I did a writing exercise a short while ago that challenged me to write about something I never write about: the perfect me. It’s called a “platonic conception”, and it’s basically the exaggeratedly perfect person you could be. You can change anything about yourself, including personality, career, living arrangements, etc., and you can change other things like your friends and even family.
Though a good majority of what I wrote is kind of silly, and not actually a part of “the perfect me”, it was a fun exercise to do and it let me use my imagination freely and in a way that’s different from what I’m used to. After all, most of the characters I write are very flawed–something that is absolutely necessary in making a believable hero. Perfect heroes, like platonic conceptions, can be fun to write about, but really don’t make for a good story. There’s something undeniably attractive about a hero who has problems and who has to fight to overcome them.
So even though my platonic conception isn’t the best hero, she’s still a rather vivid character. This is her description:
Alex Giantslayer Sagawriter the Mighty is brave, adventurous, and feared throughout the world for her keen words and awesome fighting skills. Despite her young age, she has already explored more secret corners of the world and fought more of its fearsome beasts than the average eighty-year-old. Living on the road, her favourite activities include hunting, tanning hides, collecting trophies, risking her life, and creating history. When she isn’t off adventuring or killing something or just being heroic, she’s writing about it in her award-winning series of autobiographical novels. She travels with her pet lion, Fang, her black horse, Charleston, and her familiar, a chimera named Susan. She also has an eager apprentice, José, who is in charge of carrying her weapons and cleaning up after her animals. Alex is always seen wearing her shining breastplate and chainmail armour, with her long, dark hair flowing freely to her hips or tied back in a tight braid. Though her weapon of choice is the longsword, she has mastered the use of all weapons with a vowel in the name and can deliver a pretty mean shield bash if pressed. Though she has countless adoring fans, Alex also has many vile enemies, and she is sure to deliver painful and merciless punishment to anyone who crosses her.
It’s interesting to see what I produce to be perfect. And it kind of makes me wonder… Where did I learn the definition of perfect? Why do I consider a character–my platonic conception–who is obviously so flawed in that she has no flaws, to be “perfect”? Is it even my own definition? I don’t think so. It’s rather strange, if you ask me.
In any case, it was fun nonetheless. Maybe I should make a more serious one some time, with an imperfect character that I would consider to be truly perfect.
What are some characteristics of your platonic conception?
May your perfection come from the parts of you that are not so perfect.