Friday, 23 March 2018

WIP Special Part 4 || you get to meet a lot more characters

[Write an intro, etc etc, does anyone read these things, never mind, let's just get on to the exciting bit! more about the Beast and cinnamon-roll boys and sisters and a villain that isn't there yet! yay!]


5-part writing special (Part 2: World/setting)

(Thanks to Lila for making the awesome graphic! which even happens to fit with my blog colours, so that's extra-cool. xD)

The March 5-Part Special

Part 4: Supporting Characters (And Villain!)

–{{Introduce your side characters, explain what makes them unique, and perhaps include their relationship to the MC.

H'm. How many side characters should I do?

Eh. Why not keep going until you all yell at me to stop already. 

Elsie: Billie's sister. Underappreciated by both Billie and Josie, she does a lot more to make their life in the forest bearable than they realise. She does the cooking - since they have whatever meat Josie catches and whatever veggies Billie grows (anything else requires Billie to be persuaded to make a trip to the nearest town), that must be quite hard. She keeps the three of them in decent clothes - there's a lot of hard scrubbing, and a lot of darning. She tries to make the cottage a home, and not just an uneven stack of timber plunked in the middle of a forest. It's hard.

Josie: The youngest of the three sisters. She's a bit wild; likes riding around the forest on a bony old pony and shooting at things. Billie encourages her (even though she'd rather like to use the pony herself in the vegetable patch instead of doing it all by hand). She's incautious and carefree. But once she gets caught poaching and Billie gets taken (killed, she believes) by the Beast in payment, she goes all vengeful. (As if she could actually kill the Beast. Seriously, girl.)

The Beast: Also known as the Count Laszlo. He's like an upright tiger-thing, quite old, and not under any kind of spell. He's known to locals as a "spirit who protects the forest" because, for reasons that need to be fleshed out, he does not allow hunting. He's disgruntled to be saddled with Billie, but he can't break the rules. He likes his tea and scones. And his ferns. And his old books. And peace and quiet, would you sTOP THAT, BILLIE.

Rowan: He's the leader of a bunch of bandits in the forest. (I say "bandits", but they basically just live in the forest and hunt [discreetly] and sometimes talk about how much they don't like the king. They're very laid-back bandits.) He's mostly the leader because the others let him be, although he is good at encouraging people to do things; still, they laugh at him when he introduces them to Josie as "his men". He has a tragic backstory I have not yet unlocked. His relationship to Billie is still fluid, but they bicker so much at first meeting that I completely ship it. (oh, who am I kidding, that was the original intention. s h i p.)

Kik: This guy was supposed to be a minor character. I just needed one or two 'Merry Men' to flesh out the group and participate in dialogue. But when I introduced him in the 4-Part Special, two people specifically mentioned him in their comments?? so maybe he's one of those sneaky minor characters who steal the audience's hearts?

Zephyr: A dignitary/diplomat from a neighbouring country, he's a complete cinnamon-roll; he's also still mourning his true love's death. My poor sad baby.

The Empress: Ruler of Norcross, a place where it's cold. That's... about it. She's the villain because spoilers. which is code for I haven't straightened all the details out yet.

–{{Provide snippets from your WIP for each side character (can include the villain).

As always, all snippets are from the first draft because I don't have any other. They contain NaNo-fueled insanity and are subject to change at any time and without any apology except an apology that you were exposed to their original horror.


She pushed herself up from the table. Might as well do what she'd always done when she didn't know what to do, didn't know how to cope. She grabbed the dishcloth and wiped the table down, then all the benches; washed the dishes still beside the kitchen tub after she'd left them to soak last night, even though the water in the tub was stone cold. She swept the floor under the table and, the kitchen clean, moved on to the rest of the one-room cottage. If she didn't keep the place clean so conscientiously, there'd be more to do now she needed something to keep her mind occupied. She straightened the wrinkles on the unused bunks, and picked up the braided rug to shake the dust out.

She'd have to go outside to do it.

She stopped at the door. It wasn't bolted; they'd never bolted it in the day. Anyone could come in. She'd always been comfortable knowing Billie was almost always nearby, somewhere, probably digging the potatoes or chopping wood with tough grunts or something, but somewhere nearby and protective.

The rug didn't need to be shaken anyway.

She bolted the door and laid the rug back across the floorboards. Josie could knock.


Rowan continued. "Do we have an alternative to containing you?"

"You could shoot me, I suppose." Immediately after saying it, Josie realised that might not be the most appropriate thing to say. They were, after all, holding bows. "I'm not too keen on that plan either, to be honest."
(that may not have been the place for sarcasm, Josie.)

The Beast:

"I'm still not clear on who's trying to kill you. Or their reasons. But I assume you're being deliberately vague, so I'll save my prying for a less fuzzy hour." He tightened the cord of his quilted dressing gown. "Mrs Potts, some tea. If I must be awake, I will be in as much comfort as is possible at this time of night."

Billie spun around. The gold orb floated quite close behind her. It bobbed to Count Laszlo, darkened into a glower at Billie, and headed for the kitchen.

"How are you still functioning?" the Beast questioned, with a yawn that would have seemed like a snarl had it not ended in a mewl. "You don't exactly look after your health."

"Over the last seven months I've learned to function on little sleep and a lot of hard work and stress."

“Fair enough.” He waved for her to follow him into the study, and sat down in his armchair before there could be any discussion over whose territory it was.
This is once they've mostly come to an understanding. I'm not sure what the understanding is, but he helped her out by giving her a book that let her watch the cottage. Unfortunately what she saw now has her digging him out of bed; I think he's half-asleep still, though, which seems to mean he doesn't know he should be super-grumpy.


Josie slid a knife out of the sheaths inside her boots and spun Rowan, twisting his arm up and holding the knife to his ribs. "You seem to be a leader. So tell them to let me go. Or I will make this personal."

"Easy, now." His voice became even calmer. "Have you considered that this might be a bad idea? There are a lot of us, and one of you, and we're skilled archers. Except for Kik, but he won't practice, so he can't expect any better."


Kik frowned. "She isn't armed. Why would a hunter - knowing all the dangers of the forest - venture in unarmed?"

"She's armed enough to threaten the Hood!" one of the men called.

Rowan turned red. "I was in no danger. She was upset, that's all, and understandably."

"What happened?"

Josie held her chin high as Rowan cleared his throat. "She pulled a knife. Can you just give her the horse?"

Kik grinned and handed Old Bill over. "Suddenly I like her. Can she stay?"


[Count Yala, his advisor/older friend:] "What did she look like this time?"

Zephyr lifted his shoulders almost imperceptibly. "Alive."

"Zephyr. You know you said it makes it easier when you talk."

He looked up at the spray of stars above the barn. "She was beside the musicians. She always loved music. She looked browner and sadder than when I last saw her, and her dress was blue. She was sitting, I think, and I saw her when she stood up. I called out and she - ran. I wouldn't mind seeing her like this if she'd only talk to me. It might help. But no, her ghost won't even talk to me."

The Empress: [um, she actually hasn't come into the story yet. No villain. No snippet. Whoops.]

–{{Which of your side characters is closest to the MC?

Billie doesn't do 'close'. Not any more.

She was never particularly close to her sisters, as they had different interests and spent their time with different people doing different things. Now they have the bond that survivors have... except the same events made Billie focus more on protecting her sisters than spending quality time with them.

I'm still only halfway through my draft. But I'd say that there's the potential for her to become closer to the Beast.

Also to Rowan.


–{{How do the good guys work together as a team?

...with a lot of miscommunication.

Seriously, trying to write this thing, I had a diagram of all the little groups going different directions and splitting up and meeting unexpectedly and unknowingly clashing. At the moment, they're certainly not working together as a team.

The best example of teamwork so far? When the bandits broke into the Beast's house while he was away, Rowan talked to Billie long enough for the rest of his men to sneak around behind her and grab her. She was furious. But yeah... that's also an example of really bad teamwork and excellent miscommunication skills, since technically Billie and Rowan should have been allies.

–{{How do they clash with each other?

Well, I just covered that a bit??

After Billie's taken, Elsie wants to get out of the forest. Josie wants to hunt the Beast down. They argue; Josie teams up with Rowan and Elsie heads for the nearest town (to meet a ghost).

And I haven't got there yet, but I think once Zephyr and his men come into the forest, they may meet up with Rowan and his men. I expect there'll be a bit of tension there, since Zephyr's a very upright kind of person (and is also careful to be diplomatically upstanding), but Rowan's a, well, bandit. And a bit of a rebel.

–{{Describe your antagonist/villain in 3 words.

...not here yet??

Okay, um, queenly, ruthless, charming. Those are off the top of my head, since I haven't developed her yet. (They sound a bit cliche, to be honest. I'll work on that.)

–{{Why is your villain bad?

I suppose technically she's no worse than any other ruler, necessarily. But her goals and Billie's are at cross-purposes, so she's the villain.

Also she doesn't mind killing people, although she does get her soldiers to do it. Again, no worse than half the other rulers - but still not good.

–{{Is the villain an “I work alone” sort of person, or the kind who has a ton of minions?

She is the Empress of Norcross. She has advisors, servants, soldiers, a personal troop of guards. Even - gasp - friends. (I... suppose? she hasn't come into the story yet = she hasn't been developed yet.) She definitely doesn't work alone - she would have no power that way.

–{{How does your villain walk and talk?

Like the not-overly-villainous Empress of several countries should walk and talk. Um... elegantly. She's charming in conversation, witty, even; she can draw the attention of a room with her walk.

–{{What are the villain’s main mannerisms that define him/her?

...let me get back to you on that one. (I don't even have a physical description. Or picture. I need to trawl Pinterest.)

.... That's the end of Part 4! ....

Now go check out the rest of the participants, because they're awesome:


Which of my side characters intrigues you most? (the answer is Rowan or Zephyr. they are my sweet boys.) Do you have a minor character who stole more of a role than you were expecting? Do you love dysfunctional teams? What are your villain's distinctive mannerisms? And how do you write post intros??

Also, come back next week for our extra-special Part 5! No spoilers, but it's going to be fun



  1. AHHHHHASKDJHASLKDFJGHALKF these characters I needs them!!!! (Zephyr sounds really cool and I'd love to know his story, and Rowan sounds super great as well and Kik is EPIC and I really want to know more about the Count because, I dunno, he just sounds really cool and different from the fairy tale beast and the sisters....oh, I love them to pieces and can't wait to see how they grow and eventually get back together in the end and this book, be still my heart, this book....

    Jem, you are a master storyteller! Please hurry and write this book so I can read it!!

    1. Ahhh I'm so happy to see you're so excited about my characters, Julian!! Your comment is so encouraging. <3 <3

      Aw! (Now I feel bad for having left it since November... oops. ;)

  2. "Very laid back bandits". I LOVE it!!!! And yes, Kik is hilarious and a cinnamon roll and everyone should protect him at all costs. I loved the snippets with him in them.

    As always, I loved reading more about your story!

    1. So, here's some backstory/description for Kik, since you're so fond of him, Sarah!

      *clears throat* Currently, I have him as a middle-aged widower and Josie reminds him of his daughter.


      SORRY. xD I am going to change that to match his speech/behaviour, though? because he isn't acting like a middle-aged widower... xD

      (also I'm suddenly wondering, where did 'cinnamon roll' come from?? everyone says it, but why?)

  3. Your side characters are loads of fun, Jem!! Count Lazlo, Josie and Elsie are my personal favorites. And dysfunctional teams are highly entertaining to read!

    (My intros tend to be personal commentary or announcements...)


    1. Thanks, Catherine! Lazlo is definitely high on my list of favourites... grumpy old softie. And dysfunctional teams are so fun to read about! (Have you read the Lunar Chronicles?)

  4. ROWAN AND KIK SOUND WONDERFUL!!!!!! Ahhh, I love this story more and more the more you talk about it. <3 <3 <3

    1. Glad to hear it, Faith! (and yes, Rowan is my adorable baby, and he and Kik have the best banter! apart from... y'know... Rowan and Billie. Although theirs is more bickering than banter. [Apparently that's how I write ships??])

  5. Rowan sounds so cute ^_^ Billie and Rowan?? *looks at you suspiciously* I had this one character who was just going to be in the background but he turned out to me the MCs friends *coughs* I do love dysfunctional teams, it adds humor and it makes me not feel as bad for all my bad communication XD Post intros?? Never heard of those before..i dunno but good luck! I enjoyed reading this ^_^

    1. *looks innocently back* Hey, it's not like I tried to hide it? xD ooh, that sounds cute!

      Dysfunctional teams are great! :D Thanks for reading, Ry!

  6. Rowan sounds darn amazing!! I looooove Robin Hood! Like, a lot. :D

    This whole story sounds very very cool! And despite being from the first draft, those snippets ROCK. Makes me wanna read the whole thing! xD

    1. Robin Hood is awesome, I agree! (If only the retellings would be consistently awesome too...) Thanks, Lila! <3

  7. Rowan sounds really interesting! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ But I'm slightly confused: is he supposed to be a ship with Billie, or with Josie? :P

    1. Thanks, Julia! Oh, I see how that might be confusing - Rowan meets Josie first, but he's in a ship with Billie. ;P

  8. Oh, I love how your names are all memorable and pronounceable at once. *a pet peeve of mine, is great names*. That's awesome miscommunication is how your people don't get a long. It's hard to write, but soooo realistic and relatable! Villain: Not here yet. Lol, funny but I do hope you're able to take care of her ;)

    1. Naming is hard for me, so I'm glad to hear it, Keturah! I wanted names that weren't 'modern', but not old-fashioned either - and they had to be pronounceable! (fantasy pet peeve of mine ;)

      I hope I'm able to take care of my villain too... *slightly concerned* ;)

  9. Okay, Rowan sounds awesome. His name... I LOVE THE NAME. But then Zephyr... He sounds like a really interesting character! I CANNOT PICK!!!!!

    Micaiah @ Notebooks and Novels

    1. They're both adorable and soft and a little sad - I'm not going to argue if you love both of them, Micaiah! ;)

  10. Ohhh laid-back bandits. I LOVE IT. And yes I love reading about dysfunctional teams who fight a lot and everything goes wrong but then goes so right at the last minute.๐Ÿ˜‚ And I LOVED Josie's snippet! That was my favourite!

    And my minor characters are always stealing my affections. >_> I'm literally writing a spinoff right now for a minor character who had no chill and wanted a full book. How can I say no.๐Ÿ˜‚

    1. Josie's mouth can tend to move faster than her mind...

      I'm pretty sure fans of a book/series are always happy to see more of a minor character, though! Is this minor character from Perfect Notes or another story we haven't seen yet?


Comment away! I read all comments - no matter how old the post may be! - and I'll try to reply. Just keep your words appropriate so I won't have to delete your comment (I'd hate to have to do that).