Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Characters: Long-Suffering Justa

This is the artist's rendition of Doña Lambra.
Justa looks a lot like her, but she never gets to throw a fit. 
Justa is one of the characters I added to the mix from the original epic story I based Seven Noble Knights on. In the old draft of the story that no one will ever see, Justa was conceived as a snarky maid for Doña Lambra, a narrator and a commentator on the story.

When I started over, I decided Doña Lambra was negative enough. She didn't need a snarky sidekick. So Justa became a sweet girl who longs for a normal life, but her ties to Lambra won't permit the freedom to pursue it. She took on more of the characteristics associated with her name, which has to do with fairness or justice, and then it turned out that she needed a snarky foil. That sassy role is filled by Gotina, a minor character.

Partly because my critique group really liked her character, and partly because it fit brilliantly into the plot, Justa turned into a major character with a fairly complex arc. If I get to write a sequel to Seven Noble Knights, it will focus largely on Justa, the decisions she makes before and after Seven Noble Knights comes to a close, and their ramifications.

She was born into a family of the minor nobility the same year as Lambra, and she looks enough like her that they could be sisters. In Part II of Seven Noble Knights, our hero Mudarra is afraid she might be Doña Lambra when he first meets Justa. She comes into Lambra's household as a foster child when her parents are killed in a border raid, and lives as if she were Lambra's sister until Lambra's parents are killed. From that moment on, Lambra treats Justa as her personal servant, and Justa takes it because she has nowhere else to go. The ties created when Lambra's family took her in are not easily broken, but everyone has their breaking point. When Justa finds hers, the story comes to an end.

It's a pretty important role for someone who started out as a snarky maid.

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