Friday, July 8, 2011

Character conversations: Tanner again

I've submitted Tanner for an evaluation over at The Character Therapist. Here are some of the evaluation questions he answered, edited for spoilers and brevity. You can see a few more questions from this form that Tanner answered for a blogfest here.

Note: the Jovian Frontier is a science fiction world in the not-so-distant future. Questions in bold face, my comments and observations in italics. The rest are his words. Little bit of swearing ahead.

Reference photo - Tanner's got bluer eyes, browner hair, different face.
Using Brad Pitt from Kalifornia as a ref for the feral look
in his eye, the body language.
Character's Full Name:

Tanner Sheppard. No middle name? He shrugs. How about Quentin? ‘Tanner’ isn’t odd enough? Could talk about where that came from. True, I could write a blog post on the dangers of naming your characters on the fly. Never know if they’re going to stay minor characters. He smirks.


24. Note that I’m just taking his word on this. I don’t have much to base it on.

In a paragraph, how would you describe yourself in your own words?

Breath of a chuckle. I’m what came back home to roost. Didn’t expect this, that’s clear. Reflects for a moment. I’m an ex-pirate. Which is an ex-killer, ex-slaver, ex-… betrayer. Slaver? You did that, even with how you feel about your mother? He sets his teeth on his lower lip, then answers, Could say it was Pa that did it, he’d draw up the fake indenture papers. Sell them. Can’t deny my part in it any more. Therapy really fucked me over. Used to be simple. Used to just hate everything.

What were the family dynamics in your home growing up? What are they now?

Sketch, okay. Pirate caravan of four or five spaceships (15-20 people), in and out of Ananke (one of Jupiter’s small moons, a pretty rough place) every few months. Captained by the coldest fucking bastard in Jupiter system. If they’re not conning their way up to Long Runner caravans or small homesteads so they can turn around and gut the place, they’re farting around drunk and bored. Throw in a boy and two girls, that’d be me and Connie and Pru. And whatever slaves they’ve got around for toys. He’s tensing up as he says that, the thousand-yard stare creeping into his eyes.

Got scars to show for it, on your arm. Can I paste in the story as you told it to Connie? He nods.
Tanner looked down at them, on his forearm. “Captured a ship,” he said. “Got shot up in the taking. I was crying because of the bodies, the mess. Pa backhanded me onto a broken panel. Screamed, I know, seeing my blood curling up out of my arm (in zero gravity).” He shuddered. “Hoult shoved me in the airlock and beat the shit out of me. Told me he’d open the hatch with the rips in my suit, let the void eat my soul. Started it cycling, even. Felt it sucking the blood out of me as he wrapped me up with seal-all tape.”  
Connie’s eyes were soft. “Dev told me how to bandage you up.”  
He managed a bit of a smile. “Did a good job.”  
“For an eight-year-old,” she allowed. “Patching up big brother.” 

Said you had some stability, though. Some mothering. Yeah, Pa kept… Ma, well she was Ma to me for years and no matter what the truth was. Sorta remember before she was around, but… Shakes his head. She was Connie and Pru’s mother, mine too. But a slave. Was always clear on that. Safest place we had, sleeping in her bunk together. Till we got too big to all fit. Still slept there, after she was gone.

What happened? He just looks away and shakes his head again. Question wants to know what the situation is now, too. Pa’s dead, shot him myself a few weeks ago. Ma’s gone. Connie’d run away before they arrested me. Got back to Ananke and Pru’d run too. Can’t blame them. Nothing worth sticking around for — far as they knew, I was a spitting image of Pa. Just another animal.

What was the most important childhood event that still affects you today and why?

He rubs his hand against his cheek and then over his chin. Thinks for a few minutes. Most’ve those years had just slipped away, before. Packed away behind an airlock like the void. But then they sentenced me to therapy and strapped me down under a halo scanner, pumped me full of Parathena. Ripped me wide open and rummaged around inside. Don’t remember the first few months, actually, they had to sedate me half the time. Sentenced to being ‘fixed’ — a good thing, in your case. Maybe good now. Was hell all over again. Can’t pick out one, whole thing… hangs over me.

Do you or your immediate family have a history of mental illness? If yes, explain.

That actually gets a laugh — a weak, gallows-humor laugh. We sick, or just fucked? There a difference?

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