Now that the general stuff is out the way, I’m excited to be getting into the nitty gritty of the world of The Black Diamond. This month marks the start of the character breakdowns! Wooh-hoo! In this series, I’ll be taking each of the main characters and giving a brief bio, characteristics, magical abilities, and how I came up with them. I won’t go into everything, ‘cuz some stuff needs to stay a secret for discovery in future stories. Plus, I gotta be honest, some stuff I don’t want to establish. I want to leave it up to the reader’s imagination. Let them fill in the blanks. I find it creates a more personal reading experience. So, the rule is… if I don’t say it, your head cannon is cannon. With that being said, let’s get to our first character: Mr. Derek James.
Derek Bryson James was born on June 18, 1995 to Stephen and Valerie James. He was born right in Pottington, so the city is his hometown. He was the second of three children. Derek went to elementary school at William C. Lewis Dual Language Magnet Elementary. From there, he went to Henry B. DuPont Middle. It was here that he started participating in football. He fell in love with the sport. He was an early entrant to puberty, so had a large physical advantage over many of his peers and began to make a name for himself around the city. At Alexis I. DuPont High, he blossomed into a popular star. Derek began amassing scholarship offers in his sophomore year before deciding to commit to Word University his senior year. He enters his freshman year at Word University a 6’3”, 230 lb wide receiver on an athletic scholarship.
Derek comes from a powerful family of warlocks with the powers of teleportation, telepathy, and telekinesis. As the first-born son of his dad, Derek inherited his family’s magical legacy and developed the powers of teleportation and telepathy when he turned 13. Knowing this would happen, his dad began training him in magic from an early age. Derek’s family has two, centuries-old, mystical objects that have been passed down: their grimoire and an amulet that senses the presence of other witches and warlocks. As a youth, Derek discovered a stray puppy hiding under a park bench during a rainstorm. Naming him Dodger, Derek took the puppy in and was surprised to find out the dog was actually a familiar. The two have been inseparable ever since.
Derek is a popular character. He is extremely confident in his abilities and is admired amongst his peers, particularly the ladies. Derek, due to his looks and demeanor, is very sexually active and has been for a while. Derek is very tall and very well-built. I think every one of these types of stories needs a character like that, but I wanted to avoid making him a stereotypical dumb jock. Therefore, I gave him some nuance. While his is confident, bordering on cocky, he isn’t arrogant. And he isn’t mean, nor elitist. He is compassionate. He is also good academically. While not being one of the highest achieving students, he generally makes the honor roll. Despite the advantages Derek seems to have in life, he has some dark skeletons in his past that weigh on him at times. His life has been anything but a cakewalk.
How did I come up with Derek? Well, every story set in high school or college has one of those characters. You know, the popular guy. The one all the guys want to be, and all the girls want to be with. The sports star. That character is often an obstacle for the main character of the story, but I decided to make that guy the main character. It would help me prevent from making that type of character a cardboard cutout, like in other stories. Writing for Derek was fun for me because he is almost everything I was not; an opposite. He was tall. I entered high school at under 5’5” and graduated at 5’10” (I ended up growing another two inches in college, though). He was muscular while I’m a stick. Puberty wise, whilst I was a very late-bloomer (that might be tmi), he was a very early-bloomer. He comes from a two-parent household with siblings. I lived with just my mom with no siblings. He was a hit with the ladies, and I was… well… not. The similarities we had was that we both did sports (him football and me track), both were good students (I was class valedictorian, though. Take that Derek!), and both popular (though not in the same way). Derek is actually inspired by a good friend and track teammate of mine in high school named Dion. It’s not a one-for-one, he just has some of Dion’s traits. It’s funny. Dion used to say how much he wanted to be like me when he grew up. I always took it as a joke, but one day, he said he was serious. He didn’t know how much I wished I was like him. I guess we both admired each other and isn’t that the foundation for a healthy friendship?
Next month: Matthias Johnson