Character Respond Answer Ask: A Feedback Thread

Welcome to the Character Respond, Answer, Ask thread! Hopefully we can see how this works out with the new foum software.

I’m sure some of us are familiar with RAAs from previous NaNos, but for new people — the main posts around here have three parts, usually numbered. If it’s not formatted like that; it’s not the active post.

  1. Response: Once the thread gets going, the previous poster will have answered a question about their character in part 2, so give them some feedback on that. Since we can here, it’s helpful to @ the person you’re responding to, so they know they’ve got a response, and so we can see if anyone got skipped! And it’s definitely helpful to keep in mind the kind of feedback you’d want to receive — nobody wants to be ripped to shreds in a public forum, but we’d all like something specific. If you’re not sure how to critique, the sandwich method — something you liked, crit/something that can be improved, something you liked — is useful!
  2. Answer: The previous user left a question in their part three; here’s where you answer it. You answer with a scene, with meta, or even from a character’s point of view; whatever works for you, and be as detailed as you like.
  3. Ask: Here’s where you leave a question for the next poster. It can be about anything you like — backstory, preferences, moral compass, how they interact with other characters — but try and keep it applicable to a wide range of characters. You never know who is going to be the next poster.

That’s the main gist of it, but there are a few other things you might want to bear in mind:

  • Ninjas and bonus responses: Sometimes, multiple people will respond to a post at around the same time; we call that a ninja. If someone beats you to the punch, that’s all right — it happens to most regulars eventually. But everyone deserves a response; so please respond to the person above you as well. You don’t have to answer their question, though. You can pass it on if you like! You may also find a post you really want to comment on, and you can give a bonus as well.
  • Response fairies: Sometimes ninjas don’t get fixed right away. A response fairy is when someone goes and makes sure the skipped person gets a response, and it’s polite to do it when you see it. Everyone who gives a response deserves a response.
  • Be respectful and don’t clutter the thread: Mind the community standards, and be respectful about feedback goes without saying. Also: there’s a sub forum for role play and private messages if you would like to get into an extended discussion with someone here. This is especially true since you can’t nest discussions in this forum.
  • Content and Trigger Warnings: Sometimes we post excerpts or want to discuss something on a sensitive topic. No one here thinks you shouldn’t, but content warnings are appreciated so people have the tools to avoid discussions they need to avoid. Video Games and TV both provide content warnings, and movies and books are easily google-able for things people commonly need to avoid. They don’t have to be long, but use common sense. All people are asking for is a heads up so they can curate their own experiences.
  • All genres and character types are welcome.

That should about cover it. Enjoy your stay!

1 Like

1. There’s nothing to respond to, but welcome to the thread everyone!

2. Nothing to answer, either.

3. What do(es) your character(s) look like, and what is the first thing that a stranger would notice about them on the street?

  1. @Loki_Mischief-Maker Thank you for making this thread! You’ve made the rules clear and concise, and I haven’t noticed anything left out.
    Lets see how the new software handles the CRAA, shall we?

  2. What do(es) your character(s) look like, and what is the first thing that a stranger would notice about them on the street?

Hurriya ay Cordune, walks like a great cat. Not stalking, cautious, afraid it might be spotted, like some lesser predator. Not unless she is hunting. No, she walks tall, strong, expecting the world to move in her wake, her gait rolling slightly, like a wave at sea. She is all lean muscle and purpose, black hair kept short so it can fit beneath a helm without snagging, her khaftan girded so she can move freely. She is a lion.
That is what people notice first. That sure stride and power. Not Hurriya’s great height or eyes, or the hint of grey in her hair about the temples. It is all in the walk.
Hurriya looks aristocratic, to her people. Green eyes and basalt dark skin are only the start. She is a couple fingers over six feet tall, with shoulders sloped from years in armor and more small scars on her arms than anyone would care to count. They accumulate. A shield cannot catch every blow, and some are strong enough to bite through bronze and wood. Nevermind the splinters of shattered oars and rammed hulls. She wears a robe, not a more typical khaftan, always girded so she can move freely, exposing brazen greaves and bare feet.
She screams of old power. Aristocracy. Not the aristocracy of the modern day, but a throwback to when Ciel was commanded by warrior queens and every citizen of worth had a spear to go with their claim to be Cielic.

Hurriya’s half sister, Alaysia ay Tamshir, Queen-Priestess of the tetrapolis of Ciel, ah… doesn’t. Oh, the strong face, the nose which Alaysia has (unwisely) told her sister doesn’t fit under a helm’s nose guard, even the green eyes, those are shared. So is the height, if not so grandly. Alaysia flirts with 6 foot by encouraging her hair to fluff up, instead of it’s preferred down and out about her shoulders.
Beyond similarities, where Hurriya is tall and fit like a swimmer, Alaysia carries a healthy weight about her, by Cielic standards. She does not train in arms, or fight regularly, and it shows in unscarred skin, and different tension lines about her eyes. She is ever so slightly paler than Hurriya. A slight reddish undertone to the black which prompts people to make snide commentary about ‘rusted’ basalt. Weakness.
Those people do not say such things to her face. Her walk is not one of power shown, but of expectation. Hurriya commands the world to follow, Alaysia expects it to move. Not because she commands it, but because that is what worlds do, and she is the one atop it, atop the Throne of the Rock.
She’s all smiles and snark, fitting the roundness of her face.
Right up until you cross Alaysia. Then… well, Hurriya is a lion. Alaysia ay Tamshir is The Lion of Ciel, Queen of the Tetrapolis and the Rock in the stead of the goddess of the Night, and Lady of the Shining Sea. If she looks comfortable atop her throne, molded to it’s curves, perhaps one should ask why stone has shaped to her.

  1. What is your character’s full name? What do they go by? Do they have any nicknames? What do they think about their names?
  1. @Kalinstar01 Oh, that is quite an impression between the two of them. A hunting lion and the queen of the pride, as it were. I like how you hit on two very different types of power in the way they walk–Hurriya, who expects the world to follow her lead, and Alaysia, who expects the world to shape itself around her. They are both power, both command, both very much a product of their social status and aristocratic heritage, but so different at the same time.

  2. What is your character’s full name? What do they go by? Do they have any nicknames? What do they think about their names?

Aeryth Tutelesen of House Tutelesen. He is Aeryth to his friends and family, Prince Aeryth to everyone else. (And later, King Aeryth or the Tutelesen King.) It’s a name that’s very similar to other names in his family (Aelan, Eorith, Isorae, etc), and he doesn’t mind it.

His nephew calls him Uncle Aerie that is probably one of his favorite nicknames. Mostly because he thinks nephew is adorable.

Isorae, his older brother, calls him Sprout. Aeryth is a weirdling and is basically part plant. He was entirely green when he was born, then mostly faded to brown, like a sprout of a tree developing bark. Thus, Sprout. On rare occasions his parents will call him that too, but it’s mostly Isorae. It tends to make Aeryth roll his eyes. (Isorae knows this and intentionally pulls it out to lighten the mood or make him smile.)

  1. How would your character define themself? By their profession (painter, journalist, monarch)? By their social group (race, religion, culture)? By their familial connections (son, parent, aunt)? Something else?

1. @Rose_Hill “Uncle Aerie” is a very cute nickname, though. It looks enough like “airy” to bring to mind something light and boyant, and from what I remember Aeryth can be soft enough to count.

Isorae is a good big brother. Pulling out an old joke to lighten the mood and a chance to tease his brother a little, too.

2. How would your character define themself? By their profession (painter, journalist, monarch)? By their social group (race, religion, culture)? By their familial connections (son, parent, aut)? Something else?

For Grégore Farinsou (who is not a main character, but coming to mind)? Through his religion, primarily, though not necessarily by it.

Most talents — Enlightenment-era superpowers, basically — self-define at least partially as talents, by the communities forged with other people by them, or by accepting or rejecting the way other people view talents in general. Farinsou doesn’t, nearly to the same extent — he’s not a part of those communities, in part because almost no one knows he’s a talent at all.

Farinsou is a telepath, and he’s old enough (in his mid-thirties now) to have been somewhat politically/socially aware twenty-some years before when talents first appeared. He remembers the chaos, and remembers that a fair number got killed early on because they couldn’t hide, before society decided on ways to tie this new chaos into order. He was thirteen, is too old for most people to suspect he’s got one (talents usually appear between 7-13, and he’s of the first generation), and the quiet kid in the middle row suddenly went even quieter at the time. He spends more time with books than people because what books are telling him don’t suddenly rocket off in a completely different and disorienting direction the way people’s thoughts do.

He’s frankly surprised he made it to 30, even if he’s very good at just fading into the background. Being on a national stage as he is now is actually incredibly stressful from his point of view, because it goes against all of his instincts.

But that’s not exactly how he defines himself.

Talents are viewed as chaotic to some degree, in a world where there’s an emphasis on and order/chaos duality (partially because of what the gods of this culture represent). Farinsou saw what happened when they first appeared in the world, and is aware of the kind of power a lot of talents can wield. He’s not necessarily going to argue with that. Talents have a lot of chaotic energy.

He will argue you into the ground that he does not serve the chaos god, on the other hand.

The thirteen-year-old law student that started reading minds was fussy and introverted and prone to theorizing, and most of all terrified at the time. He also took a lot of things to the garden altars of the order goddess, made a pact with stone and bone the way a lot of stories went, and took an oath to the goddess years before the temples declared that talents couldn’t dedicate themselves to her.

As far as he knows, the goddess accepted that oath, and he’s going to stick to that interpretation.

The only bit of chaos he wants anything to do with is renewal, the kind that holds up a better order as it clears the rot out of the old one. That’s it. Change tied to order.

Farinsou pretty much has to believe that he’s a representative of order, that he (and by extension, talents in general), can serve the order of things, because the way he sees it the alternative is the violence he saw as a kid. Even if people around him are embracing other aspects, even if other talents insist that chaos-as-transformation is not necessarily a bad thing to be, he’s going to walk past his altars and straight to hers. He can be a little rigid that way.

And if that puts him at odds with more open talents? Well. He’ll live with that.

3. Who are your antagonists, and what puts them on a collision course with your protagonists? Do they ever have a point

Or, if you don’t like that one:

What do your character(s) want? And how far are they willing to go to get it?

  1. @Loki_Mischief-Maker Ohh, I love this a lot! Contrasts are always fun, and I love that he’s seemingly fighting everything the world is throwing his way so he can stand where he believes he’s supposed to. The fact that he’s managing to hide the talent so well already makes me want to see what happens when someone inevitably finds out, not to mention the whole dichotomy between what the humans thing and what the goddess thinks on the matter of dedication. I especially like the interpretation of renewal as a kind of midway point between chaos and order that overlaps a little with both sides - especially because if renewal changes chaos into order, what concept would be its opposite? Maybe I just like overthinking these things, but any peek into someone’s writing that makes me think and ask questions is to me, a very good sign.

  2. What do your character(s) want? And how far are they willing to go to get it?

Bee’s plot goal is to get his sister back from the fairy world, because he believes she was kidnapped by the fairies a long time ago, but his real goal underneath is to get a sense of closure.

For a very long time, his mother had refused to say anything about what had happened to his sister, and he’d made up so many possible stories in his mind as a child - maybe she’d run off with a lover, or there had been a family fight he hadn’t know about, or she’d died in a horrific accident, or she was living a double life as an international spy - and it’s not until their mother dies that Bee finds a letter that implies fairies were involved in her disappearance all those years ago. By then, though, Bee had finally resigned himself to the fact that she was never coming back and probably dead, so he’s torn out of his vague, boring plans for the future when it turns out she might be alive and able to return and give him answers.

The local community has talked about fairies before, given that their small town has a lot of myths about fairies and other folklore, but Bee never believed it until now. He wants to go to the fairy world and find her, and finds the old teacher of the Folklore class (nicknamed Fairy 101 by other students, somewhat derisively), asking him to reopen the class and find a way to open a portal to the other side. His new classmates each have their own reasons to want to join in, and the teacher has his own reasons to agree - as it turns out, of course, opening the way between the worlds leads to more chaos than Bee really signed up for. So now, not only does he have to rescue other people who get trapped (including one of his new friends), but he has a time limit before the portal closes for good - on both the new people trapped on the other side, but on the sister he opened the portal to find in the first place.

The real question, though, might be how far he’s willing to go if he has to choose between saving his sister (and bringing her home) or getting the answers he seeks - because it turns out, eventually, that she came willingly and has no intention of going back home, and she won’t be happy if Bee forces her to. That, I do not have a full answer to yet.

  1. What would your character do for their family even at great personal cost? Eventually, what would they never do, even for their family?
  1. @airshipcity That is so cool! I love all the drama involved in his mission, how his goal is multi-leveled, how he has such a big choice to make eventually between his goals. It’s such an interesting dynamic, and I’m sure it’s fun to play around with! And longing for closure, the making up stories to try and find that closure and find those answers he never got, that’s actually something that I have in one of my own stories as well. It’s so cool to see someone else doing something similar!

  2. What would your character do for their family even at great personal cost? Eventually, what would they never do, even for their family?

CW: Mention of emotional abuse and manipulative parents

Jackson grew up an orphan, but after traveling to another world, he discovered his father was alive, and was a king. After meeting him, he believed he would do anything to gain his father’s approval. He did a lot of things–he cut his hair (which he grew out as a sort of symbol of freedom), he treated the servants just as poorly as his father did, he gave up a lot of his personal beliefs just to please him. But when his father asked him to abandon his then-boyfriend, that’s when he declined. He’d give up a lot, but not love.

Obviously, his definition of “family” changes through the story, and Jackson turns to his found family: the aforementioned boyfriend, Tyler, and an elderly witch named Lorna. For them, he’ll do anything, really. Nothing that goes against his moral code (that’s not a mistake he’ll be making twice), but he’d go as far as to give up things that matter to him if they hurt the ones he loves.

However, he’ll never give up his baking, even if he’s not good at it. Tyler and Lorna suffer through a lot of mediocre baked goods.

  1. Is there a craft or skill (painting, knitting, playing an instrument, etc) that your character would like to learn if they had the time? What is it? Why?

1. @Cathryn_Dalton I love stories about bonds chosen rather than those people are born to (which, don’t get me wrong, I like those, too, they just don’t provide the same joy). Jackson choosing his chosen family again, reaffirming the things which drew him toward them, that’s beautiful. There are reasons people choose others. I imagine Jackson expects Tyler and Lorna to never put him in a position of betraying himself and his morals, like his father did.

It sounds like he comes out a stronger person. One less willing to go against himself in the future.

2. Is there a craft or skill (painting, knitting, playing an instrument, etc) that your character would like to learn if they had the time? What is it? Why?

Something which has always fascinated Amyntas is all the varieties and patterns painted on amphorae and pithos used to move and store goods. He’s sailed through many ports, as a merchant sailor, and most of them used some form of pottery vase to transport goods like olive oil, grain and wine, and larger versions- pithos- to store things longer term. These things travel, but they tend to travel in predictable circuits. Grain to one place, wine in return. So any given group of trade partners tend to have the same few styles, the same set of patterns glazed on and the same types of painted imagery.

Amyntas, though, liked to sail with captains who wanted to push the boundaries of the tradelanes of his homeland. There was always something new out there, beyond the horizon. A new people. A new way of painting on their pottery. Different types of jars and paints and styles. Different clay used to make them in the first place.

He keeps a set of brushes in his tenement, in Ciel, while he’s stranded there, and some jars of really cheap paint. Sometimes, when he has little else to do, he tries to imitate the local style or what he can remember of his home’s. He doesn’t have any false belief that what he makes is good, it’s just something he can do, a mental space he can claim as his so far from home.

  1. Who are your character’s closest friends? How often do they have the time to hang out with them?
  1. @Kalinstar01 I love the background behind Amyntas’ niche interest. Like, he isn’t just interested in the pottery, or the designs alone – he sounds like he could look at any pottery (or at least the amorphae/pithos) and tell you right away what culture it’s from, where it came from geographically, the routes it’s most likely travelled, what sort of clay it’s made of, etc. It sounds like he takes an interest in everything about these jars, and that’s really cool.

I like how he finds joy in copying the styles, too, despite knowing his versions are just cheap imitations. He takes joy in the process of creating, regardless of the quality of the result. That’s a good thing.

2. Who are your character’s closest friends? How often do they have the time to hang out with them?

Going with prequel-era, because that’s what I’m working on right now.

Dalrik’s closest friend is – or, at least, was – Yaz Halka. The two of them go way back. Yaz was a questionable influence, but he was the sort of friend Dalrik could always count on when he needed someone. Definitely the sort of friend he needed when they were younger, given Dalrik’s awful home life growing up – especially when his parents kicked him out, and he went to stay with Yaz.

As adults, they moved into their first apartment together. They were dirt poor, but at least they were dirt poor together. Better than being dirt poor and alone. (And I think that answers the “how often do they have the time to hang out” part of the question – plenty! They lived together!)

They also founded the Altairian Freedom Fighters together, which, unfortunately, led to disaster. Their attempt to overthrow the Imperial government failed miserably, and, at the current point in the story, neither knows if the other is even still alive. Dalrik is pretty sure Yaz has been executed, though he’ll find out later that isn’t the case.

They’ll meet again, but, for the time being, they’re both spending most of their time in solitary cells in a re-education facility. The closest Dalrik has to a friend there is Agent Lazko, the one agent who doesn’t mistreat him (or, at least, doesn’t seem to). And Dalrik doesn’t like him, he just… hates him less than the others. Definitely doesn’t trust him and would probably be happy to see him dead, though.

Later on in the series (I’m talking when the main story is set, probably 30-35 years later Earth time), Dalrik doesn’t really have friends. Apart from family (by which I mean his orphaned nephew, Kitt, and Zyll, who literally wandered in off the streets and became an honorary member of the family), he keeps people at arm’s length. He also isn’t the easiest of people to get along with – he never has been, actually. Yes, he gets lonely at times, especially after Kitt flees the planet, but it isn’t easy to let people in, especially given how much he’s struggling due to a past marked by severe trauma most people can’t relate to, much of which he couldn’t legally speak about even if he was emotionally prepared to. Yes, re-education really is that horrible.

Yaz does reappear again sometime between the first and second books, though – and, guess what, he’s leading another revolutionary group that’s surfaced in the midst of the recent political instability. Dalrik declines to join him this time around, claiming he’s too old for that now, but he does offer his support from the sidelines. And he has his friend back, even if his friend is rather busy leading an insurgency and running society in the rebel-controlled territory.

Wow, that was long. Moving on…

3. Who does your character consider family? Is there anyone they aren’t related to who they consider to be family? Is there anyone they are related to who they don’t consider family?

1 Like

1 @krikkit_war_robot Wow, wonderfully detailed backstory. And interesting how those relationships and his trauma affect him later, even with family. :smiley:

2 Who does your character consider family? Is there anyone they aren’t related to who they consider to be family? Is there anyone they are related to who they don’t consider family?

In terms of blood family, Lise has her mother and father, and a couple of cousins (and aunts and uncles) who live in another province. (Probably Nova Scotia - Lise is so much me in disguise in some ways that I don’t want to make her completely like me!) She doesn’t have any siblings (unlike me), but is rather close to her parents, and considers them as friends as well as family. (She’s an adult, she can do that.)

What she has that I don’t in terms of family is her Master’s Circle. Master Tristan (who is her primary teacher of magic, whom she is apprenticed to, thus the title ‘Master’) is like another father, uncle, or a much older brother to Lise, and she is close enough to him to get away with teasing him when they’re not in lessons. (She finds Master Tristan’s sense of humour to be very strange, especially his references to Arthurian legend and his name. She doesn’t get why he goes on about his wife’s name not being Isolde or Iseult - well, she knows where the reference comes from, but she doesn’t understand why he references it all the time.)

There are a few others of the Hempen Circle that she regards as being as close as family - mostly Michel, who has just graduated from apprentice to journeyer, and Anabelle, who is the master Lise goes to when she needs a different view on things for her lessons. Michel she considers to be another cousin, if she thinks about it, and Anabelle is regarded as another aunt. It doesn’t hurt that Anabelle and her mother have become friends since Lise was apprenticed to Tristan!

It’s good for her, because Lise has trouble making connections - she’s autistic, and the problems with social communication and body language have had an effect.

By the end of Fourth Wall, she may end up considering Andrew as another cousin, depending on how things go. At the very least he will be a friend - you can’t get through a magically created dungeon in the middle of an SF/Fantasy Convention without becoming friends, at least not successfully, after all!

3. What would your character do if they suddenly found themselves trapped in an underground cavern? What are they likely to have on them that might help? And if they have communication methods, is there anyone that they can contact for help?

1 Like

1. @krikkit_war_robot Hey, with older characters there’s a lot of history to cover, even for people who are relatively solitary. Seems like Dalrik and Yaz went through a fair bit together before they started a revolt that went … badly, to say the least. And between thinking he lost his best friend and the kind of treatment he underwent at the “reeducation” facility, I’m not terribly surprised he was more solitary, aside from family found or chosen, when he came out the other side.

It does interest me some that the focus is on someone who is supportive of a resistance but not a part of it, because it’s not something I see as often. But it does sound like having Yaz back starts to get Salrik involved in other people again, even if just from the sidelines?

@TrudyG Okay, magical shenanigans at a Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention sounds like a very cool concept, and that definitely sounds like the sort of thing that would firmly cement a friendship.

The Arthurian comments intrigue me, although Tristain is not the Arthurian character I would want to be named after, and if there is any type of Arthurian magic running around I’d want to emphasize the difference between myself and the legendary figure, too! It does sound like Lise has a solid support system, though, both in family and within the organization she’s a part of. It might not be a large social circle, but sometimes that’s less important.

2. What would your character do if they suddenly found themselves trapped in an underground cavern? What are they likely to have on them that might help? And if they have communication methods, is there anyone that they can contact for help?

Some people might wonder if they’re dead — the Ilarian concept of an afterlife starts with waking up in a cavern. The goddess of earth and order sorts out the dead, and the underground labrynth is part of her way of doing so. Everyone starts there, some get stuck there, and some find their way out to her gardens (Elysium or Arcadia are probably the most comprable bits of our earth mythos). There is a reason Ilarian burials tend to include a light source, though, because the concept of being lost in the dark, presumably at the depth of your collected sins is scary. Take a light.

But for Victor specifically?

Panic, then call on the nearest water source to make sure he can still reach it. Especially if he’s not sure how he got there, thinks he might have hit his head, or is in any way bound.

If he can reach water he’s familiar with, he knows approximately where he is. If he can reach water he’s unfamiliar with, he can at least probably get himself out. If he can’t … well.

He’s been in the situation where he can’t find the water nearby (a thick enough layer of concrete will do it), and it wasn’t fun, because it means he’s in the hands of someone who knows what a powerful water talent is capable of and has taken steps to insure he can’t … ah, arm himself, since he’s been taught to think of that talent primarily as a weapon. Beyond anything else that happened at the time, trapped and relatively helpless without water or a light left an impression.

Put him back in an unexpected close dark place, and for at least the first few seconds there he’ll be back in that basement in Lutéce, reaching desperately for a river he doesn’t think he’ll find.

Even if that place is damp. Sense memory doesn’t care as much as he might hope.

Even if that place winds up being the brig of a ship. And given Victor’s somewhat sympathetic relationship with the water around him that’s not going to be pretty for his captors.

3. What kind of education do(es) your character(s) have? Formal school, trade school, some kind of mentorship or apprenticeship? Something else? Is it something they’re still using, or did their life rocket off in a totally different direction after their education?


1. @Kalinstar01

Education shaped the lives of Amyntas, Hurriya, and Alaysia in indelible ways. For Amyntas, it seems like he would have been content with the life of a deckhand on a tradeship. But when he gets the chance for more, he takes it, and it seems to awaken an longing in him to explore and seek the horizon. Or, perhaps that desire was taught? Excitement like that can be infectious, after all. Then it gets him trapped in Ciel. Not the most auspicious ending there.

Hurriya and Alaysia, however, just keep climbing higher with their education. They both rule in their own way, Alaysia from the Rock and Hurriya on the seas. And they work together too. I don’t know if you’ve mentioned much of their early life before, but how close did the two of them grow up? Where they raised together as siblings, or did Hurriya have to hunt out her younger half-sister?

I think it’s fascinating how much the magic changes in your worlds. This seems like an entirely different system from the colors of later, but I know it’s all an evolution. It’s fascinating to see how it changes across time.

2. Does your character have/meet a significant other in story? How do they meet?

Seeing as this is erotic romance, yes, Aeryth has a significant other. Nyran. They meet when their grandfathers meet to discuss the terms of their marriage—things like the titles each will use, the voting power each will have in the council, the plan for heirs, etc.

Theirs is an arranged marriage. While both have agreed to this (and it was Aeryth’s idea to keep them out of civil war), they had never met prior to this and knew only each other’s reputations.

They spent most of their initial meeting watching each other out of the corner of their eyes as their grandfathers argued over the treaty. Then Aeryth suggested the two of them go walking in the gardens. Aeryth tells him he’s a weirdling and Nyran steals his first kiss. It’s an auspicious start, all things considered.

They don’t interact much after that until their wedding, about a week later. Then they have about four days to get to know each other before the king dies and they ascend the thrones. And then a different civil war starts, because not everyone was happy with this one being avoided.

3. How was your character raised? Parents, grandparents, extended family, governess, something else? How did that early figure shape their view on family and authority?


1. Response
As a westerner used to love marriages and to the near-total demise of political marriages, your arranged-marriage plot interests me!

Where’s the conflict in the first portion of the story? It looks like the romance is off to a smooth beginning, and that the conflict comes in the form of a civil war. I kinda want conflict within the relationship to loom early on the horizon if it’s a romance novel instead of a fantasy that contains romance elements.

I wonder how a monarchical culture handles reproduction and the family line if both parties are male. So many cultural conventions are based around reproduction and gender roles; there’s a lot of opportunity for you to explore and upend those conventions.

2. Answer: How was your character raised? Parents, grandparents, extended family, governess, something else? How did that early figure shape their view on family and authority?
My story follows three sisters in a fairy survivalist colony. (Uh. It’s an allegorical exploration of Moral Majority-era Bible Belt America, the response to scandal within insular cultures, and the bereavement of losing community identity in a globalized world. I’m working through some things, but to be fair, so is my entire country.)

These three young women don’t have a living parent figure and are raised by an administrator in the colony. The oldest sister is groomed to lead their community, and develops a deep, resilient love for their traditions, values and environment. Because the younger two sisters don’t receive the same attention or have to practice the same behaviors, their habits and eventually their worldviews diverge from where the three sisters began together. One sister is free to go her own way, skewing farther and farther from an acceptable lifestyle, and the other sister is free to observe without being closely observed herself, building up resentment that eventually flares into violence.

The administrator is dedicated to her community, but she doesn’t love individual people, which makes all the wicked fairy magic guilt-free. The sisters provide each other with warmth and learn kindness from people in their community and from outsiders. Each of them struggles differently to see and live past the restrictions on love and relationship drawn by their community.

3. Ask
What’s something the reader is going to know about your protagonist before the protagonist knows it? What will become apparent to us about your character’s development and story arc before the character realizes what journey they’re on?

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(Response to answer questions.)

The initial conflict comes from the lack of trust between Aeryth and Nyran. Their families had been on the edge of civil war until Aeryth made this offer. Additionally, Nyran has a reputation of violence–both as a warrior and towards his former betrotheds. Aeryth was really wary around him and wasn’t sure whether Nyran’s sweetness was a ploy or a genuine attempt to get along. (And that tension continues once the war starts as well.)

The plan is to adopt the first daughter born to one of their families as the heir (the lack of daughters is what caused the near-war in the first place), and arrange her marriage to a man from the other family. Adoption has been used in royal families since time immemorial in real life, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary.

1. @Ouisi It sounds like your sister’s never had a very solid sense of family, even amongst each other, given the way they were raised and the way that upbringing separated them in a lot of ways? It appears to have particularly separated the oldest sister out due to being groomed as a community leader, but from the way they’re described the younger two aren’t particularly close at the time of the story, either?

Although reaching out for each other does seem to be a part of realizing and growing past the ways their community has hurt them.

2. What’s something the reader is going to know about your protagonist before the protagonist knows it? What will become apparent to us about your character’s development and story arc before the character realizes what journey they’re on?

Sooner or later, someone will have to tell Victor he has a romantic subplot. It takes him … quite some time to notice.

Look, Victor isn’t a particularly self-aware person. Doing a significant chunk of your growing up while speaking your third language in a navy you don’t want to be in doesn’t lend itself to being able to put words to any particular emotions. It does lend itself to becoming very good at keeping his enthusiasm and his anger both under wraps to a certain extent, at least if you’re not looking at the way everyone’s wine glasses are behaving when he’s in the room. The water talent has a lot of feelings, actually, and they tend to bleed into liquids around him.

But Victor knows there are monsters inside his head, and as a result he tries not to be too introspective. Most of his self-expression comes in the form of twisting the music around him to his own purposes — often political or just to make the people around him laugh, and as a result he tends to come at a lot of things sideways. The talent kid getting angry or excited tended to make the sea respond, so his crewmates were not happy with direct emotions. Victor is also just never going to be a stoic, so his feelings show up in coffee responding to the tone of his voice and music and picking fights without fully thinking.

Add that he is definitely not alloromantic or -sexual to that, so he has no experience with romance to form the basis of pattern recognition?

Yeah, that’s not something he’s going to realize in a hurry.

He’s not terribly sublte, though, just a little clueless, so hopefully the reader catches on. A few other characters do. Émile, the LI, has noticed that Victor is a-spec and also that Émile himself has been unable to logic his way out of falling for this guy despite it being a terrible idea, and thus is working under the impression his feelings are unrequited.

It might take an arrest, a barricade, and Victor not sleeping for the better part of three days and babbling only semi-coherently to get them onto the same page. But both of them are moving forward even when they don’t know what they’re doing in other ways, too.

3. How does your character respond to setbacks and frustrations? And what kinds of setbacks are they likely to encounter?

  1. Bless him, Victor does seem very oblivious to love. I can see why, though, it must be hard trying to grow up whilst speaking a language he doesn’t understand. And I can see why he doesn’t want to be too introspective - I guess he might get too negative if he dwells on them too much? Does he learn to deal with them? I wonder if he does end up finding out that someone has fallen in love with him.

  2. Introducing Ingrid Astra Anderson, main character of this year’s NaNo novel (it hasn’t got a title yet). Ingrid responds to setbacks and frustrations by trying to keep optimistic, and ask, “How do we get past this?” The setbacks she’s likely to encounter are ones relating to the alien who crash-landed in the local duck pond - and on a personal level, dealing with the minor mess that is her aunt’s love life. At the start of the story, her aunt had just got dumped.
    Gabby Dent, Ingrid’s best friend, is a more practical person. She tries to work out everything that can go wrong, and has a solution prepared. She knows she can be a bit crazy-prepared, but she’s a Girl Guide and she’s taken their motto, Be Prepared, to heart.

  3. What would your characters blog about?

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1.She sounds like a very interesting character. Dealing with alien encounters.
2.Mura a alien native from a floating rainforest isle in the sky.Doesn’t know bout computers. But if she did she would blog bout the animals on her isle or what she recently hunted that day.
3.What is your characters favorite music?

  1. Does Mura really like nature then, or is it more that’s all she does? Would she enjoy blogging?

Kily grew up with the strings and instrumental-type music of the Artificers – music for music’s sake, culturally. Oh, there are practical reasons for trying to capture pure emotions in a more tangible form – especially when it comes to dispelling ghosts or calming wild magic – but the royal court is divorced enough from those everyday cares that music is for enjoyment, dancing, and showing off.

That said, she does gain a fondness for Sylvan story-songs. There’s something very different about music made almost entirely with the human voice, and Kily loves it.

Emeline, her sister, finds it barbaric, but she finds most things outside of the “civilization” of the capital city barbaric. She prefers the fast reels and polkas of Artificer dancing music, particularly when she has a talented partner.

  1. Pick, or what personality type does your character get along best with? What can’t they stand?

(to C Angelina Its all she known but she does like hunting and exploring the rainforest. though she might like blogging if she was told how to)

Hello everyone!

This isn’t the next RAA post, next person to play the game please respond to C. Angelina! I instead bring y’all a fun place to hang out and resource to work on your writing.

We have a Discord server for folks!

Here is the invite. That link shouldn’t expire, so you can come on in whenever. Read the rules, then join the conversation! We’ve got channels for sharing images, media, and excerpts, along with a channel for roleplay, and of course a general chatter channel. There’s often someone around in case you need to spitball ideas or just enthuse about something.

If hyperlinks are not your jam, here’s the link text itself:

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