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The Snowflake of Characters (A Character Development exercise):

Imagine a serene night of December with a surprise no sane mind would ever imagine. It might seem like any other winter night — where countless snowflakes twirl and flutter, and the holiday cheer adds a delightful anticipation amongst people. But little anyone knows, the borders between fictional worlds lie at their weakest ...

An extra hair prickles on the neck, an extra glint of light reflected upon the snow. And for this occasion, beings of many imaginations unite for an adventure.


The snowflake of a number of characters.

Here, it is a writing sandbox for us aspiring writers – a means of fleshing out our characters in situations almost completely beyond the control of the authors. And also, for us to have fun and have our characters relax outside their harrowing plotlines.

(To the mods, I wish to have this thread kept in Writer's Block. Whilst Forum Games or Role Playing forums have similar things, I'm aware, here is where tropers are actively encouraged to hone in their writing with each other.)

edited 2nd Dec '10 3:40:30 PM by QQQQQ

(OOC: Let me start off with a simple setting. Those joining, you are free to elaborate with a story of how your characters arrive at the scene. I myself will have a character come join tomorrow, once I get some shut-eye. wink)

Once upon a time...

At a rather ordinary street on the block, there was a bus stop; complete with a snow-crusted bench and a frosted bus shelter. If this bus stop had feelings to express right now, it would be lonely. The last bus which had visited was the no. 47 — people shuffled off, and people squeezed themselves on silly. That was an hour ago.

Ever since, countless people had walked past the stop in ignorance, and countless cars had gone with nary a bus in sight. Certainly though, nobody had left without especially feeling that prickling spark there. It felt like a lightning storm was going to come, the air charged with that preceding electricity.

It was December. Another snowflake joined its brethren on the pavement.

edited 30th Nov '10 11:39:08 PM by QQQQQ

PI
A man paused and watched the snoflakes disappear into an urban slush. He was a young man, with sun-blonde hair and a tan and a grimmace to suggest that he was several dozen degrees farentheit out of his element. He pulled the collar of a brand new winter coat tighter against his neck and shuffled into the bus shelter, having briefly entertained the hope that it would be warmer within its plastic walls. He had been wrong. If anything, it was colder. The man couldn't bring himself to take his hand from his pocket long enough to check his watch, but surely the bus would come soon. It had to.

He made futile, fidgeting attempts to keep himself warm, having found it wretchedly difficult to stand still. There was something else here, more than the cold or the general city buzz. Something was setting him on edge. He needed to run, to scream, to rip his shirt off and swim until he couldn't hear the sound of his own thoughts anymore. Circumstances intervened. He settled on pacing a tight pathway through the slush instead, but it wasn't quite the same.

The open pages of her paperback fluttered as she tried reading further, walking the sidewalk in absent-minded imagination. In spite of the less than ideal circumstances — the snow catching on her waving hair (and her nose too — "Achooo!") and the strutting passersby, the street lamps were glowing. She couldn't resist the opportunity.

Yomiko Readman's name seemed self-explanatory enough. She liked to read. Burying her nose in all the paperbacks and hardcovers she could get her hands on. This particular adventure she's enjoying right now was that of a suave detective, Johnny Gossamer, special issue #11 "The Christmas fairy who stole the presents." Bought it right off that street vendor a block away. It was a pity the cheap pulp the pages were printed on would shrivel like toilet paper when it got wet.

Where was she now? She gave a glance up; a sign read the 9th ave. of Mulberry St. A busy section of town this was; the commerce overflowed with people shopping last-minute for Christmas presents. Some struggled around tall stacks of boxes, and others were conniving enough to steal shopping carts for their excursions. Lucky her, she'd already bought what she'd wanted last week — in gift-wrapped bow-tied boxes, waiting to be feverishly torn open. Yay.

But first, a matter of great mystery to solve.

Amongst the junk mail sifted through this evening, Yomiko's eyes had caught upon a black box. Small enough to fit in the palm of her petite hands, and embossed atop was a silver emblem, a fleur-de-lis. After conventional methods of opening it had failed, it was only when the box slipped out onto the floor — she saw it for what it was. It automagically uprighted itself, emblem on top. Sprung open, like one of those jack-in-the-boxes. (Yomiko didn't like such shocking surprises, she'd flinched and might've let out a squeak of terror then.)

A tiny ballerina figure had danced in the arms of a gallant prince. A tune began to play. Swan Lake waltz, wasn't it? And the deep voice of a man who'd sounded constipated — inviting her to a festival hosted by one Jean Riel. His luxury mansion, at the Northern Mews. Dancing, candies, presents galore. An unforgettable experience promised, starting at midnight. Normally, Yomiko would be inclined as to skeptically question this random invitation, were it not for one thing.

The fleur-de-lis rang a half-forgotten bell in a past, something striking her as uncanny and curious.

The black box jiggled in her coat pocket as Yomiko kept on walking to the bus station, about to turn to the next page—

Someone bumped into her. Hard. Right on the shoulder, and she tripped face first onto the sidewalk slush.

The Johnny Gossamer novel tumbled onto the road. Cars ripped, ran over and defiled its pagers in every way a bookophile would cringe at. Well, there goes a cliffhanger.

edited 1st Dec '10 9:59:18 AM by QQQQQ

 5 Accela, Wed, 1st Dec '10 10:20:25 AM from one of my story's worlds
Nerd Mode Always On
The cold seemed to bite into every facet of Evi's being. Over her inadequate shirt and thin pants was wrapped a long, cheap overcoat she'd badgered off of a very confused man in a side street. A hat with a ragged hole in the back, rescued from its descent into a dumpster, was jammed over her ears. She was cold and frightened and had absolutely no bloody idea what was going on.

Where is this place and what are those things on the road and oh goddesses what am I doing here?!

She couldn't remember what had happened. The last thing she recalled was waking up this morning and planning to ask Ria for a ride to Lelinray for some supplies for the winter. And somehow between then and now she'd ended up in this strange, cold, chaotic world filled with things she'd never seen before and didn't understand. The rushing of cars on the street made her jump with every rattle of metal against pavement. The people around her didn't seem to notice her, too intent on their own matters to spot a scared-out-of-her-mind girl stumbling down the street with no idea where she was going or what she was going to do.

And then she collided with someone. A book went flying, landing in the street where it was promptly run over a dozen times. Evi sat up ready to swear, but the words died on her lips as she realized she'd completely knocked the other person over as well. Shivering, she got to her feet and stared at the bespectacled girl. "Um...are you okay?" she managed to ask.
"Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one." - E.B. White
"Mmmooommph, " Yomiko mumbles into the snow, a bit dazed. She thought the snow had asked her if she was okay. Then she remembered she got bumped into.

She pulled herself up to a stand — rubbing off the snow from her glasses, brushing the stuff off from her trenchcoat. The first thing she didn't notice was the scruffy woman, dressed all oddly with a holey hat on top.

No, wait. The first thing she did notice was the scattered pages, fluttering up in the wind.

"Oh, my!" Yomiko exclaimed. Her impulses took her over, and she bounded onto the road without a second thought. Drivers' impulses flared. Their horns blared — Yomiko imagined for a second their running thoughts: "What the $@*! is she doing? I'm late for my dinner party, hurry the @*!! up!"

Finally, she arrived at the epicentre of the mess. She collected herself — blocking out mental noise — focusing her will—

The papers froze midair.

Suspended.

These torn pages, like mindless birds suddenly latched onto a hive mind, flew swiftly into Yomiko's arms. It was a pile, a messy pile in random order; but Yomiko would sort them out on the interim.

The horns continued to honk — and without much further ado, she sprinted back onto the sidewalk, safe at last. Phew.

Only then, did she pay any attention to the offending woman. "Yea, " she curtly said, scrutinizing the hobo's shoddy looks. "I'm fine. But kindly watch where you're aiming at, will ya mate? Got me in a bit o' the scrunge there.."

PI
Arthur winced as two women collided on the sidewalk behind him, something flying out from between them and into the street—a book, now soaked through. He deliberated on the curb, loath to see a book destroyed, when something—less suspicius minds might have called it the wind—kicked the pages back into the owner's hands. They were still dripping, and they probably wouldn't last long...he deliberated again.

"C-could I see your book for a second, miss?" he asked, the chatter of his theeth distorting his words.

edited 1st Dec '10 11:18:26 AM by DaeBrayk

(OOC: Sorries for the late reply — three classes in a row and no break makes QQQQQ a tired troper. "Yaaawn")

Yomiko blinked. Had she heard the man right, asking her for the (once fully-bounded, now fully-destroyed) book? What did he want?

One of the papers slipped out from her hold; but like a lightning lizard's tongue she flicked her fingers in a pinch — barely keeping her foothold in the process. ("Aaa— waaah—!")

Oh, was he thinking the book itself was magic? Damn, she'll have to show more care in her power's use; once too often the Library reprimanded her about civilian exposure, citing the troubles they went through fixing hundreds of people's memories. Not an easy job.

"This book?" she said, clutching the pages harder beneath her arm. "Heavens, no, I don't think you would like reading these scrap pages.. who might you be?"

edited 1st Dec '10 4:02:00 PM by QQQQQ

PI
"I am..." he gently, with an air of mixed timidity and excitement, pried the remains of the book from her hands. "...excellent at putting destroyed books back together." he said, peeling the pages apart with slightly trembling hands. He handed it back a few moments later, a stack of neat and inexplicably bone-dry pages, as if they had been ironed. "You can probably get them back into the cover with some good glue...hah, hope I didn't overstep there." He shoved his hands back into his pockets and became once again preocupied with the melting snow. "I couldn't stand to watch it get ruined."

(He took it anyway. Whoops. If your character wouldn't have let him, like honestly fought him on it (mind, he's supposed to have kind of taken her by surprise) I can re-write it.)

edited 1st Dec '10 4:29:54 PM by DaeBrayk

 10 Loni Jay, Wed, 1st Dec '10 4:44:28 PM from Australia Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
A very small figure approached the bus stop, arms crossed and shivering. It was a strange figure, for this world at least, child-sized but not child-proportioned, with large cat-like ears flattened against the wind. It was wearing a dark green uniform, long-sleeved but clearly not designed for this climate.

Milo hugged his very inadequate uniform coat to him and looked around, a little awed at the snowflakes drifting down from the sky and crusting things with white drifts. It hadn’t snowed at home, and from what he’d seen of the border it never snowed there. He must be very lost indeed.

But it was pretty. Milo even put a hand out in front of him and tried to catch some of the snowflakes falling down at him, but it was so incredibly cold that he quickly tucked it back into his armpit. His ears were completely numb, and it worried him. Snow kept settling in a crust on them and melting into his fur.

The other thing that told him he was very far from home was the large shiny... things... whizzing past at great speeds. He’d given up trying a catch a better look at them as they sped past. At least they seemed to stick to the straight line of the road, but he kept well away from them anyway – they scared him.

There was an awful noise up ahead of Milo, and he started, blinking snowflakes out of his large eyes as he looked up. The speeding shiny things were disturbed, some of them stopping dead, others swerving off their paths, making that loud blaring noise like nothing he’d ever heard before. There was a cluster of people by the side of the road there, all of them human.

Milo’s spirits lifted. Maybe these people will know where I am! he thought. He hunched his shoulders and quickened his pace, boots crunching in the slushy snow.

He slowed as he neared the closest pair. They were half again as tall as he was. One was a man, the other a woman – maybe, it was difficult to tell because they were both bundled up in winter clothes. The woman was holding a sheaf of papers in her hand, looking surprised.

“Ex-excuse me?” he said shyly. Neither heard, so he raised his voice a little. “Excuse me? Hello?”

edited 1st Dec '10 4:48:15 PM by LoniJay

Be not afraid...
PI
"Oh, hi there." said Arthur to the small, cat-eared...man? Child? He was an odd-looking sort, certainly, but Arthur had seen odder. Plenty of people went into Arthur's line of work because, for one reason or another, be it blue skin or cat ears or an insatiable blood-lust, they couldn't make a living doing anything else. Judging by the uniform and the bewildered expression, this cat guy was new to the business. "Do you need any help?"

edited 1st Dec '10 5:01:23 PM by DaeBrayk

 12 KSPAM, Wed, 1st Dec '10 5:16:54 PM from Asylum Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Kishishishishi~
Snow falls from the sky in thick clumps, spotting the ground. They may fall white, but all Travis can see is gray. It's snowing ash. The streetlights set the sky ablaze and the fire in heaven gives way to more ash, burning its way down to earth.

"Soon it will all be engulfed in fire. The land and the sky will burn and the seas will run red with blood of thousands piled on the shore. The last man will stare up to smoldering heavens and finally see that all of it was his doing." Travis finishes, then chuckles. He had to lighten up. He'd kill himself if he wasn't careful. He chuckles agin.

He meanders down to the bus stop, intending to greet the people inside. Bu he stops for a moment. He swears the child has cat ears.

He dismises it, but can't help but look again, despite how he may look. Creepy, probably. Not a good first impression.

And, to his shock (and possibly delight), the child's hair gave way to actual, honest to god cat ears. They stood up and the child looked at him. Looks like he'd been spotted. No point in looking form a distance (although that hadn't really been his intent). The snow (or was it ash?) crunched as Travis walked over to the bus stop.

"Why hello, everybody.How y'all doing?"
Team? You mean cannon fodder? — neobowman

Goodfae: a mafia web serial
Yomiko regarded the child rather inquisitively, imagining for a second that he had cat-like ears poking out his head. It must be a headband of sorts, those cat-bands that seemed to be popular with folk lately.

His green coat, so thin for such a night, only served to make him look frail in her eyes. The poor lad — shivering. Yomiko could not help having sympathies for the stranger. There would always be another bus to take, for the midnight party..

"You look lost, little one, " she said. "And cold." She untied her red woolen scarf from her neck, and, kneeling down, offered to wrap it around his. "Were you looking for someone, perchance? Someplace?"

edited 1st Dec '10 5:36:11 PM by QQQQQ

 14 AC Drawings, Wed, 1st Dec '10 6:02:19 PM from MY PERSONAL REALITY
YOSH!
The boy hated the cold, hell he even hated being outside. He knew why he was out there but despised it nevertheless. He took one step in the snow and making little progress in hi steps, he could feel a a cold chill as a flakes touched his neck, causing him to hug himself tighter.

The boy was unusual in appearance, large dark brown bug-like eyes, a long pointed nose, but his hair was a very very dark red that stuck out at the sides, its color was like it was trying to be red naturally in hair that's predisposed to be black. His skin was dark, Hindi descent so he was biologically not disposed for cold weather.

Bundled in his primarily green heavy coat, scarf, mittens and hat, the disgruntled boy lamented his inability keep warm. He was overweight and stout, short even for a ten-year old. He continued with his mission and did not want to pause his mission, but he had to stop for the anomaly occurring before him. He loved distractions...
When All Else Fails, you have fun and flirt wit da ladies, dats da Drawings way!
 15 Accela, Wed, 1st Dec '10 6:05:10 PM from one of my story's worlds
Nerd Mode Always On
Evi was now very, very confused. Cat-people? What kind of bizarre world was this? It was a bit comforting, however, to know that she wasn't the only...oddity here. Clutching closer at her inadequate coat, she glanced around. Another person was approaching, a man who called a friendly greeting. She arched a thin eyebrow at him. Who was he? Who would walk up to random people and just say hello?

"Hello, " she replied warily, blue eyes narrowed in suspicion. This strange cold spot was becoming a bloody gathering. "I'm...I'm Evi. Do you know where exactly this place is?" Glancing at the other woman, she felt some of her initial resentment fade when she saw her gently tucking a scarf around the cat-child's small form.

edited 1st Dec '10 6:05:46 PM by Accela

"Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one." - E.B. White
 16 Pseudonym, Wed, 1st Dec '10 6:11:26 PM from The Keebler Tree
I like it here.
Ironically enough, Rae Wintra couldn't stand the cold. She looked at the others through the swarm of snowflakes. Her heart extended to them, she wanted to speak.

Keep your silence

The voice was back. Rae pulled her furry hood up over her head and studied the snowy pavement

edited 1st Dec '10 6:12:00 PM by Pseudonym

<(-_-<)(>-_-)> "FUSION HA"
 17 Accela, Wed, 1st Dec '10 6:19:33 PM from one of my story's worlds
Nerd Mode Always On
As she waited for a response, Evi suddenly whipped around. There was a woman standing there, face concealed in the shadows of her hood, staring at the snow-covered ground. All of Evi's inner alarms went off. Why was she there? Who was she? And why the bloody heck were all these people congregating at this really cold place? Surely even a strange world as this had some kind of shelter.

"Hey, you, " she called to the still figure, who started at Evi's voice. "You need something?" Immediately, she winced internally at her harsh tone. She really did need to work on her people skills.
"Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one." - E.B. White
 18 Pseudonym, Wed, 1st Dec '10 6:28:30 PM from The Keebler Tree
I like it here.
Rae shrank back from the voice. Her heart fluttered. Her mouth stayed shut. Ever so slightly, Rae turned toward the street
<(-_-<)(>-_-)> "FUSION HA"
 19 Loni Jay, Wed, 1st Dec '10 6:28:39 PM from Australia Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Oh, great. There were even more people than Milo had previously thought, and everybody was staring at him now. Well, not everybody - the woman in the ragged coat was looking at the newcomer in the hood.

The scarf was wonderfully warm as the human woman put it around Milo's neck. He flinched, surprised - he'd been kind of distracted - and then smiled up at her.

"Oh - Thank you, " he stammered. "I shouldn't really.. are you sure?" Had she called him 'little one'? He wasn't entirely sure how to take that.

edited 1st Dec '10 6:33:15 PM by LoniJay

Be not afraid...
 20 AC Drawings, Wed, 1st Dec '10 6:33:37 PM from MY PERSONAL REALITY
YOSH!
Ivan stepped from the outskirts crowed and leaned against the building, his curiosity peaking. He was fascinated by this menagerie the likes of which he had rarely encountered. But frankly, this snow was getting into his eyes too much. He needed to keep it away from his face.

The snow literally divided right before his very eyes. it was a subtle control, enough wind manipulation to keep his line of sight clear, but not enough to be noticeable by the naked eye and the average civilian.
When All Else Fails, you have fun and flirt wit da ladies, dats da Drawings way!
 21 Accela, Wed, 1st Dec '10 6:39:53 PM from one of my story's worlds
Nerd Mode Always On
Something had just changed. Again, Evi's inner alarm went off. She glanced around at the assembled people, from the small cat-person to the woman with the book to the curious man to the girl with the fur hood. Somewhere nearby, she just knew, someone had used magic. This world was so...so dead compared to her own in terms of magic. There was no constant background feeling of energy, no slight tingling at her fingertips, that when something cut through the emptiness, she could feel it.

Her eyes fell upon someone leaning against a building, gaze fixed upon them. There was something about his eyes. She couldn't tell what from this distance, but she knew it was something.
"Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one." - E.B. White
 22 AC Drawings, Wed, 1st Dec '10 6:47:32 PM from MY PERSONAL REALITY
YOSH!
Ivan tared into the eyes of the girl who looked at him with his knowing and bug-like eyes. Nothing escaped him. Her outfit was ridiculous for this weather. He wore four layers and he was freezing. Her clothing was incredibly inadequate. If he had to guess she was a visitor, teleporter perhaps. The point was she was conspicuous to a Genius like himself. He smirked his smug smirk.

He was bored with his old group of oddities and this new one would be wondrous to study. And perhaps manipulate. But behind his eyes was another voice, calling to his brilliant mind screaming that her wind was different, very different.
When All Else Fails, you have fun and flirt wit da ladies, dats da Drawings way!
PI
Arthur made one last-ditch attempt to rub the life back into his ears as the knot of people waiting for the bus thickened, but he couldn't take it. There was a small, strange shop with a clear view of the bus station—so strange that Arthur had thus far avoided it even in favor of the biting cold, but now the stop was croweded and the bus was late, and he had had quite enough. He crossed the sidewalk and pushed through the little shop door.

The shop was not cozy or quaint or mysterious in the manner of old dusty things. It was merely a shop—the dirty, unpleasant kind you avoid going into if at all possible. It had a dingy glass door with an overloud bell duct-taped to the top to mark people's comings and goings. The welcome mat was the unwelcomest mat Arthur had ever seen, and if he had had the stomach to examine it, he would have deemed it splattered with long-dried blood. The single room of the shop was empty save the cashier and yet, nausiatingly crowded. Arthur went from icy to uncomfortably hot, but kept his scarf and jacket because it was the only thing insulating him from the unidentifyably repugnant air.

In the shop, merely "the shop", because the name it bore slipped off of the memory in a feat of almost supernatural unremarkableness, one could buy out-of-date periodicals and small books and cigarettes and a small painted cat statue that waved hello and a lawn goose. Arthur bought nothing and observed as little as he could.

edited 1st Dec '10 7:01:49 PM by DaeBrayk

(OOC: @AC and Accela — You are having a staring contest. Staring gets boring. Boring makes boredom. Take the initiative. waii)

edited 1st Dec '10 7:01:22 PM by QQQQQ

 25 Accela, Wed, 1st Dec '10 7:04:37 PM from one of my story's worlds
Nerd Mode Always On
Shivering again at the snow, Evi made up her mind. She was freezing and confused and had no idea at all why she was still standing here with this strange group of people. The man leaning against the building would not stop staring at her, and she'd had enough. Noticing the other fellow detach himself from the crowd, she watched him head into a strange little corner shop. It looked relatively sheltered in there, and maybe he would be able to answer her questions about where she was.

So she followed him.

He glanced at her in confusion as she swung the door open and breathed deeply, an action she immediately regretted as the smell of the shop hit her sensitive nose. But at least it wasn't cold in here. Still, it wasn't the cheeriest of places; there was something very wrong in this little building, something she couldn't identify but that made her spine shiver (unless that was her lowered body temperature). "Hi. Um. I'm Evi. I don't know who you are or where I am or what this weird world is, so could you help me?" she asked, the words coming fast and slightly frantic.

edited 1st Dec '10 7:09:46 PM by Accela

"Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one." - E.B. White
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