Sunday, 29 January 2012

Beautiful People - January 2012

I love this challenge. Devised by the wonderful people over at Further Up and Further In, it's a clear, simple and very enjoyable exercise that is a massive help in thrashing out and fleshing up characters in one's work. I did the full 2011 series of questions back in late October last year, just before NaNoWriMo, and let me tell you, it is probably half the reason I hit 50,000 words at all.

And, this month, our lucky victim is ... Rin! 
To those of you from Protagonize - or have read my blogposts griping on the subject - you will doubtless be familiar with my brain-breaking fantasy, the Aeserion trilogy (the original draft of Warrior, the first book, was once thought to be the longest solo work on Protagonize, before I took it down and edited it to half the length. Links to each of the stories can be found in The Plots!). Well, of late, I have finally decided that it needs a rewrite - for obvious reasons, if you know the stories, and not in the least because the characters are awfully generic. So the unfortunate Rin (formerly Gwythryn, thought technically he still is ... long story) has kindly "volunteered" to be put through this first round of questions!

Heeeeeeere we go!

1. If your character’s house burned down, and they were left with nothing but the clothes on their back, what would they do? Where would they go?
Well, as Rin doesn't own a house, he wouldn't really have that problem. However, if such a situation did arise, I reckon he'd probably end up salvaging what he could from the wreckage and moving in with the local warlord - heck knows he hires him often enough. If that didn't work, he'd probably head to the nearest tavern and invade the cheapest rooms they had on offer.

2. Are they happy with where they are in life, or would they like to move on?
At the start of the trilogy, Rin's a happy man - he's the leader of a band of well-trained (and very expensive) mercenaries, and up in their native northern lands, they're much liked. His men love him, despite his eccentricities, and his best friend's sister, and his longtime sweetheart, has decided it's time they were properly engaged.

But, as often happens in stories like this, it all goes down the drain ...

3. Are they well-paid?
Very. Rin's very particular about hiring himself and his company out only to those he's sure will pay their price, and if they won't, he'll take them off somewhere else without a backward glance. His second-in-command has a quick mind for figures too, so they're rarely ripped off!

4. Can they read?
Not terribly well, but he can plough through simple prose. Shakespeare might be a wee bit beyond him though!

5. What languages do they speak?
Just his native Errion, though he does manage to become passable in a second through the course of the second and third books of the trilogy.

6. What is their biggest mistake? 
Errr ... there's a very big list. Good thing he has the devil's own luck really - bit prone to misadventure is Rin.

7. What did they play with most as a child?
He and his best friend Florien would often play at fighting with long sticks, but as they grew up in a working village I'd reckon they spent most of their time helping their parents. Though they probably found enough time for messing about with whatever they could get their hands on.

8. What are their thoughts on politics?
Rin's from a fairly rustic background, so his knowledge of politics is pretty sparse. Not that it really matters - there's a war on, and he knows which way to point the sword. Leave the plotting and wheedling to the people who have time for it.

9. What is their expected life time?
As the story's a medieval fantasy, I'd say the average life expectancy for a fit, healthy man like Rin would be somewhere between fifty and sixty. Though, as there's a war on and, as mercenaries, he and his men could be dead at any time they're fighting, either from disease or infected wounds or the ever-deadly axe to the skull. It all depends if Rin's uncanny luck and speed with a sword hold out.

10. If they were falsely accused of murder, what would they do? How would they react?
Not well. Never one to take a slight against him lightly, Rin would probably demand to know who had the nerve to accuse him, then find them and kick them into the middle of next week. Especially as it's likely he could be proved innocent by his men - you'd have to be a bit of a fool to accuse him, unless he actually DID kill someone. And that is a whole different kettle of fish...

I'll be back again soon with more posts on writerly tips, exciting news on the publishing front, snippets from my non-writerly life, complete with all the daftness you've come to expect of me.

In the meantime, have a go at the Beautiful People challenge yourself, and feel free to leave me a link to your post in the comments and tell everyone how you found it! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did :)

- Charley R


  1. Why is it called 'Beautiful People', out of interest?

    1. No idea - ask the blog owners. Presumably because it's to do with people, and it makes a good pun - "Beautiful People" usually applies to the rich and famous xP

    2. To be honest... I'm not really sure. I think Georgie coined the term. We deliberated a while on what to name it, and then she suggested Beautiful People. It took me a while to warm up to the idea, but after getting sick of trying to figure out a different title, Beautiful People stuck. I'm not really sure if there IS a deeper meaning... the general idea is just that our characters are beautiful people with their own stories that deserve to be told. Perhaps you could dig deeper into it and presume that Beautiful People is meant to make your characters more beautiful... but that sounds a bit too philosophical for my tastes. Not to mention slightly egotistical... ;)

      Thanks for your high words of Beautiful People, Charley! I'm so glad BP helped you during NaNo. Helping writers with their characters and, consequently, their plots is exactly our goal and it made me smile to see that it worked. :D I also love Rin... and he reminds me a bit of Robin Hood in the sense that he has a group of mercenaries that help him do awesome stuff. Of course, I've been immersing myself in Robin Hood-themed stuff all day, so I think it's getting to my head. XD

    3. Oh my gosh hi! Thanks for commenting! I'll totally be back next month - I love these so much, they're a helluva lot of fun :)

      Going ot stick myself on your blogroll now - I forgot to do that on the day xP - and thanks for commenting!

      As for Robin Hood-esque ... I suppose he is a bit. Except i don't know if Robin Hood ever got into half the trouble he does. Or says 'damn!" so much xD

  2. Hm... An interesting thought - are you going to flesh out one character a month? or is there a different list of questions each month? :}

    Oh, and the Phoenix Group would like Rin to know they sympathize with him...

    Seriously, those two groups of characters... It's crazy.

    :} Cathryn

    1. There's a different set of questions every month, but I think I'll do it regularly. Think I'll keep using Rin too, as it helps keep his new character pinned down et al :)

      Indeed, it is ... Florien says hi too xD

  3. I like this idea... having a load of questions for your characters point of view. I suppose it helps with getting to know them a bit more - for the author and the reader.

    Question for you Charley! (or anyone that writes, really. I'm curious)
    I have a few friends that write, and they all have different ways of "communicating" with their characters.

    - Some have everything about their characters planned out from the beginning: their backrounds, their personality, etc.

    - Some say their characters 'open up' to them and they're constantly learning new things about them.

    - And others tend to just make it up as they go along XD (not the best way, i imagine...)

    What's your method...? Do your characters 'talk' to you, and tell you about themselves? Or have you pretty much known everything about them, right from the off?

    (probably the longest comment i've EVER written... ever.)

    1. Charley's characters NEVER shut up. They talk to us too.

      Admittedly, so do mine, but whatever....

    2. Why am I not surprised that Charley's characters don't shut up...? (I'm going to get hit for that, aren't I? Haha!)

    3. *glares and squirts with water pistol* No. Just squirtificated.

      And yes, I am mad. It's not my fault they come out talkative :P