Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Character Study: Wyn Little

Last month I posted a sample of my current work in progress. I stalled on this work for a long time because, frankly, I'm writing by the seat of my pants and haven't really the faintest clue what's going on. So this month I decided to get a grip on the reins of this damn novel and try and work out what the actual plot is rather than just having my characters bimbling around who-knows-where doing god-knows-what. Backstory! Motivations! Actual decent locations instead of vague half-formed generic wherevers! Yay! To this end I have begun writing character studies (sorta - I need to do more detailed versions with likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses etc.) for my mind people so that I might actually understand whatever it is they are going to do next (and why, and maybe even how). 

This is an edited version of my first Wyn Little character study - my full version is less vague but I see no reason to give away ALL the back story before I've actually finished the damn book. I have absolutely no idea if this is of interest to anyone except me, but here we go. As always, thoughts and opinions are appreciated. ^^

Wynford Benjamin Little, known as Wyn, was born in 1969 in a small unnamed town nestling between the Scottish lowlands and the North of England, in the area commonly known as ‘border country’. An only child, he was named after a Welsh friend of his father’s who fought with him in the British army. Dark-haired and dark-eyed, Wyn was born with a vestigial tail, which was surgically removed when he was an infant.

Wyn’s father, Benjamin, was a tall, thin angular man with a beaky nose and bright dark eyes. He spoke little, but he loved Wyn deeply, even if he did generally express his affection by ruffling the boy’s hair too hard.

His mother, Runa, was an immigrant. Wyn knows little of her past; he believes she came from one of the Scandinavian countries, as she often told him tales of mountains and trolls. Sometimes on a Sunday morning, she would climb into his bed, smelling of moss and earth, and tell him long, strange stories about women with hollow backs and mermaids with mouths full of sharp needle teeth. Once she told him that his grandmother was a mountain, and even as an impressionable little boy he might not have believed her, except that he had seen with his own eyes the two delicate horns that nestled amidst her tangle of long golden-brown curls, which made anything seem possible.

As a little boy, Wyn was short-sighted, bookish and quiet, a solitary child. He had one or two friends, but looking back, he thinks they may have been imaginary. He can’t be sure. Their house he lived in with his parents was just outside the town, and between his mother’s riddles and stories and the long walks he took across the hillsides and through the woodlands, the landscape of his childhood was a weird and wild place, filled with magic and mystery. Nonetheless he was happy.

In his latter years at secondary school and in his first year at college, when not writing he occasionally went to parties where he could usually be found, by one a.m., sitting in the bath or kitchen sink or on the back doorstep, chain-smoking and chatting intensely to any one of an assortment of pale, doe-eyed girls with wild hair and silver glitter smudged under their eyes.

When Wyn was seventeen his mother disappeared. It would be truthful to say that he wasn’t even particularly surprised. She had been a vague presence at best; as if she had been outside the world somehow, and only dipping a toe in it. Wyn and his father would perhaps not even have been worried if they hadn’t found her horns in the back garden, twin bloody stumps resting between the roots of the old oak tree (Wyn thought of it as old, even then). (His father died some years later, of emphysema. Wyn put his mother’s horns into his father’s coffin.)

Before his father’s death, Wyn went to university in England, the only time in his life he moved away from the tall house at the top of the hill. At university he met Jess, a fellow student in his literature class. She was tall with a wide mouth, laughing green eyes and untamed red hair which she dyed with streaks of vivid blue. He was immediately enchanted. They wrote to each other after he left to return to the border country, long letters about nothing much and short letters full of heart and soul, until one evening in January Wyn answered a knock on the door to find Jess standing on his doorstep with a suitcase. She never left, and they married four months later.

The marriage didn’t last.

In the years since, Wyn has become a virtual recluse. He has become a fairly successful writer; mostly he writes fantasy novels which bring in a modest income, supplemented by whatever freelance work he can get. Other than his agent and the postman, he rarely speaks to anyone. He has no friends and is not aware of any living relatives.

He lives on the money from his writing and also has a small inheritance from his father. He can be found occasionally perusing libraries or junk shops. He collects books and vinyl records; his music tastes are eclectic and change from week to week, but his perennial favourites remain Pink Floyd and Kate Bush. He talks to himself when at home, but he isn’t particularly lonely.

He has recurring nightmares about creatures with sharp white teeth.


  1. Wyn sounds awesome! I love the hints about his mysterious horned mother. It sounds like this story has great potential and one I'd love to read!

    I totally get what you mean regarding plot and characters etc. I always just start a story and then wonder why it goes nowhere so for my current two projects (a trilogy and a stand-alone for slightly younger readers) I'm actually plotting more in depth, full character profiles, in depth worlds - with maps - and a vague idea of beginning, middle and end. If I get it plotted enough by then I might try and start the stand-alone for NaNoWriMo.

    1. Thank you so much! :)

      Good luck! As someone in a similar situation I look forward to hearing how you get on. My worldbuilding is the next thing I need to really get stuck into. I have Wyn's house in my mind's eye in great detail but nothing beyond that which is a bit awkward >.< my boyfriend is an artist and he has offered to help me map things out which could be helpful. :)

  2. Oh I hope you will give us some sneak peaks sometimes :-O this sounds interesting already!


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