Writing Echoes

Delijah's Writing Blog

Category Archives: Characters

Live and learn

I built this character table the other day – and posted it before. Afterwards, I looked at it again and I thought about a few things. One of them is OMG I’m old. Some of the characters in Parallel have been in my head for 20 years now, and that is a sobering thought. Then I started thinking about them.

In the original story, Madiq was a high priest in ancient Egypt – while pretty much sure that said gods did not exist. He got turned into a vampire himself by one of the first vampires, and continued to serve in the Queen and King’s palace. Ydemb Arā was a general in the army that would later become a vampire as a reward for his bravery and commitment. Later on, Ydemb Arā would spawn.

But that was 20 years ago and I was a teenager then. Now, as I work on “rebooting” their story, I see that they have changed, and yet they have not – I always think about Ydemb Arā when I walk into any kind of gothic building. Maybe they have grown. They have always been in the back of my mind, the three of them, along with some other vampires from their world.

So I turn thoughts in my mind. Probably Ydemb Arā and Madiq are my first gay couple ever, the first I considered in my life. But a long time has passed since I started wondering about how two guys’ dynamics could work – and probably Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire and The Vampire Lestat influenced the way they interacted. Now, looking back, twenty years and a lot of life experience later, I can do a more complex analysis of them, and how they have changed in my mind.

Madiq is a former slave. He was castrated shortly after reaching adulthood, thus becoming a eunuch. Being turned into a vampire gave him a new dimension of relationships that did not necessarily go through sex. Or turned around the idea of vampire sex, which involves blood and death rather than sexual hormones and organs. Thus, I have gathered that Madiq is what we would call pansexual nowadays. Furthermore, he would be someone without much interest to commit to a long–lasting relationship. From a slave to be sacrificed to the gods, Madiq became a high priest after being turned into a vampire and lived in court.

Ydemb Arā, on the other hand, is mostly heterosexual. His relationship with Madiq is born from obsession, and I am not that sure of how healthy their interactions are. Ydemb Arā met Madiq when the latter was already a vampire, so their power dynamics are imbalanced – Madiq started as a slave and had already outlived his generation as a vampire when Ydemb Arā was born. Ydemb Arā belonged to a rich, military family and logically chose the army career. He was already a general when he was assigned to serve in the Palace, not to protect the Queen and King but the High Priest Madiq. However, at this point Madiq was already pretty much immortal, so it was most pretence than anything else. This is what triggered that part of Ydemb Arā that would later “fall in love” with Madiq. Ydemb Arā would later be chosen by the Queen to become one of the first generation vampires, but this did not equalise the imbalance between Priest and General

For Madiq, vampire Ydemb Arā was not too different from what the general had been. He still considered himself above the other, but he would eventually start warming up to him – even if Ydemb Arā did not really go for a romantic relationship. However, Madiq regularly left Ydemb Arā to wander the world and be alone. During this time, Ydemb Arā’s obsession led him to pursue mortals who reminded him of Madiq. Only one of these would survive the creation process – Idol.

Idol (who is not on the Parallel character table as he is not a main character) had originally a love story, but somehow it never felt right. I was not sure why but it would just not work. Now I have it all figured out – not every character needs a romantic arc, and not every character has an “average” sexuality (read “average” as “the ones that you find most represented in fiction”). The reason why Idol’s romantic arc never worked was that it was not destined to work. Idol is asexual, and thus my teenage attempts to have him in an actual “average” relationship blew up on my face. Sorry Idol, I know better now.

So I’ve learnt about the sexuality spectrum, and what I am learning now is the gender spectrum. I know that I’ve got a transgender character but I don’t know how to present that. In the end, it does not count if it is not “out” does it? I’ll have to wing it somehow, I guess.

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Steam – Dioscuri and Timeless

I have noticed that recently I start a story with a lot of momentum, but that dissipates as I work on it. When I finished Dangerous men I started working on a story about two twins that found out about each other in their late twenties and their struggles when they finally met face to face. I came up with the title Dioscuri from the Roman Romulus and Remus.

For a while I was writing Dioscuri and it flowed pretty well, but then I was hit by another plot bunny. Barely a month after starting Dioscuri I was at the same time working on Timeless, which is a story about a samurai who commits suicide to please his master, only to find out that he cannot die. Well, he can die, what he can’t is remain dead.

I wrote a few snippets of Timeless, then went back to Dioscuri, started Timeless main arch, then decided to change half of it and when I wrapped Dioscuri up I turned to Timeless once again. Confused? I bet.

For the first month Timeless flowed pretty well (does this sound familiar? Thought it would). I did a ton of research and I had fun doing so. I built up on the world and developed the slightly distorted history that yielded to a world which is a lot like the real one, but still a bit different. I developed my characters and worked the story from three points of view.

And then puff. Steam gone. I have a new character in my head who suddenly seems to be absorbing more attention than the Timeless main characters. I wrote a short unrelated story on Friday and another one today, Sunday. Also for some reason I feel like picking up unfinished long stuff, such as Shorai, which is strange. The Timeless world is very vivid in my head at the moment, but the characters are not as strong right now? I am not sure and it kind of bothers me.

I just stabbed my MC*

* MC = main character

In the back. Treacherously.

Long ago, when I started writing, I used to see it as an outlet for repressed feelings – believe me, it was better than other ideas I had. For the last couple of months things have been rough, and I just… I guess I have just snapped and stabbed the main character of my new short story in the back. I am considering letting him die, but then I need to switch POVs to explain the rest of the story. I mean, yes, there is a reason why he just got a kitchen knife in his back, other than me not feeling cheery and happy with myself nor the world. I do have another character that could take over the narrative, he even had a brief introductory POV. Or he could find himself being the hero.

Or maybe let the story float in a completely different way…


Well, that was a weird update, don’t you think? XD

Endings and Disappointments

Some weeks ago, there was a big episode in Game of Thrones that had fans freaking out and George R.R. Martin having a blast regarding them. I own up not to have read the books as I was too hooked on Dragonlance when they came out, and later on too disappointed on Dragonlance – Fifth Era to want to go into more fantasy sagas. I am a bit of an unfaithful fan, if someone drags too long I tend to end up edging away from it.

Anyway, the guy made a few points here:


 
While I can somehow relate to the fans, a couple of those epic and not-so-epic deaths in, once again, Dragonlance lead me to believe that no, you can’t manage to write fantasy without a good death or two. However you need the epicness factor. Fantasy, after all, many times orbits around war and casualties happen in war. The point is that the reader gets to feel something relating to the death of that character, which sometimes becomes hate for the writer. Not only that “sick bastard” on the video really sounded heart-felt, I recall Margaret Weiss mentioning getting hatemail for Xxxxx’s glorious death in battle (sorry, no spoilers policy). It is good that characters manage to inspire deep feelings, and even better that the story itself is captivating enough to create those reactions.

Tom Clancy said that “the difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense”. Not only that, it needs to connect with the receptor somehow, to arise feelings. Else, what’s the point?

However, what about a feeling of disappointment? Agatha Christie would not stop writing Poirot, no matter how much she hated him, in fear of disappointing her fans (and losing their money, one guesses). Conan Doyle brought Sherlock back from the death too, upon he alleged hatemail (so it is said). No, Ian Malcon’s return from the death for Jurassic Park does not have anything to do with disappointment, more with $$ and movie royalties.

Life is tough and disappointing, but can we deal with fiction being so? Sometimes we see it in shows, especially police ones, that the character suffers a disappointment – they like the murderer, or they can’t save the victim, and the episode leaves you with a bitter taste, but that is usually gone the next week with the new episode, because there is not an ending there, there is continuity.

I am always in fear of writing anticlimatic endings, as I always feel they are disappointing, too much like real life. I desperately try to avoid what would make my reader self disappointed, which sometimes… yeah, makes wrapping up a story hard. Also, in the back of my mind, I seem to think that a disappointing ending is the excuse for a follow-up XD

This is something I am considering at the moment, the whole storyline in a few words, so I’m giving away the ending:

Nantoka-sensei (Mr. Whatever) is a fairly young and enthusiastic teacher in a private school in Tokyo. He gets involved in a sex-scandal and accused of rape. Although his is innocent, he loses his job and reputation, so he can’t work in education any more. He takes a temporary job as a host in a disreputable bar, and eventually he is cleared out. However, due to the seediness of his last job and the acquaintances he has made, nobody will take him back in education. Eventually he lands as a tour guide, which allows him to pay his bills, but he is not happy at it, and no major incident in his life makes him achieve realisation, just… day-to-day going on.

For me, the unwrapped, anticlimatic ending, is what makes Nantoka-sensei a good supporting character, but not a main character. If I were to read his story, I would be terribly disappointed, because for me, the story needs a wrap-up.

Blog posts do too, apparently, because I always feel the need to end up with a point or something.

Let’s talk about Sue

Let me start saying that I am guilty of Sues. Quite a few of them to be honest. So I am not being all high-and-mighty on my character development. I am just going to talk about Sues, some thoughts, some opinions – excuse me omg!opinions – and write a random blog post about it all. Just because.

What is a Sue?: Sues are those characters that make you go “yeah, right” at everything they do in a book or story (movies sometimes, too). They are the coolest, tallest, most attractive, have the most charms, youngest to achieve X, most skilled using Y. They usually have a super hard past, take armies single-handedly and generally pwn (and save) the world more often than not, and then go “ah, no, it was nothing”. Chris O’Donnel’s character in NCIS:Los Angeles is a good example of this [link]. Sues are perfect. So perfect – even perfect sufferers – that they get on your nerves.

The term was originally coined as “Mary Sue” after Lieutenant Mary Sue, who was the main character in a parody story written by Paula Smith in 1973, A Trekkie’s Tale. See above and imagine a 15 and a half Lieutenant in the Enterprise. Originally the term was only applied to self-inserted female characters that seemed to be a projection of a fanfic author(ess) into a story, with lots of romance with the original characters. But males can also be Sues (see the above example), they can be called “Gary Stu”, “Larry Stu”, “Marty Stu” or stuff like that. I call of them Mary Sue anyway – it’s a personal preference.

Think of the female Mary Sue as Barbie on a story. Not “Princess Barbie”, but all of them. At once. In the same character: teacher, doctor, awesome mom, perfect mother, unspotted house, keeps a die-for figure, goes to the gym, reads… she is perfect. Don’t confuse this with “strong female character that goes on regardless of her flaws or problems” or even kick-ass females. Sarah Connor is not a Mary Sue and she kicks ass badly. In the first and second (did not read more) Harry Potter books Hermione Granger is annoying, but she is not a Mary Sue. She’s annoying because being annoying is part of her character’s traits. Three-dimensional characters – even those who annoy you – are rarely Mary Sues.

The male Mary Sue is usually… urgh, think Sean Connery’s James Bond? Is there anything that man can’t do? He defuses a bomb while he sips his Martini, kills the bad guy, gets the girl, has all the cool gadgets, bends or breaks the rules with zero consequences… And gets the girl again. More 2D? Impossible? More perfect? I would have gladly strangled the guy and his sexist’s approach but then again those were the times, right? Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt is another fine example: they guy holds a university degree (I think a PhD), is a combat pilot, directs NUMA, gets the girl, can walk for miles in the middle of an Icelandic blizzard with a few broken bones, saves the world for conspiracies and is the smartest guy on the block…

So what’s up with Sues? Sues are dangerous because they annoy and alienate the reader but the writers dotes upon them, bestowing them with any and every thing that can be done (and more and better than anyone else). I quote from Wikipedia [link] that can be characterised as being “special” by having a gratuitously tragic past, unrealistic skills or attractiveness, or a seeming inability for the character to do wrong.

Then what’s the point?: The point of it is that characters should have flaws, else they risk becoming boring by sheer perfection. The key word is unrealistic. The art lies in making a mage in a completely-made-up world a character you can identify with. Now, that’s the amazing thing. If the character is perfect there is no way one can identify with them, and thus they become a liability for the reader (remember: you can hate a character’s guts and they, think they are annoying as hell without them being Mary Sues. I hate Lauralanthalasa Kanan to death and she is not Mary Sue, she is just a brat). A great character makes you empathise, flinch, fear, sometimes even love, hate or love to hate. A Mary Sue can make you put the book aside, change channels or close the file.

Sometimes for fun, sometimes for an actual check, I run my characters thorough The Universal Mary Sue Litmus Test [link]. It is not the only one and I doubt is the original (someone claims that title here [link]). I am sure there are hundreds of them, I just like the one at Springhole and use that one. Makes you think and rationalise a few things.

A few of my favourite questions, and some commentary:

Not counting his or her first language, how many languages does your character fluently speak? Click one box for every language (eight boxes, each box is a point): I had a big laugh when I ran Iwase Tadashi through this. The guy speaks five languages, basically because he is studying languages in University. I chose his degree totally at random back in time, and I keep wondering whether I should give him “full points” or not, considering that the importance of him knowing those languages is… null except for English.

Is your character impervious to any of the normal limitations and/or weaknesses of xir species?: The example for this is “a human who cannot get drunk no matter how much booze they consume”. Okonogi Kazuki, that is a point for you, my dear. However, when I worked on Wren I gave the reef elf the “need water” thing that his race should have without blinking. See? I get better! XD

Do think of your character as a role-model?: *Dies laughing*

Does your character voice political, social, and/or religious opinions or beliefs which you share? This is something I have to work on. Most of my characters are atheists. I really want to write a good character with religious convictions, but I haven’t been too successful yet…

Has your character ever been honestly selfish, petty, lazy, shallow, or pointlessly cruel?: Defects, defects. We all have them, the characters should too.

If your character lost xir virginity unwillingly, does xe find a way to restore it? (Yes, this really is a thing.) This kills me. Every fucking time.

The test is not perfect, but I think it is rather complete, and as mentioned I usually have fun with it. It is flexible, too. Using magic in a magical world does not count as a Mary Sue point, being the only human on this earth who can use magic is.

A variation of this test is the The Mary Sue Race Test, which tries to debunk super perfect races (looking at you Vulcans or Tolkien’s elves) that you can find here [link]. It is less exhaustive and not as fun, but hey, still useful.

That’s all for today ^^

Mary Sue Tests by their respective authors, image from OpenClip Library [link]

Warning!

This is my new “continuity error” flag. It is a bit of a self joke, and actually has nothing much to do with Koreans, just with one Korean in particular. Here’s the story: halfway through The Shikigami of Life, back when it was only a standalone, I came up with the idea that my Strong Female Character’s bedroom was off-limits to any men. It was a fun and easy way to convey her authority, so I wrote it into the book.

Cool? Cool.

Not cool.

Because a few chapters before that I had already written her Korean bodyguard standing inside that bedroom. Whoops.

Big whoops. Especially when it escapes you on the first edit. And on the second edit. And on the third. And seems to be an insignificant detail, and your beta reader does not catch it. And you print the whole thing. And send it off to friends (who never noticed either, by the way. I’m good at hiding continuity errors?). And suddenly you’re looking up an unrelated scene for the next book and the Korean in the bedroom punches you in the eye.

Moral of the story? Be alert and beware of Koreans in the bedroom.

Unless of course you’re into Koreans and want to welcome them in your bedroom. But that is another tale.

Thinking about where characters come from

A friend of mine linked me to an Open University course on creative writing [link]. As I was going through it, I came across this couple of paragraphs on creating characters:

There seem to be two different types of character. There’s the type that just turns up at your shoulder like a ghost and insists on being written. This is rather spooky, it’s a bit like being a medium. The other kind of character is the sort that you invent more or less from scratch or create as a composite of various people that you’ve noticed or come across. And the one thing that does happen though is that as soon as the character begins to become real, he or she starts misbehaving, and they don’t do what you tell them to do. You often find yourself altering the story to accommodate your characters. Your plans always go wrong

It’s partly good old-fashioned empathy; with a certain amount of effort you can imagine what it’s like being somebody else. If these characters are conveniently nearby you can always go and ask them and listen to them talking. And quite often with a character, all you’ve got to do is start them talking, like yakking in your head – it’s a bit like being a paranoid schizophrenic but it’s under control, you know, you’ve got all of these voices going on in your mind – you just let them talk. And they develop quite happily on their own.

Louis de Bernières

Source: [link]

Which is reassuring after reading about eight or so authors speaking about ‘building’ up characters and how to create them from scratch. I realised then that most of my characters are not ‘built’, they just happen. I remember the precise point in which one Okonogi Kazuki happened, I was walking from work to my car, it was lunch break and it was sunny – a feat where I used to live. When I came out of the building he just did not exist, and three minutes later he was there, yelling. The yelling is literal. It was like having someone in my brain demanding attention and a story and I swear he fleshed out himself, without me having much to do with it. So the paranoid-schizophrenic thing? 100% check.

I am trying to pinpoint where my characters come from as I write this, and I have to say that I am not completely sure. Okonogi is an exception, usually they pop up in blurry form, and they get fleshed out slowly as the story develops, or as I delve into their inter personal relationships. Sometimes a character ends up being something completely opposite to what I had thought I needed – or from who inspired them, and I like that… most of the time. It causes boosts of “curse you, Character, for screwing up my nice outline!!”. Then again, as the Internet would say… “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal” [link] which is usually not as sudden as inevitable…

Writing Victim #14 I am doing a fun exercise, which is trying to describe the characters with just one word. Part of the killer’s MO is finding the word that best describes each of his victims, and I seem to do it for all of them. Of course, just one word does not work to completely describe a character (yay! It means that they are 3D and not cardboard characters) but it feels like the name of the seed they were built from.

I am suddenly left wondering if my brain is such a dangerous place right now, what with the paranoid-schizophrenia and the psychopath traits when I get into the serial killer’s mind… I’ll try not to feed myself after midnight, just in case.

Or maybe we just got into light-saving time and my brain is still in weird mode…

Contents by Open University licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence and taken from here [link].
The tick/cross image is from the OpenClip library [link].
Louis de Bernières’s homepage [link]

Glasgow, thriller scenery?

Remember my ME from a while back back [link]? Well, he is on the loose and has decided to fleshen himself up, Undeliverable and author’s wishes be damned (U/D, by the way only lacks one chapter in the middle of the story indeed, but only one).

Anyway, back to the stupid ME. I am surprised at how fast he latched onto my brain, picking traits from characters yet barely defined like anyone would get a buffet meal.

I knew that he would be Asian, so that did not surprise me. That was part of the original issue: researching police procedures in Japan is a nightmare, researching pathology procedures would be even worse, I fear. I wondered about USA for a while, but I worry that that will take me back into the Retriever/Undeliverable universe. There are only so many Asians in USA law enforcement, and while an Aaron or Ru cameo would be fun I am not complete sure that I want to stay in the universe.

That left me toying with the idea of using a place in Europe, and Glasgow is a rather Victorian city with a big Asian community – apparently ME is of Korean ethnicity. It would not be a bad place to set up a thriller scheme, but I have actually never written anything in an environment so familiar… weird XD. Any ideas / opinions?

Unsurprisingly, my brand new ME is gay – very gay. The would-not-ever-sleep-with-a-woman-if-you-paid-me-I-dun-find-any-of-them-pretty kind of gay. He works the night shift or at least a late day shift, and is sleeping with someone who has a nice morning shift. Not really in a relationship, just sleeping together, or so he maintains. A ‘just sleeping together’ that sometimes involves taking loverboy’s kid out. Apparently loverboy is a divorced detective and gets kiddo one weekend a month. And that’s only the beginning on how much they yell, come on ME-guy claims to own a cat named Bubbles. WTF XD

So here I am, struggling with U/D, suffering from yelling characters and wondering if I can actually pull a thriller and if Gaslgow is indeed a good scenery for it.

Now, can anybody make them shut up while I work on finishing U/D? I don’t think I can produce a serial killer plot just snapping my fingers, thank you very much. Oh, and while you’re on it, make them understand that if I ever get around to write this… it’s so not going to be called Death, sex and bubbles. That is final.

Of plotbunnies, MEs and other evils

I am not really sure of how much about plotbunnies I am going to rant, but plotbunnies are mean by definition so it felt like a good title. My not writing self has been drowning in work and exhaustion, so I haven’t been doing much thinking or writing. Undeliverable is moving forward slowly, veeery slowly; I think I have lost some drive. I skipped one chapter though, so basically the whole thing is unreadable as of yet, and unfortunately I think I’ve lost some drive with it. I need to find a boost but I don’t know how to get it. I am hovering over the end, but I am not convinced about anything just yet. U/D should have a good ending so it feel settled in my mind.

Funnily enough, the Retriever – U/D universe might become a world I visit again. For a long time, I’ve wanted to write an ME (Medical Examiner, aka a dignified coroner). I have no clue of why, though it might have been one of my own shock treatments. When I was about eight years old, I decided to be all adult-y and decided to start reading thMe newspaper. Then again, the newspaper had no colourful pictures so I settled for the magazine that came with it. Never mind that most of the time it went just over my head XD. No, this is not a random rant, it leads somewhere. Anyway, I was 8, reading over newspaper magazines and this extract of a book was there. I never knew it was an extract from a book, there was just a very colourful picture of a frilly thing in blue and red and green and yellow. By then I thought it was an actual article. I don’t know the title of the book nor the author, but it was about an Ebola outbreak in a plane. It described to the small details the hemorrhagic fever stage in patient zero, and I was terrified. I had nightmares for months, years even – a description of a rabies outbreak and being told it had no cure did not help. One day, however, I was about 14 and decided to go over my virus panic and started watching virus movies on TV. Back by that time they were running a virus-in-plane season, and I watched all of them. Eventually I got hooked on the bloody things… no pun intended, I swear… and now I love them, and the worse and less believable the thing is, the better.

Well, something alike happened with MEs. I was terribly scared of the dark and of death – I was an impressionable child, I grew up in a very small village believing that everything on TV was as real as on magazines XD By that time werewolves and unicorns were as likely to be found in the forest as squirrels and boars. Yeah, laugh. That was me, long ago

I digress. I was saying that probably a counter-measuring my death-is-chasing-me-phobia, maybe in a subconscious level I forced myself to start paying attention to the MEs in three thousand four hundred crime / whodunit TV series and movies ever made – or maybe they are just the forgotten unsung heroes.

So the point of this whole rant was me wanting to write an ME. Well, I want to write an ME – who would’ve thunk? XD – and at points I wonder which universe he belongs to. The Retriever – U/D seems about right, basically because American input is the most common. However, it feels a little forceful to insert another Asian guy into the USA universe, and for some reason I don’t feel like writing a Caucasian at the moment when I’m so hung up with Asians. I know that he is a vegetarian, has some kind of religious beliefs – he seems to believe in an afterlife? – and… that’s it. But he has no plot for now, and probably a ton of research to do – probably much more if he ends up placed in a non USA universe, since we already have the preconceived idea of the USA crime scenery.

I also wanted to mention something really random that I have come to realize. It has to do with the ages of the characters I write. When I started writing I was 13 and by then 16 was omg the oldest and wisest thing ever. Now I can comfortably write 40- and 50-year-olds and don’t think that they are too old, nor old at all. Must be my own age XD

That was all for today as I wait for my plotbunnies to recover from their sick leave so I can go back to writing in a regular schedule. Thanks for reading the most random of all the random blog entries ever~

PsS (warning: the small s stands for sap): I have rigged this so it shows up in time for someone very special’s birthday, cause whatever happens, I am glad you were born and that I got to know you ^^

Iwase Tadashi (岩瀬 唯) – Birthday Post

Not long ago (or actually a bit ago, April 2011 XD) I read an article that I have been unable to find again on the Mainichi Shinbun [link] regarding pet rabbits. It featured some Marc Morrone whom I had never heard about but who seems to be an authority in pet-keeping. The article read something like this at one point: Bunnies are an animal that the entire world eats; they live in a state of perpetual anxiety that somebody’s going to eat them. Once they realize no one is going to eat them, they relax and you can see their true nature come out. (A friend found another version of the article here [link] Thanks!)

It made me think a lot about Tadashi, whom some of my friends and I, affectionately or less affectionately, nickname ‘the Bunny’. Tadashi popped up as a support character for fanfiction, back in 2006 or 2007, and somehow, when I was not looking he sneakily fleshed out. Let me tell you, if one were to cross analyse him, he would probably get a heap load of points in the next best Mary Sue Test [link] – chronically insecure, weird hair colour, raised in poverty, one parent missing… yeah, one could check many points.

What can I do, I like the boy…

I would eventually like to write his story, one that does not go into the shaded world of fanfiction, and a while back I started working on his life history, this time trying to make sense of it. Let me explain: when he was originally conceived, he was not supposed to be important so his life was just a bunch of facts thrown together, and let’s be honest, not to… realistic. In other words, research done? Nill XD. As things became serious and I started considering writing about him in his own universe, I started working things out.

Iwase Tadashi has black eyes and a shock of dark and light hair. He was born into a humble family, his mother is a seamstress who specializes in kimono sewing and his father was a trucker who died in an accident when he was twelve. Soon after that, his twin sisters, Mika and Mina, were born. His mother, Iwase Mariko, had a hard time bringing up three children and making ends meet, and by the time he was in Junior High, Tadashi was dealing with bullying at school – he was nerdy, scrawny, shy and poor, he might as well have had a target painted on his forehead. In second year of high school, in summer, he developed a crush on the resident bad boy, Sawamura Shuichi, which led him to have lots of trouble and even end up in hospital.

He is good with languages, although terrible at maths. He managed to get a scholarship and moved to Tokyo to attend the Tokyo University Foreign Studies [link], where he attends the Language and Information Studies Program and takes a few extra language classes – because food is overrated and he prefers geeking around to eating. He has a stress-related eating disorder and a hyper-active metabolism, which means he gets sick whenever he is stressed because his body needs more nourishments but he does not eat.

Tadashi is gay, and has… control issues, only the other way around. He is submissive by nature and part of him enjoys being overpowered, though the other part needs to be pampered and spoiled. On top of that he is terminally shy, so it is a very thin and confusing line the one his boyfriend walks – said boyfriend, Asou Shota, is a lovable spoiled rich brat who messes up more often than not, but we will talk about him some other time, along with the whole You & I setting. It is here where the Bunny nickname comes into play, what with that terror of being hurt and the utter helplessness Tadashi always seems to suffer in sexual topics.

I know that, eventually, Tadashi and Shota will move to New York and have a dog, a Landseer Newfoundland called Taki [link] but for now, I keep planning.

All in all, there’s just one reason for this post: Happy Birthday, Tadashi-bunny. Your life in and outside the imagination world has been rocky, but I love you. And if that makes me a sap, then call me a sap. Or blame the season~


Bunny image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license and has been obtained from Wikimedia Commons. Attribution: [link]