Last week, we started to design our three-dimensional characters using the prime example of Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man. Let's pick up where we left off and examine the second side of this character-driven triangle: Social.
Now, with Physical characteristics, we were looking at our characters from a very shallow POV. What do they look like? What do they sound like? Now, we want to examine how their place in society affects them as a person. These descriptions should no longer be simple sentences. Really get into the meat of the character.
1. Class (Lower, Middle, Upper): Peter Parker is lower-middle class. His Uncle Ben is [insert topical blue-collar job here], and his Aunt May works as [insert maternal position, such as a nurse or teacher, indicate nearing retirement age]. Peter has teetered on the edge of poverty his whole life. He works hard because that's the only way he knows how. If he suddenly had an influx of cash, he wouldn't know where to start.
2. Occupation (Type of work, hours of work, income, condition of work, union or non-union, attitude towards organization, suitability for work): Currently, Peter is a student full time. He is about to enter into part-time Super Hero work, which will eventually lead to a freelance gig as a photographer for the Daily Bugle. In all of these endeavors, his compensation is unfair and disproportionate to his efforts.
3. Education (Amount, kind of schools, grades, favorite subjects, poorest subjects, aptitudes): Peter is about to graduate high school as valedictorian (depending on which universe you subscribe to). He is very smart, perhaps even a genius. His aptitude for science and engineering is unmatched in his age group. He is not athletic (yet), and tends to be bullied for his nerdy ways. He enjoy photography, which is probably why he gets bullied (because kids are dumb and don't understand how that sort of skill is super lucrative later in life).
4. Home Life (Parents living or dead, earning power, orphan, parents separated or divorced): Parents are dead, and I wouldn't get too attached to that fancy Uncle Ben. The loss of his parents came at a young age, so Peter doesn't hold much for them (depending on which storyline). When Ben dies, his entire world is shattered. Uncle Ben was more than just a father figure. He was the morale rock upon which Peter founded his entire belief system. Ben uttered the infamous words "With great power comes great responsibility."
5. Religion: Peter is American Christian, which is to say he celebrates the major holidays in order to tie-into action figures.
6. Race/Ethnicity, Nationality (Country of Citizenship): Peter is white / most likely Anglo-Saxon in origin, and was born in New York.
7. Place/Standing in Community (Leader among friends, clubs, sports): Peter is an outcast, nerdy, and low on the high school totem pole. He is insular, seeking out hobbies that help avoid social contact.
8. Political Affiliations: Peter isn't really into politics. If you had to nail him down, he's a little left of center. He believes that if you have the power to do something, you have the responsibility to do it.
9. Amusements, Hobbies (Books, newspapers, magazines they read): Peter is into photography, mechanical engineering, and other nerdy endeavors.
Now we're starting to get a picture of our hero. We can understand a little about how his background influences his future. Continue to develop your own character, and we'll finish this project on Thursday.