too much about her, but she’s busy creating herself, it seems.