Tag Archives: Character development

NaNo Main Character


It’s the first week of NaNo and I’ll be turning my full writing focus on All Things scary.

The cover for my writer's notebook for this WIP

The cover for my writer’s notebook for this WIP

Here is a working blub ~

The fragile peace between the Elf nations of Crencher is crumbling. With the murder of the Final Judge, the furies terrorize the lands, seizing any they feel have done wrong. Maeko, the honest one, is next in line to become a Final Judge but never before has one so young been chosen. She sets out to complete the five perils to proof she is ready to assume her purpose with her guide De, the virtuous one.

Maeko and De not only have to survive the five perils but also stop the witch, Eduvigos. Once every nine thousand years the seven moons of Crencher a line. This is the only night Eduvigos can destroy the barrier holding her prisoner in Granli.



I spent October developing a solid cast of secondary characters that will force my main character, Maeko down the path she needs to travel. So now it’s time to meet Maeko – the honest one.  Here is a ‘working’ picture of Maeko


Maeko - one of those with a 'purpose'. Only she has to survive the 5 perils and a vengeful witch to live it

Maeko – one of those with a ‘purpose’. Only she has to survive the 5 perils and a vengeful witch to live it

She lives on the Island of Purpose which is off the coast of Brooly.Maeko is the youngest elf to ever receive the Sword of Truth (in her hand in the picture). Before she can assume her role as the Final Judge to the furies, she must complete (and survive) five perils. ** I’m not sure what the perils are going to be – some ideas (again I’m pantser NOT a plotter)**

As one with a purpose (this is explained in the book), she has unlimited use of her magic.

This is Maeko’s GMC sheet ~ this will be added to as the story develops. Tomorrow, I’ll share how I developed Maeko’s GMC.


This will go in The All Things Scary notebook
This will go in The All Things Scary notebook



Headless Horsewomen Character sheet


The Headless Horsewoman of Granli

What are they?  Women who made a deal with the witch ______________________. (I’ll fill this in when I decide what to name the witch)They are deals that benefit no one but woman making it. The witch cannot into these arrangements with women who want things like ‘better crops,’ etc. When they died she, beheaded them and uses their heads to control them. Their primary purpose is to attack those who threaten or oppose ________________________________.

All three women made a deal with the witch believing they could outsmart her or defeat her. Their story will be weaved in.

Possible opening scene is the creating of the 3rd headless horsewoman.

G: They lack goals of their own – they are now mindless creatures controlled by the witch. Before death it would have varied. But it was their ‘selfish’ goals that lead to them becoming a headless horsewoman.

M: None

C: None

Purpose in the story ~ They add to the witch’s character. They are a sign of her power. They provide hindrance to the hero/heroine


Horse – when their hooves strike the ground flames erupt. They are black with glowing orange eyes. They are living things – born of evil.

Women –

Bella – the first to make a deal with the witch.  Has served the witch for ___ years. She wields a mace with a fireball on the end. Her dress is royal blue velvet – rumored to be the color her eyes once were. She was known to be the most beautiful woman of all of Crencher. She married King Trivent of Brooly, even though she had money nor was she from royalty. It is said he was so taken by her looks he ignored all protocol to make her his Queen. Even when she died, she remained flawless in her looks.

Lyana – the second to make a deal with the witch. Has served the witch for ____ years.  She wields a flaming sword. She wears a pale purple peasant style top and black riding breeches. Men were unable to resist her charms and gave her lavish gifts so she never had to marry. Her treasure is believed to hidden. There are many rumors as to where.

Greta – she is beheaded in the story. Her deal was that the King of Kontar would never desire anyone but her. He would never be able to deny her anything if she said please. When she is brought to the witch following the death of the king – because the wish is no longer in effect, she will have long flowing red hair. She will be wrinkled and a crone like but on the king’s deathbed he rants of her beauty. She tries to wiggle out of dying by claiming the King gave her the kingdom to rule. It doesn’t matter because that was not the wish.

Tomorrow, it’s the updated map and where my world is going. I’d love to hear any input


All Things Scary – character


This week’s character for All That’s Scary is a banshee. The ‘official’ definition from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee ~ the banshee (/ˈbænʃ/ ban-shee), from Irishbean sí [bʲæn ˈʃiː] (“woman of the sídhe” or “woman of the fairy mounds“) is a female spirit in Irish mythology, usually seen as an omen of death and a messenger from the Otherworld.

banshee 2In legend, a banshee is a fairy woman who begins to wail if someone is about to die. In Scottish Gaelic mythology, she is known as the bean sìth or bean-nighe and is seen washing the bloodstained clothes or armour of those who are about to die. Alleged sightings of banshees have been reported as recently as 1948.[1] Similar beings are also found in Welsh,[2] Norse[3][4][5]and American folklore.[6][7]

The thing to remember when taking a known myth like the headless horseman last week while I made major changes I kept the key things the same. I have headless horsewomen yet they are headless 🙂

My banshee is going to be my witch’s (the main character) sister. I like the ‘washing the bloodstained clothes of those who are about to die,’ so I’ll be using that 🙂 Her role is that she can travel throughout my world and works with her sister to ‘corrupt’ people condemning them to the witch’s land. She is going to be the one who brought the witch the three women who become the headless horsewomen.

Both the banshee and the witch are going to be timeless beings (meaning they don’t age). I need to figure out how this is going to work.

What would you do with a banshee character?

Muse Monday


This week I’m sharing another character development trick I have. I have several manila file filled with pictures I’ve ripped out of magazines or printed off the internet of ‘interesting’ characters.  I have four files –

(1)    Female characters

(2)    Male characters

(3)    Non-human characters

(4)    Group characters

I found this picture last week and was going to stash it in my female character file but decided to make her a profile for my blog instead.


What's her story?

What’s her story?

Much like with the card character development I shared last week, I start with random impressions. I don’t have a list of questions because then I feel as if I’m forcing my ‘muse’ into a box. This way my imagination is free to develop this character.

Once I pull a character from a file, I spend 5 minutes writing anything and EVERYTHING that comes to my mind. I call this list my character hint list. And I do mean EVERYTHING because if you start restricting what your muse feeds you, she will stop altogether. So if food pops into your mind, write it down. Maybe your character will be a chief. Maybe it will be the dinner a serial killer makes for her while he has her captive. Maybe it is what she makes for a dinner party. The list goes on and on.


Here is the ‘brief’ list of questions, I came up with. (I came up with over 150 character hints).

–          What is she holding?

–          What does this object mean to her?

–          Does the object allow her to see into the future? Into the past? Spy on other people?

–          Is she afraid?

–          Is she waiting for something or someone?

–          Is she hiding?

–          Does she know what she is holding?

–          Is she being forced to hold the object? By who?

–          She is a prisoner. But who is keeping her? And is a willing captive?

–          Does using the object cause her pain?

As you can see from my list, the object she is holding isn’t a bottle of perfume 🙂  I would list the ‘major’ character hints around her on the blank paper. I’d love to hear what are some of the first things that pop into your mind when you see this picture.

Monday Muse


Building a Character…

I like to have a full pool of characters developed to some degree to pick from when writing.  Changing or adding whatever traits I need to make them fit my current WIP. Character building is also a great way for me to get into the ‘writing mood’ when I would rather be doing anything else. (Sometimes it’s soooo bad, I’d rather fold laundry! Yikes)

One of favorite what ways to build characters is to use a tarot deck or an oracle deck. Today, I’m using the oracle desk. I picked a random card…. The Queen of the Golden Bough. I don’t read/research or allow what this cards means come into play or the card’s name. I want to build a unique character.

What type of character will she be??

What type of character will she be??

The first thing I do is list the 3 things about the card that catch my eye.

1)      The creatures surrounding

2)      The red eyes behind her

3)      The necklace (the larger one)

Then I brainstorm questions about these 3 things…

1) The creatures?

Are they all ‘together’?

What are they roles in her life?

Do they know about each other?

2) The eyes?

Are they watching her?

If so does she know they are?

Do they mean her harm?

Is the scarf around her neck being used by the ‘eyes’ to control her?

The eyes are actually looking to her right so maybe they see danger and ‘creatures’ are trying to pull her away


3) The necklace?

Since she’s wearing a smaller one that is fitting for her outfit, this must have a ‘different’ significance.

Does it have magical powers?

Is it used by the ‘eyes’ to communicate with her? To control her?

Is it linked to her health?

As I start to answer these questions her role (secondary/primary) starts to form. While there is a lot going on in the card, I still feel as if she’s a secondary character. Maybe she’s being held prisoner or being manipulated by a king or queen of a different race? (the crown is leading me in this direction).

I’d love to hear some of character building activities or what were some of the things that caught your interest about the card.


Talking Tuesday


To sort of continue with yesterday’s prompt for Talking Tuesday, I thought I’d ‘talk’ about two of my favorite secondary characters.


Secondary characters have several different roles and are as important as the hero and heroine but often we ‘writers’ tend to skim over their development. While some secondary characters do remain in the shadows, those that don’t need as much development as the hero and heroine, they should also be given a reason for being in this WIP.  I don’t need to know about the cashier at Burger King unless he/she is going to impact


Two of my favorite secondary characters to use as full developed examples are from the movie Robin Hood ~ Prince of Thieves. (I’ve taught two different workshops on secondary characters – on one line and the other as part of a conference and I use these two – if you haven’t watched this movie and struggle with secondary characters, I suggest you do because truly they are great examples. I’ve also used Harry Potter but because it’s a series the secondary characters change and shift.)


Azeem and Will Scarlet are INCREDBILE secondary characters…

Azeem is fully developed right from the start.

1)      We know why he is with Robin. You can’t just drop a secondary character into your story and have him/her impact the main character without a reason. Few of us would run out and take on a dangerous mission because the lady we talked to in the bread aisle of the grocery store told us to.  So you need to ask yourself why would my hero or heroine do what this character suggests???

2)      He’s a secondary character with GMC.

G ~ He wants Robin to accept the responsibility for what he started.

M ~ He has seen people like the sheriff destroy those he cared about

C ~ Those he wants to help aren’t open to his assistance (the birth of Little John’s son)

3)      While he pushes Robin to the next level, he also offers some humor. So he’s not only a loyal side-kick (who else would fly through the air with you but your loyal side-kick?) He holds up a mirror for Robin to look at himself.


Will Scarlet steps out of the shadows and slams Robin with a bolt of lightening!

1)      While we aren’t sure why he hates Robin, the bitterness of it lets us know there has to be something there. Secondary characters don’t need to bare all like the hero or heroine BUT we should have some clue to what their GMC. Azeem just hints to his love interest, we don’t get the entire history of them (how long they were together, etc.) just enough to understand Azeem’s behavior. Timing is EVERYTHING in revealing a secondary character’s secrets. When Will reveals that he’s Robin’s half-brother, it’s later in the movie because it isn’t until then that Robin would have acted as he did. Robin needed to grow before this secret could have the impact it did. Again, timing is everything.

2)      Will doesn’t charm his way into our hearts. We think he’s a jerk until we learn his GMC. Then he proves himself as much of a stand-up guy as Azeem and Robin. The only reason he can move from the jerk box to the good guy box is because his conflict with Robin explains his behavior AND he hadn’t really done anything bad besides being rude to Robin. If you have a secondary character that lurks in the shadows and throws hate darts at the hero or heroine remember if you want them to change teams the reason has to be believable and the damage they did cannot be unforgivable.

So these are my two favorite examples of awesome secondary characters… but I’d love to hear yours as a reader or a writer.

Muse Monday


Muse Monday ~
This week I’m going to some character building. I’m using a writing prompt from 1,000 Character writing prompts: Villains, heroes, and hams…by Bryan Cohen for my prompt. I keep a file of possible secondary characters (pictures I’ve ripped out of magazines, random characters I develop while people watching, etc.). I do this so I don’t ‘fall’ into a ‘character rut’ – writing characters that I’m familiar with.
I have found the key to using writing prompt is I have to use random selection and then I have to write THAT prompt or I spend the day trying to find a prompt that ‘excites’ my muse.
I picked #26 (the date) and it is (drummmmmm roll)…

26. As you attempt to save a village, you are forced to partner up with a wanted thief with a heart of silver. He says he’s after treasure buried to the center of town, but he slips up and you realize that his love of riches is subservient to his desire to see the boorish warlord pay for his crimes. Behind his mustache and his ability to work his way out of a sticky situation, there is a loyal and honorable man there. He covers it up by boasting about how amazing he is, but you can see right through that. How did this good man end up a thief and your partner?
It’s funny as I was filling out the Character Building worksheets Disney characters came to mind… I don’t necessary see cartoon characters in this light 0_o

NOTE: These are just outlines of characters… I sort through them and if I find one that would work in my WIP I develop it more – I.e. eye color, hair color, etc. These are more of a personality glance

Build A Character Worksheet: Type of Character: Secondary – level 2
Male in most cases but could be female – this would demand more development making it a level 1 secondary character
Name: Rathlin – Depends on the nature of the story – would have a nickname.
Physical feature: handsome with a flaw – (like Flynn in Tangled)
Personality Feature: He’s very complex but only a few levels would be revealed. He’s in the story for a purpose to prod the hero/heroine. With his backstory he’d want to be center stage…
Purpose: The hero/heroine has a single goal in mind. While it is a ‘worthy’ goal… Rathlin has much more in mind… The hero/heroine is happy freeing the village but Rathlin wants the warlord to swing.

Flynn from Tangled...


Flynn from Tangled

Flynn from Tangled






Female: Level 1 secondary character
Name: Layla –
Physical feature: She would most likely disguise her true appearance. She is widely known but only as a ‘shadow’. And all believe the ‘shadow’ is a male
Personality Feature: She is very hard edge. A) because she believes she needs to make up for being a girl B) she is scared if develops relationships she loose her motives
Purpose: The same as the male character only it would be much more personal – the warlord killed her family type of thing



layla 2