Friday, May 10, 2019

Microstory 1100: Salmonverse Profiles Introduction

Back in 2007, I came up with this story about a group of people with special abilities. Several of the characters I just thought up myself, because of my previous exposure to superhero movies. Those became my core characters, but I wanted to have dozens of others, so I did a lot of research. The idea was to focus on the main group for the first season of a television series, and then start exploring the others, one episode at a time. I ended up with roughly a hundred in total, which ultimately proved to be perfect when I was trying to come up with a series to do for this website. I have a lot of mixed feelings about Bellevue Profiles, though. On one hand, I had a solid idea of who these people were, and their backstories were predetermined; I just needed to fill in some detail. On the other hand, I felt like I was locking myself into canonical plot points, and I didn’t have a whole lot of freedom to come up with some more creative choices. I think it worked out, but by the time I was done, I was already regretting the decisions I made for some of them, and have had to find ways to incorporate the developments into the larger mythology without ruining the overall vision. Anyway, my salmonverse stories are set in an entirely different universe, which I never thought I would create, and they’ve come with an explosion of new characters I never thought I would have. I decided it would be fitting if I revisited the idea of posting profiles for each character. The problem is that I have a hundred and sixty-eight slots for the series I’m introducing to you now, but I’m still in the middle of compiling every character, and I’m already at two hundred and forty-two. I don’t want to profile characters we don’t really care about, like say, a retailer who tries to cheat the main character, but whom we never see again. I also don’t want to profile characters who are already important in their own stories, because I don’t have the room, and they’ve been taken care of anyway. I have to make sure no one is left out who should be there, or included who shouldn’t.

Seeing that none existed on the internet already, I had to devise a way of codifying a sliding scale of character importance. A character coded at Zero is not really a character at all. They surely must exist, but only to serve the existence of some other character. Examples include parents, or the teacher of a class in which the main character recalls learning something vital. Generalized terms like classmates or even parents itself fall into this category, since they’re dismissed as unindependent and irrelevant collectives, so they can’t qualify for true character status. Level One characters are mentioned, but unnamed (e.g. security guard, bank teller). Level Twos are mentioned by name, but only because the context of the story requires they be named (e.g. ancillary students called out at a graduation ceremony). Level Three is for characters who appear, but are unnamed (e.g. a flight attendant who notices a weapon, and has to seek help from the air marshal). Level Four characters are named, but they’re one-dimensional, and hardly worth remembering. Level Five characters have a greater impact on the story, but won’t likely last long, and aren’t likely to return once they leave the narrative. Levels Six, Seven, and Eight are reserved for tertiary, secondary, and primary characters, respectively. The lines between each of these are hard to pin down, and can fluctuate. Spinoffs, for instance, often come about when a secondary in one story is ascended to primary status in a different story. I still have several stories to read through, so I can get the entire list of characters I’ve even so much as mentioned since 2015, and am only excluding Level Zeros from this list. I then need to determine which category they fall into, and figure out which ones out of those will get profiles. There’s still a lot of work ahead, and I don’t even know which character gets the first profile, but fortunately, I have all weekend. I have a cold, so it’s not like I would be able to go to a movie.

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