Reflective Writing

Character profile: Eric Wright

I’ve written these character profiles prior to leaving for vacation, in a hope to keep the blog somewhat alive while I’m gone.

Eric is much more of a composite than pretty much any of my characters. That said, the easiest inspiration are the four of my brothers who served as president of the fraternity through my sophomore, junior, and senior years.

Scott and Eric’s relationship is based largely on the last two presidents of AEPi while I was active, and also the two I have spent time with the most recently. These friendships are kind of typical for someone you share a lot in common with, but never see due to (in my case at least) distance. After seeing one of these guys at a wedding, it was refreshing to see we did have more to talk about than just fraternity stuff, which is also what makes Scott closer to Eric than some of his other brothers. It’s also an amusing note that all three of us dated the same girl at one point or another, which is another weird plotline tie…and one of the other guys is married to her now. Ironically, the character of Melissa is not particularly based on her.

Eric’s relationship with his house is more based on the first two presidents, one of whom was in my pledge class and one of whom was a year below me. I saw their terms typified by trying to mediate cultural struggles within the house, ones that were a lot more personal and frankly a lot more nasty than the one I’m writing in Gamma Sig. Ultimately alcohol played a large role in these struggles, as did some personality clashes which my own social group of college friends never entirely recovered from. Eric’s own breakup and parallel stress-related struggles are based in part on some of my own, but in part on a sequence with our chapter president sophomore year that included a nasty breakup I had the misfortune of hearing through my bedroom wall. Given the criminal element in the story, Eric’s stress level is likely to be higher than most of what I saw in real life.

Eric’s character is one of a captain desperately trying to steer a ship away from an iceberg. Scott is in the position of trying to figure out if Eric is in fact steering a ship in the ocean, or just a canoe in a shallow lake. My goal for Eric in this rewrite is to make him more unique, and also to humanize the conflict I had with chapter authority in college through Scott and Eric’s relationship.

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