Tag Archives: characterization

Prompt of the Week: Food for Thought

What’s your main character’s favorite food?


Write your response in the comments below. Best entry gets a shout out next week!

Stay safe and keep writing!

—- Lady Jabberwocky

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How and When to Cut Unnecessary Characters From Your WIP

Hello writer bees!

Today, I’m sharing some tips on removing unnecessary characters from the narrative. No, I’m not talking about killing off a character, I’m talking about not giving life to begin with. While you are in the drafting phase, know that some fictional folks don’t always make it into the finished product. And that’s fine. How do you know a character is useless? When do you “kill your darlings”, as they say? Let’s figure that out together, shall we?

everything is trash, except for these books!; 9.26.18

My Personal Experience

This dilemma has actually happened to me before. Hopefully, you can learn something from my personal experience as a writer.

A couple months back, I decided to remove one of my suspects from my murder mystery WIP. I thought about it for quite sometime. He wasn’t a poorly constructed character, far from it. However, I realized, the story could survive without him, that his presence wouldn’t be missed if he was gone. And that was a problem. If Also, part of the reason I kept him around was because I wanted five suspects total. Bad idea. Now, I realize four suspects is enough. And perhaps this rejected suspect idea can be reused in another story someday. You never know.

A bit of change had to be done. For consistency sake, scenes needed to be rearranged and edited, plot threads knitted together. Relationships between characters shifted a smidge. An aspect of their nature transferred to another character, adding complexity to their personality. Very quickly, I learned an existing character could do the work of an unnecessary character. Because I removed this suspect, I feel like my story is much stronger without him than with him. I believe like I made the right decision.

Function over Beauty

At the end of the day, every character needs a function. Why is this character in the story? What purpose do they serve? What role do they play? How do they move the plot along? If you can’t answer these simple questions, that’s a real problem. Try to put each character under the microscope and really consider what function they serve in the grand scheme of the story. Then, you can start weeding out the undesirables and letting the true stars of the show shine. And listen, just because one character doesn’t fit one narrative, that doesn’t mean you can’t recycle that character idea in another story. Maybe they’ll be a better fit somewhere else instead. Save ’em for the sequel, I say.

Plot Hole in One

No matter how useless the character, when you do decided to remove them, there will be an empty space. And you don’t want your reader to know or notice a missing piece in the narrative. Think of it like hiding a hole in the wall by putting a picture frame over it, if that makes sense. Be certain all plot holes are covered and tied up any loose threads. That all the relationships and personalities of the existing characters are solid. It might take some rewriting, but don’t be afraid of a little extra drafting. The end result may be even better after these rewrites.

No Tropes Welcomed

Look, frankly speaking, I don’t think “trope-free literature” is a thing. Don’t be surprised if you find a cliché or two in your work. Keep in mind, too many tropes and clichés will drag the narrative down into total boredom. If the character is considered an overused stereotype, they probably fall in the “cut” category. Insist on keeping this extra character? Okay. Trust in your instinct as a writer. Nothing a little reworking can’t fix. Be creative and original and break the mold of a trope. Flush out a character’s personality and motivation, giving their real depth and complexity.


Bottom line, every character needs a function. No one wants dead weight in their story. Really consider what purpose a character holds in your narrative. Weed out unoriginal characters. And if you do decide to remove the character, the changes should make the plot stronger.

Have you ever had to cut a character from your story? Are you considering it? Talk about it in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Keep writing and stay safe, writer bees.

— Lady Jabberwocky

Prompt of the Week: Silver Linings in 2020

Write about one good thing that happened to you during 2020. It couldn’t have been all bad.


Shoutout to Stuart Danker for their honest response to last week’s prompt.

Write your response in the comments below. Best entry gets a shout out next week!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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Prompt of the Week: What’s Your New Year’s Resolution?

What’s your New Year’s Resolution? What goal do you wish to achieve in 2021?


There were two great entries for last week prompt. So, shout out to Flynn and Michael Raven for their fantastic fiction.

Write your response in the comments below. Best entry gets a shout out next week!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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Character Building with Ginny Di (Writing Exercise)

Hello Writers Bees!

Sorry for my absence last Friday. My boyfriend (Mister Jabberwocky) and I had a weekend getaway to upstate New York. It’s absolutely gorgeous this time of year and we had a wonderful trip. We even went to Sleepy Hollow to search for the headless horseman. No luck, though. Still, what an adventure it was. 

Speaking of Adventures….

You know what I miss? I miss playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends. During the Covid crisis, getting the adventure party together has been a challenge. Everyone is trying to stay safe, which is completely understandable. I’m just sitting on a DnD character that won’t see the light of day anytime soon.

Speaking of Dungeons and Dragons….

There’s this talented creator, Ginny Di, who does all this amazing cosplay and nerdy content on YouTube. If you’re interested in Dungeons and Dragons, I highly recommend her content.  She’s even got a Patreon. Anyway, she recently began a series of POV videos aimed towards character building and roleplay practice. Check out the video right here!

Basically, your role-play character is having their wounds treated. While tending to your injuries, the healer is asking you a bunch of questions. Her video inspired me to give this writing prompt a shot. This is my take on this conversation, featuring my DnD character, Poet the Tiefling Rogue. Enjoy!


Have you been dead before?

“Sure. Once or twice.” Straining to sit up, a shooting pain stopped her movement. An arrow was lodged in her abdomen. She winced and laid back down on the bed. “That doesn’t look good.” 

What’s your name?

“Poet.” No last name was offered.  “And no, I don’t know any good poems. Try the bard I came in with.” 

Where are you from?

“Originally, from way up North. Like off the map North.”

Do you miss it?

“Do I miss the ten feet of snow and the smell of dead fish? No, I’m happy to get away from that place. The people there are just as unpleasant.” She scoffed as she surveyed the blood and dirt covering her body.  

Ever plan on going back?

“Maybe. I might have some unfinished business with the lighthouse keeper up there. I’m in no rush. My gang and I have some other stops to make first before we head North.” 

Do you have any nicknames?

“Other than ‘damn charlatan’ and ‘devil spawn’?” Poet donned a wolfish grin. “Friends call me Poe, for short.” 

Tell me your favorite animal.

Poet tilted her head to the side in contemplation, staring at the leak stained ceiling. “Cats. I like how nimble and mischievous they are.” “This might be strange to say, but I think cats and tieflings are similar, if you think about it.“

Do you have a lot more clothes at home, or is this kinda… it?

”I’ve got more clothes in the wagon. Sometimes, I need to change my appearance quickly.” Her fingers touched the torn coat beside her, the fabric embroidered with various constellations. “This one was my favorite though. I should get this patched up.” 

How’d you get that scar?

A red scar swiped across the side of her ribcage, standing out against her lavender skin. “Run in with an angry mob. I’m not well liked in some circles. Hard to believe, I know.” 

Are you a jokester, or more of a serious type?

“A sense of humor is never a bad thing.“ Despite the pain, she snorted a short laugh. “Serious people are such wet blankets, aren’t they?”

Tell me about the last great meal you had.

“My companions and I roasted a whole pig over a campfire the other night. You ever have crispy pork skin? Delicious.” Like a content feline, her tail swished at the memory. “We were right by the beach. Sharing stories and drinking leftover rum. It was… A real treat.” 

What’s your favorite food?

“Love a warm beef pastry. Or that cinnamon apple pastry from Dorbinshire. Basically anything wrapped around flaky dough that you can hold in your hand is my favorite. But a hearty rabbit stew is nice from time to time too.” Tongue trailed across her fangs. “Oh and rum. Lots of it. With lime juice.” 

Are you a picky eater, or will you just kinda eat anything?

“Willing to try anything once.” Her shoulders bounced as she smiled. “That’s the best part of traveling from place to place. You’ll always find a decent meal, no matter where you go.” 

How well do you deal with pain normally?

“Terrible. I tap out at the first bit of pain,” At that moment, the healer removed the arrow sticking out of her body. Poet clenched her fist, resisting the urge to scream. “You little bitch,” She cursed, then reluctantly apologized to the healer. “Sorry, force of habit.” 

Do you enjoy being part of a group?

“Depends on the group.” She hummed. “For years, it was just my partner and I, out on the open road. Now, things are different. My current allies aren’t so bad. A bunch of knuckleheads, if you know what I mean, but not bad at all.”

Any party member in particular that you worry about?

“My partner, Endymion. He took a hard hit during the fight. I didn’t think he was going to make it.” The next part of her answer came with some hesitance. She smiled despite herself. “He has been my closet companion for the longest time. I’d be dead in a ditch if it wasn’t for him.” 

Are you keeping any secrets from your party?

Poet’s silver coin eyes glanced at a nearby mirror. Within the reflection, a hazy silhouette of a spector haunted her. A chill tumbled down her spine. Her body tensed, hearing the sound of faint cackling in the air. “Yes.” A simple, tight-lipped answer.

Do you like traveling all the time, or do you just put up with it?

The conversation moving towards travel let her muscles relax. “Yeah, I enjoy waking up in a new town every couple weeks. I can’t stay in the same place for too long, or I start to feel antsy.”

Are you an insomniac, or one of those lucky bastards who can fall asleep anywhere?

“Haven’t had a full night’s sleep in quite awhile. Most often enough, I’m staring at the ceiling, praying for a couple measly hours of shut-eye. Being a light sleeper doesn’t help much either.”

How old are you?

Old enough to know a lady never reveals her age.” Poet propped herself up on her elbows. “Also old enough to drink. You wouldn’t happen to have any booze around, would you?”  

Are you worried about how things will change when you’re older?

“Never really thought about that before.” Her face pinched in contemplation. A cozy retirement didn’t quite feel her speed. What would the Tiefling do when her bones gave up on her?

You have a five year plan, or are you just taking it day by day?

“Day by day.” Poet watched as the healer finished up with the stitches. “Life is unpredictable. I’m not the type that makes a fuss about future endeavors.”

You have any special talents or fun hobbies you could pay the bills with if you sheathed your sword for good?

“I can read your fortune, if you’d like. I got cards in my pack. And I brew potions too. Want to buy some? I’ll give you the family discount. 100 gold a pop.” She gestured to the three glass bottles full of sunset orange liquid.

Is there somebody you’d trust to help you take out your stitches, or are you more of a do-it-yourself kinda person? 

“I can take care of them myself. Don’t have much medical experience but I’ll figure it out. I always do.” Carefully, Poet rose from the bed and began collecting her belongings. “Endymion says I’m stubborn and never ask for help. I refuse to be some damsel in distress.”


Hope you enjoyed getting to know Poet the Tiefling a little better. With NaNoWriMo right around the corner, I think a lot of writers will find a character building exercise helpful. Whether you play dungeons and dragons or not, anyone could use this prompt to workshop their characters.

To all my DnD players out there, how are you keeping your DnD spirit alive during quarantine? And for the NaNoWriMo participants, how are you prepping for National Novel Writing Month? Talk to me in the comments, I love to hear from you guys.

Stay safe and keep writing!

— Lady Jabberwocky

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Act One, Scene One (Poem)

Hey writer bees!

I haven’t shared a poem in a long time. This one’s an oldie from my poetry workshop days. Hope you all like it.

Today, my boyfriend and I are heading to a baby shower celebrating our incoming nephew. A poem about beginnings just seems fitting.


It always starts with Act One, Scene One.

Take a moment, become your character.

The stage is set.

The cello strings moan in anticipation.

The audience is taking their seats.

Keep your toes pointed.

Remember your lines, remember your cues.

Remember to breathe.

Remember,

It always starts with Act One, Scene One.


Write With Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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