Building a Minor Character

The Clockwork Spider thing from Nano a couple of years back returns to mind each time I sit in front of the computer to write. I wrote Mal’s half of the roadside picnic table scene two days ago—I don’t recall if I posted it or not. I’d done a fair bit of thinking about the plot for that story. I didn’t codify it though. I think I’ll do a little remembering out loud here today.

Malachi is an older mage dating Karen who is both younger than him and less experienced in magic than he. A clockwork spider Malachi constructed as a precocious youth holds the key to finding (and rescuing) their coven leader Prof. Palmer. Somehow a prison break was involved as well as a bit of world-hopping, a séance, and a jealous scheming runner-up.

Except for a bunch of tattoos and a roughshod look, Malachi didn’t have much characterization. Karen may have had less.

What other stuff I’ve written since my original musing implies that I’ve got Malachi collecting advice/clues/aid from less savory friends than belong to the coven as regulars. As I think on this it feels a bit like a montage or yak shaving. I suppose that isn’t bad as long as each meet-up increases the stakes and is closely tied to the conflict. But I ought to work out what it is Mal seeks with each meeting and why he doesn’t get what he wants.

Here’s a quick exchange with Steven Tattersall in Haast, NZ that came to mind…

After establishing Steven as a bit of a letch, Karen and Malachi depart.

Karen shrugged and shivered and stamped her feet like she was wriggling out of a cocoon. “I told you you wouldn’t like him,” said Malachi.

“You didn’t tell me how much you do though.”

Mal smiled instead of lying.

“What?” Karen crossed her arms. “What? You’re enjoying this too much not to be telling me something…everything. Anything. Whatever. What?”

“Steven’s gay.” [kinda think Mal might say ‘fag’ but I’m not sure how to resolve that]

“I wouldn’t have guessed that.”

“He wouldn’t want you to.”

“Why not?”

“Because he hasn’t either.”

356 words on day 983

Back Lightning

As payment for a week of slacking I’m just going to take the countstamp on my latest main writing source and use it for today’s writing. I think I’m technically a day or two ahead of this number, but I’m sure whatever I wrote, where ever I wrote it, isn’t worth the effort of finding and incrementing.

Malachi pinched the skin on the back of his hand together so it made the ink of a tattooed circle kiss the ink of a tattooed rose. It didn’t mean anything; it wasn’t a spell. His time-browned skin shone with age like he had a layer of still-taunt flesh under and almost-attached husk of cellophane. He released his grip; the circle and the rose drifted apart. He rubbed the back of his hand flat again before stuffing his fingers into a leather riding glove.

It was hard to hear what Karen was saying over the idle of his rebuilt Vincent Black Lightning. It was even harder when he twisted the throttle. He took a deep breath of New Mexican air and used his senses to find the warm hiss of Bluetooth from her cellphone. He warded it with only a little more consideration using another twist of the throttle to camouflage the effort. Karen would be stuck but safe. Pissed but alive…until the battery ran out.

223 words on day 979


Steven Tattersall, diviner and layabout, unlatched his leather-clad portmanteau and folded back the halves on the kitchen table. He tucked the lid all the way underneath the right side to help it lay flat. Some few papers tucked into the pocket of the lid caught Karen’s attention, but she could never after realize why. Steven carried on by unsnapping the top panel on the left side and propping up a folding-rack of bottles filled with liquids and powders. The little staircase of ingredients reminded Karen of a space-saving spice rack she bought on TV.

“Aces! I thought I’d lost that.” Steven pulled a small brown memo book from under one of the legs of the rack and flipped the pages.

xxx words on day 904