amwriting, Pagham-verse, world building, Writing Prompt

#WriterlyWiPChat: July Q&A Week 2

Days 8-14

Something you like about your characters that’s not necessarily the popular opinion.

Oooh a tricky question, glad I’m not having to constrict my thoughts to 240 characters in a tweet…
– Ricky Porter was one of the most popular characters in The Crows, and he’s a gift of a character to write. I’d expected him to divide opinion more drastically than that, but only 1/2 people so far have given feedback that they didn’t like him very much or said they found him unsympathetic. So I kind of like that he can come across as a character people dislike, and I wonder how his development will be seen in this novel by those who’ve read the first one.

– Katy Porter… I’m not sure what people will make of her, but I kind of like her development as a family-centric serial killer, by which I mean, only bumps off members of her own family. This may prove to be a popular opinion since her family are pretty awful.

– Wes Porter… I gave poor Wes a few of my own emotional hang-ups to work through within his own polyam V relationship, where he feels kind of the interloper between his girlfriend Charlie (bi, is also casually seeing recurring character Tina Harris off and on) and her (gay) best friend Hugo. He struggles to communicate things and so they tend to do the talking first and then sit him down to discuss their issues, and he often feels like they’d be better off without him, or can feel left out and wanting to do better but not sure how to go about it. That said, it’s a stable relationship and that gives him a safe space to work out these issues. I quite like that he tries.

– I actually like a lot of things about Sasha Shaw. What I hope comes through with her is a (toxically handled, admittedly) sense of vulnerability and insecurity, and I like the way that contrasts with her being the type of serial killer who sees murder as performance art, and thinks of her victims as ‘props’. Sasha is deeply lonely and seeks deep and meaningful connections with people, which she interprets as ‘having their undivided attention’. I kind of like that as a contrast to the hard, emotionless ‘murder lady’ type.

If you handwrite your story, how would you get it into digital?

Argh. I hate going over and over things and for me, copying words out is so mind-numbing. I really struggle with it. I’d probably invest in some gadget to scan the handwriting and turn it into a digital format. I’ve always wanted one for my notes when I take them longhand, but due to the cost of a lot of these magic pen-scanner things I ended up getting into live-tweeting. So I still don’t own one.

What’s your method of keyboarding?

Haha! I type fairly fast but I’m not a touch-typist. My Gran tried to teach me that on her typewriter, and as we didn’t have a PC in the house until I was 11 (yeah, 90s kid), I learned to type on the typewriter first. I can type without looking at the keyboard too often, but I don’t have the knack of putting my hands in the right places… then I just get into the zone with it, pretty much.

Your story settings: inspired by real places, or totally fictional?

It was really important to me that Pagham-on-Sea felt like a real place, and would be the kind of setting that people might recognise parts of and even think they may have been there (or somewhere very like it). I drew on Hastings, Eastbourne, Torquay (England) and Newport (Wales) for the feel of certain parts of it, especially how I wanted the pubs and cafes and streets to feel. The street map looks more like Dawlish in places. It’s the kind of town with its back to the sea, which is very West Wight (e.g. Freshwater, Brighstone). But I hope at the same time it does have a Sussex feel to it.

Eldritch Girls has a scene in Pagham-on-Sea, but mainly takes place in two real-life settings: Brighton and Bexhill-on-Sea.

Draft version of Pagham-on-Sea street map

Time to relax. What does your MC do to unwind?

– Katy Porter goes for runs, or reads.
– Wes Porter goes to parties, takes recreational drugs, and sometimes goes to health spas
– Ricky Porter used to let himself into the library after hours and read/sleep there. Nowadays he still reads to relax, but also does maintenance and repairs around Fairwood House and grounds.

– Sasha Shaw unwinds by going clubbing and drinking too much. She doesn’t like staying home by herself – she gets lonely. She does enjoy getting lost in small projects with some background music, though, like fixing anything electrical, or planning new gorelesque routines and rehearsing new ideas. Sex is also a good de-stressor for her, and it’s not that hard to find someone up for it. She very rarely calls anyone back.

How old will your MC be on their next birthday?

– Katy Porter will be 18 in June (the story takes place in January).
– Wes Porter will be 30 in July
– Ricky Porter will be 30 in September

– Sasha Shaw will be 27?? I think she’s 26 in EG, and Tosh (the MC whose POV is written by Nita Pan) is a couple of years younger than her.

What does your MC wish for when they blow out their birthday candle?

– Katy Porter wishes for a way to control her List. This is the ‘kill-list’ of relatives which gets added to in her night terrors, and she can’t control who she dreams about. She has dreamed her favourite brother Wes onto the List, so when she turns 18 and Changes, he’s going to be one of the casualties of the Eldritch Monstrosity she’s going to become. She wishes this every year, but sometimes she wishes certain relatives would be or not be on the List, too. Wishes so far have not worked.
– Wes Porter doesn’t wish for anything. He’s too cynical and doesn’t believe in wishing when you can make your own luck.
– Ricky Porter knows better than to wish for things. He knows the future is set in stone, and that wishes can come true but often not in the ways you would like.

– Sasha Shaw wishes for fame (or at the very least, notoriety), though as a performance artist she is willing to push any boundary, break any taboo, and work her arse off to get it. Sometimes she wishes for a pretty trophy boyfriend as part of that package. What she’s going to end up with, of course, is Tosh Haraldson (written by Nita Pan) who is not so much a trophy as a responsibility, like when you adopt a particularly vicious wild animal who adores only you, and bring it home.

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