Writing update and character art

I've still been working on "In the Cards", the novel I started for NaNoWriMo last November, but I've taken a bit of a break in order to fill out an awesomely detailed questionnaire for each of the characters in order to better understand them so I can finish the second half of my first draft. The questionnaire is awesomely detailed, but also incredibly time-consuming; they each end up being 14 pages long when finished! So far I've finished Raff and Seph, so I now know pretty much everything I could ever want to know about them- and far more than they would ever want anyone to know about themselves- and I've started working on Tavin and Piper. After those are done, I'll be answering it for Clover, Sprout, Beryl (she's my mystery character, so she'll be added to this blog later), and the main baddie (sheesh, he doesn't even have a name yet). I've got a surplus of characters in this story and these are only the main ones! Basically I got to the halfway point in the story where all the main characters meet up- and I realized I didn't know enough about half of them to easily move the story along. In order to get to the end, both them and I need to know what their strengths and weaknesses are because this will come up. The baddie and I aren't planning on playing nice, you know. ;)

So while I was working on figuring out their personalities and filling out answers for the questions (still trying to figure out Seph's "earliest memory", Tavin's "soft spot", and Piper's "darkest secret"- I told you these were detailed!) I realized that it would also help to know what the characters looked like. Here's one of the downsides of writing a blind protagonist: since he doesn't know what anyone looks like, I hadn't really thought of what their appearances would be. What they sounded like, their personalities, their magic, yes, but not their appearances. So when someone in my Facebook writing group (join us here if you're interested) linked to this character generator, this was exactly what I needed and I got to making avatars of a few of the characters I didn't yet have art for.

First up are Seph and Sprout. Seph's the protagonist, my blind Knight of Wands. He's my stoic (albeit somewhat snarky) healer-priest of Eros who ends up getting stuck with a fox as "help" for his quest and becomes (begrudgingly) the leader of this group of misfits. His avatar is pretty close to how I picture him, although a bit older than he should be for this; at the time of "In the Cards", he's in his early 20s. Sprout is only in this story briefly as her events mostly happen off-screen; she's Seph's teenaged apprentice and the enthusiastic but competent Page of Pentacles. (Since "In the Cards" centers around tarot, I'm continuing my tradition of calling characters by their card.)

Here are Piper and Clover. Piper is one of the main characters and my flighty and cheerful Knight of Swords. She's a priestess of Gale (the god of wind, sailors, and the sea), so when she's not caught in bird form, she has some control over the weather and she wields a mean harpoon. (She also has really awesome hair. I'm not quite sure how exactly she got blue hair dye in a medieval world, but somehow she did.) Clover, my halfling, is technically a main character, but as the prophetess she doesn't have a tarot card assigned to her. The way her magic works is that she can't prophecize for herself or influence her own future in any way, but she has a pretty good idea of what's going on with everyone else.

And last up are Tavin and Raff. Tavin's my large but gentle and pacifistic Knight of Pentacles. He's a young shaman who works with the elements, or at least three of the elements. There's a reason he always carries a bottle, jug, or bucket of water on him at all times. This isn't quite how I imagine him, but it was really difficult to make an avatar of a half-orc. Raff (my Knight of Cups) is in this story as a main character, too, but since he spends most of the time wearing Seph's uniform and those sleeves were a pain to figure out twice, I wasn't going to do it a third time. Instead I made an avatar of what he wears when he isn't in uniform (which I've cosplayed).

As you can see at the top of the blog, the new characters have their own avatar links now; I'll be writing up info for their bio pages over the next few weeks. (Kryro's an old character, but he'll get a bio at some point soon, too.) As well as working on the questionnaires and these avatars, I've also been putting together a timeline and a kind of diagram to chart out the characters and their plot. I may share those later. :)




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