Example Extended Written Proposal
Name: Mary Ann Dahl, mundane human schoolteacher
About Your character
What are your character’s most valued Norms? What shocks or offends your character?
Mary Ann falls back on the good manners she was raised with in any given situation; she believes strongly in appeasing other people and following all the proper social cues and mores, and her most valued norms are Manners and Charity. She is offended by actions that break from the “script” of civil interaction, when someone deviates from how a person raised in this community would expect them to behave in front of others.
What is your character’s goal in life?
Mary Ann is looking for a greater sense of purpose, belonging, and accomplishment out of life. She doesn’t quite know what she is looking for, precisely, just that she feels a deep-seated sense that there’s more for her to discover in life. Also she is still holding out hope that she finds a husband who she can start a family with. She’s still got a little bit of time, right?
What is your character’s day-to-day life like? Do they have any hobbies? What do they do to make money? How do they have fun?
Mary Ann works as an elementary school teacher. She finds fulfillment in her career, and is known to stay and work late–it also gives her a chance to get out of the house longer, since it can feel a little empty and lonely. As for hobbies, Mary Ann likes to sing in her church choir, attend her book club, and take part in community functions.
Describe your character’s personal life. What’s their relationship like with their parents? Do they have any close friends? Romantic relationships? Children or siblings?
Mary Ann grew up raised by her mother; she remembers her father but he died when she was young. Her mother never really got over that loss, and Mary Ann had to grow up fast and help her mother run the house and raise Mary Ann’s younger brother and sister. Her siblings no longer live in the area, and while Mary Ann still speaks with them, their relationship is strained. Mary Ann still lives in the house she grew up in, with her aging mother–she always hoped to find a husband and start her own family, but it didn’t turn out that way. While Mary Ann makes an effort to be warm and friendly with everyone, she doesn’t have many close friends, just a decent sized group of acquaintances she might chat with after church or at her book club.
What are your character’s religious/spiritual views?
Mary Ann still attends the Lutheran church she grew up going to. She considers herself a believer, but her faith isn’t a huge part of her identity–she primarily likes the sense of community and belonging she gets out of religion. She enjoys singing in the church choir and taking part in various community activities the church holds.
Your Character’s Struggles
How does your character deal with hardship and stress?
She externalizes stress by pouring her time and effort into something different. It’s better not to dwell on problems, and put all that effort into keeping busy instead. Worrying is not productive; best put that negative energy into doing something positive. Also she’s totally a crier.
What is one memory your character has of the unexplainable? Why has it stuck with them?
One day at work, Mary Ann was in a meeting with some of the other teachers, listening to one of her colleagues speak. After a while, Mary Ann’s mind began to wander, and she turned to look out the window, where the same teacher was standing, monitoring the recess period. Of course it couldn’t have been the same woman–it was hot and stuffy in the classroom, and Mary Ann was tired, so she must have been mistaken. In any case, when she glanced back out the window, the figure outside was walking away and was too distant to make out clearly. Mary Ann was ready to firmly shake off anything strange about the encounter, but what kept it in her mind was the conspiratorial smile the teacher gave her as everyone was leaving the meeting.
What is your character most afraid of?
Mary Ann is afraid of being lonely, and of having no impact on anyone else’s life. She can’t bear to think that with what she has prioritized in life, she forewent the opportunity to find someone to spend her life with. It’s not just about the loneliness; it’s also that she won’t play an important role in anyone else’s life. She has her mom for now, and they have a good relationship, but she will die eventually. It’s not enough.
What does your character consider to be the worst thing they have ever done?
Once when one of her students was left hanging around after school because his parents were trapped out of town due to a snow storm, Mary Ann took the boy home with her. The snow was really bad and it got dark so fast–she figured it would be best if she kept the child home with her overnight, until his parents got back and the roads were safer to traverse. She fed him, prepared him for bed, and read him bedtime stories before he fell asleep. The next morning, she didn’t see any need to rush to call his parents–they were probably busy digging their car out or dealing with their emergency change in plans. Mary Ann found some old toys backed away in the attic for the boy to play with and just took a few hours to enjoy imagining that he was her own son. She had to deal with his frantic parents eventually, and she explained her decisions as rationally as she could, but they got him out of there fast.
Has your character had any traumatic experiences? Describe the one that affected them the most.
Mary Ann’s life has not been marked with the sort of sharp, sudden trauma that comes from individual dramatic events, but she definitely has had moments where she suffered and struggled. One key memory was the day she got the call from her mother that her sister had run off to Chicago with her (the sister’s, that is) boyfriend without any notice, as it marked another instance of familial abandonment, after her father died and her brother found a job out east.
What does your character think makes someone or something a monster?
Pretty much what any normal person would consider to be monstrous–someone who kills without remorse, someone who takes joy in causing pain, someone who goes through life indifferent to the suffering of others, those sorts of things. Aside from that, she has a real problem with people who betray others’ trust, dependence, or other personal connections.
If you are a supernatural creature, how did you become one? Was it your choice? How has it changed your life? How do you hide your unnatural state?
Has your character ever left Nulpert County, or Winnemac? If so why? Why did they return to Osthigwanegon?
Mary Ann finished out college in the big city, but returned home to Oshtigwanegon upon receiving her teaching degree. This was several years ago now, but she definitely used to head back up there once in a while, to see old friends and relive those years. But as time goes on, those ties fray, and she hasn’t seen any of them in a while, which she regrets. Her sister lives in Chicago now, and Mary Ann has visited her family there a few times. She found the city unnervingly overwhelming, but a part of her found it pretty exciting.
How has life been unfair to your character? Why does your character believe they haven’t gotten further in life?
Mary Ann had dreams of leaving Oshtigwanegon for bigger and better things, and she believed she had her chance when she left for college in the big city. However, after her younger brother and sister abandoned her mother and left Oshtigwanegon themselves, the familiar sense of duty that Mary Ann had known for so much of her life took her back home to continue caring for her mother, just has she had done ever since her father died so many years ago. Mary Ann understands that this is what she has to do, but it hurt all the same to have to limit her dreams. Part of her blames her siblings for leaving everything up to her, again, and part of her blames herself for not having the courage to make a break for it when she had the chance.
What is one thing your character believes about themselves, that isn’t actually true?
Mary Ann believes that she is a lot more stoic and hard-suffering than she actually is. While she certainly has had to take on a lot of responsibility and work hard from a young age–and she continues to do so–she lets it show more than she realizes, possibly due to some lingering resentment that her life did not turn out better. She also thinks of her strong attachment to and investment in her students as a mark of her professionalism and empathy as a teacher, and doesn’t consider whether it’s a way for her to cope with or compensate for never having the family she imagined she’d have by now.
Under what circumstances would your character kill another human being?
She can’t imagine ever being in a position to do violence upon another person, but she would go to great lengths to protect her students. If given the choice, she believes she’d be more successful taking someone out through poison rather than physical force, but it’s not something she thinks about often. Who does that? That’s not a normal way to think at all.
What is your character’s proudest achievement?
Her proudest achievement was putting herself through college. She worked summer jobs, navigated the financial aid process, saved money by starting in community college, etc. and graduated from a decent school with pretty good grades. She also got to experience just a taste of the city life. Life might not have turned out like she’d hoped, but she made it farther than she thinks anyone expected her to.
Extended Written Proposal
Describe your character’s profession, career, level of education, or majority of their daily life in detail. What are they good at? What are they bad at? Mention specific Skills or Special Trainings if possible.
Mary Ann Dahl is a 38-year-old elementary school teacher. She teaches the younger kids; the school isn’t really big enough to always have one teacher per grade so she’s pretty busy. She has enough education to have gotten her teaching degree—she started out at the local community college for a couple years before transferring to the state school out in the city for the rest of college, to save money. She lives with her aging mother, in the house she grew up in.
She’s fairly smart and has had schooling, so she might have some Academics. As someone who enjoys working with young children, she would have the skills that apply to her work, like Empathy and possibly Artsy because this isn’t the kind of school that has a separate arts or music teacher, and maybe she also sings in her church choir. She’s naturally pretty observant—some would say even nosy—so maybe she has a point in Investigation. Because she had to help her mom out with raising her younger siblings after her father died, Mary Ann may also have had to pick up a little bit of Handy. She isn’t very strong, she’s not good at lying, and she isn’t inclined to pick fights or steal.
What Norms does your character struggle with? What makes them an outsider? Mention specific True Selves and Challenges if possible.
Mary Ann struggles with stoicism and contentment. She is the oldest of three siblings, and her father died when Mary Ann was fairly young, leaving her moth devastated. All of the Dahl kids helped out the best they could, but her younger brother and sister both took the first chance they got to leave Oshtigwanegon for bigger and better things, leaving it up to Mary Ann to come back home after college and teach at the school here, in order to stay close to her mom and continue helping her out. Of course, Mary Ann loves her mother and has many fond memories of growing up in Oshtigwanegon, but she’s 38 years old and the more time passes, the less likely it’ll be that anything will change.
She can’t help but feel resentment on occasion, towards her father for leaving them all on their own so early, towards her siblings for leaving to pursue their dreams like Mary Ann never did, and to her mother for making Mary Ann feel like she owed her as the dutiful eldest daughter to come back. While Mary Ann is certainly capable of putting on a good face and bootstrapping, she doesn’t hide her emotions well, and isn’t very good at pretending that things are okay if she’s actually struggling. She sometimes comes off as needy.
Mary Ann puts all of her frustrated hopes for a better life, or for the courage to have made different decisions earlier in life, towards her students. They are still young, and their future is all ahead of them. She gets very involved in their lives and feels deeply invested in their upbringing. Having never met anyone to start her own family with, she sees her students as an opportunity to be the mother she never was. (And perhaps her lack of a family of her own gives her some pitying looks from the real mothers of her students.) Her True Self might be Fussy or Martyr.
Is your character able to do things that others cannot? Are they supernatural in any way? Weirdly good at that one thing? Mention specific Advantages if possible.
She is a mundane human with no supernatural abilities. She might have Common Sense, Good Time Management, or something of that nature. She might also represent her book club with Hobbyist Clique.
What are your character’s hobbies? Does your character have any specific membership within or to connections to a group, whether public or private?
Mary Ann’s work as a teacher is definitely something she is passionate about and loves to do, but aside from that, she is likely involved in some other local organizations. She would attend a church, for sure, and be a member of the choir or help out with services in some other way. She also started a book club about 5 years ago that still gets regular attendance, though she wishes that the current membership didn’t lean so heavily towards reading romances and trashy thrillers. Still, she likes it for the social interaction. This month, they’re actually reading a really interesting book that touches on some little-known history of the area Oshtigwanegon is located in.
Is there anything else you have seen in the specific mechanics you would like your character to be able to do? Anything you want to avoid, whether for complexity reasons or otherwise?
I am fine with whatever the storytellers suggest for my character, although I’m not really sure I want to engage with combat mechanics! I would like to be involved in plot that has to do with learning about and investigating things.
Is there any particular part of the setting not yet mentioned you want to engage with? Anything you want to avoid?