KHInsider Roleplayer Interview: Piercing Light



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First of all, thanks for taking the time to be interviewed. Can you give a brief introduction of yourself, how long you've been roleplaying and where members are likely to find you in the RP section and the forums in general?

Well let’s see, As everyone can see my username is Piercing Light, but my real name is Marc Wilson. I live in Maryland, and am a full time student at a local college. Currently I’m working on my major in Video game Production. As for when I started Roleplaying, jeez, how long has it been now? XD I think I started back in the later part of 2008, I had been posting randomly in the other sections, but hardly ventured all the way down into the Roleplaying section. One day I was simply curious about it, and decided to give it a go. I got pretty hooked on it soon. I find myself mostly in the canon section, but every now and then I’ll join a RP in the Original section.

You've been roleplaying a lot longer than I have then--I think my first roleplay was in 2010. My first contact with you was in 2013, when your character Chizuma, a green-haired girl with a shark-smile, showed up in Night of Fate. Where did she come from? Was she original to that roleplay?

Ah Chizuma… I must have been in a loopy mood when I first came up with her. Oddly enough I thought of her at first as a potential character for a Naruto RP, but that never panned out. She first showed up in a Romance Roleplay of all things. I was just in the mood to try her out and decided to throw her in something that she most likely had no business being in. As for inspirations for the character, I looked to the Joker from the Batman series. That’s where her affinity for dangerous ‘toys’ comes from, as well as her green hair, comedic attitude, and (rather unsettling) smile.

Ah, so she's a repeat character! I actually want to ask you more about that later. First, however, can you take us through that creative process - it could be for Chizuma or any other character you remember clearly - but how does a character develop, both in your mind and on the screen?

Oh boy, my creative process is a mess of organized chaos. In my mind I will brainstorm various ideas for a character, often inspired by something as concrete as the Joker (for Chizuma) or as small and vague as a plant (which inspired an alien character with hair that could perform photosynthesis). Where I start to build them up varies as well, but I tend to start with their personality, as that helps me grasp what they may look like. I then think of what their history may be, and how they came to be the way they are. After that, I'll often think of any themes I want to explore for that character. The theme may be something like 'loneliness, and the feeling of wanting to be accepted,' which was actually Chizuma's theme, (You could see a bit of it in the last post I typed for your RP) Or perhaps the human condition and it's worth, which I tried to explore with an emotionless cyborg character

So are these characters (and the inspiration behind them) drawn from a particular roleplay you want to put them in, or do you basically come up with characters free-form and then find a roleplay where you think they can fit in and grow?

I tend to create them for a Roleplay that I am interested in joining. This is so I can make sure they fit in with the tone of the RP. Usually anyway, sometimes (rarely) I'll come up with a character and just shove them in something that seems to fit, just so I can enjoy using them. I keep in mind however,that character development is a must.

How then does a character like Chizuma go from Naruto to romance to Kingdom Hearts? Or to take another example, your characters Acesto and Shizuka from Solace in Night also show up in Spirit Panic! and R.E.M. respectively. Do they change between these roleplays, or are the roleplays similar enough that they can fit in equally well in multiple worlds?

Chizuma had no business in that Romance RP other than comic relief, (which is basically her role in every RP she’s in) As for Acesto and Shizuka, I felt that the character’s personalities and themes blended well enough with the other RPs to place them in them. I’ll change their abilities of course, to fit in with the RP they are in, but as long as their abilities aren’t ‘who’ they are, it works. I couldn’t place my cyborg character in R.E.M for example, because well, cyborgs couldn’t be a part of that world. But a cheerful, slightly awkward girl could fit.

I can understand that. Looking back, then, how many original characters do you think you've created for roleplays? Do you have a definite number, or would you have to estimate?

Good question, lemme just open up this catalog of characters an- AGGHHH it's crushed me!

*ahem* I'm not quite sure, I've made quite a few. I have a word doc that only has 'some' of my characters, and it's over 21 pages long XD

Wow! That is "quite a few." Is that just names, or do you have templates in there as well?

It's for reference, so it's templates.

That's a little more reasonable I suppose. Still, hard to keep tabs of that many. Can you name a few (without looking at your reference sheet) who have really stood out for good or bad reasons? Any characters you're embarrassed by (or just didn't live up to satisfaction)?

You can name characters you're proud of too, I guess that's okay.


My character Capell stands out to me, not because he’s one of my best (in fact he’s pretty much a typical ‘shounen’ hero good guy) but because he was the first original character I made, and he gradually changed over time as my own writing improved. My character Ryoko would have to be one I’m also proud of, if only because she’s my first genuinely axe crazy villain. Villains are a bit of a weak spot for me you see. As for a character that stands out like a sea urchin in a basket of apples… It’d have to be the first character I wrote as, Solid Snake. Now, you’re lucky I’m even talking about this, because it literally PAINS me to think about. I used him for a smash bros RP and dear lord was it bad. I wrote him completely wrong for one, he came off as awkward and hardly like the badass that Snake is supposed to be. I think I had him follow some girl at one point just because I didn’t know what to do with him. ASDFG IT HURTS TO RECALL.

Alright, alright, I'll spare you. That does sound... kind of bad. But Ryoko I want to come back to, because she was one of your characters I was really impressed by--it's just fun to read someone so honestly vicious. Was it fun to write for that kind of character?

I'm glad you liked her! I first thought of Ryoko after reading some of a manga called Deadman Wonderland, that's where the idea of her blood manipulation comes from. It's also where I got her psychopathic personality from. In much the same way it's fun to play on the dark side in certain video games, I do take some fun out of writing as her. It’s… refreshing, I suppose you could say, after writing so many goodie twoshoes XD

That's the second character you've referenced to outside fiction: Chizuma drawing her hair color and some personality traits from the Joker, Ryoko drawing her powers and pyschopathy from Deadman Wonderland (I actually thought of Azula from Avatar, but that doesn't account for the blood manipulation). Are you able to identify a definite source of inspiration for each of your original characters?

Can't we all cite a source of inspiration for our characters? XD

Ha, but really, I think I can site a source for each of my characters, though they are sometimes inspired by small things. (like the alien character I mentioned) For me, an idea has to sprout from somewhere, and can be from anywhere really.

Alright, last question on characters, and it may be a small note but it interests me. You mentioned in a PM that the majority of your characters are girls, whereas for me I've only ever made one female character for a roleplay (and she's not technically human). I don't know if it's a failure of imagination or a fear that I'll "mess up" somehow. Do you have any reason that you tend to write female characters more than males?

Oh man, question of the decade for me. I've asked myself this same question many times, and I'm still not 100% sure why. All I know for sure is that it’s more comfortable to me for some reason. I’ve done everything short of seeing a psychiatrist about it. XD Apparently I have a ‘feminine’ mind, according to some friends of mine. And people are often either confused about my gender online, or assume at first that I’m a woman. Honestly, I have NO clue.

Fair enough! So Ryoko and Capell both come from Solace in Night, which is a roleplay you've brought back in at least three different iterations. What keeps you coming back to this particular roleplay?

I'm a huge fan of Kingdom Hearts, (shocker) and I wanted to make a simple, adventure based KH Roleplay for everyone to enjoy. Over time I thought up more and more ideas for the story, and in spite of it failing twice, I wanted to see it through. The third RP actually ended on a cliffhanger as the cast was low, me and the Co-leader figured it was running on fumes. I'd love to make a sequel to it sometime.

That sort of gets into my next question: did the roleplay itself change significantly between its three different versions?

It's always been the story of an empire of darkness, and the rebels that try to defeat them. I jokingly added a subtitle to it at one point that it was basically star wars. The main changes between them would have to be the characters, the worlds visited, and the methods that the main villain used to reach his goals.

Well,for one thing, in the first two versions you used the same characters (you even copy/pasted a bit of Capell's original OP into the second thread), but in the third you entirely switched it up. Did you get to see your own roleplaying and ideas about the story evolve over three years?

For sure, over time I believe my ideas for what made a good story improved. I began to add depth to certain aspects that I hadn't even thought of before. I think that's one of the best feelings in writing, seeing your own skills become better over time. It's satisfying.

Alright, we're coming to the most difficult questions of the interview. Get ready.

Do you consider yourself a good roleplayer?


Hmm, I think I have to really. I’ve always been a terrible judge of my own work, never sure if it’s good or not. So I try to listen to what others have to say about my writing, and use their feedback to try and keep improving. Overall I’ve heard good things about the stuff I write, so yes, I’d consider myself a good Roleplayer.

I can understand it's difficult to judge your own writing. When you look at other roleplayers, reading their characters or their posts, what sort of things do you judge? What makes you think, "This person's got it right. This is a good roleplayer."

I value intriguing, amusing character interactions, and interesting plot development. So if someone can make a character that stands out in a way, and a plot that keeps me interested, I consider them a good Roleplayer. The things I don't like are shallow characters and contrived plot elements, as well as things like Power playing and god modding. I’ve seen far too many characters that know things they aren’t supposed to know, or that do things in battles that… just don’t make sense.

What do you attribute that to? Lack of experience? Lack of thought?

Lack of experience can be a huge part of it, I myself wasn't very good at first after all, which is why I can look past those that simply don't have a knack for it yet. However the other cause of bad writing, I think, has to be poor planning, and a general bad idea of what is actually decent writing. Things like plot holes and shallow character development can run rampant if you don't take things seriously.

And how do you improve? Is it a matter of paying attention in English class, or do you pick up more by writing (and reading) in roleplays with other good writers?

A base grasp of English is important of course, as is practice. But anyone can tell you that. As you mentioned, reading can help a TON. Reading broadens your horizons, and can help you find your style of writing. Through reading I found that I valued the term 'Chekhov's Gun,' which basically states that you should use detail in meaningful ways.

That's excellent, and gives a great question to go out on. For roleplayers (or anyone) looking to broaden their horizon and improve their writing--what is a book (or a few books) that you think everyone should read?

I'd recommend Holes for younger kids. It tells an interesting story about a boy always down on his luck, and has some thoughtful twists and theming in it. A Series of Unfortunate Events is pretty good, as well the Percy Jackson Series. I’d mention Harry Potter, or The Lord of the Rings, but that’s a bit too obvious right? One Piece, a manga and anime, is recommended because it has some of the most original and creative characters and settings I've ever seen.

Thanks! I'll definitely check those out, I'm not too familiar with some of the titles. That's all I've got. If you have any final thoughts, share them now or forever hold your peace.

I'm pretty bad at final thoughts XD

I'd just like to say it's been fun to be a part of the RPing community, and that I hope the Roleplaying section can see some growth in the near future. The section was a blast back when it was full of activity.

Hopefully this interview will serve to get some more people interested in trying their hand too. Thanks for taking the (significant amount of) time for this interview; I've enjoyed it a lot.

I hope so too
 
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Eva said:
Great interview, I enjoyed reading it very much!
Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Also, if others have questions that didn't get asked in the interview, feel free to bring them up here. Piercing Light might be around to answer them, and anyway it gives me more ideas for questions to ask in the future.

Would people like to see more interviews like this?
 

Noel

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I'd love to see more! Although in order to keep things fresh, for each interview that's done, it could be done in different way? Like Video/Audio calls, IM's. etc.

But the standard formal way is great too.
 

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Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Also, if others have questions that didn't get asked in the interview, feel free to bring them up here. Piercing Light might be around to answer them, and anyway it gives me more ideas for questions to ask in the future.

Would people like to see more interviews like this?
I want more yes so that I may gather information on my enemies I MEAN it's totally fun, I remember doing it a while back and seeing everyone's inner mechanisms is always interesting in my opinion. As for doing the interviews in other formats, I know not everyone may be comfortable with video or audio but it would be nice to see at least one (me I mean someone).
 

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Where's the "who inspires you" question where I can get the inevitable shout-out?

2/10 not even worth a rent
 

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Would people like to see more interviews like this?
Definitely! This was a great interview, I would love to read one from everybody really

I think this one was especially interesting to me because Pierce is kind of our leader in Persona Frozen (the first RP I've ever joined), and he always keeps things interesting for all of us. I kind of gotta look up to him, you know?
 

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I'd love to see more! Although in order to keep things fresh, for each interview that's done, it could be done in different way? Like Video/Audio calls, IM's. etc.

But the standard formal way is great too.
I actually want to follow up on this before the next interview, because I'm not sure how we could present the interviews in a non-text format. I could obviously do the interview on Skype using video or audio, but would there be a way to record that and put it on the forums?

Where's the "who inspires you" question where I can get the inevitable shout-out?

2/10 not even worth a rent
u mad bro?
 
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