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Creative Recycling
Posted Jan 6, 2010 - 9:29:40

This is Lynn from 2006... she looks differentSo, I have to come clean to the readers of UnCONventional: One of the four main characters of the strip wasn't created originally for it. That's right, Lynn, the snarkiest of all of our protagonists, is recycled from not one, but two old projects of mine.

I know, you're shocked. Either that, or you're choking. If you're choking... umm... "Keep Coughing, Keep Coughing." Yeah. That's what the manual said.

The image that accompanies this post is how Lynn was represented the last time I used her in a project I was co-writing called "Full Circle" - which was 2006 if I recall correctly. The design is a bit different than what you'll find in, say, Tuesday's comic strip, and I'm not just talking about the stickfigure/non-stickfigure transition. Lynn used to be a little gothier than she is now -- but she was 21 in her last appearance. I figure I'm currently writing Lynn at age 25, so those changes may just be someone aging.

It's interesting though because Lynn wasn't created for the 2006 project either. She was invented for a project I was working on in (gasp) 2003. That 2003 story was intended to be a much more serious piece about characters who were putting their lives back together, and Lynn was one of the two protagonists.

The other was a recycled character from Room 825. He got recycled into the 2006 story too...

...and yes, that means UnCONventional directly takes place in the same continuity as Room 825. No one read Full Circle or Room 825 though, so I doubt anyone cares.

But the point is she was created for a much darker story than what I plan for UnCONventional. It means her past is fully fleshed out, and there are actual issues she has which have led to her sarcastic exterior. Will we ever explore these deeper motivations in UnCONventional?

Umm, that's highly unlikely.

It wouldn't fit in on any level, and it would make the strip far too depresssing. But I'm really curious to know if anyone else has a cast of characters they recycle on occasion. I mean, I do it constantly as I spend so much time building these complex backstories. I put so much in that I just don't want to be done with a character merely because I've shelved a plot idea.

I think I'd miss them honestly.
- Traegorn

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I read Full Circle! I'm sorry my boyfriend is a bum.
I recycle characters all the time.  So far, the only one you've encountered is Vera--and I'm probably going to use her again (although in an entirely different context).

There's also Iris, who was originally created for a series of fantasy stories.  She (and her younger sister) made a brief appearance in one of the Zombie House D&D campaigns.

But the one I reuse most is probably Meraden, with or without her counterpart Thomoroc.  I think I've used her particular character concept five or six different times, altered slightly to fit the plot.

I think everyone does this to a certain extent.
Hell, if I mentioned characters I'd recycled in Gaming contexts, Vinny and Ilyena take that cake.  I created them a decade ago, and have recycled them more times than I can count. :P
I recycle personality traits more than full characters, I think. Heh. And some characters just have their stories reworked so much that it's nearly a different story...

"Ilyena"? Trae, were you reading Wheel of Time, once upon a time?
I'm a big fan of the Wheel of Time, but oddly enough I'd created her prior to ever reading the series.

That reminds me, I have to get started on that new book...
I've recycled a sizable portion of the background cast from my old novel attempt (scrapped around 2004) into my current project, though very few of them feature very prominently. I didn't really intend to recycle any of them, initially. Then I guess I started missing them or something. I think my oldest recycled character is probably the magician I made up in 2000--he's been recycled at least twice, and though he's not currently in any of my projects, I'll probably be using him again eventually.

Trae Dorn
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