25 Oct 2012

Characterization, or Who Are These People? - Part II

Last time, I covered the character development for Mecha Academy.  Today, I look at Beaver Flight.

As mentioned before, Beaver Flight was inspired by an Arrogant Worms song.  The story follows the titular unit as they fight a secret war against alien invaders.  The main question, before starting, is, "Why only women?"  That's a very good question, one that needs answering before continuing.  Why women?  Because the aliens kept taking the men that were fighting before.  In every battle before switching to the all-female force, there were no bodies left, either of the Allied Forces or of the alien invaders, except the one time a Russian woman was found in her powersuit.

Again, the main idea came first, so now I need to figure out the roles and fill them.  Obviously, I will need a leader, someone who has proper military training.  At the time I was first working on the idea, I was on a contract at the Department of National Defense; specifically, the Canadian Forces Air Command.  From there, I figured the leader would be a newly graduated helicopter pilot.  Why a helicopter?  The controls are more complex than airplanes, which would lead to an easier time training the pilot on the powered armour.  Darcy, call sigh "McGee", is an Royal Military College graduate that is nominally assigned to 404 Squadron* but on assignment on the moon.**

With the leader out of the way, the next one I came up with was Victoria, call sign "Geek".  Victoria is a University of British Columbia engineering graduate.  Her top marks and her geekiness got the attention of the project leader, who authorized an offer: join the mission and have your loans paid off in full.  What newly graduated student wouldn't jump at that?  Victoria's role is to be a field mechanic and design consultant.

Next up, Dominique, call sign "Dominatrix".  Dominque holds a Masters in Physics from Carleton University, ideal for adapting tactics in space.  Her call sign is a holdover from her basketball days as a Raven, dominating the opposition.  Being tall and athletic, Dominique will likely be used for spearheading attacks in gravity.

Finally, in the flight of four, Renee, who still needs a call sign.  Renee has a degree in linguistics.  Command is hoping that she will be able to work out the invaders' language, allowing the Allied Forces to find out what they want.

Part 3 will look at the Brazen Hussies and my approach in setting them up.

* The squadron does exist, but the 404 also refers to the "Page Not Found" error.
** I realized that I had to place the story in the future as a result.  This will give me a prologue to explain the details of the setting, adding to my word count.


  1. You mention setting at the bottom there. Since the setting itself is a character of sorts, maybe the clearest setting would be easier to write about? Also, any characters have siblings or cousins?

  2. Right now, the clearest setting belongs to Mecha Academy and Brazen Hussies, mainly because I have done a lot of work for it in the past decade, working out technology, worlds, even some fashion. But, Beaver Flight is basically local space advanced a century or two.

    I imagine that the characters have siblings and cousins. In Mecha Academy, family deeds come into play early. I hadn't thought too much about it for Beaver Flight, because the characters are more or less isolated from everyone they know, but that should become a factor in the story - the loss of contact. Hmmm...