I’ve been reading Chuck Wendig’s book “The Kick-Ass Writer: 1001 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published, and Earn Your Audience” which is available at Amazon and so far, has been helpful in several areas.
Imagine my surprise when I realized that his latest writing challenge combines several of the tips I’ve read in his book.
Max is a character that I’ve been developing for a long, long time. I probably have over 5,000 words of back-story written for him. To distill Max down to 250 words and still capture his essence was difficult. I am satisfied with the end result.
Writers who decide to use him for part two of the challenge, or anyone else who cares, please see the note at the end.
Max, 22, INFJ personality.
Max was an eight-year-old, well behaved, recent arrival to the overcrowded slums when his parents and little sister were killed. Stinger, a local shadowy crime figure saw the deaths and the now orphaned Max. In a rare moment of pity, Stinger took Max in.
Max was taught stealth and theft skills and began performing petty crimes to earn his food and shelter. Eventually, Max became proficient at fighting and weapons skills needed for more violent crimes necessary to afford life on his own.
These criminal actions, now mostly freelance work provided by Stinger, directly oppose Max’s natural personality. Legitimate work is rare. Max only commits crimes when he must, and, is remorseful for violence.
Max is in love with and loved by two women. He does not pursue them romantically fearing he would them because of his current lifestyle.
To most, Max appears confident, hard, and, cold. He speaks sharply, often with sarcasm, favoring deadpan and gallows humor. He is softer and somewhat open with the three people he trusts. Privately, Max is vulnerable, emotional, and conflicted. He searches for identity and a way out.
A fan of 1980 – 2020 pop culture, Max often quotes context appropriate film dialogue and song lyrics from that era. His personal style is all black, functional clothing with a black, hooded, real leather, duster style trench coat similar to one he saw in “The Matrix” and a pair of mirror shades after reading the book.
(c) 1989 A.R. Stone
Note For Borrowers:
I’m REALLY hoping many of you take Max for a test drive in as many different genres and settings as possible. As Chuck mentions in the book, a good character should be able to stand on its own in any setting or genre and I want to see how well Max does. Also, feel free to change Max’s gender as I’ve debated doing so on and off.
As writers know, characters are written for and often a reflection of the story’s setting. Max is one of the many characters created for a dystopian future circa 2085 that I have many stories to tell about.
Aside from the last paragraph which contains some references to being in the future (which I’m sure you can change or ignore for your setting/story as needed), I’ve stripped out all futuristic backstory elements, all the tech, and left you the meat (pun intended) of one of my babies.
Any comments on the character are also welcome.