I have started drafting a new character for a story set in Italy about different generations of women and the men in their lives. Nonna is obviously not happy with her choice of man!
Nonna slapped the espresso machine into existence and steam gathered in a cloud on the mirror over the bar. She glared in the mirror into the middle distance and swore under her breath. Her good-for-nothing husband was sitting there as usual like a fat salami in the square with all his friends. She shoved the milk jug under the frother like she was holding his head under a tap. He sat there enjoying himself while she did all the hard work as usual. Her assault on the coffee machine came to a halt and she poured two caffe lattes out into massive china bowls. She carried them over to a table and came back to the counter for two brioche and some paper serviettes. “Gianna, come down amore. Breakfast!” She sat down in the booth and waited for her grand-daughter to appear. She wouldn’t bother to make her husband breakfast or sit down and eat it with him.
This is an idea I’ve been playing with. The dragon is a man who had been turned into a lizard, and is clever enough to make a living while he is a lizard. He uses smoke and shadows to appear bigger than he is and he successfully scares the villagers so they don’t bother him. The girl is not afraid of confrontation with a dragon and doesn’t fall for his tricks. The lizard needs someone’s help to exact revenge on the warlock who turned him into a lizard.
couldn’t get much worse. She was staked
out in front of the dragon’s lair waiting to be burned to a crisp. She sighed and puffed her hair out of her
eyes. The sun was rising over the mouth
of the cave. If the blooming dragon
didn’t turn up soon she’d be roasted alive by a different fire source. Her hair was red and her skin was white,
rapidly turning pink. Getting a tan
wasn’t part of her life. She squinted up
at the hessian rope tying her to the stake.
Maybe the sun would burn through the rope and she would be free? She puffed again, this time in
exasperation. What had she done to get
to this point in life?
A faded, grey shadow of a girl stood in front of the desk. He looked up from the racing pages with a
start. “Didn’t see you there. Can I help?” She didn’t speak, just continued staring
through vacant eyes. He couldn’t see any
spark inside her. The greyness was all
consuming. The fluorescent sign
flickered bright pink and yellow across her face. “Vacant”. The sign was right about her. Definitely nobody home. He tried again. “You want something?” Her lips moved but no sound came out. He didn’t know but it had been days since she
had been allowed to use her voice.
Nobody had wanted to hear what she had to say. Nobody had noticed her. They had left her in the background. The greyness had consumed her entire
life. She’d left and nobody had noticed.
Nobody had asked her opinion about anything for years. She didn’t know how to respond. She mouthed the words. Her throat constricted with the sudden
movement. She felt like she was going to
be sick. The words were stuck. She needed to get them out. This was the first step. Wrong – she had left. That had been the first
step. She needed to find her voice now.
“I need a room.”
It came out as a hoarse whisper.
It was barely audible across the desk.
“A room.” She
swallowed. Saliva was lubricating her
throat. She cleared it and
swallowed. “I need a room. Please.”
She was determined that her new life would be full of pleasant manners
and kindness now. No more demands, name
calling or swearing. She was starting
I love creating characters and this one is one of my favourites – he’s for a fairy-tale style story, but he has to be the most vain, useless and inept knight going. There is also in the story a magician, a witch, a fortune teller and of course a hero/heroine.
He sat in a glamorous knightly pose. He checked his reflection in his sparkling armour and brushed an imaginary fingerprint away. His “How To…” book was open at his favourite chapter about rescuing princesses. His white steed was grazing alongside the meandering stream. Willows dangled prettily. It was a perfect scene for rescuing a damsel in distress. His silver armour shone to perfection. He ran his finger under the collar. Wearing armour was hot work. He picked up his shield and checked his reflection. He looked good, better than the others anyway. Hair – blonde and recently trimmed by Manuel (his stylist). Stubble – just showing. It gave the girls a thrill and it looked like he’d been too busy slaying dragons to shave. Physique – tough. He worked on his thrust and parry daily. Overall – brave because of the sword, gentle because of the poetry reciting and the rose he carried (silk because he’d taken so long to find a damsel in distress that any normal rose would have wilted with boredom). He surveyed the competition around him – a field full of knights just like him.