Homework: Character Creation

Greetings readers and writers!

How did you get on creating a character this week?  I surprised myself by spending a lot of time pondering my novel’s protagonist over the last seven days, thinking up backstory (which features quite heavily in this bio) and what she’s done/doing with her life.  The name was the most difficult thing to conjure up though!

So here we go, allow me to introduce you to…


Shen’s adoptive parents had survived The Destruction when it began 17 years ago.  Before the events began they had been well established citizens with respectable wealth and a conservative approach to life.  Mikah, Shen’s father had been an engineer, spending his working life designing and overseeing the building of some of the World’s most advanced airships.  Shen’s mother, Bree had worked as an accountant for a small business that sold equestrian supplies.  Shen’s parents were content with their life, they were able to support themselves comfortably and owned their own property in the suburbs.

When the catastrophic events of The Destruction began, Mikah and Bree were quick to react, and smart enough to do what was necessary to survive.  It was a difficult time for them, as it was for the rest of the population.  Mikah’s engineering knowledge had proved invaluable, being able to construct working machinery for small scale farming enabled them to grow crops, and powered vehicles gave them a great benefit when on supply runs.  It was on one of these supply runs that Mikah found Shen.

Mikah heard her first, after killing the engine of his motorised tricycle he was surprised to hear what sounded like a young girl calling for help.  As he looked around, Shen came into view, the tiny figure was limping slightly, dressed in tattered clothing, hair a tangled mess of grease, mud and twigs, clutching only a small pink teddy bear.  Lost in the wilderness, Shen had no-one to turn to and no where to go.

Mikah had taken her home, cleaned her up and fed her, learning her name, that she was five and that her parents had been taken away from her.  The latter subject was traumatic to Shen and she didn’t talk in great detail about the events that had caused her to be alone in the scorched wastelands.  Mikah and Bree raised her as their own child and Shen grew to love them very much.

By the time Shen turned 15, the world was in chaos, groups of bandits had run of the wastelands, looting the small makeshift villages, raping the women, killing livestock and striking fear into the hearts of many.  Mikah and Bree were aware of the dangers and taught Shen many things to help defend herself and survive in the harsh environment.

After a further 2 years of anarchy, governments started to form once again, some of the larger cities were beginning to cooperate with each other and rebuild what had been lost.  Law enforcement was a priority for these small governments and many of the bandits took the opportunity of power, only to abuse it with little to no consequences. It was one of these corrupt officials that murdered Mikah and Bree, Shen had watched from her hiding place, horrified.  When the murderer had discovered her hiding place, Shen was quick to act by slicing her small blade across the left side of his face, cutting across his eye and mouth.  Shen ran, escaping on her father’s trike.

Over the last five years, the cities have grown to an immense scale, each city with its own government and strict set of rules and regulations.  For most, the cities are a safe haven, away from the scorched deserts beyond the walls, a place to work in exchange for food and somewhere to sleep.  For Shen, it’s a dangerous playground, she steals her way through life, bedding down only when necessary wherever she can in the derelict buildings that have not yet been sanctioned for repair.  Shen knows that the danger is there but gets a sort of thrill from evading it, part of her enjoys her life despite its difficulties.

Shen’s difficult life has made her tough, she is lean and strong for a small build.  Her piercing blue eyes stare out from behind a mess of short, mud blonde hair.  Shen is usually grubby in appearance, not having the facilities to wash herself on a regular basis worries her at times but to no great harm.  Shen wears whatever she can find, the heat of the city means she doesn’t often wear long sleeved tops but she always wears trousers, and thick Doc Martin style boots, this type of boot has come in handy from time to time as their steel toe caps act as an effective weapon against most of the people who she believes could be a threat

Shen is wary of everybody she sees in the city, she views both the government and law enforcement as corrupt and believes that they have their own agenda to empower themselves at everyone else’s expense.  Although Shen interacts with people from time to time she does not trust them and encounters are often brief.

Shen only has one friend, her pink teddy bear Brick who has stuck by her through the hardship.  Brick acts as a mediator, helping Shen make decisions and see different viewpoints, Shen’s belief that Brick is capable of sentient thought and speech is a product of her traumatic life and she has never been prompted to question it.

How do you like it?  Feel like you know who Shen is and what she’s about?  Is there anything else you’d like to know about her?  I’d love to hear what you think, and I’d like to read about some of your characters too!

Now that you’ve met Shen and introduced your own characters to the world, it’s time for a new assignment.  As you know (or should do by now), NaNoWriMo begins on Friday, 30 days to write a 50,000 word novel (that’s an average of 1,666.6 words per day), so I thought that it would be appropriate to set this weeks homework to write the first chapter of a novel (or more if you want to).  Pretty simple really, let’s see where things go.

Thanks for reading!


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