The character who won’t leave my head.

Here’s a frequent-ish occurence: I’ll be laying in bed trying to fall asleep when an extraordinarily vivid almost perfectly-formed character will just suddenly pop into existence and then not leave. Sometimes I’ll get up and try to expunge the interloper with some slipshod writing. Sometimes I just toss and turn until I drift off into a fitful sleep complete with dreams about me and this weird new character fighting crime (or whatever).

Sometimes I spend five years working on an RPGMaker game. That happened once.

Since I’m not disciplined enough to actually get a complete story down on paper and I’m easily distracted by shiny objects (no kidding, I’ve already abandoned this blog post three times for diversions in other windows) I usually end up forgetting about… whatever it was.

Not this new character, though. She’s more… pervasive than the usual ones. I imagine this is due to the setting she exists in: a Prohibition-era analogue of Chicago or Detroit. Thanks to this wedding thing we’ve committed to my beloved Peanut has been bombarding me with all manner of 1920s imagery on a daily basis, giving me a constant backdrop to imagine the nagging idea in my head against.

So I’m going to introduce you to this character who is haunting my subconsious and tell you what I know about her. As I see it, this can end one of two ways: 1) you guys point out that the character is stupid and not worth developing, helping me let her go back to the mists of my subconscious, or 2) you guys like the character and end up pleading for further development, only to be pointedly disappointed when I completely fail to ever do so (see aformentioned discipline problem).

Here goes:

– Her name is Jocelyn Beauregard, and she is a private eye. She has short blonde hair and wears a trench coat and a cloche hat.

– Her most defining character trait is an almost crippling case of tunnel vision. She is the embodiment of “can’t see the forest for the trees”. She has the ability to fixate, perhaps even obsess, over tiny details regular mortals miss, but is almost hopelessly inept at putting it all together. She uses this in her work to help her solve the cases no one else can solve, but needs some gentle nudging from someone with some basic common sense to translate her list of clues into an “aha!”

– The aformentioned tunnel vision causes her social life to be an absolute train wreck, as can be expected.

– At any time she has taken up some completely random hobby which she devotes endless amounts of her free time to, only to completely abandon the moment some new whimsy strikes her. Her office is littered with half-written manuscripts, hastily-assembled model airplanes, unfinished scarves and a dust-covered ukulele.

– She cares for a mangy grey tomcat named Pads who has a chewed ear and a sour disposition. By all accounts the cat is a vicious monster with considerable malice for the city and its inhabitants, includying Jocelyn, who is oblivious to the evil thing and has nothing but affection for it.

– Her parents are never mentioned, but she had an eccentric great-uncle who vanished in the jungles of Africa leaving her a fortune (which she can’t touch for some beaurocratic red-tapey reason, hence the detective gig) and a childhood’s worth of poignant witticisms to fall back on in hard times.

– Her best friend and quasi-partner is a grizzled, streetsmart Irish cabbie who is unnamed because the only Irish names I can think of are hackneyed stereotypes. He looks after Jocelyn if she gets into too much trouble and shuttles her around the city in return for her having gotten him out of a pretty serious jam at some point in the past.

– The cases Jocelyn takes on tend to be unusual, but this isn’t really worth noting because mystery stories aren’t any fun if they aren’t at least a little unusual.

I think that about covers it. That was fun, maybe we’ll do it again in a couple months when some other idea sets up shop in my silly head and refuses to heed the eviction notice.

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6 comments to The character who won’t leave my head.

  • Tanto

    I can confirm that this technique is excellent at getting ideas out of your head. I have at least twenty word documents on my computer that consist of nothing but five to fifteen pages of character sketches and miscellaneous world-building that haunted my brain long enough that I had to put [i]something[/i] down, but which I failed to do anything with following. This particular character sounds interesting enough, but as I discovered some months ago, mystery characters need good mysteries to be really interesting.

    Incidentally and unrelatedly, Joystiq linked to your Shantae LP in discussing the announcement of the DSi sequel.

  • weareroger

    Sir, the character is awesome.

  • dtsund

    You should nickname the cat Greebo.

    Why exactly this is will be made clear when you get further into Discworld… 🙂

  • Sounds an awful lot like a Pynchon character to me.

  • weareroger

    Speaking of which, where is my Goddamned copy of Inherent Vice, Barnes and Noble?

  • Kadj

    Oh, hey, so this is where she came from.

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