The 10 Steps of Design~Step 3~Characters~Alicia

The High Level View.

For each of my characters I need to write a page summary sheet, developing ideas for:

  • name, age, some personal details
  • one sentence for their storyline in the plot as a whole
  • their motivation. What do they want abstractly
  • their concrete goal
  • their conflict, or what is preventing them from achieving their goal
  • their epiphany. what do they learn and how do they change?
  • one paragraph summary

Alicia is a complex character. She is an outsider to the student group. Casey meets her first but she appears as very aggressive and her face distorted and frightening. She seems dirty, grubby and scary to Casey and she tries to avoid her at all costs. Casey is confused as to where she is from, assuming she is homeless and squatting in the abandoned school.

Alicia, in fact, is living in the year 2036. The building is a girls’ home and asylum called ‘The Silent Angels’, where Alicia is a patient. She is aware that she is sick and that she isn’t living at home with her family, because she has vague recollections and dreams about them. She has a photo of them beside her bed.

Her mind is scrambled. She gets very confused and disoriented, wandering around the corridors and rooms trying to find someone to tell her what’s going on. She knows that Doctors come and talk to her and give her bitter pills which she hates swallowing and chokes all the time. Smoking takes away her appetite and stops her from eating so much of the horrible food (in 2036 natural food has gone due to pollution and the death of the soil). She has covered all the mirrors in the building because when she looks at herself she sees the ugliest, most hideous face she has ever seen. She is always trying to escape and get back to her parents, but she doesn’t know where they are or where she is.

Her motivation is to find out where she is, why she is there. The people who walk around the corridors and sleep in her room sometimes, can help her, she is sure of that because she listens to them and finds out that the guy called Lee knows about therapy. Chloe can feel her in some psychic way and so she tries to make contact with her and the girl she hangs out with called Casey. She decides to help them when their friendships begin to break down, and in return they help her find out about the Asylum and her medication.

What’s preventing her? Casey judges her and is scared of her. She finds that all the others have their own issues and don’t want to talk with her or are too scared of her. (They are judging her appearance which is dishevelled because there isn’t much water in 2036, food is plastic and GM and she wears freaky makeup as she suffers from Body Dysmorphia which means her features are distorted.)

Her Epiphany: She realises she will have to hep them, prove she has good intentions, in order for them to help her. They help her to understand her condition and she appears with no makeup. She looks like Casey. Simon takes a photo of her with Casey and leaves it for her. Alicia leaves them the photo of her Mum and Dad. the resemblance to Casey and Lee is amazing. Who knows?

Alice 2 alicia 2 alicia 3

alicia 9

This is her mental health issue by which her behaviours in the story will be shaped. This is taken from the MIND website:

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/body-dysmorphic-disorder/#.UtMWVfRdW0i

What is body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)?

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is an anxiety disorder related to body image. If you have BDD, you experience concerns about your appearance that cause you significant anxiety and have a disruptive effect on your life. You may also develop routines and habits, such as excessive use of mirrors or picking your skin, to deal with the worries you have about the way you look. These habits usually have a significant impact on your ability to carry on with your day-to-day life.

I see myself as completely disfigured and I am constantly trying to convince people of this.

It may also cause other problems such as:

  • feelings of shame, guilt and loneliness
  • isolating yourself to avoid situations that cause you anxiety or discomfort
  • depression or anxiety
  • misuse of alcohol or other drugs
  • self-harm
  • suicidal thoughts.

Many people with BDD do not seek help as they are worried that people will judge them, or think they are vain. This means that many people are likely to experience BDD for a long time before seeking help.

People assume you are ‘vain’ but this is a serious life threatening illness.

What are the common signs of BDD?

If you have BDD, you have obsessions that cause you significant anxiety and may also develop compulsive behaviours, or routines, to deal with this. In this way, BDD is closely related to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). (See Understanding OCD.)

Although everyone has their own experience of BDD, there are some common signs.

Obsessive worries about the body

If you have BDD, you will often spend several hours a day thinking negatively about your appearance. You may be concerned about one specific area of the body or you may be worried about several different areas.

Common areas of anxiety include:

  • facial features, such as the nose, eyes, hair, chin, skin or lips
  • particular areas of the body, such as the breasts or genitals
  • feeling that your body is unbalanced or lacking symmetry
  • feeling that one of your features is out of proportion to the rest of the body
  • feeling too fat or too skinny.

Some people with BDD also experience an eating problem, but not all people with eating problems will have BDD. (See Understanding eating problems.)

Common compulsive behaviours

You may also develop compulsive behaviours and routines to deal with the anxiety you feel about your appearance.

Common compulsive behaviours include:

  • using heavy make-up when out in public
  • brushing or styling hair obsessively
  • obsessively checking your appearance in mirrors or avoiding them completely
  • changing your posture or wearing heavy clothes to disguise your shape
  • seeking constant reassurance about your appearance
  • checking yourself regularly by feeling your skin with your fingers, particularly around areas you dislike the appearance of
  • picking your skin to make it smooth
  • constantly comparing yourself with models in magazines or people in the street
  • seeking cosmetic surgery or having other types of medical treatment to change the area of concern.
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