Guess what? It's time to talk about Damla from #SlavicNovel because she is possibly my favorite character from that WIP right now. I didn't realize who she was at first, or how awesome she would be.
So today, you get to meet Damla. Prepare for epicness.
1. What first inspired this character? Is there a person/actor you based them off?
A scene popped into my head that had nothing to do with the novel I was writing. I wasn't sure how it would fit into SlavicNovel, or even if it belonged in SlavicNovel at all. Maybe it was it's own story?
So the scene was of a thief-girl (Damla) running into another thief during a major heist, where they are both impressed with the other person's fighting skills. The mystery thief corners our thief-girl, rips the scarf off her face, and and is pleasantly shocked to find it's a girl because our mystery thief is a girl too (early version of Oriana!). They then have to run for their lives because their fighting has caused too much noise, and become friends.
That was what popped into my head one night, and somehow made it's way into SlavicNovel after all. It's a little different ("become friends" isn't exactly how it ends - more like "become unwilling partners"), but is just as badass-ly awesome as I envisioned it in the beginning.
2. Describe their daily routine.
Damla lives with her father, a once-rich once-famous nobleman who squandered all his money (and thus his childrens' inheritance). But what does he care? He has two daughters which basically means DOWRY. But Damla's sister Ziya (who can't walk) has gone off and married a supernice but superpoor musician (such dishonor!) named Melik, which means she's been disowned from the family. Now Damla is her father's only hope.
With that preface, Damla's (rather irregular) routine: In the daytime, she does noblewoman duties with her father, who likes to pretend he's not poor. They visit richer noblemen and go to parties and try to earn favors and Damla hates it. This is also when Damla's father tries to get various rich men interested in her without revealing their financial situation. They're mostly perverts or old or old perverts.
The only reason why she doesn't rebel is because while she chats up these rich fellows, she finds out about where they keep their precious gems and other things of that sort. She learns the layout of their houses when she goes to parties they host. And then, she and Melik plan their next burglary.
Melik and Damla meet up at his place where Damla says hi to her sister and then debriefs Melik on the plan for the night. They have a system - Melik stands guard, while Damla sneaks into the houses. The spoils of the burglary don't go to Damla's dad, obviously - they all go to Melik and Ziya.
3. If they joined your local high school, what clique would they fit into?
I'm not sure if Damla would be a part of a clique. She may be the person that's kind of able to be friends with everyone, observes from the sidelines, and is just generally liked.
She definitely wouldn't be the popular girl, though she COULD be if she wanted to.
4. Write a list of things they merely tolerate. Ex. certain people, foods, circumstances in their lives...
First off, jerk dad and creepy suitors, because right now she needs them to make a living.
- Melik's jokes
- Oriana (Well, that comes later in the story.)
5. How do they react in awkward silences?
She'll smile pleasantly at the other people and wait for the conversation to continue. She believes silences are only awkward if you decide they are.
6. Can they swim? If so, how did they learn?
Damla lives in Karakhra, which is a port town, so she has beaches to practice on. However, most of her neighbors actually cannot swim because they've never had to. She just made it a point to learn because the water looked so beautiful and treacherous and she wanted to know she had the power to defend herself against it if she ever had to. Also creeping off to beaches at night felt super rebellious, even though her dad didn't know about it. She kind of wished he did.
7. What is one major event that helped shape who they are?
(Technically spoiler? But I don't know if people care about me spoiling a novel that's literally in Draft 0.5.)
When the eldest prince from the neighboring country (Tania and Oriana and Baba Yaga's currently unnamed country) came as an ambassador five-ish years ago to Karakhra, Damla and he had a kind of fling. Well, at that point, neither of them thought it was a fling, but they were both young and stupid (and Damla was younger and stupider and this was her first love). Like, duh, the crown prince of the country that your country is not exactly friends with is not going to marry some foreign girl who, though a noble, isn't exactly royal, and who has a dad who's going bankrupt.
Anyway, though Damla is super sensible, she kind of went all Great Gatsby and spent five years idolizing Prince Luka and creating this perfect man in her head that maybe would come back eventually? For her? Even though by now she 99% knows he won't?
Her sister Ziya, no question. And, close after, her brother-in-law Melik, who's a super decent guy (and a super decent street musician and partner-in-crime).
9. Do they believe in giving other people second chances? Do they have any trust issues?
Yes, Damla definitely believes in second chances. Maybe third? But definitely not more. (Ahem, looking at you, dad.) Damla has some trust issues (mostly when it comes to romance? See the spoiler bit about Prince Luka above), but not enough to affect her a lot. She's at a nice balance between naive and suspicious - she's cautious and has street smarts.
10. Your character is having a rough day... What things to they do to make them happy again? Is there anyone they talk/interact with to get in a better mood?
She would never admit it, but Damla sometimes retreats into Luka-memories. It doesn't necessarily make her happy, but it does make her forget the present.
More effectively, she visits Ziya and Melik and always leaves full of tea and crackers and smiles and bad jokes.
That's Damla! Tell me about your writing projects. Are you doing Camp NaNo in April? (I'm not, because #SlavicNovel requires my attention.)