Steps to creating story characters – Holo & Beh

I’m currently working on an illustrated story that is inspired by endangered marines. I’m pro conservation of all creation; animals, plants, insects, monuments etc.

Before I decided to do a book on endagered marines, I went through several lists of endagered animals on land and water, I picked 3 that I could relate to for many reasons, their origins, abilities and features were among some of the things that I considered.

Initially, I wanted to do a world consortium, all of my favourite animals would some how connect with each other.

Because, I have the desire to represent the truth amd true possibilities, it was impossible for me to figure a way in which I could link all the animals, they live in very unique circumstances and I had to consider the food chains.

I don’t want my leads to eat ech other up or misrepresent the true relationship of the animlas, that would be tragic – lions and zebras are not friends and hippos amd giraffes don’t live together.

Finding the right story pair- monk seal and sea turtle

I eventually picked the Hawaiian monk seal as my lead, there are only two species of monk seals left, with the Mediterranean variety declared extinct.

I thought the seal was a great choice because it can travel the world through the oceans, it’s diet can be supported by all oceans, the male is a loner so I won’t worry about breaking up family ties and it is resilient.

The lead character would have no experience in travels and is young so I needed a companion who has experience and is wise.

I looked into birds and other marine mammals but they didn’t quite fit because of their characters and the journey they would have to endure. The sea turtle fitted my fantasy, it lives a long life, it can survive in all oceans, the male is a loner and it is not a predator of the seal.

Deciding relationship dynamics – vigour and wisdom

This was easier because one was young the other older, they would have a child/parent and student/teacher relationship.

Naming the characters – Holo and Beh

Unless a story is inspired by a real person, I often name my characters last. I envision to connect people in many ways so names are important. For the monk seal, I knew I wanted a Hawaiian name, I finally settled for, “Holo” meaning run because he is going to be a fast swimmer.

Holo is a name of Hawaiian origin but it can easily be universal because it is an easy name. The sea turtle was tricky, they are found in several countries so it was challenging.

I named it after I drew up the map for their journey, they would travel to Madagascar. There is a heaven for marine animals in Madagacascar called, “Nosy be”. Beh, felt like the right name for the wise companion.