Friday, September 9, 2016

The Six Question Character Challenge: A Look at the Characters from The Stump of the Terebinth Tree

Raise your hand if you know anything at all about my WIP characters.

Yeah. That's what I thought.

My characters haven't been getting any time out in public. I've kept them secret and safe for a long time, mostly because they've been going through personality morphs during my re-write and I didn't want anyone to think that my characters are bi-polar.

But recently they've really been shaping up and I've been dying to tell people about them. Lucky for me, Susannah Metzler from Tea with Tumnus tagged me to join the Six Question Character Challenge.
What exactly is this tag? It's super fun. It asks six questions of each of the characters from your WIP:
  1. A contradiction within the character (the positive kind of contradiction that shows character depth)
  2. The character’s Myers-Briggs type
  3. Favorite color
  4. How would they slay a dragon? (It doesn't matter if there aren't dragons in your book. Just use your imagination. I assume you have one, otherwise you wouldn't be a writer)
  5. What is their darkest secret?
  6. Where do they see themselves in ten years?
You can read Susannah's post about it here. Incidentally, you should be following her blog. If you aren't, do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Go directly to jail.

The novel I'm currently writing is The Stump of the Terebinth TreeAs annoying as it is to be re-writing a 400 page novel that I've already spent years on, I'm really happy with how it is coming along. And I'm very proud of the characters, mostly because they've grown up admirably without me really do anything except making sure they drink their Ovaltine. Let me show you what I'm talking about:

Note: the pictures are references to the magic that each character is strongest in: Water, fire, electricity, and healing.

Wanderer (protagonist): Desert Elf

Contradiction: He loves his brother and has spent his entire life trying to heal him of an incurable illness, yet he leaves home when his brother's sickness worsens because he's terrified of watching him continue to suffer. 

Personality type: ISFJ - T: The Defender 

Favorite color: Royal blue. 

On slaying a dragon: He would pull out his broadsword and use magic to enhance his strength, allowing him to dispatch it the cleanest, most humane way possible. And then he'd spend the next few days feeling like a horrible person because he just killed a majestic and endangered creature. 

Darkest secret: He's afraid that at some point in his life, something will push him just a little bit too far. What's left of his family will die or he'll have to watch his friends suffer and something inside of him will snap. He's constantly struggling to keep his mind from being consumed by darkness, but he doesn't know how much he can endure before he loses this fight. 

In ten years: Elgar will be dead and he will be back at home with his mother and his brother, who he will somehow find a way to heal. He'd like to be an arrow-runner (desert elf messenger) and hunter, exploring all of the corners of the desert and beyond.

Jayel (co-protagonist): Halfblooded Desert Elf

Contradiction: Though she maintains that halfbloods are just as capable as fullbloods, she constantly feels the need to prove her abilities to both herself and a select few people who are important to her. 

Personality type: ENFP - A: The Campaigner 

Favorite color: Fiery orange 

On slaying a dragon: She would try to scare it away first by enveloping herself in flames and showing off her rather frightening abilities as a fire-wielder. If that doesn't work (it usually does), she'd shoot it clean through the heart with one of her arrows. She'd probably never think about it again. After all, she did give it the option to run. 

Darkest secret: Her greatest fear is being left completely alone. Because her personality is one that is made to understand and help others, yet not to be understood or helped herself, she has lived with the constant feeling that being alone is an inevitability. When she finally finds people to love and be loved by, she is afraid that they will be taken from her. 

In ten years: she'd like to work with other halfbloods to set about freeing them from slavery and reintegrating them into society. She'd help everyone, especially halfbloods themselves, recognize that halfbloods are not lesser beings. And, of course, she'll be doing this with Wanderer, Durran, Ailith and Shelumiel (her mentor) backing her, because she can't imagine life without these four. 

Durran (secondary character): Human 

Contradiction: He will do anything to keep his sister Ailith safe and happy, but can't bring himself to do the one thing that matters most to her: Having faith in Masiah (God). And, you know, not kill people. 

Personality type: ISTJ - A: The Logistician 

Favorite color: Black. 

On slaying a dragon: He'd have his sword out in a moment and would attack it the old-fashioned way: No magic, just sharp objects and blunt force. He'd secretly hope that the dragon has a friend nearby to come and make the fight more interesting because, frankly, he likes doing battle. Of course, he'd try to keep the wild grin from his face because he knows Ailith doesn't approve of needless carnage. 

Darkest secret: If Ailith were to be killed, he would go on a prolonged revenge rampage until he'd had enough, then he'd simply sit down and wait to die. Though, honestly, this isn't much of a secret. Anybody who has spent more than 10 minutes with Durran recognizes this as the truth. 

In ten years: he'd like to live off in a secluded area with Ailith and any other people Ailith wants with them. He'd also love to discover what chocolate tastes like. Beyond that, he doesn't really have a plan. His main goal is to keep his sister alive and happy. 

Ailith (secondary character): Human

Contradiction: She's an extremely sweet person who may seem like a push-over at first, but her hard life has caused her to become quite adept at thievery and mercenary work. 

Personality type: INFP - A: The Mediator 

Favorite color: Lavender 

On slaying a dragon: She really wouldn't want to kill it, so she'd talk everybody into trying to sneak around it. But if it endangered her friends, she'd immediately dull it's pain sensors and reverse her healing magic to make it's heart burst. Then she'd say a prayer over it and try to block that event from her memory because she hates killing. 

Darkest secret: She's afraid that if Durran dies with an unsaved soul, she would never be able for forgive Masiah. This lack of faith causes her a lot of guilt, but she loves her brother too much to be able to stop worrying about his fate. 

In ten years: She hopes to settle down in a peaceful town with Durran. Maybe she'll meet somebody nice, get married, and raise a family. It's a normal, slow paced life that she wants and she tries to believe that she will one day reach this goal.

Now, to tag other writers to participate:

Luke Hartman
Alena MacIntyre
Wendy Greene
Ellen Smith

Incidentally, if you aren't following these writers, you're doing it wrong.

If you weren't tagged but would like to participate, please feel free to jump in! I love learning about other people's characters, so don't forget to leave a link to your article in the comment section below.

What do you think? Of the 4 of my main characters, who speaks to you the most? Would you be interested in reading more posts about my current WIP? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Related articles:
The Fantastic Five Dialog Tag - Five Pieces of Dialog from The Stump of the Terebinth Tree
The Liebster Award - In Which I Answer Random Questions and Link Over to Other Epic Blogs

Enjoy this post? Take a look around. If you like what you see, please don't forget to subscribe by email for a new post every week! 


  1. Awesome! I like Durran the best so far :D (maybe because we have the same favorite color and almost the same personality type! oh, and lightning is epic, of course). You probably get asked all the time, but do you have a projected release date in mind?

    1. Ha! That's awesome. Black and lightning are basically the essence of cool. =)

      I have no idea when this book will be released. I'm pushing to finish it by the end of this year. However, I'm planning to traditionally publish this one, so we'll see how long that takes. =)

      Thanks for commenting!

    2. Gotcha! (I might have asked you that already in the past, but I'd forgotten the answer...oops ^^)

    3. That's alright. You may have asked me in the past, but I don't remember if you did, so we're well-matched in our forgetfulness. =D

  2. I enjoyed reading this, and your concept of Desert Elves are unique!

    The contradictions in these personalities are fascinating, but my favorite concept is Ailith's darkest secret. Such an interesting dilemma, and one I think we need to see from Christian characters. Seems like they rarely suffer prolonged and heavy doubts and questions...

    Anyway, great job on your character creation, and I would love to learn more about your WIP! Hope the editing/rewriting goes well!

    1. Thank you! I love elves, but they're always super regal, which is hard for a sarcastic, awkward person like me to relate to, so I decided to make up my own kind. =D

      I'm glad you like Ailith's secret! To me, it's important to write Christian fiction that isn't super fluffy and doesn't skip over all of the difficult questions in life. So Ailith and all of the other characters wrestle with varying degrees of faith struggles.

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment! I'm excited that you liked what you read. I'm hoping to start sharing more about my WIP on here within the next few months.

    2. Some Elves are definitely regal. Others like Legolas are downright cheeky sometimes. :-) Do your desert Elves look Middle-Eastern?

      Yes! We need more Christian fiction that asks hard questions, so good for you for writing that! And I'd like to see fiction that acknowledges that actually, sometimes, the Christian life is difficult. I mean, it's necessary but *hard* to trust when you have no idea what God is doing! I blogged briefly about that topic, if you're interested in reading:

      Looking forward to reading more about your WIP!

    3. No, they actually look more Native American/Mexican. I almost went the Middle-Eastern route, though. It was hard to pick. =)

      I read your post and really liked it! I agree with the damage that the "trust in God and everything is hunky dory" message can do. I'm super excited to meet another writer who wants to take a different approach to the Christian fiction genre. *high five* Thank you for sharing and keep at it!

  3. So I'm not sure how water magic works, but this is the first thing that popped into my mind:

    Random Person: So, Wanderer, you're a desert elf but your power is...water?
    Wanderer: Yes...
    RP: And you use that when?
    W: When there's water.
    RP: Which is when?
    W: ....sometimes....?

    I'm not making fun of the idea at actually is a really cool contradiction by itself! :D

    1. Lol! Faith, I love this comment. This is how I came up with water magic for Wanderer:

      Me walking along the beach, musing: Hmmmm. I don't want to go with something too pat, like sand-wielding or wind or something obviously desert-related.
      Me: *looks out at the ocean*
      Me: Oh. I like this idea.

      =D I'm glad you like the contradiction. It's fun to write!

  4. Wanderer is my exact MBTI type, so I definitely relate to him. xD

    1. That's so cool! If I ever have questions about writing an ISFJ, I'll know who to ask. =)


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