Beating the Beatsheet

It’s another insomniac night for Yours Truly. Sometimes on nights like this I get a lot done. Other nights not so much because it really takes a lot of energy to draw stuff. I’ll look at what I gotta do. I’ll scroll the images up. I’ll scroll them down. I’ll wish I was sleeping.

Tonight is one of those anti-art nights. But the juices want to flow even though after a nice hot bath I’m ready to try sleeping again. I already wrote a filk to the tune of The Sounds of Silence in under an hour. (I’ll perform it someday, too.) I scrolled up, I scrolled down. Oh hell. I’ll do some character development for my novel, still as of yet unnamed.

So I opened up the beatsheet. And then I opened the character chart. A character chart is basically a questionnaire you fill out about your characters. It helps you to get to know them better, which is pretty important. Even minor characters deserve at least a little thought.

For example, there’s a scene where my main protagonist walks into an apothecary. The owner of the shop, whom the readers never meet, is a plump middle-aged woman with hair that doesn’t like to stay put. She was wearing yellow that day. She loves flowers and cats. And has a temper. Oh, boy does she have a temper. Watch out. She can also poison you to death and you won’t know it until a year after you’re dead.

What’s the point to all that? Oh, well, you never know. I may need to mention her in conversation or something. Or a more major character may have an event happen to them and I’ll need her. And it just helps make events more rounded. Maybe a ring this woman made comes to light after it kills the king or something. Who knows.

To my surprise the beatsheet for my main characters is done. The minor characters in my story I don’t feel I need to worry about them. My minor characters tend to float through and rarely leave an impression, even though I try really hard to write differently.

And I thought it would be a nice preview if I shared some of it here… it doesn’t contain spoilers. Just a list of folks that are involved. Kind of like a movie preview. This book has been in progress for a while now, but you know how it is. Survival is a meanie. We’re about to go through a lifestyle change. We’re hoping it will allow me to write closer to full time. And some swearing. I’m rarely serious when writing stuff like this.

  Alethea Asher Gavin Reginald Bookie Helena and Robert Hellsworth
role Protagonist/ Heroine Protagonist/Hero Protagonist/ Hero Supporting character/duped dummy Antagonist/ villain Supporting characters
sex Female Male Male Male Male Male and Female
Age 17 18 20 40 ageless 40-ish
place of birth Dark Amber Hellsworth Hellsworth Rome Hellsworth
place of residence Hellsworth Helmsworth Helmsworth The manor Seattle, Washington Hellsworth
height 5’4″ Who The Fuck cares
body type Bulky Muscular for a kid Lithe
hair Dark brown, curly Strawberry blonde Brown Black Brown
eyes Black Hazel Brown Nondescript Brown
skin Pale Ruddy Pale to olive Olive Olive
facial features freckles Bumply nose Look sculpted Shaven Purty
style Prefers boys clothing but will wear a dress if necessary Dirty Always looks like he just stepped out of a steampress He’s a butler. I mean, duh. They are a lord and lady and shall look as such all of the time even when having nightmares or walking the plank
education Homeschooled in the dark arts of transmitigation, lycanthropy, demonology and pizza pies. No, not really. He hates to read. Has the equivalent of a complete Jr. High education with particular interest in hawkery The Authentic English Butler Academy, graduate College level junk
peers When people figure out she’s her father’s daughter, they tend to avoid her and be extremely polite. Frequently shunned Loved by all, gets praised a lot. Has no peers. He’s a butler. Duh. But he was top of his class and well liked. They think he’s a stinky weak poo head for getting trapped in a book without even giving so much as a papercut. They are liked by their peers. The petty ones envy them.
family Mother died in childbirth. Father died while battling a runaway spell. Which goes to show you should never fall asleep with the cauldron running. Father is a chimney sweep. Mother is laundry maid. Two brothers, one sister. Mother and father are lords of Helmsworth. Younger sister that likes dolls. n/a Two children, Gaven and Sophia. Alathea is the only child to Helena’s close cousin who was raised as a sister.
occupation Witch All purpose chore boy The lord and heir to Helmsworth Butler Book Whatever lords and ladies do
Good witch or bad witch? Hasn’t decided yet Basically good but will break the law if it interests him Real good. And by the book. Asshole. Bad witch. They’re family
personal identity Her father’s daughter He is comfortable with his lot in life. Knows he’s the heir and takes it for granted. Feels he is the family’s only true protector He’s a demon. I mean, duh. They’re still into each other after all these years
personality traits Timid but will fake being brave. Can be slightly indecisive but pretty much knows what she wants. Not good at keeping secrets. Keeps secrets because he forgets them within four minutes. Easy going, but will draw a line if the situation is going against his personal morality. Romantic, polite, knows how to turn a girl’s head, good with business, loves to hunt Acts snotty, hard to change his mind Bloodthirsty, Gives papercuts frequently, deceptive, but loyal once bound Both are quiet natured and love to sit outside and drink tea. The mother is often sad about her cousin and wishes to be closer to Alathea.
quirks Hates to lie. Will tell a sob story, though. But they’re not lies. They’re all true. Picks at his fingernails Loves gaming and hawkery Neat freak They keep their secrets
flaw Not a good liar. Forgetful Tends to put gaming first Judgmental Easily tricked by use of promises of new gilding (vain) The need to know bullshit
soft spot The book. Sappy, falls for sob stories Hawks The family. Libraries. Children
skill Magic Grunt work Business Buttling Magic Whatever lords and ladies do