Beautiful People, Vol. 13: Nomaro, One of the Protagonists for a Future Novella

Beautiful People 1

Beautiful People is a monthly blog meme hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Every month they pose 10 questions for writers to answer about their writing and give readers the opportunity to learn more about the writer’s characters.

Ohhhhhhhhhh am I excited about this month’s Beautiful People! Most of BP posts discussing The Keeper’s Curse have showcased characters I’ve been working with for 3 years. Which means I know them pretty well at this point. Today’s, however, ventures into (mostly) unknown territory.

Last November, when Cait and Sky did Beautiful Books in honor of NaNoWriMo, I decided to share my brainstorming on a novella I’m planning to write (or start writing) when TKC is with beta-readers. I already know one of the protagonists well (it’s Eva from TKC, though 13 years old instead of 17). Her “co-star” – not so much, apart from the little bits in his character profile so far. 

Some quick facts about Nomaro: He’s a 28-year-old Feiri, with brown-streaked black hair and blue eyes. The Beautiful Books post also revealed that he’s a former Councilor of Selanaan who was expelled for the story world’s equivalent to a drug addition, then fled home and joined the Twilight Order, a guild of assassins and spies – only to defect from the Order years later. Let’s see what other kinds of dirt we can dig up about him.

(Visit the Beautiful People category page to catch up on past BP posts.)

Nomaro collage

1. What first inspired Nomaro? Is there a person or actor you based him on?

Nomaro came to be when I was brainstorming Eva’s path to becoming a Councilor. In truth, she was taking the first steps to prepare for avenging her parents’ murders – and for that, she needed to learn more about her magic and to fight with more than just a bow and arrow. However, the Fei in her world have traditional beliefs regarding women’s roles in society, so girls aren’t allow to learn how to fight. So… that meant Eva would have to break Fei law and be trained in secret, by someone who was willing to take on that risk. That’s where Nomaro comes in.

In essence, Nomaro is a mentor figure to Eva. However, I didn’t want him to be the typical mentor. I wanted him to be troubled, complex, and slightly dark. A mentor who’s been banged around by his own poor choices as well as life’s twists and turns, and is now trying to get back on his feet. Most importantly, I wanted a mentor who would recognize that Eva may be heading down a similar destructive path – and would be inspired by try to steer her in a better direction. So, in some ways, The Novella’s needs shaped the mentor I was looking for, and therefore began shaping Nomaro’s character and backstory.

As for a particular person or actor I based Nomaro on…. Well, no one, really. The collage above will help you give an idea of how I picture him. But he’s not inspired by anyone in the real world or from my personal life.

2. Describe Nomaro’s daily routine.

When The Novella begins, Nomaro has recently returned to the Fei forest of Kasialonen and is hiding out in his parents’ abandoned kagende, a split-level dwelling that’s half underground and half in the tree limbs. (His parents went looking for him years ago, but never returned and are now presumed dead.) As a result, keeping a low profile defines his daily routine. He’ll go outside to hunt, fish, and gather other foods. Otherwise, he never goes into town and spends most of his time in the kagende‘s underground half, which houses the kitchen, sitting room, and storage rooms.

How does he keep himself busy? By reading his father’s books, exercising to stay in (relatively) good shape, wood-carving… and taking care of his basic needs. It sounds sad, but at this point in his life, Nomaro has no idea what to do or where else to go. So, he’s biding his time and trying to figure out his next move.

3. If Nomaro joined your local high school, what clique would he fit into?

None. XD  Seriously. Nomaro would avoid cliques altogether. He’s always marched to the beat of his own drum.

4. Write a list of things Nomaro merely tolerates (e.g., certain people, foods, circumstances in their lives).

Nomaro isn’t a fan of small talk. If he needs to have a conversation with someone, he prefers that they get right to the point and not ask him how he’s doing, what he thinks of the weather, etc. But he knows that’s impolite, so he just grits his teeth and tolerates it as best as he can.

5. How does Nomaro react in awkward silences?

Nomaro isn’t the nicest or most socially adept person. If there’s an awkward silence, he’d contribute to it further by staring at the other person and waiting for them to speak. Or, if he’s annoyed with them, he might ask a sarcastic or pointed question. He’s also the kind of character who would unintentionally create an awkward silence, then look up to find the other person staring at him and respond with a very blunt, “What?

6. Can Nomaro swim? If so, how did he learn? 

Yes! The Fei in this story world typically bathe in local rivers and streams, so Nomaro learned to swim at an early age because of that. Though he’s not a fan of swimming. In fact, drowning is one of his worst fears. 😮

7. What is one major event that helped shape who Nomaro is?

His expulsion from the Council of Selanaan. It happened about 9 years prior to The Novella, when his addiction to taigila blood had taken hold of him. (Taigilas are the story world’s equivalent to griffins.) Once his fellow Councilors realized his problem, they had no choice but to expel him per the Council Code. No second chance, no time to clean himself up – they simply cut him off and told him to seek help. That had a huge impact on him not only in terms of his next major life choice (fleeing home), but also emotionally and psychologically.

FYI – Nomaro is no longer an addict during The Novella. The Twilight Order forced him into “detox” a few years ago.

8. What things does Nomaro value most in life?

Loyalty, honesty, and respect. Despite those values being tested, Nomaro still holds them dear. He wants friends and allies, and to feel like he’s not alone in the world. He just doesn’t admit it – or, perhaps his life experiences have made him numb to that longing.

Nomaro also values his independence. He wants to live his own life, make his own priorities, and not be a pawn in other people’s agendas.

9. Does Nomaro believe in giving other people second chances? Does he have any trust issues?

First question: No. Second question: Yes. 😦

Nomaro’s time as a spy and assassin taught him not to trust others easily or take things at face value. He’s also been betrayed by people he once cared about or was loyal to – not just the Council of Selanaan, but also fellow members of the Twilight Order and a Human woman he fell in love with toward the end of his Order tenure. And as badly as Nomaro wanted that second chance when the Council let him go, it made him realize that not everyone is willing to give such chances. Now, he’s hardened himself to the point that he, too, finds it difficult to offer that generosity to others.

10. Nomaro is having a rough day. What would he do to cheer himself up? Is there anyone he can interact with to improve his mood?

Unfortunately, Nomaro makes little effort to cheer himself up. :/  He simply goes on with his plans for the day, convinced that his mood will pass. (It usually does.) Because he’s chosen isolation, he doesn’t interact with or talk to anyone. If anything, he might make extra time for wood-carving. It helps him take his mind off of things for a while.

That concludes this month’s edition of Beautiful People! What are your thoughts on Nomaro? Do you have other questions that can help me / us get to know him better?

24 thoughts on “Beautiful People, Vol. 13: Nomaro, One of the Protagonists for a Future Novella

  1. Uhm, I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I really, really want a kagende. Seriously.
    *Remembers this was about a book character, not his house*
    Oh, and can I reiterate that I already love Nomaro? Porcupine characters are my favorite. And in a small way, I can relate – especially to #2 and #8 – I’m around the same age, and sort of floundering a bit when it comes to making choices/decisions about the future. I have a lot of things I *could* do, but I’m conflicted about it, and that makes an active, dynamic personality chafe a bit! And as a really independent loner, it’s easy to forget that other people enrich your life and make your world so much bigger.
    I am seriously interested in Nomaro’s past. It makes sense how he went from A. to B., as his character has a pretty logical sounding arc, but I want to know about how things fell out. And the Twilight Order, I *need* to know about them. I’m assuming there’s stigma to the blood addiction, for starters. That would be hard to get around, especially when relating to others. If she’s like most people, I’m sure she’s pretty curious about his past . . . I also think that Nomaro and Eva’s interactions should be really fun to write/read. And though he can see himself in her, and he wants to stop her from self-destructing, does he feel irresponsible for taking a teenager under his wing, or does he think about it? Does he ever fear that someone like him could make things worse?
    All my curiosity aside, you just keep making me want to read this, which is good for you and not as good for me, lol 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • XD I still owe you a post about what a kagende looks like, don’t I?

      Porcupine characters! I love that term and have never heard it before now. 😀 Nomaro is definitely that kind of character. He’s also very different from other characters I’ve worked with in the past, so writing this novella is going to be a really interesting experience. Especially when it comes to Eva and Nomaro’s interactions. 🙂

      “And though he can see himself in her, and he wants to stop her from self-destructing, does he feel irresponsible for taking a teenager under his wing, or does he think about it? Does he ever fear that someone like him could make things worse?”

      See, now I wish I’ve actually written their first meeting – though that would all be spoiler-ish, but that’s beside the point. *lol* I know that Eva never mentions vengeance during their conversation, so there will be moments when she’s grasping for straws, so to speak. That *should* clue Nomaro in on the possibility that Eva might want to use the training to deliberately hurt others – which Nomaro believes is the wrong approach. Again, I don’t know how the rest of it will play out yet, but if I had to answer your questions on the spot… I’d say he looks at her lessons as a nuisance and a distraction from his real problem (what to do now that he has defected from the Twilight Order). He doesn’t feel irresponsible, but he does worry if this will jeopardize his chances of keeping a low profile. And no, he doesn’t worry that he might make things worse – he simply sees it as something that needs to be done, and believes that Fei girls should be given the same opportunities that Fei boys have.

      Oh, and you bet that Eva curious about Nomaro’s past. Her cousin Gidion will be a Councilor at this point in time, too, so she’ll be interested in finding out why Nomaro was expelled. But getting just about any personal information out of Nomaro is like trying to pry a locked door open. Let’s see how that goes…

      Yes, there’s a definite stigma against the taigila blood addiction, just as there is with most modern-day drug addictions. And in Nomaro’s case, he tried to detox on his own so the Order wouldn’t know he had a problem. Then he relapsed, and his addiction began interfering with his word. That’s when the Order stepped in and forced to clean up – the complete opposite of how the Council of Selanaan chose to handle it.

      “I am seriously interested in Nomaro’s past. It makes sense how he went from A. to B., as his character has a pretty logical sounding arc, but I want to know about how things fell out.”

      You’re going to hate me… But I haven’t figured all of that out yet. :s I have a general sense of what happened, but I don’t know all of the specifics yet. (Nomaro will probably wind up having his own novels someday – but now isn’t the time to go there.) Plus, since this is going to be a novella, I imagine I need to be careful with how much backstory I include. In other words – yes, I need to dig a little more with Nomaro, but I don’t think I need to have it 100% figured out by the time I start writing this.

      I… think I’ve ever covered everything…? If not, just let me know if I missed something.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Reading over my comment before reading your answers, I just realized how scattered it was! *blushes* It was obvious (to me), that I was going on about 2.5 hours of sleep, lol.

        Still — I will bring up that kagende until kingdom come, so, yeah.
        I wish I could take the credit for Porcupine Characters, but I’m not really sure I coined the phrase. I just use it all the time.

        “You’re going to hate me… But I haven’t figured all of that out yet. :s” 😛 hehe

        Nah – I get it, I usually start everything in a crazy flurry (if you haven’t noticed), and frequently make things up as I go. It’s not strange for one of my characters to have a solid arc outline, and then completely deviate. For instance, I once had a pair of characters who were supposed (at the end of a trilogy) give each other the broship nod of hardened warriors and go their separate ways into the sunset. 2.5 books later, they ended up getting married (no one was more surprised than me), and then I had to rework that into the plot. The book basically ended the same, plotwise (I didn’t change anything major), but how their character arcs ended, and how their personal stories ended, was COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. They started at A, ended at D, but B and C went down in a totally different manner. So this long, rambling paragraph just means: I understand! And you shouldn’t feel like you have to have it figured out. If you’re too rigid in your plotting/characters, you might not end up with awesome random inspiration (or dreadful weddings), lol.

        Also, I agree – be careful with how much you reveal. This BP post teases us with a fun character, likewise, the novella should do that too, if you plan on exploring his story further 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • No worries. And I’ll start working on that kagende post soon. 😉

        Holy… wow. XD Hey, the novel-writing process is meant to surprise us, though. Even if we’re plotters, something is bound to come up along the way that we didn’t anticipate before. Yours is a perfect example – and despite my outline, TKC surprised me in spots, too.

        “This BP post teases us with a fun character, likewise, the novella should do that too, if you plan on exploring his story further :)”

        I do, actually. I think Nomaro has a whole series of books in store for us. But that’s going to have to wait – I’m a “one-book-at-a-time” kind of writer. 😉 But it gives me plenty of time to brainstorm!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Eli! 🙂 As for your questions….

      Being a Feiri with the ability to fly, Nomaro would choose air as his element. It fits him because he’s very analytical and usually on the calm, collected side. Oddly enough, he’s a Scorpio, which is a water sign and contradicts with his fear of drowning, so… *lol*

      When his world is silent, Nomaro prefers to keep his mind busy. He doesn’t want to dwell on the past, and right now his best mental escape is focusing on the present moment or figuring out his next steps (i.e., what he should do and where he should go next once he’s ready to leave Kasialonen).

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Nomaro sounds really interesting! I like the fact that you’re using a flawed mentor. That adds a lot of dimension. Also him struggling with addiction in the past is an interesting topic to bring up. Best wishes writing him!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Tori! Nomaro is so much different from other characters I’ve written so far. So, he’s going to be a challenge, but a welcome one, I think.

      FYI – There is a long-term effect of Nomaro’s addiction that comes up during The Novella. It came to me when I was brainstorming the first chapter a few months ago. So, that will come up as well.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Morgan! And I know what you mean. It’s funny because when I read Cait and Sky’s questions, I *knew* this month’s questions were meant for Nomaro. But yes, they did show more of his flaws and prickly side.

      As for positive qualities, Nomaro can be loyal and protective of someone if they prove they’re trustworthy. (That’s one of the main things I want to show as The Novella goes along.) He’s also hard-working, resourceful, and self-sufficient. Stick in just about any outdoor environment, and Nomaro will figure out a way to survive there. And, he’s good at picking up on people’s emotional tics, such as nervousness or lying.


  3. Nomarooo, I feel so sorry for him! What a way to be treated…so much betrayal he had to endure. I’m very curious about the human woman he fell in love. What happened to her? And how was he betrayed by the Twilight Order? I’m probably asking spoilerish questions though, aren’t I. 😀
    I can tell there’s so much more to this character. Can’t wait for this novella, Sara. Don’t keep us long waiting, will you? (j/k, take your time. I just can’t help but be impatient 😉 ).

    Liked by 1 person

    • “I’m very curious about the human woman he fell in love. What happened to her? And how was he betrayed by the Twilight Order?”

      I don’t know yet. *lol* So it’s good that I’m not ready to write The Novella yet. It gives me time to figure out some of the unknowns and have a basic understanding of Nomaro’s past before I get started. But like I told Rebekah above, Nomaro may have a few books’ worth of material on his own. 😉

      Ha ha, you’ll have to be patient for a bit longer. I’m not planning to work on The Novella until TKC is with beta-readers – which is a ways off, but it would be hard to give TKC’s third draft the proper attention it deserves if I work on The Novella at the same time. And, again, there’s the “still figuring things out” bit, too.

      Thanks for commenting, E.! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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