So you want to make a persona, be it for a convention, writing or just because you want to (I just want to). Now all you have to do is actually create it. My first recommendation is for you to pick the punk genre in which you want your persona to live. Me, I like a challenge and have picked three punk genre’s where I can stick my persona with a small tweak here and there, Clockpunk, Steampunk and Mythospunk. I would like to point out, right now, this isn’t the SCA. Yes, there are some rules but this isn’t about being 100% historically accurate. Please don’t worry if your bustle isn’t just right or your cravat hasn’t been expertly tied. Have fun with this, this genre is about Science Fiction and having fun anyways, at least in my opinion. You purists can bite me.
Now that you have picked your specific genre(s), now it is time to think about what that particular world means to you. Obviously we can’t be extremely historically accurate, this is a science fiction genre after all. However, is your persona meeting that particular genre’s society social codes? If we take a look at Steampunk, it is a genre based on Victorian England, at least in most cases, and Victorian England had a particular social code. Up until most recently in our history, women were viewed as the weaker sex (yes, I know we aren’t but this is how society did view us) and depending on which Steampunk world you may find yourself reading or creating, the morale code may differ slightly than what you are used to when it comes to the woman’s place in society.
I am going to try not to go into a long spiel about the woman’s place in society, however, if you are a woman, you do have to think about this when you are building your persona. My recommendation is that when you are building your persona (at least your first one) that you do not make it a total opposite three-hundred and sixty version of yourself. Basically, I am trying to say is that you want to keep it relatively similar to your own personality at first. For example, I am a brazen, intelligent, slightly foul mouthed, sex positive woman. I would not want to make my persona as a noble lady (ever because I am not an actress…at all) because that is just not me. Instead, I went with Madam Odessa, a brothel owner.
Now what reasons did I pick a brothel owner, besides me being sex positive? I am sticking to my strengths, just like you will want to do when creating your persona. I am not strong when it comes to Science Fiction. I don’t really like math. (Get on with it, I can hear you say) Well in the Steampunk world, if you aren’t a member of nobility then you clearly have to be someone who is middle-class (nothing wrong with that….I just like having power…mwhahahahahaha) or one of the tinkers. I can craft (obviously) but I don’t think I am cut out for something much more complex, like building an automaton (I have thought about it though). Also, in that point of time, women were not book smart because it was a trait that was frowned upon (I know…I know….science fiction genre but Madam Odessa can really be thrown into any world and survive. Sex is in every culture and in every world). A woman that was going to become a Mistress or a Courtesan, on the other hand, was involved in politics and had studied a vast amount of topics that most normal women would not have. See why I leaned to being a brothel woman?
Next, when it comes to creating your persona, I recommend creating a backstory for him/her. Not everyone does this but it is something that I think will strengthen your ties to the character (can you tell I am writer?). You will want to think about the history of your persona. When making the persona’s history, you can make it as happy or as depressing as you wish. My personal goal with Madame Odessa was to make it not depressing because everyone expects that when you are seen as a fallen women. Creating a history for your persona can also allow you to discover what pushes him/her through life. Is it money? Revenge? Exploration? Power? Secrets? Fame? A history will also allow you to define certain personality traits, this is important even more so if you are creating a persona that doesn’t meld well with your own.
Once you have created your persona then you will be able to create your outfit, if that is your thing, and weaponry (because who doesn’t like weapons? Even I like weapons, hence Friday’s DIY project being A Thing Goes Boom). I am not good with fashion, even though I can sew and maybe eventually I will make a Steampunk outfit for Madam Odessa but right now she is just hanging out until I find out what to do with her. Now I am not saying that you have to match every single historical fact about your particular genre’s dress code but it is important that you get garments (even if they aren’t historically the correct length etc.) in the right era. You can’t really throw a thong on your persona because there wasn’t thongs in Victorian England. Really, at that point you are just looking to make people twitch…..sadist. And finally, give your persona a kick ass name, which you can remember.
Have fun with this. Create and think about what you really want with your persona. Feel free to actively explore history and make something similar but not too similar because remember what we are doing is not SCA. Also, for the love that is unholy, don’t attempt to make yourself an almighty power being with no flaws because that is just redundant.
Now go out and PUNK IT ALL!