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[personal profile] fey_fire
I'm going with Rory Stone on this prompt, because he's got the best-developed set of NPCs in the form of his band, Breaker Street.

1. Who are the NPCs / supporting cast members in your character's life? (if you don't have any, feel free to invent some now!)

Junie Cabriano: second guitar, occasionally plays an electric cello.
Nelson "Nil" Cameron: Bass guitarist.
Marcus Kreske: Drums.
Sascha Brockmann: Keyboards.
Dave Rackley: Keyboards and backup percussionist.
Morrie Dubrowsky: Was the sound tech for their club gigs, is now trying to find his place among the technicians and producers at Serptichore Records, the company that signed the band.

He has a few others as well. Vince Gereghty, the man who's working on the studio production of Breaker Street's debut CD, is a character on loan to me from [livejournal.com profile] serptichore's mun, so I can't do anything too outrageous with him without prior approval. Ben Wentworth is a past lover of Rory's who's had a mention or two in prompts and RP and decided to speak up with some background stories just in the past couple of days. He could conceivably show up in the present day. Others will no doubt crop up as Rory's tale progresses.

2. How much detail do you put into them?

I don't write a bible for each NPC, but I do my best to keep them from being cardboard cutouts. I start by fleshing out salient details of their relationship with the main character or characters they interact with: what are they doing in the MC's life, how did they meet, how do they and the MC think and feel about each other, that sort of thing. Getting those details down usually suggests a few background details for the NPC, and the character's own voice will give me others in a kind of domino effect. So Junie is the Italian-Cuban 'den mother' of the group, Nil is married with twin daughters, Sascha is a Juilliard-trained pianist with the outward demeanor of a wild child/party girl, etc. Sometimes when a character's persona is quieter and less demanding, I have to remind myself to give them their due attention. *pets Dave and Morrie*

3. Do you choose PBs for your NPCs?

I usually do, yes, often with the help of the amazing [livejournal.com profile] hinkydoodle. She put up Breaker Street Online, where you can see the band's PBs if you like. You can also feel free to post comments about the band, anonymous and otherwise, and generally run amok.

4. Do they ever have their own stories / speaking roles?

They insist on them. Never one to be a wallflower, Sascha took the opportunity of a few of Rory's RP threads to establish relationships of her own with a few other muses, especially Peter Webster ([livejournal.com profile] half_whole_pw). She recently acquired a mother in the form of one of my OC's, and an older brother shortly thereafter. Quite the vociferous little wench she's turning out to be. I also have definite plans for Nil and how his backstory will mushroom into present-day issues for him and the entire band.

5. What roles do the NPCs play in storylines involving your character?

Breaker Street is integral and central to Rory's current situation as he attempts to give his all to their CD release while at the same time not really dealing with the fallout from a fractured relationship. When he chose the people who would help him bring his music to life, Rory wanted more than musical skill and a passion to perform; he looked for musicians who love life and people as much as music. He literally connects with his fellow band members on stage and in the studio, so he searched out people with whom he felt comfortable, who had a sense of humor and didn't take themselves too seriously. Each member of Breaker Street is a good friend as well as a coworker, and he can talk to them about anything and everything ... except the fact that he's a pĂșca. That little lie of omission is slowly growing into something large and uncomfortable.

6. Has an NPC or supporting cast member ever stolen the show and become one of your main characters?

*headdesk* Given that Rory and his three siblings all started life as NPC's for their father RuairĂ­ MacEibhir ([livejournal.com profile] sonofgranite), I'll answer that with a resounding YES. And then when they do they breed more NPC's, who in turn gain stronger voices and start pushing for their own stories, ala Sascha in question 4. The process can get downright fractal.

7. Have you ever killed off an NPC to support a plot or storyline? How did it work out?

I certainly have in fic, though not in an RP situation. I freely confess that I do tend to get too attached to my characters, which makes killing them off harder, but sometimes I just have to force myself. It's something any writer has to get used to.

Bonus points: Write a ficlet about one of your characters as told from the POV of one of their NPCs/supporting cast members.

This one flashes forward some months, to when Breaker Street are weeks into their first tour as the opening act for Sweet Christmas, one of Serptichore's headliner groups.

Thank God. He'd fallen asleep at last. She had been starting to worry.

Well, no, that was a lie. She'd gotten well past the starting point days ago. Her worry was now of a size to keep her up even through her own exhaustion, even though the monotonous hum of bus tires on asphalt had lulled the rest of Breaker Street to sleep in their bunks, their Irish front man included. As the first traces of dawn streaked the sky, Junie Cabriano sat on the edge of her own bunk and watched Rory Stone sleep.

Her lips twisted into a wry smirk at the thought of the picture she must present. If the enthusiastic batch of fangirls (and boys) who posted to Breaker Street Online could see her now, the rumors pairing her with Rory that had started even before Pippa left him would take firm root, she was sure. Junie wondered if they would ever let themselves be convinced of the truth: she shared only one deep and abiding passion with the singer/songwriter, and that was music. All else was friendship and respect.

But she still worried about him. Of course she did, Jesucristo, she worried about all of them. They'd braced themselves for the rigors of the tour, the ups of the concerts followed by the downs of long hours spent on the bus or in impersonal hotel rooms, the enforced togetherness that blew small irritations into full-fledged snits. Sascha and Kreske had finally taken time for a private, hatchet-burying talk after the young woman had spent days in a huff over an admittedly snarky comment the drummer had made about the keyboardist's behavior at a party. Bracing was not the same as experiencing, but by and large they coped with things as they came. Except for Rory.

Junie kept trying to tell herself that what she saw happening to her friend was normal. Normal for Rory to be flying-high hyper after a concert, bouncing like a rubber ball. That buzz from the audience got them all juiced up, and he'd always been the most strongly affected by the crowd energy ... it was just him. Normal too, for him to go quiet and withdrawn at times. Not only was he still suffering from Pippa's departure (and the whys and wherefores of that still mystified Junie), but he had the hardest job of all of them. They played to audiences who were eager to see Sweet Christmas, and it was Rory Stone who had to step up to the front of the stage and grab the attention of a crowd focused on another band. Which he did, and damned if he didn't do it spectacularly well. She'd felt the cheering after "Sweet Rhythm Overload" last night as a thrumming deep in her chest.

But she could no longer deny that the effort was wearing on him. The truth had to be taken as a whole picture, and that picture showed a man who was cycling between going for two and even three days with next to no sleep, only to crash into a drained funk when they had some travel or alone time. The truth showed that he was fraying around the edges, and she was pretty sure he'd lost weight in spite of eating with his usual gusto most of the time.

Watching Rory now, with his feet dangling off the end of his bunk and one arm thrown up above his head, she saw that the face he'd unknowingly tilted toward her looked tense and fragile. The flesh drew more snugly over his facial bones and shadows made the skin under his eyes dusky. On him, and this was the truly obnoxious part, it looked good, accentuating those high cheekbones of his and making the graceful angles of his face even more prominent. Junie knew that she looked a helluva lot more frazzled than he did. Damn genes of his, his entire family was indecently pretty from what she'd seen.

A low mutter from the man in the bunk disrupted her thoughts. Junie watched as Rory shifted restlessly, saw that behind his eyelids his eyes were twitching in the random motions of dreaming sleep. The rise and fall of his chest grew deeper and faster. He groaned ... something, in his Irish Gaelic presumably, though the sound of it made the nape of her neck prickle. "Rory?" she whispered, reaching out to brush his shaggy dark hair away from his forehead.

He bared his teeth in a grimace even before his eyes snapped open. Junie gasped as Rory's right hand shot out to grab her upper arm in a painfully tight grip while his left slapped her hand off of him. For a moment in the dim lighting she couldn't see his eyes; they looked like dark holes in his head--

He froze. "Junie..." He blinked, and his eyes were his own again. Reality came trickling back as he released her arm. "Sorry, lass," he husked, running his palm gently over the skin. His hand felt so warm she wondered if he was running a fever.

"It's all right." And it was; the ache in her arm was already easing. "Nightmare?"

"Mmhmm." The hand that rubbed her arm shifted to rub his forehead instead, while his other pressed against his chest as though trying to slow his own heartrate. "Nothing to worry about. You get some sleep, I'll be fine."

"You sure?" He answered with only a smile, warm and mischievous, a Rory-smile. Normalcy, of a sort. "Okay, I'll try. You wake me if you need me."

As she lay on her side facing the tall singer, she could tell by his deepening breathing when he dropped back into sleep. Junie herself lay wakeful, her nagging worry strengthening into an even more nagging certainty.

Something was up with Rory Stone.

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June 2011

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