Red Lettering

Stories will not be written easily. A story without a heart is dead, and the only place it will get a heart is from the author.

Get to Know Your Characters Challenge: Right-Hand Man

Get to Know Your Characters Right-Hand Man

Happy Tuesday, readers! And ’tis indeed a happy Tuesday, for today is a day of announcement for a new Get to Know Your Characters (in blue this time! Isn’t that splendid?).

What is it?

GTKYC is a trimonthly challenge to discover more about your various characters while stretching your proverbial writing muscles. It’s a challenge open to anyone who wants to jump on board, be they young or old, or somewhere in between.

How does it work? 

Anyone who wishes to participate in the challenge picks a character from one of their stories. Each GTKYC Challenge has a specific character type — in this case, The villain’s right-hand man. (If your villain is more of a loner type, feel free to do the villain himself,  or if your villain has no right-hand man, you can do a former best friend, current best friend, random minion #87, or basically whatever you want).

The participants have sixteen days to create work in any medium they like (poetry, prose, even film if you’re feeling brave) about their character, choosing a scenario from The List Provided Below to write about. Post your work on your blog, and leave a link in the comments or email it to me (craftingstoriesinred(at)gmail(dot)com) and I will post all links to participating blogs in a follow-up post. That post will go live at the end of the challenge, on February 19th, and will also contain my responses to the challenge. Because I’m posting them on my blog, I request that all stories be clean. I do have some young readers.

If you do not have a blog, you can post your response in the comments of this blog post and I’ll link back to your comment and let people know it’s here so they can check it out.

Post your response at any point from now to Thursday, February 19th. If you can, please get the link to me by the 18th.

Why should you do it? 

Well, because knowing your characters is important! You can also get a chance to share about your awesome characters, exercise writing muscles, get feedback from other writers, and have a chance to publicize your blog right here!

The List Provided Below

Feel free to do more than one, or mix and match scenarios!

  • Your villains right-hand man is between three and ten. Write something that shows what their life was like at that point.
  • Write about the time when your villain and his (0r her) right-hand man (or woman) met.
  • Write about a time when your villain and right-hand man were interacting normally. Let us know how they talk to each other, what sort of friendship (or enmity) they have.
  • Write about a year before the start of your story.
  • Your character has lost something importantwhat is it, where is it, and why do they need it?

I look forward to meeting your villain’s second-in-commands over the next sixteen days. If you have any questions, feel free to comment!



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32 thoughts on “Get to Know Your Characters Challenge: Right-Hand Man

  1. Yay!! This is always so much fun! 🙂

  2. Yay! I think I’ll do a random minion villain person, if that makes any sense. Basically there is a league of villainous creatures in my story that are on no one’s side, so they cause lots of havoc. I’ll probably do just one of them.

  3. Ooh, this’ll be fun. I guess this means Lial, since he’s the main villain’s right hand man… but each of the books in the series has a different villain. 😛

    • I like his name… And whichever villain’s right-hand man you want to do, you can do. It doesn’t have to be the main one if you like another better. 🙂

      • Haha, most of them actually don’t have their own minions or anything, since they’re technically minions themselves. But Lial’s awesome, I really need to get to know him better, anyway.

  4. *is excited about this* *really hopes she can come up with something*

  5. This is such a good idea! I probably do it. (:

  6. Wow! This is a really good idea. I need to work out two of my villains (a right hand assassin and the ultimate rebel), so I will definitely be doing this. Thank you for doing this, Athelas!

  7. Natasha Roxby on said:

    Oh dear, I’ve gotten myself into a bit of a conundrum with this. You see, what I was planning on doing was a story based off of an almost-person that is in the service of my antagonist, but it was going to be in the story that I’m working on currently. Now, I don’t currently plan on doing anything from the almost-person’s point of view in the book (but that might change), so would it be OK for me to do what I have in mind, or do I need to do something else?

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  10. Natasha Roxby on said:

    All right, I know that I’m cutting it a little bit close, seeing as it’s 12:19 am where I am, but here’s my story. I hope you enjoy it!

    The Unmaking

    Smoke roiled through the sky above, rising from the blazing fires that engulfed the remnants Alador’s village. The churning of the smoke was a striking resemblance to the state of his innards. Inhuman screeches mingled with human screams, creating a cacophony that would haunt the dreams of even the bravest of warriors. The moment that he had heard the first piercing shriek that signaled the attack, he had felt a lurch in his gut that had started this ongoing dump of adrenaline into his system. Then he had, with the rest of his family and village, begun to run.
    So now Alador stumbled through the crush of people fleeing the oncoming destruction. His family had been lost among the crowd, but there was nothing he could do about that, even if he had thought to do something. The terror of streets that had once been so familiar to him now turned so strange added to the mind-numbing fear of capture. These combined had driven all thoughts from his mind, save for the one all-consuming need to run.
    Death would be preferable to capture. Because once Yavlek and his Twisted Ones caught you, they would change you, twist you, warp you. Everything that made you you would be gone. Only the faintest traces of humanity would remain, and even those would be so blurred as to be nearly indistinguishable.
    Alador’s foot landed in a dip in the road. He felt the sharp wrenching of his ankle, then the eternal fall to the hard-packed dust below. He felt someone step on his hand, then someone else kick him in the side. Then someone tripped over him, and another stepped on his just-injured ankle, and another foot collided with the back of his head, and another, and another, and another…
    It was too much. Every contact that another foot made with his body sent a jolt of pain through his body and a wave of nausea through his stomach. He wanted to crawl in a hole and die. Anything would be better than this stampede of humanity that was trampling him.
    He closed his eyes, willing the pain to subside. Faces swam before his eyes. Familiar faces. Loved faces. The faces of his mother, his father, his sister, and the face of the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.
    Her face was the clearest in his mind’s eye. The others’ faces were blurred and dulled by the pain, but hers was as crisp and clear as though she still stood in front of him. Blue eyes, long brown hair, a radiant smile.
    He stared at her in his mind’s eye. He tried to remember their last conversation. He couldn’t, though. He could remember lots of different conversations that they had had, some important, others less than important. But the days had become so muddled together in his mind that he couldn’t separate one day from another anymore. They were all of them so similar that before the attack, none of them had seemed special. Now he would give anything to relive even one of his most boring and uneventful days.
    As he lost himself deeper and deeper in his reverie, the continuous pain of the trampling seemed to faded into the background, and he fell into a troubled sleep.


    Sunlight glinted off of tossing grasses and wildflowers, bathing the world in golden light. A brook burbled nearby, singing the song that it had always sung for him and Errynah when they went to that secret place in the woods. Of course, he wasn’t in the woods now, but in an expansive plain. They were similar to the plains that lay near his village, but those were bordered by the woods on one side and the village on another. These were either endless or very close to it.
    It was just the sort of place that he would want to raise a family: familiar, but still not what he had known all his life.
    A little way off from the stream was a knoll that he could picture building a house on. Just a little past that, he could picture a barn filled to the brim with a cow, pigs, chickens, and all other manners of barnyard creatures that would help him provide for a growing family. And there a garden, and there an ice-house, and there he could see Errynah hanging clothes to dry, and there he could see their children playing, and there, and there, and there…
    It was perfect. Absolutely perfect.
    Then something shifted.
    Clouds gathered, blocking out the sun. The grass withered, the brook dried up, and his fragile hopes cracked and shattered. Soon all that was left was dry, cracked, infertile ground below and a slate-gray sky above.
    What had happened? What had happened to this place? The plains? The wildflowers? The brook? His dream home?
    The hairs on the back of his neck raised. Whatever stood behind him was the thing that had done this to his would-be home.
    He turned. Perhaps he turned slowly, unwilling to see whatever beast had done this. Perhaps he spun around, eager to bring this monster to justice. Perhaps it was both. These things are possible in dreams, for what else could this be? Lush fields and blue skies don’t wither and turn gray in mere moments. Such things are impossible in the real world.
    One way or another, he turned, and he saw what it was.
    He saw the Twisted One.


    Alador jolted awake. Cuts and bruises covered his entire body, and he ached from lying on the hard-packed earth. His ankle throbbed from his fall, and he knew that it must have swollen to at least twice its size. But that wasn’t the worst of it.
    He felt drained of who he was. He felt everything that he had been was sucked out of him. He could remember people, places, names. But he didn’t feel any connection to them, any emotion. He felt… hollow.
    Slowly, he realized that he no longer heard the screams of a thousand voices and that he was no longer surrounded by people. This gave him hope enough to make him fight against the many and loud protests that his body made.
    When he sat up and saw what waited for him, he wished that he had been trampled by the crowd.
    The Twisted One he had seen in his dream crouched before him. It seemed to flicker in and out of existence, morphing between something almost-human and a grotesque winged phantom. Two black eyes stared back at him, and they seemed to smile a leering, ugly smile.
    It took a step toward him.
    The creature’s attention shifted from him to the speaker, and Alador also turned.
    A young woman, a little older than him, came running at a full tilt toward him. She hurled herself at it, and the two fell to the ground. Alador didn’t know how long the two of them fought and rolled and kicked up dust. Finally, he heard the girl scream when a set of needle-sharp teeth pierced her shoulder.
    She released her grasp, and the Twisted One pulled itself away from her, hissing, and left her bleeding on the ground. She clutched her shoulder, crying out in agony.
    Her name was Eirrenstynne, Alador knew. She was his sister. In some vague sense, he felt that he should feel something, maybe should try to help her.
    But he didn’t feel anything. She was nothing to him.
    So he watched as she bled, even as the Twisted One watched him.
    “Alador!” she gasped, and she turned pleading eyes upon him.
    Someone laughed. “What do you have here, Arigryk?”
    The speaker was a tall man wearing a long brown cloak and riding boots. His hair was brown, and he had a face that was completely average. He wasn’t, by any standards, a prepossessing figure. But something in the glint of his eyes drew one’s attention to him, and Alador couldn’t help but staring at the man.
    The Twisted One whose name was Arigryk turned to the speaker and rasped a response in a language Alador didn’t understand.
    The man laughed again. “Well done, beast!” he said, and patted it on the head like it was a dog that had just done a rather amusing trick.
    It skittered away from him as the man moved on, stepping up to inspect the bleeding girl. He took her by the jaw and tilted his head from side to side, inspecting her. She snarled at him, and tried to struggle, but it was to no avail.
    “What a pretty little thing,” he observed, and began to reach out toward her wound. “I wonder if I might–”
    He stopped as if something something unpleasant had grabbed a hold of his arm, though there was nothing there. His lip curled. “I rather think not.” With this he struck her, and her head dropped to the ground, unconscious
    He straightened and turned to Alador. “Now for you.”
    Like he had with Eirrenstynne, he took Alador by the jaw and turned his head this way and that. Alador didn’t resist, though some small part of him screamed, “Run!” But how could he? Even if his body was perfectly healthy, he still knew he wouldn’t run. Something about this man commanded his immediate obedience and threatened a slow, agonizing death if obedience was not to be had.
    So Alador obeyed.
    “My, my, you are a fine specimen, aren’t you? Your spirit is already fading, thanks to my pet, and I think that you’ll do quite nicely for my purposes. What do you say, will you swear yourself to my service? You’ll not regret it. I promise you that.”
    He nodded.
    A smile crept across the man’s face. “Good.”
    That was the last thing Alador knew.


    Throbbing filled his head, pounding like a drum with every beat of his heart. Questions swirled in his mind, and he tried to push them out, but he couldn’t. Trying only made the pain worse, and that was the last thing he needed.
    So he let the questions run around in his head, forming circular ruts that he thought must surely remain there forever. Or at least, however long his existence continued.
    “Where am I?”
    “What has happened to me?”
    “How did I get here?”
    “Why am I here?”
    “What is my name?”
    “Do I have a name?”
    “Who am I?”
    “What am I?”
    “Please,” he whispered. “I don’t know who I am.”
    Over and over again, the questions demanded answers. Over and over again, he found none. So he sat where he was, and he realized that it was dark. Too dark. It was a darkness that shouldn’t be able to exist, the darkness was so complete. He was also sitting with his back to a cold stone wall.
    Slowly, he curled into a ball, his knees pulled up to his chest, and rested head on his arms, and his arms, in turn, resting on his knees.
    Slowly, the raucous sound of blood pulsing through his ears subsided enough for him to hear something else. It took him a few minutes to figure out what the sound was, but once he had put a name to it, he knew it to be true.
    It was screaming.
    The sound was oddly soothing to him. It calmed his nerves and eased the persistent demand for answers. After all, he wasn’t the one being tormented, was he? No. He thought that that meant he must be safe. He didn’t know why, but he felt that the worst, whatever that may be, was behind him.
    A door that he hadn’t known was there swung opened, light poured into the room. He was obliged to blink a few times before his eyes adjusted, but that didn’t take half so long as he was expecting.
    He saw now that the room he was in must be a prison cell. What else could it be? The room, now that he could see it, couldn’t be more than four feet square. What other purpose could such a room serve?
    A man stepped in. He could only make out his silhouette because of where the man stood, but his outline seemed familiar, and he thought that he could trust him.
    “Hello, Oringryn,” said the man. “Are you well?”
    “Um… Yes?”
    “Good.” Oringryn thought he could hear a smile in the man’s voice, and this gave him some encouragement. Perhaps he had done something to please this man? Perhaps, then, he would treat him well?
    “Tell me, Oringryn, do you know who I am?”
    He shook his head.
    The man paused for a moment, then said, “Do you know who you are?”
    He shook his head again.
    “Ah,” he said, as though this were a statement in and of itself. Another pause. “Would you like to know?”
    At this, Oringryn nodded vigorously.
    “Very well. I am called Yavlek. I am your master, and you are my slave. You are one of my Twisted Ones.”

    • You aren’t late at all! The deadline is on the 19th. Sorry, I should have made that more clear…

      *long sigh* Must henchmen always be so tragic? Can I not just save everyone in the whole world?

      Well done! 😀

      • Natasha Roxby on said:

        Haha, it’s okay. It was my fault, really. I read February 19 wrong, and ended up wit February 16. Oh well! I got it done a few days early and gave myself time to work on one of my school projects! 🙂

        Hmmm… We’ll just have to see if he will be saved or not! I honestly don’t know. I hope he will be, really really want him to be, but I don’t know.

        And thank you! I had a great time writing it! And thank you so much. Athelas, for putting out this challenge! 🙂

    • Thank you for participating, Alea! 😀
      A few months ago, my sister and I were discussing how every villain (real or imagined) do what they do because they want to be God. Whether they want to fix things wrong with their world or have their world love and worship them, it’s all from a desire to be what they cannot be. It was very interesting to see that in your story.

  11. Thank you for hosting this contest Athelas, it is lots of fun!
    Here is the link to my site (hope it comes out alright, it’s my first blog).
    I still have a few more paragraphs to type but I’ll post it before tomorrow.
    Thank you again,
    Jessica Lockwood

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