When creating characters, I draw from actors, athletes, politicians, neighbors, etc., and use their physical appearance or personality traits for the basic form. Next, I develop them with more detail so that they fit in my story.
In Tears of Min Brock, I created Mithe from bits and pieces of people I’ve come across in life. But was she believable?
Months later while dining out, I glanced up from my Teriyaki Chicken to witness Mithe waddling in! She didn’t have all of the physical characteristics I’d imagined, and I’m sure she was a much nicer person too, but nevertheless, there she was. My point is that the world is full of funny, interesting, weird, odd, stunning, horrible, beautiful people just waiting to step into your story’s world.
For those following the “FREE” book posts, here’s the next installment.
Passing each dwelling, she noticed all had a crystal arrow stuck in its door. The parchments rustled in the wind like dried corn stalks. Curious, she slowed her pace.
I’m the only one who’s removed the arrow and untied the parchment.
She suppressed her fears until nearing the communal fire, she heard her neighbors whispering and saw them pointing at the arrows. Anxiety and fear sparked within Elabea’s thoughts.
Mithe, the old widow, spied Elabea and most noticeably the parchment clutched in her hand.
“Look!” she hissed to the assembled families. “Here comes Quinn’s only child! Behold what the homely girl is holding!”
The whispers stopped. Eyes stared at her parchment. Children hid behind their parents. Elabea stopped cold in her tracks.
Mithe wobbled toward her, leaning heavily upon her thick, twisted cane. Wrapped about her head and shoulders was a dark tattered blanket; a few long, gray hairs protruded out.
Peering from the shadows was a round face whose flesh no longer fit the bone. Seventy summers had covered it with large, thick wrinkles, some of which cascaded off her high cheekbones like floppy saddlebags. A furrowed brow, wrinkled by bitterness, concealed her pain-filled eyes. The one feature that made Elabea cringe was her voice. Steam hissing out of a pot that had been on the coals too long.
Mithe raised a long, bony finger accusingly at Elabea. “Destroy that invitation before it destroys us!”
“So it’s an invitation,” Elabea cooed, delighted to finally know the note’s contents.
Mithe’s eyes narrowed, angry with herself for inadvertently revealing the parchment’s message. Regaining her composure, she continued her tirade. “Do you wish to curse us? I command you to destroy it!”
“Why is everyone so afraid of it? What’s it an invitation to?”
Elabea searched their faces. “It’s from Claire, isn’t it?” she asked them.
The crowd pressed toward her.
“Silence!” one man shouted. “The Oracles forbid you to speak the name!”
“Death will come! We’ll be cursed!” yet another threatened.
“Take your parchment and leave us…NOW!” a woman boomed.
“I don’t believe the Cauldron can hear,” Elabea countered. A corporate gasp erupted from the crowd. Undeterred, Elabea continued. “What if the Ebonites tell us such tales in order to control us with our own fears?”
“Stupid waif!” Mithe hissed. “You know nothing of such things!”
“You’re right,” Elabea replied in defense, “I’m ignorant because no one has taught me such things. You refuse to teach us how to read, so how can I know if I cannot read for myself?”
The crowd stepped closer, but all eyes were on the parchment, as if it held unspeakable powers.