Writing Exercise: A Character’s Outfit

I’ve recently discovered the awesomeness of shopping at thrift stores. My shopping trips tend to be very hit-or miss, I either find a bunch of stuff that speaks to me or walk out empty-handed. The time that I’ve spent walking between shelves and racks of knickknacks and clothes made me wonder if I could craft a character inspired by an outfit. So I decided to do a writing exercise where I did just that.

This is the outfit I used as my inspiration:

photo (7)


I encourage anyone looking for a writing exercise to do this one. 🙂


The last time I wore a skirt to the shop, six people mistook me for the secretary. One even commented on how great it was that the owner finally hired eye-candy, and I took great pleasure in banning him—for life—from the Gold Fire Racing Garage. The look on his face when he realized not only that I owned the business but that those trophies in the Plexiglas case were mine: priceless.

“No comments,” I said when I stepped onto the shop floor and every single head twisted in my direction.

The jaws that dropped snapped closed again an instant later. Well, all except one.

“What happened to you?” Gordon Penn asked. “You look like a girl.”

“I hope that’s not supposed to be an insult,” I said.

The racecar in front of me, primed a gunmetal gray ahead of this week’s paint scheme that’d be applied later tonight, sat in line with two other identical cars in the row. One difference was that this car had a pair of red legs sticking out from under the front end and a pair of men hunched in the space between the hood and the engine compartment. Three cars, one primary and two backups, for the race on Saturday. Not too shabby for a one-car team.

“Never,” Gordon said. “A girl owns this place.”

I resisted the urge to give him a one-fingered salute and instead gestured to the three cars. “Is there something that you’re not telling me about the team?”

“Nothing overly important,” he replied. “Annabelle’s Liquors upped their sponsorship, and I hired a new driver. He’ll be here in ten minutes.”

My jaw almost dropped. I spun around to face him, staring hard as if I could see through his amber sunglass lenses.

“You’re kidding me,” I said. “There’s a stock car driver out there who didn’t try to punch you during the interview?”

“Two,” he said. “And why is it so unbelievable that I could decide on a driver? I have standards, but they’re not completely ridiculous.”

“Because a little bit ridiculous is okay,” I said.

I didn’t punch Gordon in the face four years ago during my interview because he’s my cousin—granted he’s twenty years older than me and we’re only related because his uncle is my stepfather—but he asked the dumbest questions. What would I do if a driver tried to wreck me because I refused to let him sleep with my boyfriend? Would I be willing to drive a race with a stuffed panda bear taped behind my seat? Would I object to polka music being played through the radio during cautions?

I answered with wreck him, why?, and go ahead, I’ll just unplug my radio.

Gordon co-owned and oversaw the day-to-day operations of Penn Motorsport Racing, Incorporated. For years, PMR, Inc. operated three teams in the top tier of national stock car racing in the United States and half a dozen other teams in local circuits across the country. But then PRM, Inc. went bankrupt four years ago, and Gordon bought the team his father and my stepfather, Stephen Penn. They renamed it Penn before his father decided to retire and the Gordon and my stepfather split the share.

The hinges on the front door of the shop let out a screech that made the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up. I’d forgotten that it needed a generous coat of lubricant.

“Toss me that can of WD-40, please,” I said to the engine builder who stood next to the shelves.

“You’re going to risk ruining that pretty skirt?” Gordon asked.

“One of the hazards of owning a garage.”

I headed around the corner and through a white hallway with waist-high windows looking out into open space of the garage. On the other wall hung framed photographs of drivers and their cars in winner’s circles. I didn’t bother checking the pictures to see if Gordon replaced any of them with an old photo of my #89. I checked this morning, and he wasn’t good enough to get one up in the short time between now and then.

Maybe Stephen slipped in without me seeing and left the brownies Mom made on my desk. He was probably still in the office since there’s no way that anyone in the building wouldn’t know that Gordon was in the shop. And I needed to talk to him about the small team out of the Iris Dirt Track in northern Charlotte who wanted to rent the outbuilding at the back of the property.

A hard body caught my shoulder as I turned the corner, and I slammed into to the wall. The body let out a grunt.

“I’m sorry,” a man said. “Are you all right?”

I straightened up, readjusted my skirt, and turned away from the wall. My shoulder throbbed from where it smacked into the body. But I shook it off and plastered a smile on my face.

“I’m fine,” I said and readjusted my glasses. “Are you okay? That was quite a hit.”

“I’m fine,” he said quickly.

The man must have been in his early thirties. He wore a pair of blue jeans and a red golf shirt; the impact knocked his otherwise immaculate black hair out of whack. His eyes took in my outfit, and the wheels turned inside his head.

Maybe I would be banning someone from the garage today.

“I didn’t see anyone up front,” he said. “Though I see you’re on your way back.”

“Actually, I’m on my way to the front to fix the door.” I held up the lubricant can. “You obviously didn’t notice the six inch layer of dusk on that desk. No one been here without an appointment in a year.”

He stiffened, a frown creasing his lips. “Mr. Penn is expecting me. I am the new driver for Penn Motorsport Racing.”

I took a step back and looked him up and down. Really took in his appearance. His clothes spoke professional racer on his first day of work with a brand new race team, but he stood with his chin raised, shoulders squared, and his jaw set. Defiance dripped from his eyes.

Oh hell, I had to see this. Gordon was going to eat him alive.

“I’ll take you to the garage,” I said. “What’s your name?”

I didn’t think it was possible for him to stretch himself any taller. He did, though.

“Danny Blake,” he said. He didn’t hold out his hand.

“Nice to meet you, Danny,” I said. “I’m Penelope Penn, and this is my garage. Follow me, please.”

I spun on my heel and felt pretty damn satisfied that it took three steps before he started to follow.



Bookshelf Tag ~ Ten Questions about My Bookshelf

The rules of the bookshelf tag are quite simple: answer the following questions about books on your bookshelf and then tag five bloggers. You can answer the questions any way you, whether it’s on your blog, in a video, or a combination of the two. Then remember to let whoever tagged you know when your post is up so that they can read it. 🙂

Now, without further ado, the book tag!

1. Is there a book that you really want to read but haven’t because you know that it’ll make you cry?
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein — I bought this book because it came highly recommended, but I never read it because it deals with elderly dogs and my family had to put our dog to sleep shortly after I bought it. I still haven’t read it because I’m still worried that it’ll turn me into a crying mess.

2. Pick one book that helped introduce you to a new genre.
The Spell of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning — This was the first proper romance novel that I ever read. I picked it up from the now-gone Borders Books and immediately fell in love with the Highlander romance genre.

3. Find a book that you want to reread.
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice — It’s been probably ten years since I first read this book, and I would love to read it again. Plus Anne Rice has announced that she’ll be releasing a new book featuring Lestat this fall. I’d like to reread the whole series before I pick up that one.

4. Is there a book series you read but wish that you hadn’t?
Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris — I bought the first couple of books because I really enjoyed the True Blood TV series on HBO. The books, unfortunately, didn’t live up to the hype.

5. If your house was burning down and all of your family and pets were safe, which book would you go back inside to save?
The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle — This book pretty much started my love affair with Sherlock Holmes, and I wouldn’t be the writer that I am today without this book.

6. Is there one book on your bookshelf that brings back fond memories?
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling — The very first time I read the first Harry Potter book, I wasn’t quite ready to read it by myself so my mom read it to me. I loved getting to sit down with her every night and listen to her read a chapter.

7. Find a book that has inspired you the most.
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert — This book inspired me to embrace travel writing and ignited the travel bug in me again. Plus it was a lot of fun to read.

8. Do you have any autographed books?
Shapes that Haunt New England by Edward Lodi — I have several autographed books, but Shapes that Haunt New England was the first. I got it for Christmas from my mother when I was still in middle school.

9. Find the book that you have owned the longest. 
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling — I got this book shortly after it was published in the United States, so I’ve probably owned it for at least 15 or 16 years.

10. Is there a book by an author that you never imagined you would read or enjoy?
The Gunseller by Hugh Laurie — I used to really enjoy House featuring Hugh Laurie, though I didn’t realize he also wrote a book until a fellow student at college recommended it.

Those are my answers to the ten questions. Here are the five bloggers I’m tagging.

Emily of One More Page
Gwen of Apprentice Never Master
Olivia of Often Clueless, Always Shoeless
Bekah of “Yeah. But So What? Everybody’s Weird.”
Desiree B. of InkyTavern

Check out their blogs because they’re pretty awesome and feel free to do this tag yourself! If you do, let me know since I’d love to read them. I’m pretty nosy when it comes to other people’s bookshelves so I love any excuse to check them out.

30 Days of World Building: Wrap-Up

Looking through the final days of the World Building Challenge, I noticed that they pretty much have me doing the same thing: review my notes and edit whatever doesn’t fit with my current vision for my novel. I tried to write a post where I did just that, but I repeatedly hit a wall.

I’ve grown to know these novels after having them in my head about six years. I know the tone that I want to convey, and I can picture the setting in my mind. Sure the story has developed, becoming more complicated and making more sense.

If I give much more prep work to these stories, I think I’m going to go crazy.

This World Building Challenge has been really beneficial. I learned a lot and will probably use some of the exercise results in my novel. Most importantly, it got me thinking about these novels. And anxious to write.

So now I have to move on to the next steps. For King’s Shadow, that means I need to get back at the keyboard and write at least 500 words a day. And for Avignon, I need to get back into my research books.

Did you do the 30 Days of World Building Challenge? Has it helped you?

30 Days of World Building, Day 24: Mood III

I’ve decided to skip ahead a bit in the exercise. I don’t feel like the culture or geography have changed too much since I started this project. 

Day 24: Mood III-Today I’m going to delve deeper into the mood of my stories. Specifically, I’m going to create a music playlist for each story. Another option is to find a color picture or drawing online and put it somewhere where you can see it while writing.

King’s Shadow

  1. “Mona Lisa” by Conway Twitty
  2. “Standing Outside the Fire” by Garth Brooks
  3. “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker
  4. “My Skin” by Natalie Merchant
  5. “Holding Out for a Hero” by Frou Frou
  6. “Hanging by a Moment” by Lifehouse
  7. “Here’s to the Night” by Eve6
  8. “How to Save a Life” by The Fray
  9. “The Storm” by Garth Brooks
  10. “Play, Guitar, Play” by Conway Twitty
  11. “Master of the House” Les Mis soundtrack
  12. “Do You Hear the People Sing?” Les Mis soundtrack
  13. “Until the End” by Breaking Benjamin
  14. “Goodnight Saigon” Movin’ Out soundtrack
  15. “May it Be” by Lisa Kelly of Celtic Woman
  16. “If I Ever Leave This World Alive” by Flogging Molly


  1. “I Will Not Say Goodbye” by Danny Gokey
  2. “I Have A Dream” from Mamma Mia soundtrack
  3. “Summer, Highland Falls” from Movin’ Out soundtrack
  4. “Big Shot” from Movin’ Out soundtrack
  5. “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from Les Mis soundtrack
  6. “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry
  7. “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker
  8. “The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha soundtrack
  9. “How to Save a Life” by The Fray
  10. “Goodnight and Thank You” from Evita soundtrack
  11. “I’m Not That Girl” from Wicked soundtrack
  12. “Waltz For Eva and Che” from Evita soundtrack
  13. “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” from Les Mis soundtrack
  14. “Let It Go” from Frozen soundtrack
  15. “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Mis soundtrack
  16. “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley
  17. “Here’s to the Night” by Eve6

30 Days of World Building, Day 21: Flora & Fauna

Day 21: Flora & Fauna-Today’s exercise is about figuring out what kinds of plants and animals exist and are important in your world/society. Think about food staples, items needed for medicine, houseplants, working animals, etc. Since both of my stories are going to take place on Earth in the future, I’m not going to go too in-depth into this subject.

King’s Shadow:

  • Grain
  • Corn
  • Misc. Fruits & Vegetables: Strawberry and blueberry considered delicacies
  • Willow trees
  • Horses
  • Cattle
  • Dogs
  • Mosquitoes


  • Grain/Corn/Wheat
  • Few cattle/Horses
  • Limited amount of pigs
  • Willow trees
  • Limited fruit/vegetables
  • Stray dogs

30 Days of World Building, Day 20: Plot Hooks-B

Day 20: Plot Hooks-Here is the second part of the Plot Hooks exercise. I realized while working on this outline that I’ve never actually done one for this novel. And as much as I struggled with letting go of pieces of the story I’ve considered essential for so long, I’m glad that I now have a starting point. 


  • The protagonist sleeps with someone from HR in order to get the job of Jr. Speechwriter at the Presidential Mansion
  • The protagonist works on policy speeches that frustrate her as they will probably never be given
  • Writes a speech that she’d want the President to give–Shows it to mentor, who says that it would go over well with voters
  • Participates in a large round table with the President about jump-starting the reelection campaign–Pitches idea of appealing to the lower classes; Mentor and others dismiss her idea, though the President wants to hear more of her ideas; chewed out later by her mentor and others
  • Meets with the President–discuss how they know each other (reveal that her father has died); shows President’s history/past as a member of the lower classes
  • Visits her parents’ graves
  • Feels frustrated that the President rejects all of the ideas that she pitches
  • Witnesses protesters on the outer edge of a campaign speech, adding to frustration
  • Gets into an argument with other staff members about food packets–President drags hwer away and confronts her about her attitude; she accuse him of playing to corporations
  • President takes up protagonist’s challenge to visit a hospital where the victims of industrial disease are hidden away from the public
  • Works on a draft of a speech while in the doctor’s office waiting room–Doctor gives her an update on her condition and a timeline of how much longer she has to live
  • Mentor confronts her about the direction she’s encouraging the President to go with the campaign–Nervous about financial backers
  • Meets the first lady before a presidential speech that addresses issues relating to the lower classes–Immediate corporate backlash; approval from lower classes
  • Whirlwind of positive public campaign events–the protagonist becomes closer to the President; climbing in the polls
  • Convinces the President to investigate the reports of industrial disease reports prevalent among workers at Ponderosa Industries–Protests from the company
  • Rumors circulate about the relationship between the protagonist and the President
  • Goes to the doctor and learns that she’s going to need her teeth extracted
  • The President insists that the protagonist stay overnight at the presidential mansion in order to work on a policy speech–a state dinner is occurring the same night; confronted by a member of Ponderosa Industries’s Board of Directors who threatens to ruin her and the President
  • Breakfast with the President, the First Lady, and mentor–the President mentions that several people at the dinner asked about the protagonist; the protagonist mentions the executive’s threat
  • Collapses and nearly passes out due to pain while working with her mentor–Brushes it off as not having eaten or slept
  • Writes a speech for the reelection acceptance speech while in the same room as the President–Interrupted by an independent health report that names radium as the cause of the Ponderosa Industries industrial disease; reveals that her parents died of the disease; the President demands further proof before going public
  • Tension between the President and the First Lady during the first few weeks of the second term
  • Has teeth removed
  • Learns that corrupt authorities in the Mississippi Territory won’t let her travel to see her younger brother–confides in the President; illustrates relationship with her family
  • Goes to the doctor, who finds bone cancer–discuss treatment options
  • Rumor spreads through the tabloids that the protagonist slept with HR to get the job and has a physical relationship with the President–denies it all; first lady confronts her about it, claiming to have heard from a reliable source
  • Attends a political rally and is surprised when several people thank her for her contributions to the President’s policies
  • Learns that the President has been giving her credit for his campaign turnaround and opening his eyes–thanks him
  • Receive confirmation that Ponderosa Industries knowingly used radium and caused industrial disease–the President asks the protagonist to arrange a way to present the case to the public; contemplates a personal twist to the reveal
  • Attends a formal media dinner event at the request of the President despite not feeling well–feels faint during the dinner, excuses herself, and collapses; the President sees the whole thing; first lady catches them, accuses them of the rumors being true, and shoves the protagonist; breaks her leg in the fall
  • Reveals to the President that she is dying from radium poisoning–discuss the recent publicity issues must be the result of Ponderosa Industries executive
  • Participates in the meeting with Ponderosa Industries executives about the radium poisoning–drives home the point by showing them her extracted teeth and saying that the doctor will need to amputate her leg soon
  • Gives public speech to announce the radium issue, alongside the President, and gives a face to it


30 Days of World Building, Day 20: Plot Hooks-A

So I’ve been absent for a few days. I spent a bit of time working on today’s assignment: plotting my novels. The rest of the time has been working on a book review project that I’m hoping to share shortly.

Day 20: Plot Hooks-Today is time to figure out the plot of your story. Or at least create a basic list of what you want to happen in your novel and when. I’m going to do this over the course of two days because this post has the potential to get pretty long.

King’s Shadow

  • King’s Guard captures a bomber during a bomb scare in the palace complex.
  • The protagonist is assigned to provide an extra layer of protection to the Prince.
  • Family lunch where the protagonist discusses her future in the Royal Guard and having a family–hers and the “love interest’s” roles secret
  • The King’s Guard is activated in the middle of the night  to raid a house connected to the would-be bomber–Introduce the nemesis
  • The Prince convinces the protagonist to help him learn to dance for his wedding reception and in order to surprise his fiancee.
  • The King makes a speech broadcast on the radio about the flood in the capitol city and announces that the Royal Forces Reserves will be sent to help with rescue efforts
  • The Prince and the protagonist participate in rescue efforts after flooding
  • The protagonist, the Prince, and the “love interest” discover the nemesis’s hiding place
  • The Prince gives the King a report on the flood and recovery efforts
  • The protagonist and the love interest discuss the future, especially life after Officer Candidate School
  • The protagonist and the Prince hike in order to survey the flood damage–Discuss whether or not she’ll wear a dress to the wedding; Ambushed by the officers supposed to guard the Prince; The protagonist is forced to reveal that she’s the King’s Shadow
  • The protagonist vents to the love interest; they receive an alert that the King has been shot
  • King’s Guard meet at the King’s bedside–Ace and the Prince are also there; Protagonist learns that she’s being fingered as an accomplice in the attack on the King; the Prince is the only new person to know her identity as the King’s Shadow; Neither the King nor Ace can stop the investigation without revealing the King’s Shadow secret; the Protagonist is going on the run
  • The protagonist leaves the capitol city for Fayford
  • The protagonist ends up in a dark part of Fayford’s capitol city
  • The protagonist gets caught up in a clash between the police and the people of Fayford–Learns that there is a huge gap between social classes; comes into contact with her nemesis and is advised not to return to the capitol city
  • The protagonist’s investigation of the tension in Fayford is interrupted by a high-ranking criminal who offers her a position as a mercenary–does so on the basis of knowing Ace and goes after her to collect the bounty on her head when she refuses
  • The protagonist breaks into the house of a government official in order to steal documents that may shed light on the role of Fayford in the incidents at the capitol–surprised how easy it was to break the law
  • Discovers paperwork that connects Fayford to at least two assassination attempts, the bombing and the attack on the King–the nemesis interrupts her packing, warning that he won’t play nice if she goes back; reveals he’s been hired to orchestrate the assassination attempts
  • The protagonist returns to the capitol, sneaking into the palace complex
  • Meeting of the King’s Guard, minus Ace
  • Wedding–Assassination attempt stopped without interrupting the wedding; the fiancee’s mother connected to the plots; the protagonist nearly killed when she goes after the nemesis
  • The protagonist gets ready to enter OCS, unsure about future in the Royal Forces as this case has shaken her confidence

30 Days of World Building, Day 19: Character-B

Day 19: Character-As promised, here’s the second part of Day 19.

Avignon: Avignon Church

Describe Avignon’s physical appearance, age, educational background, and speech patterns:
Avignon is 5’3″, shoulder length copper colored hair, pale skin, green eyes, round face, fit. She’s a 24 year old college graduate with a degree in political science. She excels at speaking to strangers and being understood by them so long as she has an end in mind. She doesn’t have a filter when it comes to things she believes in, speaking passionately about them and willing to show the dirty truth. Rarely confides her fears/inner thoughts unless she really knows the person.
What would a stranger notice 5 minutes after meeting Avignon?
Avignon is passionate about social welfare programs and can talk well about the majority of those programs. 
What would a companion notice after 5 days of travelling with, working with, or being around Avignon?
Avignon keeps meticulous notes about everything she sees/does that relates to politics. Those notes are strewn around her work space when she’s writing speeches. Sometimes she forgets to eat while working, though she’ll binge on food when she finishes a draft. 
Who are Avignon’s parents? Are they still alive?
Avignon’s parents were Alan and Irene Church. Her father passed away when she was nineteen and her mother when she was twenty one. While Ponderosa Industries denies that working in the factory caused their deaths, Avignon knows that it did. 
What if Avignon met her parents? How would she behave?
Avignon was reserved around her parents, not asking for much because she understood the stress they were under due to their illnesses and the fact that they didn’t have much money. She did everything that she could in order to help them out.  
Where did Avignon grow up? What if Avignon had grown up somewhere else? What if she didn’t like her home?
Avignon grew up in the northern section of the residential part of the capitol city, within walking distance of the factories. If she’d grownup in a more rural part of the country, she never would have worked at the Ponderosa Industries factory, her parents most likely wouldn’t have died, and she wouldn’t have become involved in politics. If she didn’t like her home, she would have she most likely would have runaway. 
What if Avignon wasn’t born there?
If Avignon wasn’t born in the capitol city, she wouldn’t have been as intimately knowledgeable about the way that Ponderosa Industries has a huge influence on the government. 
Who is Avignon’s biggest hero? What if Avignon met her 
Avignon’s biggest hero was the speechwriter for the previous president. If she met him, she ask him as many questions as she could about how he maneuvered the previous president into wording policies certain ways in the brief time before he was fired.
What if Avignon met her nemesis in a neutral public place?
If Avignon met her nemesis in a neutral public place, she would be uncharacteristically quiet. She knows that she’s not going to change his mind on her own and has already begun planning a “shock and awe” speech for the President that she believes will convince the majority of the legislature to convince them to support a measure against the nemesis. 
What if Avignon had a family, kids, etc.? What if Avingon’s kids were part of Avignon’s
Avignon’s parents passed away, and her younger brother currently lives with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in the Mississippi Territory. She has avoided any serious romantic relationship because she believes that she’s most likely dying. That’s also why she will never have children. While she doesn’t let herself think about the family she’s forced to miss out on, her mind does wander to the thought when she’s alone and feels depressed. She longs for the normalcy she was denied because of Ponderosa Industries.
How does Avignon fit into your speculative element? Does she not believe in it? Is she an expert in it? Is she an outsider?
Avignon grew up eating the food packets on a regular basis, though her family sacrificed electricity so that the family could have real food at least four days a week. She lived among families who ate it every day and understands the depression associated with not being able to adequately feed a family. She believes that the packet should be outlawed and a law passed that forces food to be affordable for everyone. 
What if Avignon encountered something she didn’t believe could happen? How would she react? What would that something be?
Avignon would freeze up initially, taking several minutes to process the situation. Then she would write down a list of possible plans of action along with the consequences, positives, and all the possible outcomes. She wouldn’t look to anyone for help. That situation would be that Ponderosa Industries would accuse her of being part of a military group that specifically targeted them. 
What secrets does Avignon have? What if her nemesis knew her secret? What if a love interest knew? What will Avignon do to protect her secrets?
Avignon’s biggest secret is that she is dying from radium poisoning, though no one will admit that radium is used at Ponderosa Industries. Her nemesis would stall her and her plans to reveal the connection between their company and radium poisoning, hoping that they could wait out until she died. If her love interest knew, he would be even more protective of her and try to force her to slow down as she becomes sicker. Avignon will go so far as to lie to others and hide herself when her illness becomes apparent. 
What does Avignon not know about herself? What if Avignon wasn’t who she thinks she is? What if she learned about herself? How would she take the information?
Avignon doesn’t know that she has the charisma to become a public figure in her own right. All of her time in politics, Avignon has believed that she must be behind the scenes as a speechwriter and policymaker. She learned that her story, which she has been hiding, puts a face to the causes she supports. She works with the President in order to take advantage of this discovery. 
What if Avignon left home? What if she returned? What if Avignon became an outsider or outlaw?
If Avignon left home, she would go to stay with her family in the Mississippi Territory because they are the only family she has left. If she returned to the capitol city, she’d most likely get a job in the government sector as a secretary. If she became an outsider, she would most likely head to the remote edges of the country to spend the rest of her time in peace and quiet. She would never join any of the violent protest movements because she knows that there is always collateral damage and doesn’t believe that anyone who is innocent should be harmed no matter what.

30 Days of World Building, Day 19: Character-A

Day 19: Character-Time to get to know the characters in my story a little better. The World Building website has a series of questions to answer about the protagonist, additional main characters, and the antagonist. Due to the length of this exercise, I’m going to do a part A and part B. I’ll be posting King’s Shadow today and Avignon tomorrow.

King’s Shadow: Danielle “Dani” Glasgow

Describe Danielle’s physical appearance, age, educational background, and speech patterns:
Dani is 5’4, bleached blonde hair that reached to the middle of her back, hazel eyes, oval shaped face, fit. She’s a 22 year old college graduate who has a degree in writing. She also spent time researching military history. While capable of polite conversation with strangers, she tends to avoid that kind of conversation when necessary. She lacks a filter when with her friends. When around her family and close family friends, she tends to be reserved though she occasionally has the need to put her foot in her mouth.
What would a stranger notice 5 minutes after meeting Dani?
Dani may appear reserved, but she is confident and knowledgeable when she speaks. She also prefers actions to words. 
What would a companion notice after 5 days of travelling with, working with, or being around Dani?
Dani will often act without waiting for help or backup if she believes that immediate action is needed to achieve something. This has yet to blowup in her face, though she’s aware afterwards that she should have waited. But when she’s uncertain and there is no ticking clock, Dani will turn to those with more experience for help. 
Who are Dani’s parents? Are they still alive?
Dani’s parents are Ronald “Ace” Glasgow and Stephanie Comstock. Ace and Stephanie divorced when Dani was eight, and her mother married the Duke of Northlynn when Dani was twelve. 
What if Dani met her parents? How would she behave?
Dani is relaxed around her father, though she’s careful about what she says. Part of that comes from loyalty to her friends/protecting their secrets, and causing her father to worry. She might feel hesitant about revealing things or asking questions, but she knows that she can completely trust her father. She isn’t as relaxed around her mother. Stephanie has been very vocal about her dislike for Dani’s involvement in the Royal Forces. Dani knows that her mother loves her, but she feels like her mother is always thinking about the potential danger for soldiers. Her stepfather stays out of that conversation for the most part, though he will step in on Dani’s side if her mother gets carried away. While Dani isn’t 100% relaxed around him because he is a Duke, she knows that he’s in her corner and that she can trust him. 
Where did Dani grow up? What if Dani had grown up somewhere else? What if she didn’t like her home?
Dani grew up in the palace alongside the Prince and the children of family friends. From age eight onward, she lived with just her father. If Dani had grown up elsewhere, it would have been with her mother and father in Northlynn. She would have lived as the daughter of a Duchess, making friends with other members of the upper class whenever they visited. But due to Northlynn’s remote/frontier location, she would have been much more of aware of being an only child. She would have been just as resourceful in survival in outdoor situations. However the military would not have been as feasible of a career option. 
What if Dani wasn’t born there?
If Dani wasn’t born at the palace, she wouldn’t have had an insight into the real people that made up the Royal Family. She would see the Royal Family more as their status than for the people they were.
Who is Dani’s biggest hero? What if Dani met her 
Dani’s biggest hero is her King. While she’s never mentioned it to him and she doesn’t think she treats him all that differently than the other family friends, she trusts his word even if she’d require evidence from others. She admires his ability to be fair even if he doesn’t want to be, along with his willingness to admit to being wrong and to ask for advice when he needs help.
What if Dani met her nemesis in a neutral public place?
If Dani met her nemesis (not the antagonist) in a neutral public place, she would assess the situation to see if she could alert members of the Royal Forces or if she could gain the upper hand. If they were face to face, she would pretend not to notice him or at least not make any movements that would cause him to target her. She’s intimidated by him and his reputation though she wouldn’t hesitate to stand her ground if she felt herself or anyone else was in jeopardy. 
What if Dani had a family, kids, etc.? What if Dani’s kids were part of Dani’s
Dani doesn’t have a family or kids yet. But all of the commotion surrounding the marriage of the Prince has made her consider the troubles of marriage and children for a Royal Guard Officer. She won’t admit that she’s nervous about finding someone who isn’t intimidated by her or her family as she’s already noticed this with dating. As a result, her mind starts to consider a close friend in the context of a romantic relationship.
How does Dani fit into your speculative element? Does she not believe in it? Is she an expert in it? Is she an outsider?
Dani is a regular user of Suture-X due to her position as the King’s Shadow since she can’t maintain the secret with constant injuries. She’s a firm believer in the use of Suture-X for the Royal Forces, and she doesn’t have much of an opinion on it outside of it. She’s used the bandage herself and the King’s Guard medic applied it to her multiple times. 
What if Dani encountered something she didn’t believe could happen? How would she react? What would that something be?
Dani would be completely unsettled if she encountered something that she didn’t believe could happen. She’d quickly analyze the situation before taking action. She may seek advice and/or instruction from those with more experience. However she may make the wrong decision. If the situation was extreme enough, she’d shut out her emotions in favor of actions. That situation could be a successful military coup.
What secrets does Dani have? What if her nemesis knew her secret? What if a love interest knew? What will Dani do to protect her secrets?
Dani’s biggest secret is that she’s the King’s Shadow. If her nemesis knew her secret, he would hold onto the secret to use at the most opportune moment. He might use it to force her out of the palace and an increasingly critical situation. If Dani’s love interest knew, he might be intimidated by her. Dani will do anything to protect her secret of being the King’s Shadow as that position can mean life or death for the Royal Family. She is even willing to be labeled a fugitive/criminal and go on the run in order to preserve the secrecy. 
What does Dani not know about herself? What if Dani wasn’t who she thinks she is? What if she learned about herself? How would she take the information?
Dani doesn’t know that she has the ability and ingenuity to survive as a fugitive. She can successfully navigate life outside the law, committing crimes in order to further her goal of protecting the Royal Family (so she rationalizes). She learns that she could be successful and incredibly wealthy as a mercenary, which is an outlawed profession. That information would be interesting to her, slightly scary, and reaffirm her desire to stay on the legal side of the law.
What if Dani left home? What if she returned? What if Dani became an outsider or outlaw?
If Dani left home, she would go to a city where she could easily blend into her surroundings. She’d feel most comfortable somewhere busy. If she returned, she would have a greater understanding about life outside the confines of the capitol city. If Dani became an outsider or outlaw, she would remain as anonymous as possible. Ace’s status as a famous soldier and her own reputation for being a rising star in the military would make her a prime target for both the Royal Forces and the criminal element in the country. She would also receive offers from criminal organizations to become a mercenary, though she wouldn’t take those offers.

30 Days of World Building, Day 18: Speculative & Society

Day 18: Speculative & Society-Today’s exercise is to incorporate the speculative element into the society and culture that you outlined on Day 10. How does the element change the world in which your characters live? How is the element viewed? Do some people have access and others don’t?

King’s Shadow:

Suture-X Antiseptic Bandage is used in capitol city hospitals and is available to every soldier within the Royal Forces. The manufacturer has created a plan where Suture-X is systematically distributed to hospitals in major cities across Theal after education with medical providers about the proper use. The plan is that within seven years, Suture-X will be used by hospitals and paramedics across the country.

The population in the capitol city are aware of Suture-X, and someone will have a friend or family member who has had Suture-X applied to them. They are excited about the technological breakthrough. However news of Suture-X isn’t widespread across the country yet, but there are pockets where people have returned from the capitol city and mentioned the bandage.

Certain members of the titled class believe that Suture-X should be distributed immediately due to its potential to help so many people. They often do not understand the elevated risk of infection with Suture-X if it’s not applied properly. Yet some are very vocal about the technology.


The lower classes resent the upper classes because they can afford actual food rather than being forced to consume the food packets. They also dislike the fact that the packet is used as a diet by those with money. The tax increase on the packet causes the lower classes to strike and then select groups riot, lashing out at the upper classes. Not only do the packets exacerbate the division between classes, they serve as a rallying point for the lower classes. It’s symbolic, the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

The protagonist uses the food packet as a way to get the President to understand the situation with the lower classes. Though he did work to make himself successful, he often gets caught up in politics that he forgets the situation on the ground.