A quick doodle of a character in a novel I’ve been working on for the past year. Needed to get her more concrete in my head. She’s big and tall, with a squeaky little girl voice. She’s a warm and caring person who falls in love too easily and men take that for granted. She works in a circus as a snake charmer, but she’s developed allergies to snakes so she isn’t sure about her future.
Knife thrower’s assistant
Lately I’ve been working again on my story about the circus fortune teller and her ghost knife-throwing sister and this is so perfect for helping me visualize things. Yay! (Almost 20,000 words into this novel, holy cow!)
Jebediah Tetanus (30 Characters Challenge #16)
The ringmaster of the circus that Anna and Katerina work in. I didn’t plan on him being a big part of the story, but as I wrote his first appearance, he nudged his way into a bigger part. So I’m not quite sure about who he is yet. I will say, he’s a good guy, and looking to be one of Anna’s biggest allies in investigating her sister’s murder.
His parents were acrobats, and he was all set to be one himself, a tightrope walker, but an accident with an elephant left him with a bum leg. So now he runs a circus instead.
When I developed him, I had this brief internal conversation along the lines of:
"Your story is set in 1890. You can’t have a black ringmaster in a mainstream circus."
"Fuck that. There’s magic and monsters and airships and rudimentary computers and ghosts. I’m pretty sure a black ringmaster is not more fantastical than those things."
"Oh, you’re right. Carry on."
I figure steampunk is pretty much escapist fantasy. It’s not really bound to real-world history and attitudes. Race, sex, sexuality, etc. is not really gonna be a big deal in this setting. They’ve got bigger monsters to fight.
I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna be able to come up with 14 more characters in the next day and a half, so this “30 character challenge” was failed by me, but it was fun trying!
It happens in the first chapter! It’s not really a spoiler.
Well… I’m writing this story. Prose with illustrations, 10-20k words or so. I loved her too much to let her sit around.
I am learning about trains!
All I have to say about that is that it’s gonna be a sexless marriage, what with her being asexual and all. But she’s a very cunning linguist in the literal sense, so she’ll be entertaining company.
This particular character isn’t, but I do have plans for a few.
Katerina (30 character challenge #10)
Kat is the twin sister of Anna, and works with her on a circus train in the 1890’s. She is a knife thrower, and is incredibly skilled. While Anna was born in the morning, Kat was born 12 hours later, at night, and has been a night owl all her life. She shares a train car with Anna, which is frustrating when they like to keep opposite hours, so she often sleeps in other people’s cars. She believes very strongly in the supernatural, especially ghosts.
The main part of her act involves having her assistant, Carl, stand in front of a large wooden target while she outlines them in knives. In her entire career, she has only missed once, slicing Carl across the face, giving him stitches. Carl wasn’t upset about it, but his wife Lucy was. Lucy the clown snuck up on Kat and slashed her across the face, wanting Kat to experience what Carl had. The Ringmaster, Jebediah Tetanus, had wanted to kick Lucy out, but Katerina convinced him to let her stay. The circus people are quick to forgive, but most agreed Katerina was too quick.
Katerina has suffered from nightmares her whole life, which she attributes to ghosts, but the nightmares have gotten worse since joining the circus. She was dead for an hour before anyone found her, stabbed in the back in her car with her own knives.
Anna (30 Characters Challenge)
Anna works on a circus train in the 1890’s with her twin sister Katerina. She works as a psychic. While she doesn’t have any psychic powers, she is incredibly intelligent and deductive. She has built a logic engine that takes up much of her train car, that can calculate various odds and spit out a punch card that corresponds to a tarot card. However, this process takes far too much time to use with circus patrons, so she is encouraged to bullshit it like every other psychic.
During circus hours, she is encouraged to wear stereotypical “fortune teller garb”, but she prefers tailored trousers and vests and is rarely seen without her gigantic red coat that is filled with pockets. The pockets contain notepads, pencils, punch cards (blank and used), tarot cards, small empty bottles, small rocks, medium sized rocks, magnets, a mirror, a magnifying glass, several books, salt (because no matter what, food is never salty enough for her), spare socks, aspirin, pins and needles and thread (red and blue), a flask of oil, some matches, some candles, wrenches, screwdrivers, $1 in pennies, and some snacks. Among other things. The weight of the pockets causes her to walk with a hunch most of the time.
Her whole life she’s suffered from intense nightmares, but is too skeptical to attribute it to anything more than natural explanations. Because of this, she doesn’t understand why it’s such a big deal that suddenly EVERYONE on the train is having intense nightmares. But when her knife-throwing sister is found murdered in their car with her own knives, Anna realizes something is wrong in the circus.