Friday, 23 November 2018

WIP Special part 4 || lots of side characters, seriously

WHOOO *runs around screaming* It's week four of the WIP Special! and of NaNoWriMo! 

and I'm not screaming because things are going great, if you were wondering.

I'm screaming as a replacement for Dedication™, Work Ethic™, and all those other lovely strong abstract nouns.

Look, if Billie can go through life relying on snark and bitterness alone, I can use screaming and procrastination, okay??

No. bad Jem. you cannot use the habits you gave your character as an excuse for your own bad habits.

ALSO: see the end of the post for *ad voice* your chance to feature in the next installment of Jem's Three Sisters WIP Special!


Week Four: Side Character (SC) Questions and Story Building

–{{1. List your SCs, state one of their main hobbies, and tell us how they influence your MC in the story.

*cracks knuckles*

*actually no I never crack my knuckles ever, ignore that* *shivers*

Elsie: the middle sister; hobby: writing; her gentleness influences Billie to be tougher.

Josie: the youngest sister; hobby: riding through the forest/hunting; impulsive and slightly wild, which influences Billie to sacrifice herself.

Count Laszlo/the Beast: grumpy talking tiger-bear-thing from the forest; hobby: reading, pottering around conservatory; influences Billie to act like more of a wild beastie than he is (simply because he is 0% wild beastie and he irritates her) but also to use manners as a new weapon.

Rowan: leader (or so he claims) of the bandits; hobby: snark (do you see where I'm going with him, dO YOU); his similarities with Billie influence her to open up (just a crack, though, seriously) and trust him to help her.

Kik: would be Rowan's right-hand-man except he denies Rowan's actually in charge; hobby: insulting Rowan (as fictional friends do); has not yet met Billie?? but I suppose might influence her actions through not sending (or making Rowan send) Josie home away from the bandits.

Zephyr: from another country I haven't named, he's the literal sweetest and I'm sorry I hurt him; hobby: not sure?? maybe poetry; his presence influences Billie's actions in that she starts freaking out for spoiler reasons.

Count Yala: the voice of common sense and competence; hobby: making sure Zephyr's okay (he does not have a life); he influences Billie by not taking Zephyr away.

–{{2. Who is the SC that is the closest to your MC?

At the start, Elsie or Josie would be closest... not that that's saying much.

Later on, Count Laszlo (the Beast) gets to know her a bit, but I wouldn't say they're close. Just... suffering together. For different reasons, but hey, shared suffering is supposed to bring people closer together, right? ...which might work, except they're each the cause of the other's suffering... (yes, Billie, making you sit down to tea, I know, that's sO CRUEL)

After that, though, she gets to know Rowan, and while I need to work on that a bit, she definitely talks to him about things she hasn't mentioned before.

(What, you ask? hang on, I know I left those spoiler gifs somewhere handy...)

–{{3. How do your SCs act around people they don’t know?

The majority of them clam up and act politely while saying nothing of real substance. There's secrets involved (and heartbreaks, which is none of these strangers' business), so they stay distanced from almost everyone. 

Except Josie, that is. She does try to take care not to blurt out anything Billie has specifically stated must be kept secret, but... the rapidity with which she connects with the bandits would make Billie scream in frustration.

–{{4. What conflict do they add to the story (disagreeing with the MC, perhaps)?


The answer is:

- some of them turn up when they shouldn't
- some of them recognise someone who didn't want to be recognised (without realising that fact)
- some of them accidentally lead others to someone who didn't want to be found
- some of them have no idea what's going on so what they do doesn't fit in with Billie's pLAN
- some of them have figured out that Billie has no plan
- some of them have somehow managed to slip inside Billie's armour, just a little, and she responds with aggression, obviously
- some of them encourage her sisters' BAD CHOICES and why couldn't those two just do what she told them, seriously, how hard would that be??

–{{5. Would your MC die for any of them? What about vice versa?

I also love this question! Because this is basically the idea behind my book!

(I typo-d and said blook. twice. why. excuse me while I go get sugar to feed my brain)

The, well, conclusion of the inciting incident? (I think?) is Billie offering to die for Josie. She'd do the same for Elsie, no question - as long as there was no other way (like fighting harder snarking someone more vehemently, which is always worth a shot) which would allow her to continue looking after her sisters. She understands that, once she's dead, they're on their own.

And I haven't really thought about it, but later on in the book (once she's started trusting other people with her sisters), I'm thinking she might well offer to die for them as well? If necessary? e.g. she would do it for Zephyr, might do it for Rowan, and would see zero need for Count Laszlo (since he can doubtless fend for himself, being a tiger-bear-beast). Kik and Yala, though... they might have to rely on other people. ;P

Vice versa... hm. Billie would never let her sisters even entertain the thought. Count Laszlo/the Beast might well feel protective enough, once she'd been around a while (hey, you look out for your banter buddies). Zephyr would, but Billie knows he has responsibilities and wouldn't let him. Rowan would, probably, later on; now I'm thinking about how both Rowan and Billie would die for someone else but wouldn't think it worthwhile for someone else to die for them, both being bitter and gradually reckless of life and limb and all, and now I want to write a scene for this?? THANKS

–{{6. If you were writing a books about your SCs, what might the books be like?

That would depend on the SC. The Beast's would be... quiet, for the vast majority of the time; calming, but possibly boring to read, at least until he has to open his home to a furious Billie. Rowan's would have a tragic backstory but I DON'T KNOW WHAT; thanks a lot, brain, ya missed that bit. Zephyr's tragic story I know; it's kind of the first part to what comes in this story, and I love it and hang on I just need to add a bit more suffering. Kik... eh, not sure, probably just a heap of not taking things seriously (this is not how he was supposed to be, he was supposed to be a widower with a tragic backstory, help? but maybe that would have been too many tragic backstories??). Josie would provide a lot more views of forest adventure... before, y'know, being caught in those forest adventures. Elsie - I think her book might be interesting? I do have a few sections in her POV, and I love her sub-plot.

–{{7. What is your favorite part about the setting?'s a fairly generic forest setting, most of the time. I do like the brief glimpses I've had of the capital city, but the story never goes there. So my favourite part would definitely be the Beast's house. It's full of books and ferns and china teacups. Things like that.

–{{8. What was the hardest part about coming up with the setting?

Answer: Coming up with the setting. I don't picture settings in my head! Can't do it! So I need pictures to look at before I can ground my writing, sometimes maps too. It's so irritating.

–{{9. Is there anything about the setting that produced a major change in your character throughout the story?

Billie used to be an extrovert; being around people charged her up - even though she didn't necessarily like them, she found conversation invigorating. Then the solitude of the forest stopped that?? and she's kind of abandoned her previous "let us have a challenging intellectual debate where I will wipe the floor with you" attitude for a more hostile conversational method (since she doesn't want to talk to anyone anyway).

 Basically, she's changed from "is fueled by interactions with ppl" to "is fueled by bitterness, and snark where possible". And the forest kind of had a part in that (but she chose to live there, so).

–{{10. Did you base your setting off of any place in particular?

ehhh. Forests?? also the story never goes there, but the capital was based of a picture of Prague (?) and some pictures of Paris.


Jules @ Saver of Memories (inventor of this wonderful idea!)
Nicole @ Legend of a Writer
Ceci @ Ceci Creates
Lisa @ Inkwell (the amazing graphics are courtesy of her!)
Gray @ Writing is Life
Julia @ Lit Aflame
Melissa @ Quill Pen Writer
Brooklyne @ Showers of Blessings
Ariel @ Scribes and Archers
Keturah @ Keturah’s Korner
Sarah @ Pen of a Ready Writer

Which of my side characters would you like to hear more about? Who here do you think your characters would get along with? Which of my characters and yours should we not put in a room together? (whether because someone would die or because of the chaos that would ensue from a team-up, that's up to you.) Would your side characters die for your main character? what about the main character for the side characters?

and do you crack your knuckles, or is it nails on a chalkboard to you too. (my sister [#1] read that over my shoulder and started trying to crack her knuckles. it only took one pop before I was asking her to kindly step away from behind my chair and remove her horrid habits from my room. she doesn't even crack her knuckles and had to try really hard to do so. why are sisters like this. xD)


Now. About that "you could feature in the next installment" bit. 

I'm going to tell you next week's theme (shh, it's a secret): it's a do-what-you-like party. (Which is the same as the last few WIP Specials, so, okay, it's not quite a secret. But we love doing it so just act like it's a surprise.)

But see, most people do aesthetics and playlists for their party. Which is awesome and I adore seeing them! but I've kind of already used my aesthetics and playlists to prop up earlier posts in this month's series.

So I thought you could ask my characters some questions. Since you've been having fun with that so far. Or, y'know, two people asked questions and I had fun, which is basically the same thing and is completely justification enough.

I'm planning on having Billie 'host', dragging other characters in as necessary. There will be [non-canon] interactions. There will be Drama. There will be Snark. There may be murders, but I'll try to tidy up the stains before hitting Publish.

Put your questions in the comments - maybe in a format like
Your name: [character], question?
- or something that looks a bit like an interview, so I can put down exactly what you said and run with it.

Feel free to snark them yourself. They deserve it. Oh, and you can drag multiple characters in for one question if you like.

I will be keeping a close grip on my River Song spoilers! gifs. But you never know what I might be able to tell you unless you ask. Plus this will all be non-canon, so...

I'm slightly afraid of what might happen here, but at least it's going to be an exciting party...

UNTIL NEXT FRIDAY, PEOPLE. make sure we get those questions coming in.


  1. OH and if you're on MyWriteClub (I know some of you are), I made a custom sprint. Still not quite sure how it works, but I think you should be able to just follow -the link- and you'll be in. It's not 100% private (since I'm putting the link here), but I thought it could be fun to sprint against writer-bloggers who we know!

    And I already love Zephyr so much. And Elsie. AND ALL OF THEM, OKAY. XD

    Hmmm, questions: (some of them might go into spoiler territory, but that should just make it more fun, amiright?)

    Nicole: Zephyr, if you could go back and change any one event in your life, what would it be?
    Nicole: Rowan, what’s your favorite part about being a bandit?
    Nicole: Billie, how do you put up with all these people?????? XD

    1. It was so cool to see you had a Rowan too, Nicole! Mine's not a prince, though. ;)

      Excellent questions! Especially the one for Billie - I have no idea how she puts up with them myself...

  3. Is it bad that now I want to shove Koray and Billie into a room together and see what would happen? I feel like Koray would invite her to a game of cards and for each snarky comment tell a horribly bad joke until she stopped... xD

    Ooooh questions, let's do this!

    Melissa, Billie: Any recommendations of techniques to use to disarm people with snark?
    Melissa, The Beast: Do you like ferns or did they just show up in your house?
    Melissa, Josie: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

    1. Billie would probably explode from frustration if Koray didn't react to her snark... poor thing doesn't know any other way of coping. I want it to happen. xD

      The Beast appreciates you asking after his ferns... ;P

  4. They all sound so spunky, I love them!

    Gray: Billie, who do you find the most annoying most of the time?
    Gray: Zephyr, who would be the most likely to eat the last cookie in your friend group?

    1. Billie's going to have difficulty answering that question, Gray - she finds most of the others super annoying at some point, so picking one is tricky! ;P

  5. Ooh! I love character interviews! Right, here we go:

    For Count Lazlo: Is your collection of ferns strictly of local species, or do you cultivate foreign species as well?

    For Zephyr: Do you have any hidden talents? (and is it possible to have a demonstration?)

    For Rowan: If I gave you a pair of handcuffs, what would you do with them?

    1. I know the answer to the handcuffs question! (which is slightly alarming, Rowan... there aren't even handcuffs in this world??)

      And I forgot to say on the last post, but it's nice to see you around again, Blue! :D

  6. Lol, I really like how Billie sounds!
    Julia: Billie, how would you go about. . . exterminating someone?

    Julia: Billie, if a portal opened up allowing you to get out of your book and jump into another, would you leave?

    Julia: Billie, whats your favorite piece of snark you've ever come up with?

    ps. For some reason I keep typing Billie's name as "Billia" - help i do not know how to do the spelling. XD

    1. I think we're all just faking the ability to do the spelling, Julia! and I considered having you call her Billia in the interview, but eventually decided she would sadly go too far off-topic in response. ;P

  7. Ha! I love this. Especially the hobbies :) Snark and insults are excellent hobbies. As is "making sure Zephyr's okay". I think I might join in this hobby. Of course, I don't really know Zephyr, but from what you said (tragic backstory+the literal sweetest+YOU HURT HIM)I think making sure he's okay would be a good way to spend my time.
    I love how the Beast is 0% beastie and sits around drinking tea. :)
    HA! The conflicts section is so great. :)
    Ugh, cracking knuckles. *cringe* I know someone who cracks their NECK which is even WORSE. *shudders*
    Erik: Rowan, what makes you think you're the leader?
    Erik: Kik, if you had the opportunity to drop a piano on Rowan's head, would you do it?
    Erik: Count Yala, IS ZEPHYR OKAY???

    1. The Protecting Zephyr club can always use more members, Erik! and he deserves protection. (but I am too powerful to be stopped... mwahaha... I feel so cruel though??)

      Cracking their NECK?? *shudders sympathetically* why do people do it, though. why.

      BWAHAHA that piano question for Kik is awesome and I love it. So does he. xD

  8. Ahh, I think Elsie is my favorite of your side characters! And the character interview is such a good idea! :)

    Brooklyne: Billie, besides protecting your younger sisters, what is one thing that keeps you motivated?

    Brooklyne: Elsie, How often do you agree with your older sister?

    Brooklyne: Josie, if you could have one wish granted, what would it be?

    Brooklyne: All three siblings, how old are y'all? :)

    Can't wait for next Friday's posts!

    1. Oh - I never have said how old they are, have I! obviously, though, this is a very important question that I definitely, absolutely know the exact answer to.
      (I will make up an answer and put that question in the interview, Brookyne... xD)


    Ceci: Billie: Have you ever run out of things to say?
    Ceci: Zephyr: What is the stupidest thing you've ever done?
    Ceci: Rowan: Who is the most important person in your life?


    1. I look forward to answering these, Ceci! :D (although Billie might a bit insulted you could possibly imagine she's ever run out of things to say... ;P)

  10. Your sisters are the best. Sounds like they might get along with mine, lol

    But I think Lazlo and I might get along?? Like, we can sip tea together and talk about the weather and the states of the roads and stuff.


    1. Younger sisters must be a universal thing, hey??

      As I've said before, Count Laszlo would love to have a well-mannered young lady to tea with whom he could talk about serious, civilized topics!

  11. Scratch my questions, I'll have to sit back and watch. IM SO SORRY I'm just crazy busy right now...

  12. I'm a tad sad not to have what I'm sure would have been amazing questions, but no problem, Julian! Anytime you need to say "I'm crazy busy right now", know that I completely sympathize and will at some point have to bail with that same excuse. xD Have fun watching! :)

  13. Hey Jem,
    I know it doesn't have to do with this tag (which I love btw:) but, "You're it!" I tagged you on my blog :)
    R.J. Catlin

  14. Great content, thank you for sharing. Looking forward for more!

  15. Love this post. I'll be sure to incorporate this points in my new blogging journey. Thanks!


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).