Tag Archives: satire

Character Spotlight: Avery Bachhaussen

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One of the classic rules of writing is that if you want your character to have extraordinary adventures outside of the ordinary you give him a) freedom, b) drive or c) money. Linus running for Union President, like he did in Runs in Good Condition happened totally organically, since I actually hate politics and never thought I’d write about an election. But as soon as I knew that he HAD to run there was a polite knock at my brain and there was Avery again saying, “Um, excuse me? Can I be of any service to you?”

 Avery Bachhaussen

 

Avery first made his appearance at the very end of Must Love Dragons. He was just a Ranger on Linus’ side who helps him out a bit. I had no idea that he was actually going to continue on into The Linus Saga as a character. He’s just one of those ideas that took on a life of their own.

When he started out in my brain he was just an extra that was a carbon copy of Crispin Bonham-Carter’s version of Mr. Bingley in the 1992 production of Pride and Prejudice. But even if he looks identical to that in my head, he’s taken on a character of his own in the process of writing him and turned out far more interesting than I had intended.

Avery is a privileged only son of Old Money, on par with hotel magnates and electronic company CEOs. He’s your classic nice guy. He always wants to help, he’s passionate about causes he believes in and never wants to have anyone mad at him.

But like the standard ‘nice guy’ of today he has a lot of flaws. He’s naïve and easily led by other people’s opinions, ready to accept them without consulting the facts or his own feelings. He takes everything at face value and is quick to divide the world into black and white, until he gets another opinion to zealously believe in. So, basically he’s that guy on Facebook that will share every “share if you want to stop/ help/support____” post, and writes “THIS” about articles outlining the latest injustice without actually reading them or checking the sources—the headline’s pretty much said everything, right?

So, Avery is a sweetheart, but he doesn’t have a single original thought in his brain. Unfortunately that’s starting to clash with his new family. He has a young wife and a (pending) child—another decision he made because he followed societal norms. The problem is that no one is telling him how to do this “family” thing or how to feel about it. There’s no one to form his opinions for him and no one to get him worked up into a fervor about it. How is he going to keep things going without passion for his loved one—passion he instead devotes to his work?

I’ll have to find out in a future book, I guess.

 

FUN FACTS:

*The one time Avery showed the world he was his own man was when he chose to marry someone without money. It was his one act of rebellion against his family, who still constantly criticize his involvement in civil affairs.

*Avery’s very altruistic and donates regularly to causes like, homes for orphans, widows pensions, schools, and apprenticeship fees for boys who might not otherwise be able to afford them.

*He’s also slightly patriarchal, willing to defer to men and let them lead him around by the horns but never thinking that women or children have anything of value to contribute. He himself is unaware of this and would be quite shocked if you told him this.

*Avery became a Ranger to get out going to parties and stuffy mansions. He enjoys spending time outdoors and is a formidable hunter and horseman.

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Character Spotlight: Thisbe Weedchacker

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We’re on to Linus’ brood-child number three with the irascible middle-child Thisbe.

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Thisbe Weedwhacker by Monica Marier

We get to know Thisbe in Runs in Good Condition. She’s in every way a typical middle child of a large family. She chafes at the authority her older sister, Irene, has over her and in retaliation likes to exploit any weaknesses in her sister’s armor. Thisbe is clever and has a sharp tongue and even sharper ears. A born tattle-tale with a thirst for gossip, she’s always the first to tease a sibling over a supposed crush or troubles with classmates in school, or any trials like new glasses, stunted growth, pimples, unruly hair, or (in Irene’s case) being skinny and flat-chested. She also terrorizes her younger syblings in an attempt to wrest control from Irene and bosses the life out of them.

Linus and Deirdre take a lot of her antics in stride. Linus in particular is familiar with sisters fighting like cats in a sack and turning into little generals. He’s at a loss as to how to deal with Irene, however, and lets a lot of her antics go unchallenged and ignored, which is precisely what Thisbe doesn’t want. She constantly feels at odds with her siblings for attention and feels like the lowest rung on the ladder. Her hard work goes unnoticed because Carson and Irene have done it first and done it better, yet she isn’t coddled and comforted like Orin,Fia, and the babies because she’s too old. 

Her only chance to shine is in her innate gift of keeping house. Thisbe is better than her parents and her sister at cooking, cleaning, sewing, and in addition is a champion knitter and crocheter. And yet she feels ashamed that being a good housewife and mother is her highest ambition, as other siblings go on about university careers, and travel. She’s not a bad kid by any means; she’s industrious, generous, open, and honest. Her desire for attention, however, is going to lead to her lashing out, especially in my next book.

FUN FACTS:

*Irene adores and idolizes her brother Carson, even though she’s closer to Orin in age and tastes.

*Irene has a huge crush on Morfindel, and most of her acting out in The Linus Saga, is done to get Morfindel to notice her.

*She learned to sew without her parents knowing, simply because she wanted her hand-me-down dresses from her sister to look like it was a different dress. Without asking, she managed to sun bleach the dress, add a lace collar, and embroider it with pink thread. Her father actually scolded her because he thought she had stolen a dress, until Thisbe proved it was her own work. After that, Linus made sure she was well-supplied with any wool, thread and lawn he could get at a good price.

*While Thisbe loves to knit and make pretty dresses for herself, most of her work is selflessly made for her family members. She makes the most things for Carson (and later on, Morfindel), and makes the fewest things for Irene. The pieces she makes for Irene are usually intricate and advanced pieces. These are mostly to rub in Irene’s face the fact that she can’t knit or sew.

* It’s been mentioned that the Weedwhackers have been hosts to several cats over the years. These were all strays that were brought home by Thisbe. 

*Thisbe has already decided that her husband is going to be a shopkeeper with brown hair and a cleft chin. Their children will be named Garth and Louisa and they’ll have a white cat named Marzipan.

 

That’s it for Thisbe. Next week we’ll look at Old Soul, Orin Weedwhacker.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider donating to my fund for a new computer so I can keep making more.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Where it Starts and Where it Ends

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This one was HARD to write, so apologies in advance.

So, I’ve been posting some character sheets every Wed. and while I’ve answered a lot of questions (some of them mine!) about each character there’s still a lot of questions I don’t know the answer to, especially regarding some characters like Linus.

When people ask me how I map out a plot, I always joke that I start with an A and a Z and everything in between is improvised. That’s not exactly true, while I do start at the beginning of the book, I never start at the beginning. There’s just too much. Some of it is because I myself haven’t thought up everything, and some of it is because after a few hundred pages my books get too heavy to cart around.

The other day, my cover artist (who also reads my books) saw my post on Linus’ wife Deirdre and asked me, “So what happens when Linus dies? Does she turn back into a dragon? Does she go first?”

I had to stare at the wall for a while after that one. It was a bit like that beginning of the Pixar movie “Up.” I saw that with my husband and we both started crying. And it wasn’t just us; every other couple in the theatre started crying because they knew there was that inevitable certainty ahead: “someday we’ll have to say good bye, and one of us will be left behind.”

Yes, I know Linus is fictional, yes I know I get to choose the manner of his demise, but then it’s still hard and it will happen in his timeline. I might never put it on paper, and if I do you lot may never get to read it, but it does happen. It’s a fact that Linus is dead by the time of Madame Bluestocking’s Pennyhorrid. 250+ years is too long for even a Half-elf to live. All of this made me really moody and upset, because these are thoughts I don’t usually deal with—that I don’t WANT to deal with.

And I didn’t deal with it, until one night when I got out of bed, grabbed a stack of card stock and the nearest pencil (sorry, it’s red) and started sketching Linus. Half a dozen drawings of him at all different ages. I wanted to find out more what this person was like all through his life, not just the little window I’ve shown him in:

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Here’s Linus when he was about 6 or 7. He was a happy kid, with fewer siblings, and who still thought his parents were perfect, he would always be safe and loved, and who didn’t realize yet just how poor his family was. While his brothers picked on him a lot, they weren’t blood enemies, and Linus was still able to have times where he was the sole attention of his mum and dad. 

 

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Linus at twelve was a different story. We know know little about him except that he and his brothers used to burn their spots off with pokers. The picture looks surly, disappointed and maybe even hurt. This is a kid that lost his illusions fast, as most low-income kids do. He’s had a lot of growing up to do, maybe before he’s ready. He’s almost done with school and then he’ll be parsed out to the workforce like his brothers. Maybe he’s feeling his parents aren’t so infallible after all, and why is he stuck in a house with too many kids and not enough to go around?

 

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This is Linus at 17, and he looks like he’s a good deal happier. He’s completed his training and is a fully fledged E1. There’s a lust for freedom in his expression. He’s handsome and he knows it will let him get away with a lot. His mentor is a cool, savvy, 30-something who keeps a long leash on him and sometimes joins in his shenanigans. And under it all is a streak of that wounded young man from the last picture. There’s the tiniest spark of cruelty as well—a desire to mete out justice, or his version of justice, anyway. He’s been hurt, he’s still confused, he’s still not a grownup, despite being given free reign. He’s oarless, rudderless, and without a destination. But who needs direction when you have endless potential?

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Well, apparently direction counts for a lot. This is Linus in his late 20’s before meeting Deirdre. His eyes are tired and jaundiced, he’s emaciated due to forgetting to eat, and prone to tremors when he doesn’t drink enough. In short, he looks like a miserable addict who’s burning his candle at both ends. His friends all hate him or have died horribly. He keeps getting in trouble so he gets drunk so he can ignore it, which gets him in more trouble. His mentor is becoming even more friendly in a manner that’s worrisome, uncomfortable and unwanted.  He has the look of a caged animal that can’t decide if it’s more afraid of the cage, or what’s outside of it. 

 

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Miraculously, he does get out of the cage to become the Linus we’re familiar with in the novels. His hardships have made him tough, surviving them has given him the gift of hindsight and laughing at his mistakes. A wife has made him passionate; fatherhood has made him tender; being loved has made him lovable. And despite all the defeats and setbacks and disappointments, he’s already won the game of life for simply making it this far and getting the chance to try again. This second try is the focus of our journey with Linus, in that casting off the past, one can take a look at the now and make the right choice.

 

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And then I made myself draw this one and had to stop myself from crying. Given his projected lifespan, Linus is probably about one-hundred-and-ten in this drawing.The chiseled jaw is gone, the hard forehead is gone. The eyes are milky and rheumy. The cheeks are hollow and jowly. His hair is snowy white and downy. His clothes have changed to reflect a newer style and someone, a daughter or son perhaps, has draped a blanket over his shoulders. Yet he’s still got a roguish grin on his face as his faded eyes blink mistily at you. You can hear him wheeze with a deep growly voice, “I could still kick your arse, kid,” and you would just nod and smile at him, because it wasn’t true anymore.

*SIIIIIIIIGHHHHHHH* Anyway…

So yeah. This experiment made me realize that there’s a lot of things I haven’t considered when it comes to character creation. I have no idea if this last picture is canon. Maybe Linus doesn’t make it that far, maybe something else happens. I don’t know, but it’s a fact that we all get older and we all die, unless you’re an Elf.

Lousy stinking Elves. 

Again, I have to point out that these blog posts might disappear suddenly because my computer is on the blink and going fast. Help me to keep writing and updating by donating to my GoFundMe to help get a new computer. Find out more about Linus in my Linus Saga series, Must Love Dragons.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting about Linus’ perpetual middle child, Thisbe.

Thanks for reading!

Getting to Know Morfindel

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(Note: This is a repost after the first page got deleted. Apologies)
Character Wednesday!

I had a request for one on Morfindel Cunlias this week and I’m happy to oblige.

Here’s Morf!

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Morf comes from both the Linus Saga books and its parallel dimension CRIT! He’s a young Elf, only 20 when we meet him, who still has a lot of growing to do. He tries to do his very best at all times, but usually ends up stymieing himself with his own naivete and impulsive nature.

He started off as a nuisance newbie hanging on Linus but over the series he’s starting to become Linus’ best friend… a bond that’s put to the test a lot when he falls for Linus’ oldest daughter.

SO! Some fun facts.

* To answer most people’s question, his surname, Cunlias, is pronounced “Koon-lees.”

*His mannerisms and personality are based on one of my best friends.

*Morfindel thinks of Linus as a father figure, even if Linus would rather think of him as a younger brother. He tends to gravitate to fatherly figures after being raised in a male mission since he was three. It also explains his avid attraction to women yet his complete inability to comprehend them.

*He has yellow eyes (those exist, I’ve seen them!) which hint at his true roots. More on that in future books.

*I cut Morfindel’s hair off out of spite because I hated drawing it in the comic. Much sooner in the book, and those tresses’ days are numbered in the comic too. I HATE long hair.

*Morf hates raisins. The monastery used raisins to sweeten a lot of dishes for the children and Morf  got thoroughly sick of them early on.

 

That’s all for this week! Let me know who you want for next week.

And Now for A Bit of Fun

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A twist on a less-popular Grimm Fairytale


Once upon a time a lad, Hans, could not decide which of three women he wanted to marry.

His mother told him, “Invite each girl to dinner and observe what she does.”

Hans invited the first girl to dinner. His mother gave her a piece of cheese. The young lady cut off the rind in a thick slice and ate the cheese.

When she left, Hans’ mother said,”She did not take care when slicing the rind off. She is a wasteful girl and will ruin you. Do not marry her.”

The second girl was invited to dinner and again was given cheese. This one ate the whole thing rind and all.

Hans’ mother said, “This girl is a glutton and not fine enough for you. Do not marry her.”

The third girl was invited over and when she was given the cheese, she very carefully took her time and shaved the rind off, being careful save as much good cheese as possible.

After dinner, Hans’ mother told him,”The girl is cautious and frugal. She will make you a good wife.”

At this point, Hans realized his mother was a nutjob with impossibly high standards and the “good” girl was OCD. He went with the glutton who was obviously “low maintenance” and had a sweet ass.

The glutton said, “Who the hell were those other two bitches?”