Collin Hop

Lanky Genius | Large dreams, wings clipped | Fashion Disaster | Kind | Scared | Too many crushes to count

Collin is half Aestling, half Earther-Asien and he’s never figured out where he belongs.

He’s fallen a long way from neuroscience studies to running a NetSage clinic at the back of a bar run by his uncle. There, he gets high, dreams of all the crushes in his life, and tries hard not to think about how he is just one dose of Shimmer away from being kicked out of the Castle and left to turn into a soulless monster.

He’s terrified 99% of the time, and yet he smiles through most of it, and he’ll always let you have the last drag. But if you ask him to step foot out of the Castle, ever, he will put salt into your coffee and hide all your socks (and run crying to Varrett, who’ll probably punch you in the face for making Collin cry).

You can meet him in Aphelion, my Cyberpunk-lite, soul magic, and zombie apocalypse web serial.

Collin Hop
Character Sheet by Nikos
Read Aphelion on Ao3
Explore Aphelion on Campfire

Sophya Soulwright

Imagination | Anxiety | Don’t see me | SIN | Secrets and Lies | Sarcastic Bean | Odd | Isolation | Avoidant Attachment | Shy | I’m trying, I swear

Sophya is a Cad’his; a soultrickster. Technology whispers to her. Souls call for her. Surprising absolutely no one, she wants nothing to do with any of it. 

I’m delighted to figure out what she finds in Horizon’s Crown and if she’ll come to terms with what (and who) she is. And if you’re curious, then you can read about her journey in Aphelion, a slowly unfolding cyberpunk-lite zombie apocalypse novel with a heavy helping of romance and a dash of sassy soul cat.

Varrett Vild Vickers (V.)

Live | Loving Son and Big Brother | Tireless Always tired | Stubborn | Overworked & Underfucked | Open Skies and the Vastness of Space | MUSIC | For the Thrill of it | Unintentional Hero | Murder is still a big deal | Fake it ‘till you make it | I got this

Varrett is a bisaster who loves his family, loves life, and knits his friends bracelets. He’s got gasoline pumping in his veins, misses dodging asteroids and defying the laws of physics in his Hawk, and mopes if he can’t get his fingers to dance on a piano keyboard for too long.

Some say he has a resting dork face. He says those people probably smell funny.

Read all about him in Aphelion, where landlords survived the apocalypse and Varrett does all he can to make rent and keep him, his mom, and his adopted kid brother off the zombie-overrun streets. At least until a woman falls from the skies and turns his already very lopsided life very sharply sideways.

Varrett giving Sebastian a soft kiss on the lips.
Varrett and Sebastian (by shobi)

Creating an Original Character

The Building Blocks

I’ve put together a cheat sheet based on how I begin building my characters. There’s tons of those out there already of course and a lot that go into details 500+ questions deep. But we’re not looking for a laundry list of How many siblings do they have to How do they cross the street here. Rather, we’re trying to build a foundation from which the rest of the character can grow comfortably.

It covers things like their physical description, their voice, and (most importantly) their motivation. All things you need to get you started.

Creating an original character

Who are they?

Begin by jotting down three words that represent them. Don’t overthink it. Boil them down to the essentials.

Physical:

Description. Notable Features. How do others see them?

This may be a misleading section. While description and notable features are largely straight forward, How do others see them? is one of my favourite questions to ask. Do they easily intimidate others? Are they often underestimated? If so, why? What characterizes them to others and how does the world at large treat them?

Voice:

Vocabulary. Speech Pattern. Thought Process. Ticks.

This is where the character’s voice comes from as you write them. Think about what words they use a lot. Or if they favour simple words or big words. Dig for ticks that may bleed into the narration. Do they think a lot? What do those thoughts look like? Do the ramble or keep things precise? Do they drive past a pasture and go Horse! no matter what? Those sorts of things.

Motivation:

Goals. Why? Overcome

What are their goals as the story begins and as it continues or concludes? Why are they doing what they are doing? And what do they need to overcome? 

This, in particular, is the part that will change over time and show character development. Though, really, all of the above can (and might) change. Being consistent as you build them is important so that when the change happens it matters.