For the Character Creation by the Numbers Chellenge
I've always had a hard time coming up with an original character because, believe it or not, I almost always end up hating (with a passion) the OC I've just created. I've scrapped dozens of pages, but in the end I finally settled on one of the very first characters I created. I feel very weird talking about my own OC, but since I now have the opportunity, I'll give it a try to refine her.
Back in 2007 I was looking for a unique character for a mystery/detective type of work. I didn't really care to which fandom the OC would belong to (though I intended to use the char. for my own book) but for the sake of being specific, let's go with the seinen manga "Eternal Sabbath" (it has little to no fighting parts, so sorry if it gets boring!) Gender-wise I decided upon a female, since I am one myself and getting inside a man's mind seems very tricky.
(Beliefs/Skills) Before coming up a list of skills and whatnot, I took a look at my favorite memorable book characters (Hannibal Lecter and Dexter Morgan) and tried to analyze why they are so memorable. I realized it's because they are characters that appear absolutely normal, behave normal from society, but in truth hide many unusual traits.
Since she lives in a world where science is all around, my OC isn't religious at all and prefers to believe in palpable proof and not blind faith. I tried to add a little background story in order to show how her personality was formed, so I settled upon a mother that refuses to speak to her, a father that abandoned his family very early and a brother that had gradually become distanced (I'll explain all these a little further on). So the character slowly grew up understanding that she needed to fend for herself and rely on no one. Developing skills isn't exactly easy when part of such a cold family, but let's say that the character spent most of her time in nature and tried her hand at archery. An apparently useless skill in a realistic world, but archery can teach you two very important skills - precision and patience.
Knowing that she needs to learn to protect herself, the OC takes up a few combat lessons, but soon gives up, thinking it's a waste of money (which will prove to be half witted when her life is put in danger). So her skills are a bit more developed than the average person, but not too much, since her rash attitude comes in the way.
The OC is more pessimistic than realistic and judges life as a series of obstacles meant to me passed and not as a relaxing cruise. Basically, she's already tired of life, and prefers to observe the other people around her instead of acting. Because of her family, the character has developed an odd love for twisted criminal stories and spends a part of her free time reading such things.
(Personality) Though she appears tough, the OC gets nervous and afraid rather quickly, but tries to hide this as well as possible. She has a fear of the dark and tight spaces (claustrophobia), but she cannot explain herself why (though it may be an effect of spending too much time in large fields in nature). So the character lives her life one day at a time trying to cope with these inconvenient and apparently irrational fears. The OC also hates braggers with a passion and likes to see selfless people that actually make a difference in the world by trying to develop technology. But getting praised by someone is one of her secret likes (seeing as she never got encouraged by her family) but prefers to keep it hidden.
Let's face it, every person has flaws, and our lady is no different. She gets extremely uncomfortable in large crowds and her mind is filled with havoc if she doesn't have at least a bit of silence around. Her determined nature leads to her making many mistakes and taking rash moves, in other words, she doesn't take the time to thoroughly think things through before she acts. She has patience, but often gets blinded by the idea of getting things done quick and forgets to slow things down.
(Appearance/Name) Now that I'm done painting a bit of her past, our lady needs a face too. The manner in which she lives is supposed to hint at the way she appears. So she has a bit of a baby-face which makes her look childish, her eyes are large and green. But her hair is plain black with hidden dark blue highlights, kept in a small pony-tail. Since she was raised within a cold family, the OC hates getting tanned, so she has a messy fringe meant to cover her freckles and occasional tan. And, more or less as a lucky charm, she always wears a tiny necklace that has a silver ambigram that reads "Art & Science" (ambigram = a symmetric typographical design or artform that may be read the same way backwards).
I've always been a big fan of characters and physical defects (flaws you can actually see!) so, naturally, my character needed one, specifically her right eye. She is forced to wear a medical-type eye patch because her right eye is completely blind. The reason? The OC's fiancee was looking forward to marry into her family, get to know everyone... and grab hold of all the money, of course. Being a Chemistry fan, the man subtly and over time powdered a few chemicals into our character's eyeshadow box. After many months the woman felt sick and checked into a hospital only to find out she had radiation poisoning. Though caught in time, the woman still suffered blindness in one eye that couldn't be reversed.
I'm usually extremely picky when it comes to names, but for this OC I just put down the first name that popped in my mind and worked from there. The little radiation poisoning story I wrote about the character is unfortunately a real one that took place in Russia, so I decided to pay a little tribute to the real woman by calling my OC after her. Her name was Helena, but I though of slightly morphing it to a more childish one, so I called her Hannah. As for the last name, I wanted something that had a tomboy ring to it, so I chose Callahan (the repetition of the H word would be an important part of my story, but it's somewhat disturbing, so I'll skip it).
As for her age... I seriously haven't decided, but I mean to place it somewhere around 26 so I could fully show the effects of her weird upbringing and how it works with the people around her. Her repulsion for men (caused by an abandoning father and a lying fiancee) and the lack of a sense of humor would gradually be changed in her journey.
I've studied a couple of years of psychology and found myself drawn to the idea of adding a past event that has scarred the OC, that is deeply rooted in her mind but cannot be fully understood. Remember when I mentioned that her father had abandoned the family really early on? Well, before he left he made sure to take a little souvenir with him. The man had a possessive attitude that he couldn't control and he wanted to have his little girl's heart. And I mean literally. So our lady OC is now a grown up with a bizarre scar on her chest, a questionable surgery and a transplanted heart, all placed in a past she cannot remember.
The point of the story I intended to write about her was supposed to be a journey which she was forced to start (against her own will) in order to find more about her real family, her bizarre father, herself as well as the scar she cannot explain. Seeing as she lacks certain skills, she would have to turn to her brother and try to re-connect their distant relationship. As for her bizarre love of twisted criminal stories, well, that will come in handy when she's tracking a weird criminal that, despite appearances, is not running, but tracking her instead.
Well, I guess I've ranted on enough for now. I know I haven't completely touched all the subjects I intended, like her job, friends, intentions, but I don't want to bore anyone too much. There isn't much talk about fighting techniques and such, but I'm not really a fan of those things, so I apologize. Hope it was at least a little bit entertaining to read.