Monday, May 15, 2017

Character Design: Havana



MAKING THE HORIZON is the beginning of a compendium series. Set in a barren, sandbox world, 13 humans are left by a crazed mage to craft reality to their whims. The book, and its successors, are currently in development, the unguaranteed process shared with you as I work.

Havana Blaker is known in Sandbysk as The Mother. She is the goddess of life, of animals, of childbirth, the first to create people. Her kindness and beauty is purported by everyone, and it is said when someone is murdered by another creation, her lost heart bleeds.

When I initially came up with the ideas of gods, the two domains that first came into mind was kindness versus wrath. A goddess of light and a god of dark. Havana was the second god on my list, someone who people worshiped by spreading charity and forgiveness.

Before her name or face came into being, her “duties” were obvious, and her domain was formed long before she ever was.

The name Havana came from a manuscript that will be further in the compendium, still during the early history of Sandbysk. When third generation creations seek out The Sanctuary, the city Havana created to protect her people from the destruction of the Goddess of Justice, “Haven” was the first name to come to mind, and Havana followed.

Currently, I don’t know too much about her. She has a love story developing, a sad myth that was a part of my initial inspiration for the series. Some years ago I read a manga in which two ancient lovers are torn apart and found myself wanting to know more about them, wanting to ‘see’ it for myself.

When questioning what the gods would make first, some of the answers were obvious; shelter, food, water. Angel Montes, the God of Risk, is the first to truly toy and experiment with the capabilities of the sandbox, but Havana is the first to understand how to create life. Of course, the very first thing she makes is a dog. In the end, she is known for her two Great Danes traveling by her side.

In New York, I work the glamorous job of being a dog walker. I actually love it, and love the animals, feeling empowered by having the strong protectors by my side. The image of Havana with her two beasts was based on a true moment in which I walked down the sidewalk with two giant dogs heeling obediently. Not Great Danes, but large enough. Good image, right?

I thought about having a character (not necessarily in Horizon) who would have two large animals walk beside her, and Havana came to mind.

So, as of right now, her mythology is starting to form nicely. The end of her story is more clear than anyone else’s, but who she is? As for her history? I’m not yet clear. I thought about making her a sculptor of bones (each god being brought there due to his success in the arts), however I’m not sure of that yet. Maybe a quilter or seamstress.

Havana is also one of the non-white characters, so coming up with her backstory has an element of personal controversy for me. How much do I make her racial heritage a part of her backstory? Not factoring it in is disingenuous, factoring it in too much is insulting. It is, in part, a decision related to how much I’ve done it with the others, and based on that alone, I’m probably going to make her more life more streamlined, more dull and uneventful.

Like me, she finds that nothing bad occurs, nothing good if the universe is left to its own devices. Not a lot of stories to tell about her life unless she makes it happen. She grew up in a suburb with a mom and a dad. She followed her dreams. She is seen as ordinary, told she would fail.

Havana’s kindness risks her lacking a personality, but her timidness and slight insecurity could possibly tweak her away from just being the obnoxious voice of reason.



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