Flash Friday 17/10/2014: Building Character
“Perfect.” Sandra held up the ragged, sack-made clothes against the hero. “Yes, that looks great.”
Without a word, the hero looked down at the clothes, and back up at Sandra with a look of disdain.
“Oh, don’t be that way.” Sandra placed the clothes in the shopping trolley and pushed it down the aisle. “It’s only for the first few chapters, before you’re chosen as a Light Warrior of Sylvar. I’ll get you something nice for that, don’t worry.”
Sandra didn’t hate building her characters. Once she had gotten home with all of the items she had purchased, she had a lot of fun building the perfect main character for her novel. No, the actual shopping for items was what she so detested. Trying to find what you want in the Build-A-Character stores was always a nightmare. She could never find where the battlescars or nasty burns were kept, and always had trouble finding a hairstyle suiting a muscled, well-built Fantasy hero that she always liked to create. She probably could find something nice down the Erotica aisle, but she tended to avoid that. The utensils in that aisle looked more suited for taming wild bulls than for character development.
She passed the Backstories aisle. She’d already bought a few in bulk a few weeks ago, which turned out to be a bad move, given that a sale was currently on. As she passed, she saw all the nice backstories she couldn’t justify buying. A backstory where the main character was raised by a pack of wolves was currently going cheap, while ‘originally created to become a superweapon’ had seen multiple price slashes over the weeks. ‘Dramatic death of one (1) parent’ was currently going on buy one, get one free offer.
She turned the trolley into the weapons aisle, the beefy warrior tagging behind her. She needed something special for this story, something that was really worth the time and effort for her main character. She walked straight past the budget weaponry (who bought their main characters a normal iron sword, these days?) and headed straight for the more premium section of the aisle, where the really good stuff was.
She began to browse the armoury of swords in front of her, all of them marked with a ‘try me!’ sticker. She liked the look of one sword, encrusted with ice and emanating some sort of mist. Taking it off of the rack and giving it a test swipe revealed that it had the power of encasing whatever it struck in solid ice. It also caused a problem for the stores janitors later on, but she didn’t want to think about that for now.
Another sword, which looked a bit too much like a katana for her tastes, also got a test drive, only to discover what on earth was so special about it. She quickly discovered that she could make effortless, silent cuts through anything with extreme lack of effort. Again, more work for the janitor. They had to be paid for something, after all.
It was, however, the large sword with a socket for some sort of gem in the handle that caught her attention. The Guiding Sword, as it was known, could be purchased alongside a soul trapped in a gem. When the two was combined, your hero would have a sword that could guide him through his quest, give heart-tugging advice, and make the odd sarcastic quip as the plot requires. The gem could either be placed in the sword as soon as it was bought, or the two items could be split apart and left in the story for the hero to work out for themselves. What choice.
Sandra nodded to herself, turning to place the sword into her shopping trolley. That’s when she noticed her hero was holding a raygun, and looking pleased with himself.
“Oh, honey.” Sandra placed the sword in and reached out for the gun. “You can’t have that, sweetie. That’s the wrong genre.”
The hero pulled the gun away from the grabbing hand with a grunt, before turning back to it as it it were an Oscar. He didn’t seem to mind the fact that he was about to bring a science fiction gun into the mystical lands of Aeoria. Sandra had to do something drastic. The plot rework would be massive.
“Honey.” Sandra held out a hand. “Give me the gun.”
The hero shook his head.
“Give it to me, now. You can have a nice sword, see? Do you want the sword in the shopping trolley?”
The hero looked down into the trolley, picked up the sword, admired it with great pleasure, then began to walk towards the cashiers.
“No, not both,” Sandra said, catching the hero by the arm as he walked by. “Take the sword, and only the sword, or else I’m not giving your story a happy ending.”
The hero’s eyes began to well up.
She had hoped that, in the story, the hero standing in front of her would be the one that saves the world, catches himself the finest elven maiden in the land, and lives happily ever after. The hero currently standing in front of her, letting loose a loud wail, throwing both the weapons and himself to the floor, and kicking and screaming with all of his energy, was not that hero. Sandra tried to avoid the gazes of other authors and their characters as she tried to pick the distraught character back up, but it was no use. She had built him far too heavily.
Sandra sighed and drew out her smart phone. Maybe she can convince her agent to publish a story about a barbarian with a raygun.