I have my team of six for my Pandora Excess fiction – still need a better name, but I keep using PE, so I haven’t put the energy into thinking up something better. Ah well, it’ll do as a working title.
For the PE characters, I am being very spare with description because I believe we all tend to create an image in our head of characters that can be contrary to how the character is described. If I leave it intentionally vague, with maybe a few general pointers, that allows readers to fill in the numerous blanks with the image they would have overlaid on anything I described. Maybe that’s a mistake, but I’m interested in finding out.
Here’s the team, their role, and what little description I offer. I wonder who people see in their heads when they read this.
Hazard, the boss. She does not map to a Borderlands class, though if required, I’d put her as Lilith except the leader rather than 2IC. Her primary weapon is a heavy assault rifle, like a battle rifle. She is intro’d with: ” Lean, dark, and commanding, Hazard took a chair, spun it around, and then sat in it, arms resting on its back.” A little later we get: “Hazard spoke with assurance, her voice resonant, lightly touched by amusement.”
Rutger, the second in command. He’s the “Commando” but instead of a turret, he has UAV-type drones that provide close support. His primary weapon is an assault rifle. He’s intro’d with: “He leaned back and ran his hand over his bald head.” A little later we get: “He had a swimmer’s build, lean and tight.”
Solitaire is the ESPer/mage. She’s the “Siren,” and her primary weapons are an elemental (fire) personal defence weapon (a compact SMG) and a larger, scoped SMG. For her, we get: “Sparse of build, with short dark hair and an angular face, . . . ”
Jester is the sniper. He’s the “Assassin” of the group, and he has two large-frame revolvers and a sniper weapon system. When he enters a scene, we get:”. . . lean man, all in dark colours, masked and with an enhanced vision device over his eyes, . . . a revolver in each hand.” And a little later, when he first speaks: “As always, a modulator veiled Jester’s voice.”
Aura is the tech-head. Originally, I didn’t map her to any of the Borderlands classes. Then I played Gaige, the Mechromancer. Her Deathtrap ‘bot is pretty awesome, and I enjoyed the interaction. I decided that Aura would be the child prodigy that had attached herself to the group, built them a bunch of awesome gear, and got herself “adopted.” She’s a young lady now, and not only integral to the maintenance and design of a lot of the group’s kit, but she has grown into a true bad-ass herself. When intro’d, she’s the PoV character, and so we get: “She had stopped growing when she was 15, and so everyone constantly underestimated her, . . .” Later, through another character’s PoV she is described as “this kind of laughing pixie with guns and deadly intent. Someone somewhere would mention her ‘heart of gold,’ but that gold would be melted and poured down your throat if you messed with her or her friends.”
Her deathbot is called Bruiser, and she built it in imitation of Chopper, her bestie on the team. She once had a crush on Chopper, but that has grown into a big brother-little sister relationship.
Chopper is the heavy weapons dude. He’s “Brick” but more erudite. His primary weapon is a light support weapon that has an auxiliary scope and a removable suppressor. For him, we get a collection of descriptors strewn around in the first couple of paragraphs, including massive hands, beefy frame, and “strongly defined bicep with fluid black and red tattoo in the characters for ‘grace under pressure’ in his native language.”
So that is the team. It doesn’t hit all the Borderlands character types – we’re missing a Hunter, a Psycho, and a Gunzerker. The Soldier is basically the proto-Commando, so I think we have that covered.
I’m interested, though, what people think about the descriptions, or lack thereof. I have been chided before about describing scenery – I generally don’t provide enough details. For characters, though, I feel like the more description I give, the less freedom I’m offering the reader.
Your mileage may vary.
You can read more about Pandora Excess here and here.
You can read a very short snippet of Pandora Excess fiction here.