Hi Giante' from D.N.A., here, thanks for popping over. I guess since I'm a teen Ey thought I would enjoy having a conversation with a fantasy character. I hope you read the interview Ey has had with the author, S.E. Zbasnik. She has asked me to conduct the interview with Orn, the character from Dwarvesin Space.
Name’s Orn, pilot extraordinaire and married to a scary brilliant engineer -- emphasis on the scary. Now, I see you want me to be answering some questions. My situation is going great, I’ve got a steady job, my own chair, and enough candy stashed away from any prying fingers. But then that upstart human goes and wrecks it all.
What do you dislike about your situation in your book?
That upstart human happens to pay your salary, you know. Variel here, captain and apparently main cause of Orn’s woes in life. What the heck is he doing here anyway? Answering questions? You should get back to work before we smash into a planet. “What do I dislike…” How about a mopey pilot avoiding work? No, well, I’m not wild about a Knight chasing me and my ship across the galaxy. That’s a bit of a damper on the day.
If you had a chance to rewrite your ‘story’, what would you change?
I wish I could say I wouldn’t have become a Knight in the first place myself, but people don’t tend to change. Spent my whole life wanting the sword only to give it up when the fantasy didn’t live up.
What would you keep?
Oh oh, is it me, the best pilot in the galaxy? No, I bet it’s that hot piece of elf we’ve got skulking around the ship. I’ve seen the way you two make and then don’t make eyes at each other.
Do you have a family? If so, how is your family life?
Yeah, I already told ya, my wife, and a small city’s worth of relatives. Dwarf: it’s basically what we do. You’re all family, which means when you do wrong you got to face up to the whole family. And people wonder why I fly a ship as far from home as possible.
What do you wish people will learn/ enjoy about your story?
Orn, back. To. WORK! Huh? If they’re smart, it’s to never hire wiseass pilots.
What do you really think about your author?
She’s a headache building at the back of my skull, throbbing against my eyeballs. Oh, wait, that’s still Orn.
Your author explained to us the process she uses to develop you and the other characters, let me share it here. I find them very interesting.
That’s when I break out my character generators.
With a slide of a cursor here, a shift of the right stick there, I can try out various nose sizes, eye shapes, and lip pouts until I see my mind’s eye before me. My current favorite is the incomparable engine behind Dragon Age: Inquisition.
With it, I was able to create the captain of my current Dwarves in Space series:
DA:I gave me the opportunity to create nearly my entire crew so I could see them and cement their appearance. (It’s also a wonderful game I can about talk for hours if there are any other Bioware fans out there. Dual-wielder for life!) If you’re already a gamer, RPGs (role playing games) offer a useful tool for you to test and pinch to bring your character to life.
Another classic game you can use is Sims. Their character engines are nowhere near as sophisticated as DA:I, but -- thanks to the mods created by fans -- if you can dream it, it already exists. What makes Sims even more useful than a character generator is the ability to design layouts.
That's cool. My author Ey, loves the Sims game. I don't think she ever thought about using the game for writing, but it's a good idea.
When I was writing Dwarves in Space, I often realized I had no idea what was down a corner, to the right of a door, or if there was even room for a pool table. I needed to sit down and sketch out the floor plan of my spaceship.
The various mods I downloaded gave me the opportunity to not only drop in a more realistic kitchen table for my space rats, I explored beyond the setting. While poking around, I found this adorable lamp of a cow being abducted. I realized instantly that it was something my pilot character would ecstatically keep in his bedroom.
Poking around in my setting, testing what would and wouldn’t work for a living space, allowed me to delve deeper into my characters. It helped me give them more dimensions.
To know someone’s living space is to know their brain. What kind of coffee mug would a mad scientist keep on her desk? How messy would a zombie paralegal keep his bathroom? Sims helps you explore these questions while building their house.
But, if you don’t own Dragon Age, or Sims, there is a way you can get cracking on visualizing your character for free right now. Paper dolls, once the purview of little girls with nimble scissor skills are a popular app on the internet.
One of my favorites is Azalea’s dolls.
Using the Tudor game I was able to create a couple characters from my manuscript in progress. (It’s the cross-dressing Robin Hood tale I mentioned earlier)
There are dozens of other games, from fairies and mermaids to animal creators. If your main character is a magical talking fish, you can make that with the paper dolls.
Inhabiting the world inside your mind, making it physical (even if it’s just in pixel form) greatly helps to explore it and discover ideas you’d never have dreamed of. It’s also highly addictive, so be careful. There’s still writing to be done.
Yes, we know. I've gone for days never being a thought in Ey's mind when she was playing the Sims. Thanks joining us Orn, and for you returning, S.E. Zbasnik
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