Getting Inside a Character’s Head – Part 2: Answers with Domerin

Getting Inside a Character’s Head – Part 2: Answers with Domerin

When I wrote a few weeks ago about exercises for getting into a character’s head, I flashed back to my old Livejournal days. There, I answered many a questionnaire about my characters. I thought it might be fun to do it again. So I’ve used my own exercises (in brief) with one of my favourite characters (Domerin) to offer a glimpse inside his head. Feel free to do the same on your blog if you’d like.

Where does your character live? Go with them through the door and tour every room of their abode.
Domerin lives in an apartment in a nice area of his country’s capital city. His apartment is fairly high up the building, located several doors away from the elevator. The walls are thick, so the building is quiet. Just inside the door is a small foyer with tile floor. To the right is a small mat for shoes (where Domerin deposits his combat boots upon returning from work), and an indented closet area (sans doors) for coats and other outdoor equipment. This opens into the apartment proper.

The apartment has an open concept design. To the right from the door is the kitchen and to the left is the living room. There are no walls separating them. The kitchen is roughly square-shaped, with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances. It is generally clean but this is largely because he doesn’t make much use of it. (Domerin’s two most operated appliances are the fridge/freezer and the microwave.) On the far side of the kitchen is a small island that serves as a table. There are two stools on either side. Domerin has no other dining room furniture.

Along the far wall of the living room is a TV flanked by several shelves. There rests a disorganized array of DVDs stacked mostly on the shelves. Along the wall opposite the kitchen is a large, well-worn couch (navy blue in colour) and across from the TV are a pair of well-worn chairs (brown in colour). The walls are the default colour they were painted when he moved in – not white, but neutral shades of brown and cream.

On the far side of the living room/kitchen (beside the TV, opposite the door) is a narrow hallway. On the right-hand side, the first door is a bathroom, medium sized, with tile floors and walls. It has a toilet, sink and stand-in shower with glass doors (no tub). It is a modern looking bathroom, mostly white and black, with bright lights and stainless steel light fixtures.

Across the hallway (on the left-hand side), is the master bedroom. Like most of the rest of the apartment, it is spartan in decoration. Most of it is taken up by a large bed (queen sized), and a large, dark-wood armoire. On the side of the room facing away from the living room, there’s a decent sized closet. On the left-hand side of the bed is a night stand which holds a lamp, an alarm clock, and a disorganized mishmash of other things, usually including at least one book.

Continuing down the hallway, on the right-hand side (same side as the bathroom) is a small guest room with a second, smaller bed and a small night stand beside it. Across the hall from there (left-hand side, beside the master bedroom) is a small walk-in closet used for linens and other storage. It is reasonably tidy because Domerin hires a maid to keep it clean.

What is your character’s normal routine? Go with your character for an entire day.
Domerin doesn’t sleep much (for biological reasons, he doesn’t actually need to). On average he will sleep for about three hours every night. He is always up by 5:00 AM, at which point he will usually take a jog (unless it’s raining heavily, in a drizzle he will still jog). After that he eats a light breakfast, usually purchased from a local coffee shop, along with a cup of coffee. He then returns to his apartment, showers and prepares for work.

On a typical work day, Domerin spends most of his time at work. Sometimes that means in the office, catching up on paperwork or organizing others to handle a task. (As a small aside, Domerin works in a sort of special police force, and he’s fairly high within the ranks). Just as often, his work takes him out of the office to deal with problems in the city, or far abroad. Domerin is comfortable with travel, even when it is spontaneous. He can make himself comfortable in most situations, even if it means sleeping on the ground. His job takes him into a lot of risky situations and he often has to deal with difficult decisions and emotional tension.

On days when he is in his home city, Domerin will go out for dinner, either alone or with friends (he rarely cooks, and when he does it’s usually stuff he can heat up in the oven or microwave). On a typical non-work day (which are rare occurrences for him), he will usually spend the day with friends or, if he hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in a while, catching up on sleep. In terms of hobbies, Domerin likes to play chess (though not many people like to play with him any more). He doesn’t have much free time, and what time he has is usually spent being social.

What is the most defining moment in your character’s history?
One of the most defining characteristics of Domerin’s life is his relationship with his father – so actually a series of events. Domerin and his father have never gotten along. His father seems to have wanted a copy of himself, and Domerin is anything but. Every choice he has made has been met with criticism from his father, especially if it wasn’t the same choice his father would make. He has struggled with this, not because he seeks recognition or reconciliation, but because he wants to be his own person, free of judgment. These tensions have arisen over everything from Domerin’s choice of weapons to master, education to pursue, preferred career and even his sexual preference. (Domerin likes men and his father is one of those assholes who believes that’s a choice).

Mostly due to these tensions, Domerin decided to leave home when he came of age and make a life for himself independent of his father’s wealth and influence (Domerin is from a fairly well-to-do family). He feared if he did not sever these ties, his every accomplishment would be overshadowed by his father’s insistence that he would be worthless on his own. He has, of course, proven his father wrong by being accepted into one of the most prestigious military forces in his country, a position even his father covets (which, of course, has caused further tension between the two of them). Without this strife, Domerin would have made severely different choices and would likely be a different person.

How does your character view the world?
Domerin is something of a cynic, jaded because of the long-lived nature of his people. And he has seen a lot. He tends to be private and stoic, hiding his emotions from all but his closest friends. He tends to be moral, though not religious. He follows a strict code of honour and refuses to step over those lines – which has gotten him into trouble on numerous occasions. He doesn’t believe in gods or the supernatural; in fact, Domerin only believes in what he can see, touch and experience for himself.

I throw Domerin into situations he’s not comfortable with fairly regularly, so stay tuned for some of those! ;) In the mean time, I’ll conclude with a few random facts that I find interesting:
Domerin doesn’t have a sweet tooth, but he is fond of orange cream, particularly the orange dreamsicle popsicles, but anything orange cream flavoured will do.
Except coffee. Domerin doesn’t like sweet coffee. He drinks his coffee black and believes you ruin it if you put milk or sugar in.
If it existed in his world, Domerin’s favourite book would be Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.
“Domerin” is actually the short version of his name (his friends usually shorten it further to ‘Dom.’) (And no, he will not tell you the full version.)
Domerin’s favourite type of music is heavy metal.

If you enjoyed this post, let me know. Perhaps I’ll look into some other character’s heads in the near future ;)

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