An Undramatic Person

when I look at you, boy // I can see the road that lies ahead // I can see the love and the sorrow // bright fields of joy // dark nights awake in a stormy bed // I want to go with you // but I can't follow // so keep to the old roads // keep to the old roads // and you'll find your way
andrew peterson, you'll find you way

Joy asked me if I would do a dramatis personae list for Talldogs.  Unfortunately, I feel that if I did that, several key aspects of the plot would be spoiled.  But I thought a little character fractalling for my main character Raymond St. Jermaine might be fun, and appease you.  I picked up the following series of questions from another blog and thought I would share the link and my results in case anyone was interested in either. 
physical/aesthetic characteristics
1. What colour is his hair? The author of this questionnaire asked for the answer to be specific. Raymond’s hair is an ‘ebony brown.’ As a bonus, I will add that he keeps it Roman-cut.

2. What colour are his eyes? Again with the specifics: Raymond has ‘honey eyes,’ which are the lighter spectrum of the common brown eye pigmentation. …He does not have metaphorically honeyed eyes. That’s another character…

3. What colour is your character’s skin? Naturally Teutonic, if left indoors Raymond’s skin would assume the colour of morse ivory: a pale set, slightly greyed with the presence of very small brown freckles. But since his skin is outside more often than it is in, he has a decidedly nutty cast.

4. What special aesthetic characteristics does he have? With his Equestrian lineage, Raymond has excellent form and bone-structure, especially in his face, but he is not abnormally gifted in either height or breadth. To be honest, he is rather average for the men among his set.

5. Does he have any piercings or tattoos? The author said that if the answer was no, then to specify why not. It is not unheard-of for men to have rings and tattoos, but not among Raymond’s strata, and not from his demographic. While he does not hold anything against people who do have them, he would be very uncomfortable to have either himself.

6. What is the sexiest physical characteristic of your character? What a lark! He’s a handsome buck, a bit in the common way for young Equestrian gentlemen, but he cuts a good figure nonetheless and he has a ram-rod set to his spine which makes him stand out in a crowd otherwise at ease with itself.

7. What is the ugliest physical characteristic of your character? I do not like avoiding questions, because then it looks as though I am being lazy. Suffice it to say that the answer to this question is not available to the public as yet.

8. What does Raymond wear? From the foxies up! Trousers, usually in brown, grey, or black cloth—buckskin-coloured for special occasions—neatly fitting and tapering to the ankle; shirtsleeves in white with braces overtop; doublet of a complimenting colour with the trousers, varying in weight according to the weather, fastened up the middle with buttons, low collar, short skirt. Footwear invariably a pair of riding boots with a gentleman’s spur-and-sword set to round it off.

BONUS: Why does he like wearing that outfit? Raymond is a quiet, heavy-set personality and does not choose to draw much attention to his person, for other diverse reasons, through his clothing. He dresses to the fashion and will never appear dated, but his most flippant adornment may be a stamped floral pattern in the crushed velvet of a particularly dark doublet, no more.
expressions of emotion
9. When your character smiles, what does it look like? Raymond’s smile is a straight-lipped affair, very quick and usually done while he is not looking directly at you. If you did not know him well, you might mistake it for a consciously long-suffering expression.

10. What does his laugh sound like? If you can get a hearty laugh out of him, it will ten to one be completely soundless. If you catch him with some piece of gammoning unawares, he might give a little chuff.

11. What is his normal style of speech? “Like a tiger speaking in a cello.” Raymond is not very talkative, but he is a perfectly competent speaker. I have noticed that (if he knows you well) when he becomes agitated or upset, he will lash out at nothing in particular and give a highly intensified version of a report of whatever has irritated him, and after that he will lapse back into a disapproving calm. His voice is otherwise very pleasant to listen to: I sometimes think his best friend coaxes him into speaking just to hear the comforting sound of his voice.

12. How does Raymond express and/or handle anger? On that chiseled face, it isn’t hard to tell when he is disapproving. His brows contract and his pupil shrinks, his lips draw shut in a tight line. He becomes even more reserved, even if he cannot leave the room, throwing up a kind of wall between himself and whatever has offended him. He does not usually express his anger violently: he learned long ago to hold that in check.

13. Does your character cry? No, not since he was a very young boy.

14. How easy is it for other people to read Raymond’s emotions? For strangers, not at all. He is generally mistaken as being judgmental, cold, and proud—and he may very well be all these things, but in company he is readily a gentleman, if not a gregarious one. If you care to get to know him, and he takes a liking to you, it is not hard to see which way the wind is blowing with Raymond.
character beliefs
15. Is your character religious? The questionnaire author asked, “If so, what faith and to what level of devotion?” The answer is Christianity, and I do not know how to gradate “levels” of devotion in it. Raymond, like any other man, remains dependent on God, but has a very firm faith and a very strong heart. He has got over that trying stage of worrying about his own salvation: forgetting what lies behind, he presses on to the goal which is in Christ Jesus.

16. How does Raymond view those of other faiths? In this Raymond is both judgmental and tolerant. He will not press the matter. You’re wrong, but he will not press the matter. :P

17. What are your character’s core values? What, above all else, does your character feel must be conserved in the world? His own soul and the souls of his friends.

18. How willing is Raymond to fight for those values? It would not require a second thought. I don’t believe it even require a first.
character likes and dislikes
19. What is your character’s favourite food? The small forward cuts of the tenderloin filet, the filet de bœuf, flash grilled and rare, served with a slice of sweet cheese and a sauce of pepper-laced, Madeira-type wine.

20. What is his favourite colour? The colour of a full-bodied red. There is something rich and sleepy and blood-stirring about that particular colour…

21. What are your character’s sleeping preferences? Raymond would put off going to sleep if he could. He prefers the air to be cool, and he prefers to have someone in the room with him to wake him if that should be needful.

22. What is your character’s sexual identity? He is heterosexual. I think that, while he can intellectually tolerate homosexuals, if he were placed in close proximity with one and made aware of the circumstances, he would be very uncomfortable. He would be civil, because that is his nature, but he would be no more comfortable than you would be if you had twisted your ankle, or had a bad taste in your mouth.

23. What are your character’s sexual preferences? He would have to be married (!) and rather comfortable with his spouse. Again, for strangers, he is not easy to get to know, and he is aware of his reserved appearance, which can be very daunting to a woman. He does not easily give his affections, either. But all in all, barriers being surmounted, I think he would be a rather tame player.
character introspection
24. What is your character’s biggest goal in life? In this present life, Raymond needs a frame of reference, a place to belong, something he can put his hand to.

25. What does he believe is his greatest virtue? His honour.

26. What does your character believe is his greatest vice? Bitterness.

27. What motivates your character most? “Yea, sirrah, we have a code of honour, the motto of which runs ‘Be ye holy, as your father in heaven is holy’!”

28. Is your character objective-oriented? “Get a crew. Get a job. Keep flying.” I think that if anyone other than Kipling had written If, it would have been Raymond’s father. Raymond is a hard worker, conscious that even though he is a gentleman’s son and has every right to throw his pedigree around, if he wants any respect he must earn it. He is civil to all, works hard with his hands, applies himself to his studies, and has always in mind the good of his family and his estate. Those are the things that matter to him.

29. Would Raymond rather be a great person or a good person? Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of him. And he said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to him, “Command that in your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on your right and one on your left.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” [The sons of Zebedee] said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on my right and on my left, this is not mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”

30. Would your character rather be hated for being who he is or loved for pretending to be someone else? One thing Raymond despises is duplicity. Whether loved or hated, he will always be himself.

31. Is Raymond an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert? Raymond is naturally introverted. I do not know if I clarified that he is not shy. I am shy. Raymond is austere. But when he is among his friends, that pleasant, assured Raymond comes to the fore and he is a little less like stone.

32. Is your character creatively expressive? Not in the sense that he paints, or sculpts, or writes literature. He works with his hands and keeps his mind sharp through reading and physical labour.

33. What is your character’s disorder? Everyone has to have a disorder. You’re not normal unless you have a disorder. It is likely that, with Raymond’s natural tendency to be introverted, he has added a now-subconscious desire to self-efface himself due to how he perceives himself. He does not really care what other people think of him, but he assumes that everyone else sees him as he sees himself, and that is never nice, no matter how self-assured you may be on a certain level.

34. What is Raymond’s standard emotional state? At home, harassed. Among his friends, tranquility.

35. Is your character materialistic? Not really, certainly not if you pressed him about it, but ownership and possessions are very important to his station and the way in which his family is viewed by other gentlemen’s families, and he does take great care of the material wealth of his life.

36. What is your character’s major learning style? Raymond is a mixture of auditory and kinesthetic—depending on the circumstances, he relies heavily on one or the other.

37. I am a _________. How would Raymond complete that sentence? A St. Jermaine.

38. Life is an act of _________ing. What verb would your character use to complete that sentence? Taking: taking up one’s cross. Dying: dying to one’s self. Pressing on: pressing on to the upward goal of the prize which is in Christ Jesus. Forgiving: forgiving, for one has been forgiven much. Loving: loving, for without love one is not a son of God.
What do you think? Would you be friends with him?

15 ripostes:

  1. Yes. If he would let me. I'm rather exuberant and tend to scare people off.

  2. That's the trouble. You may be all for being friendly, but it's always a bit of a let-down when the other person is not so interested. :P

  3. I would definitely be friends with him. Well, want to be. I would immediately feel my shyness rising to the surface if I could not succeed in making him smile. I would figure he disliked me because of that, but I would not think harshly of him. I would feel it must be something I had done. But I think I would have a lurking respect for him and would look quietly around for things I might do that would win his respect for myself. I would feel that his good opinion was worth winning and I think I'd feel...I don't with him in charge.

  4. Safe with him in charge. That is a wonderful sensation to discover in my readers, especially given the nature of the plot. ^_^

  5. So, I love Raymond and would readily put in my friendship application.
    Eyeshadow or no eyeshadow.
    Also, these are fantastic questions.

  6. It's relieving to know that, no matter what he hypothetically chooses to do with his face, you will still love him. XD

    You should answer these questions too. For someone. Angel, maybe; even though he's already had far too much spotlight as is. The brute.

  7. Oh my word!! I love Raymond. No, I will rephrase that, I think he is a perfectly wonderful character... his virtues and vices, his character, his honour and austerity... ! I know I would want to be his friend. Oh yes please!

    The question if this wish would be reciprocated on his part is another matter entirely. For where he is austere and slightly judgmental, I am his complete opposite :P I love his character though, - he'd be the type I would cheer on in a story, and hopefully hold close to my heart in years to come ;). I love that his Christian faith is so much a part of ... his character, WHO he is, that it fits so naturally and without a fuss. I love that. And I love that he isn't perfect, but is growing quietly...

    Thanks for wetting our appetite even further, Jenny you wonderful vixen!

  8. I think I would like to be friends with Raymond, if he would let me. But such a relationship would probably pan out in my standing discreetly next to him, both of us surveying the world from our quiet vantage points. O_o I don't think I'd have the courage to speak much to him, but I think we'd be kindred spirits nonetheless. ;)

    Mm, I like him a lot. He's a good solid fellow with his head on straight and his heart in the right place. Please don't do anything too torturous to him in your books. ;D

  9. (Oh. And may I steal this for Agapeto? I've a feeling he needs some time in the limelight after Rune's taking front seat recently. ;)

  10. Joy - You may be the first person of my acquaintance to call me a vixen. Props to you. =^.^=

    Bree - I don't mind at all! After all, I stole it also. I would love to see you run up this post for any of your characters.

    A good, solid fellow; no fuss, no muss. It throws me into a humour to see that every one of you (with the exception of Mirriam's David Bowie references, and I think Mirriam was raised by men anyway) is reacting to Raymond the way every single woman in the book reacts. Hmm hmm, you are all my playthings...

    (What do you mean, don't do anything too torturous? With whom are you speaking, don't you know?)

  11. Great. Now I'm going to get my heart broken. I always DO. I hate that I'm so susceptible to loving men in books, but then...I'm susceptible to loving everyone in every book. I am rather expansive in my affections.

  12. *clasps hands together*
    I was raised by my mother and three sisters,
    with heavy influences of my father and brother.
    I was, however, always a tomboy.
    A very girly tomboy.
    I'm not sure how I manage(d).

  13. Yes, well, Mirriam, you react to everything exceptionally. I always stand back in breathless anticipation to see what new and crazy thing will come out of your mouth. I am never disappointed. You are a treasure.

    Rachel, my fellows will tread your heart under their feet. I should just tell you now, so that you know what to expect. I wish you the best. Of agony.

  14. I wanted something clever to say, for reasons of living up to expectations.
    But all I really did was print off that remark to throw in my jar of good things to read on glum days.