This week was a valiant attempt to catch up on this writing challenge thing. Alas, due to the nature of question 29 — in which I was required to provide K.F. Goodacre with an answer for her weekly blog post — I fell a bit short. Nevertheless I did manage to hammer out answers to no less than five questions. Here we go!
Part of the 52 Week Writing Challenge. Click here to view all questions.
22. What you find easiest / hardest about the writing process
Honestly, for me, it’s just getting the words down on the god damned page in the first place. I write soooooo slowly. It can be very disheartening seeing fellow writers brag about — or sometimes even lament — their word counts, effortlessly writing multiple thousands of words per day like it’s nothing/not enough and then there’s me, plodding along at barely 400 words per session… I wish I could write faster.
Continually comparing my writing progress to that of other writers is a problem I struggle with also. I am constantly battling feelings of inadequacy and impending failure… though I suppose that’s not necessarily writing-specific!
23. Top 5 quotes from your book
My book’s only in the first draft stages at the moment so I struggled to find ‘quotable’ lines. I’m quite fond of these ones though… enjoy!
1. “Melora Winship, I promise, when I am captain of my own ship, I will take you away from this miserable place. No more offices, no more ink-stained fingers — I would have you sail with me.”
2. “Don’t fool yourself into thinking Mr Winship ain’t cottoned on to you yet, Master Carson. Why else d’you think your[s and Melora’s] office is the only one that don’t have a lock on it?”
3. “You’re hardly one to scold me for getting a tattoo, Father.” said John, jabbing an accusing finger at Jeremiah’s right arm.
Jaspher could have sworn he saw his father’s lips twitch.
“Do as I say, Jonathan. Not as I do.”
4. A boy-shaped cloud of rum and stale sweat burst into the hall, looking tired, haggard and bruised.
5. His entire being was one raw nerve — inflamed and sore, beaten down by the necessity of living.
Copyright © S.E. Berrow 2018
24. A minor character is now your protagonist. How do they fare?
Part of Melora‘s characterisation is that she is ill-equipped to deal with everything that happens to her. She’s a young woman in the 18th century, brought up by a single father with little to no female influence in her life beyond her governess. She works alongside Jaspher — whom she’s known since childhood — at her father’s shipbuilding company; shipbuilding obviously being an incredibly male-dominated industry. Her best friend John, Jaspher’s brother, is a sailor, full of rough and ready manners. She is entirely surrounded by men who love, respect and protect her, and despite some arbitrary restrictions due to her gender, she’s used to getting her own way with little to no consequences.
Which is why she’s entirely unprepared for the arrival of a man like Kale who is manipulative, duplicitous and dangerous — the kind of man your mother warned you about. A minor character like Miss Lillith or Liz Moore— practical, sensible women who were born raised in New Hardway’s slums — would see through Kale straight away. They wouldn’t be taken in by his charms, nor dazzled by his wealth and good looks. They’d be entirely useless to him. Thus, there’d be no plot.
That’s what makes Melora interesting to me though; her experiences with Kale shape her, change her; she’s forced to learn fast. There are no other characters like her in the book. If Melora wasn’t Melora, she’d likely end up like another naive minor character of mine, Alice Dragan, whom Kale thoroughly chews up and spits out halfway through the book.
If a character like Roger Bellamy became the protagonist (LOL) I imagine he’d join forces with Kale for a little while for his own personal gain, then wind up horribly murdered once Kale was done with him. This is generally how it goes for most people who interact with Kale.
So that’s my answer to this question: not well. They’d end up either ignored, utterly ruined or dead.
25. Illustrations of three of your characters
I’ve peppered my posts throughout this challenge with illustrations of my characters, so today I thought I’d introduce you to three ~*~new~*~ illustrations never before seen! It’s my intention to add these to Meet The Characters once I have the full set. For the time being however, meet:
Crooked Town Magistrate, thief taker and all round skeeze.
Mayor to the Town of New Hardway and the person with whom Kale is staying when he arrives from Hilt.
Governess and glorified lady’s maid to Melora Winship. I’ve written a post about her before, which you can view by clicking here.
26. Your protagonist was born a different sex. Does your story change?
Pretty drastically, I’d say. The challenges Male!Melora would face would be completely different from those of the existing Female!Melora.
Female!Melora wishes to sail like her best friend John, but is forbidden from doing so because she’s a woman. Theoretically speaking, she could sail as a passenger, but it would be most unseemly for a young woman of her class to do so unchaperoned. Male!Melora wouldn’t have this problem. He might fall out with his father for choosing the lowly profession of sailing over shipbuilding, but there’d be nothing beyond his father’s disapproval to stop him from fulfilling his desires.
Assuming all the other characters retain their sex and sexualities, Male!Melora would also probably get along better with his colleague Jaspher, because the whole “unrequited love” thing wouldn’t be an issue. Jaspher is straight, so he wouldn’t be in love with Male!Melora. There’d no sexual tension, no angst, no problems. The pair would be a whole lot happier and comfortable around each other… or alternatively, they’d drive each other absolutely insane. Probably the latter to be honest. Melora is too stubborn and Jaspher too stuffy.
Again, assuming Male!Melora retained Female!Melora’s sexuality (straight), this would also mean he wouldn’t develop a crush on William Kale. Male!Melora would completely escape William Kale’s notice as a direct result of this (part of Female!Melora’s problem is she’s really bad at hiding how she feels) and thus is not open to being manipulated in this way. Male!Melora wouldn’t get in the way of Kale’s plans, and so they’d all go through without a hitch. This is absolutely terrible news for just about every other character in the book, but comparatively good news for Male!Melora. Thus endeth the plot. How dull.