Arc 5 begins! Slightly awkwardly, due to Wattpad having a week-long glitch which has locked me out of my own account. I discovered a day after the normal publishing slot that I could still access it via the mobile app, for reasons unknown, and managed to get the chapter up.
It raises a question that’s been nagging at me for a while, and one which bothers most creators who use online platforms: can we rely on them? Right now, the vast majority of my readership is on Wattpad, which means they have power over me. I’ve taken steps to change my website, set up this Patreon and start building an independent newsletter, but it’s very all days for all of those still.
I have no answers right now, but it’s an on-going question and concern. Inkitt and Tablo have both shown promise as Wattpad alternatives but you simply can’t beat the readerbase and reader enthusiasm found over on Wattpad.
Ultimately, the way I’m going now Wattpad is only step 1 of my book writing – it’s the venue for the public first draft, before I then edit it into a professionally published final draft, sometime down the line.
Anyway, I digress. ‘Through the gates’ introduces a heap of new characters: Hachim Arondir, Galisai Sturm, Stefan Vortal and Hatch Eyer.
I’m already kind of in love with them. The squad are going to introduce an entirely new dynamic to arc 5 and our character interactions, freshening things up a bit and giving me more to play with as our heroes head up into the mountains.
With characters like these I start out VERY loose. I don’t spend ages on backstory or detailed character sheets: it comes down to a few key lines and a personality table. That gives me enough to get going, and they’ll get fleshed out as we go.
To take Hachim as an example, here’s his description:
Supremely loyal to Bruckin.
Weary, excited to be doing something.
Played by Michael Ironside, obvs.
That’s it. Simple, to the point, creates a mental image of who he is and how he conducts himself.
Then there’s the personality table, which is something devised by Michael Miller (hi), I believe for roleplaying purposes. It’s a handy and fun tool which is a bit less prescriptive and less judgy than some other character matrix tools.
Here it is:
This is a shorthand guide. It leaves room for interpretation and contradiction, but provides a starting point for Hachim’s motivations. Each of the new squad received one of these personality cards, which immediately helps me separate them tonally and in behaviour and reactions.
From here on out arc 5 is going to feel quite different to what’s come before. Make sure you’ve got a sofa to hide behind.