Writerly Navel-Gazing ~ Week 28: Questions 24, 25, 26, 27 & 28

What week are we even on? Have I really not done one of these posts for a whole month?? Oh boy, have I got some catching up to do…

Part of the 30 Week Writing Challenge. Click here to view all questions.

24. How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? What’s the most interesting way you’ve killed someone?

Incredibly willing, to the point I have to reign myself in. I am not even joking when I say that most, if not all my characters have had their heads on the chopping block at some point. If your favourite character makes it to the end of The Mayor, you’ll have K.F. Goodacre to thank for it; she has stayed the fall of my axe on many occasions!

As for the most interesting way I’ve killed someone… there are certainly a couple of very interesting deaths in The Mayor, but I don’t want to spoil them for you!

25. Do any of your characters have pets? Tell us about them.

Yes! Though sadly these pets don’t show up until Book Two…

Old Dickiehas a cat called Bill (short for Bilge Rat). She’s a ship’s cat, so she’s employed to keep the rat population down. Friendly and affectionate, Bill is mostly black with a white chest,  polydactyl paws and a fleck on her nose. She enjoys sitting on everyone’s laps — especially those who don’t wish for her to sit on them — and is a good mouser despite her pint-sized self.

Jaspher reluctantly acquires a wolfhound named Bonny, won by an employee in a game of cards. She is stubborn, introverted and intelligent and, though enormous, relatively small for her breed. She’s grey-brown in colour, barrel-chested, slim-waisted and shaggy-haired and, as a bonus, hates William Kale. Very much a case of a pet resembling their owner here!

26. Let’s talk art! Do you draw your characters? Do others draw them? Pick one of your original characters and post your favourite picture of him or her.

You can see artwork of all my characters by clicking here. They were all drawn by the very talented Brettarts, whom I cannot recommend enough.

Or perhaps you’d like to see some ~*~eXcLuSiVe~*~ artwork? Here’s some art of my characters my friends have drawn for me in the past, before I got them drawn professionally:

27. Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.

I’m quite a visual person so I do try to convey what a character looks like in my head to the reader. I’m not a big fan of writing “blank slates”; a character can have a distinct appearance and still be relatable!

The appearances of my characters changes over the course of the story in The Mayor. They get older, dirtier, put on weight, lose weight, get scars, lose hair, lose teeth, get tattoos, change the way they dress… If I didn’t write about that then that’s effectively an entire element of storytelling lost.

As to how I go about designing characters… I don’t know really! They just kind of pop into my head and then I get to know them properly on paper, hashing them out as I go along and making changes when necessary. Even at this very late stage, I’m still updating characters, appearances and all. For example, after consultation with one of my Beta readers a couple of months ago, I decided to give the Carson family some Dontaran heritage, which made their skin darker.

28. Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there’s nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.

~ Warning! Minor spoilers for The Mayor below ~

Physical disabilities: the Carsons’ father, Jeremiah, is debilitatingly ill. I’ve had to do a lot of research in order to portray his condition correctly, and have been drilling my friend who works as a nurse on the NHS!

Mental disabilities: Jaspher Carson suffers from severe anxiety and depression (completely untreated of course, because The Mayor is set in the 18th century which wasn’t exactly the best time to be mentally ill), John and Melora suffer from PTSD, and  William Kale is a psychopath (this has been especially fun to research).

Phew! Up to date at last. Just one more week and only two more questions to go…

S.E. Berrow

Artwork credit for question 26: for Vitriolic-Harli’s deviantART, click here. She is also known as The Cerebral Hedonist — click here.


5 thoughts on “Writerly Navel-Gazing ~ Week 28: Questions 24, 25, 26, 27 & 28

  1. Love the bit about ‘blank slate’ characters. I don’t like reading them because I find them a bit lazy! But then there is a balance between giving too much information about a character in one go, and leaving some details. I try to describe a character the way I would if I met them for the first time – I probably wouldn’t look at every single detail but maybe just one or two things that are distinctive.


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