NaNoWriMo 2017: Creating A Character

Amongst all the aspects I’ve been thinking about for my NaNoWriMo story this year, my principal character is probably the one piece of the puzzle I am most sure of.

Her name is Neylan Haas and she holds the rank of Commander with the Solarian Regulators, the principle law enforcement agency for the Solarian¬†Admiralty (think NCIS in space). She is an accomplished navigator and sat in the co-pilot’s seat on the Armed Pursuit Vehicle Abilene, until it crashed, stranding her on a plague planet with more of a frontier approach to law and order than she’s used to.

Science fiction female pilotFinding a look for her has been a challenge. Science fiction and fantasy art are awash with female characters. Sadly most of them are squeezed into skin tight outfits, masquerading as flight suits, and pictured in unrealistic pin-up style poses. All tits and bum. Not what I want for Commander Haas.

Fortunately, I stumbled on to this image yesterday. I don’t know who the artist is, but she’s as close to perfect as I could hope for, especially as I had planned to make Haas a red head.

Her uniform is not bordering on soft-core, her footwear is practical for someone in her line of work and I can tell that her jacket has been inspired by the Naval frock coats of the 18th century. Perfect for a navy style organisation.

As the majority of Neylan’s story will take place on a planet, rather than in space, this style of uniform also makes much more sense than a full flight suit, although I will no doubt have to provide her with some civvies too.

The other aspect of Neylan’s look I needed to¬†deal with was finding her a prosthetic arm. This will play an integral part Female prostheticin the story and was probably the only part of her overall look that I considered non-negotiable.

I was surprised, and then not surprised, to discover that when it comes to art and even technical concept drawings, prosthetics for women are given little consideration. All the designs I could find were drawn with over-muscled men in mind, and as a non-engineer this was the one aspect of Neylan’s look that I really needed a visual cue for. But after weeks of searching things were not looking hopeful.

Finally though, and just at the point when I was about to give up, I found this image on Pinterest. It’s just what I was looking for; a fully integrated prosthetic arm, designed for an average female physique. It even matches her uniform!

So, that is Commander Haas in a nutshell, or as much of her as I can give away at this stage. Now, I have to give her a partner in crime…

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