When I introduce new characters into my fiction, as I did with characters in my first novel, I started off with a batch of characters that the main character, Sammohini, would interact with throughout the novel. I’ve been using my playthrough of Pokémon LeafGreen to brainstorm character attributes. While I decided on one new character during this session, I don’t think anymore that tangental character naming is an effective tool of deciding on new characters.
Novel Spoilers?: Minor [just naming names, processes]
Game Spoilers? None
From my writer’s perspective, there are pre-built and discovered characters.
This isn’t a psychological typing thing. What I mean is that I might have brainstormed out characters like Lisa and Hank in previous short stories, so by the time they’re introduced within longer stories, they already have established frameworks. These are characters that might, early on, be more influential to the flow of the story. Time isn’t much of an issue, because in the hours before starting work on my first novel, as shown in the Gdrive that has all of my notes, some characters like Fairydust appeared fully-completed through a randomizer and others like Alex happened to fulfill a need.
I guess a better way to describe this would be pre-built or purpose-built.
Ciera was purpose-built to fulfill a specific narrative need.
Characters like this, Valtteri and Dr. Payne are great, too. I have no real preference for one or the other. Purpose-built characters might actually be more exciting to write because I don’t quite know their intentions. They might lie to me when they’re helping to describe what they’re doing. They could have inconsistent character traits. They’re more likely to take Sammohini into scenarios I might not have accounted for, which is fun and challenging to write about. I’m sure as I become decent at writing fiction that there will eventually become enough stability in the characters I plan on writing about that I won’t be guided along all the false trails I was in my first novel.
It’s still fun to let that chaos into the writing process.
If there’s an established framework to work within, what are tangents and deviations but flavoring? I just cooked some canned chicken with some BBQ sauce before writing this essay. That might be disgusting for some and perhaps inspirational – from a cooking perspective, although, I dunno, maybe that’s motivating for you.
So, while playing LeafGreen, I used names from “The Story,” starting with my first novel.
It’s helped remind me of some of the characters that had been purpose-built that might have only had one or two scenes. They could be featured in the second novel. I’m too far away from development, even at this point, to decide who my pre-built characters will be, but I can assume that some – if not most – of the characters will reappear. I don’t think there’s a reason why I’d replace out a character like the director of Sammohini’s department, Lisa, and Hank was such an emotionally supportive character for her that he would be a good fit to reappear as well.
As I play LeafGreen, however, I’m benching some and bringing others in.
Pollyanna-Eevee was the first to get benched. I’m not sure who to evolve her into because I would want the form that’s most type-disadvantaged on my team, but I’ve been filling out a fairly good roster as-is. I actually benched John-Venasaur and Trishna-Golbat because they just weren’t hitting as hard as some of the others on their team. I thought I’d take them through the rest of the game, but it’s not a big deal.
I’m benching Jorun-Snorlax since I don’t need a second one on my team…
…I don’t think.
I used the name randomizer I used during my first novel’s writing process for her since I figured Nils-Snorlax would need a girlfriend. This is an example of a pre-built character, unlike, say, Venkat’s wife Vidya. Venkat had referenced his wife during a casual conversation so she needed a name. I’m anticipating that Nils might reference a girlfriend in the next novel. If not, then it was a minor waste of time, I guess.
That’s where catching all these “side character” Pokémon is wasteful, too.
I have 22 superfluous Pokémon I caught to fulfill various mainly in-game objectives. I don’t feel the need to brainstorm out 22 new characters to potentially use. Like I did with the first novel, I’d rather decide on my core characters and then build out based on narrative need. This is why, when I decided to hold off teaching Josh-Gyarados Surf, I decided to teach it to the unnamed SEAKING-Seaking to use temporarily. I’ll quickly find the dedicated Surfer spot wasteful, so later, I’ll look up effective “HM slave Pokémon” and use them. The list at the bottom shows some of them, but I’d rather have a, say, Surfer and Flyer, or whatever.
Josh-Gyarados was going to be my Strength/Surfer, but I like his current move-set.
At this point, I’m playing LeafGreen to complete it now, rather than for any sort of psychological benefits for me. In previous entries, I’ve already figured out the psychological intrigue for me, which was beneficial for me. I don’t think it’s so much that I’m losing my interest in the game, it’s just like with Axiom Verge where, after I reached about halfway through, I was just working toward its conclusion. It’s the same with many other things. After we’ve figured out the core mechanics of a game or lifestyle, it gets less interesting, I suppose, which might lead to our boredom with it.
I do still like the idea of filling out my roster with side characters like this.
I caught a batch that I’ll need to train up to the same level as everyone else, which is now Level 41 – except for those benched Pokémon. I’ll next return through old areas with Surf, then proceed on through the rest of the game, while proceeding quicker since the game isn’t helping me develop characters as much anymore.
I’m still having an enjoyable time with it.
|Sources: The Story’s Imaginarium and my personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: Thinking about having made Nils’s girlfriend Jorun versus the Seaking I haven’t named and may not.|
|Related: Essays building “The Story,” and other Sammohini Arc and Media Meandry essays.
Pokémon LeafGreen Series:
01 – “Easy Mode Living”
02 – “Real Life Grinding”
03 – “Had To Play”
03.5 – “Fiction Inspiring Fiction”
04 – “Videogames Aren’t Ambiguous”
04.5 – “Level Up Yourself”
05 – “Catching What’s Next”
06 – “Recatching Escapist Tendencies”
07 – “Inconsequentially Building Characters“
|Screenshots: 2020 May 09 [Editing from 2:52pm to 3:03pm]|
|Written On: 2020 May 09 [3:09pm to 3:53pm]|
|Last Edited: 2020 May 09 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|