Character Study # 1 – Gaspard

Everyday Witch - 3 card spread - Ace of Wands, Knight of Swords, Knight of Pentacles

I’ve met some people through one of my writing groups, and we’ve started an online role play via Discord. We’ve taken characters from our books, thrown them all together, and laughing at the chaos. It’s been a very refreshing approach to writing. I’ve had to stay on my toes, and speak in distinct voices for the two characters I brought in.

Which brings me to Gaspard… I’ve changed this character’s name so many times in the last three months I’ve spent working on this story. His attitude and motivations have changed. He went from being the antagonist to the protagonist (he was always the protagonist; it was simply buried under complex backstory that has since been cut to make his role more definitive). His appearance, his mannerisms… basically everything but the gloves he wears has gone through revision!

After the Revision Workshop with Kate Finegan I decided to rework the beginning of my story to introduce him immediately, and set the scene better.

In the first draft, we don’t meet Gaspard until Chapter 5 – other characters and the setting are introduced first. This worked because I was focused on another character for the lead. The further I got into the story, the more Gaspard shone (in his own way), and after the lighthouse activity, I decided to adjust my priorities.

These are the details that haven’t changed throughout my rewrites:


  • a little short, 5ft4
  • white hair
  • pale blue eyes
  • pale
  • lithe


  • wears gloves to conceal his hands
  • quiet (observer)

Significant Details

  • immune to poisons due to the toxicity in the region he comes from
  • needs to maintain immunity in order to return to his homeland


  • seeking allies

These are surface details. Fluff. Bait and switch. The distracting candy-coating of who this character actually is. I wanted to keep the reveal a secret, but now I’ve placed this into the first chapter so I have to look at him from a different angle.

Masked Gaspard wants to be seen as powerful so he won’t be pushed around, and can accumulate allies to the small territory he is from (with the underlying intention of starting a war against more powerful forces). The real Gaspard only knows the oppressive side of magic, and magic users. He doesn’t know how to interact with people in this new position, and needs to conceal his apprehension. He still wants allies, and ultimately to start a war, but he’s walking a fine line between maintaining the illusion of who he is, and being himself when interacting with friends and enemies.

Draft 1 – I implied his alternate form, and staved off the big reveal until Chapter 13.

Draft 2 – Transformation is front and centre. The audience will know from the start that he is not who he says he is.

Trying to work with my tarot cards more to help fill the gaps in my narrative, I shuffled my Everyday Witch deck and cut three piles.

of Wands

The Past

Before the story starts, he is at one with nature and his abilities. He is alone, but healthy and unafraid. He’s young, and starting to come into his power. The opportunity is stolen from him along with his freedom. The ability to fully learn to use his abilities is stolen from him as well. He can feel the connection, but is unable to harness or utilise it.

of Swords

The Present

He is introduced in the story after escaping confinement and destroying the oppressors. He is single-minded in his pursuit, and on a mission to liberate. He goes forward bravely, and blindly. Into the uncertain world beyond, with a high possibility for death and failure. He’s maintains communication with the persons who sent him on this journey; they encourage him to stay focused and help him make decisions. He must use unfamiliar tools in a familiar way to convince others that he is who he says he is.

Knight of Pentacles

The Future

He still has his mission, and is on the course to return home. He has prospects he did not have at the start of the story, and needs to foster relationships. His magic has changed, and he is one with the mask he wears now. He no longer needs the guidance provided throughout the story.

Layout Progressions:

  • Ace, Knight, Knight – The start of a new path with strength and fortitude. Ace (or one) is a singular path forward, there is only one road ahead and success will not be easily won, but there are no other options. Knights are strong and level headed in trying circumstances, and there are two of them. Two types of struggles in the future.
  • Wands, Swords, Pentacles – The tool available isn’t enough. The tool required isn’t unfamiliar. Mastery of the second tool means loss of connectedness to the original.
  • Fire, Air, Earth – A suppressive transformation becomes more natural, to the point it is indistinguishable, and difficult to remove.
  • Creativity, Interaction, Property – Expression is lost. Friendships are gained. Possessions protected.
  • Red, Blue, Red – From the warm and familiar, into the cold unknown, returning to the familiar but it is not the same warmth.

Consistent Symbols:

  • Brooms – The simplest tool is often the most effective.
  • Cats – Loneliness does not mean alone; guides come in many forms.
  • Grass / ground / earth – The best foundations are often overlooked.
  • Facing right – The path is set. The only way out is through.
  • Eyes open, looking to the unseen – Uncertainty in every step. Be ready. Be vigilant. Be fearless.

This might not look like much, but it’s given me a lot to work with. In my re-writes I was hung up on defining why he was in this situation, but this reading reinforces the idea that there was simply no other way. Instead of focusing on why, I can draw attention to why not.

I’ve written him as stubborn, arrogant, and a little confrontational. This reading suggests that is a false bravado. Putting on airs simply because it is expected.

I’d considered the idea of him losing access to his innate magical abilities, and coming to rely on the ones he is taught. I’ll keep it under consideration for now. I’m still concerned how that approach would affect him in the long run, when he finally releases the transformation that’s concealing his true identity; but I’m a long way off from there.

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