In response to the very brief character sketches submitted for this project, our editorial team has the following notes for the author.
Cole Wessex, as described, is a time travelling steam punk story concept, and the writer submitted a proposed list of characters with evocative blurbs for the consideration of the Mad Scribblings Team.
Two editors: Janice Price and Stephen Dare have completed light notes for the William Griffin submission.
You can read the original here: http://chudhub.com/cole-wessex-time-bounder-mad-scribblings-debut/
Most of these would make good openings to a story, because they spur curiosity, but none of these characters actually have any personality except Violetta, who weeps over her underfed cat, indicating empathy.
Cole Wessex and Dead Prostitute in Alley.
What the hell is a guy with a posh name and a perfumed cravat doing in a filthy alley? And how is he so intimately aquainted with the smell of blood that he can distinguish it amongst all those other odors? How does he know there’s a dead hooker in the alley?
Good job spurring curiosity about the character.
Polly is displeased with Lavinia, who stole a box. The rest of this doesn’t make sense.
This is a bit off. He’s clearly crazy but there’s not much indication of thought process, which would be more interesting. He’s either too crazy or not crazy enough.
Cole Wessex again.
Ok. Clearly he’s southern, but still, what the hell is he doing in a squalid alley in London? At least, I guess it’s London because Springheeled Jack is prancing maniacally around the rooftops.
Mollies of the Leeking Horse and Darden MacClintock
This scene of frenetic action doesn’t reveal much of anyone’s character, except perhaps poor judgement or poor taste in entertainment on Darden’s part. Why is he rolling in shit? He’s a valet, not a farmhand. Also, call him a valet, calling him Cole’s man could be mistaken for meaning lover.
All I get from this is that Prunella is married to a physically repulsive rich old man. The description of the smell of his penis is a bit much.
She’s poor. She’s worried. She’s soft-hearted. Very sad. Seems a bit pointless, even though she has more indication of personality than any of the other characters. Does she have any connection to the story beyond not knowing that she’s just lost her sister?
Rich, heavily armed, likes slumming, doesn’t know his father owns the stews he’s been wallowing in. That’s potentially interesting, but there’s not much personality otherwise. A tremendous penis is not a personality.
She’s black, she’s beautiful, and it’s unclear whether she’s a servant or a prostitute. No idea what she looks like beyond brown skin and probably a big ass. No personality.
The Asian Sorcerer
How is this a sorcerer? He looks at a note and pours some tea.
In general, I tend to agree closely with Janice. Whilst some of this is engagingly worded, you seem to have left a good amount of the necessary ingredients off of the page, preferring to leave them in your head.
That said, I do think there are some compelling characters here. In particular the character referred to as ‘The Jack’. It seems to be a reference to the spring heeled jacks of Victorian Era urban folklore. Is it?
I also rather like the character of Darden McClintock.
In the brief passages that feature him, he seems comical, rugged and definitely an action figure. I think they also provide an instantly recognizable relationship between him and the title character, Cole Wessex.
But I do not see an actual character emerging for Mr. Wessex. We have details, and some dialogue, but literally nothing else to go on except a couple of extraneous facts (He is from South Carolina—-which you incorrectly noted as the ‘old’ state of South Carolina. If the timeline is 1750, then the state would literally be only 38 years old, having split off from Carolina in 1712.—, his father is a slave owner, and other characters in the series of sketches seem to know of him.) He does two things of interest: finds the body of a prostitute in an alley and stabs a character in the gut during the fight scene. We need to actually meet Cole Wessex, not gradually become acquainted with him.
Otherwise, what is the point?
For a time travel story, there was literally not one reference to time travel.
The mollies were pretty fun, I actually had to look that up for historical perspective. Sally Pinkbottom is a great drag name appropriate for the era.
Prunella, the banker’s wife is a dud. We know far more about her sleeping husband than we do about her. How old is she? is she also German? We know that she is unhappily married, but other than that, she is just a woman standing on a balcony. Not particularly compelling.
Way to sexually objectify and dehumanize a character. She is still being treated as chattel property (by you) Lets have something a little more insightful about the character, not just that she’s hot and likes being treated like a sex slave. We can get all of that and more from John Norman’s Gorean novels.
Overall you have good language rhythm and a compelling turn of phrase ability, but if you are going to put together a character sketch, tell us something about the characters instead of this oblique collection of tone poems.