Saturday, February 25, 2006

Fiction: a quick way to make up interesting characters

A man is sitting on a plane next to a young girl. As the flight progresses and he talks to the girl he realises that she is a profoundly perceptive psychologist; she can read body language, read people's motives and offer wise advice beyond her years.

I wanted to devise a simply strategy to make up interesting characters like the girl. Ideas such as the one above can be created with a format such as:

The girl is the psychologistEST psychologist.

Which implies that the girl is (or becomes) the best psychologist imaginable. I can also imagine that the girl started out as an ordinary girl and is on the journey towards become the 'psychologistEST psychologist'.

It's a thought provoking technique and encourages the use of the imagination: what would someone be like if they were the best psychologist imaginable? Would they possess abilities that could be considered 'beyond human'? What would the limit be if I continued to increase the degree of her psychological powers? Maybe her powers would stretch across the universe and last eternally. Even when I have reached what I consider to be an absolute point I can continue to increase the degree of her powers.

Format applied to the male passenger

I want to apply the format to the male passenger. To do this I simply name someone (I use the naming/listing technique) state what that person is, and then apply that description in the format. Example: my use of the naming/listing technique gives me Evil Knievel. What is that person?

Evil Knievel = daredevil.

So using that in the format gives me:

Male passenger is the daredevilEST daredevil.

What would the 'daredevilEST daredevil' be like? Perhaps the man would be doing 'dangerous' things all the time. Everything he does could be an interesting stunt. Even as he goes about his daily business he could be doing amazingly creative stunts. Or maybe his full time job would be as a stuntman.

Other example possibilities

Character is musicianEST musician
Character is comedianEST comedian
Character is con manEST con man
Character is corpseEST corpse
Character is vagrantEST vagrant

See also: the superlative's superlative

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