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Help with a Witch?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Hyzaleia, Mar 26, 2019.

  1. Hyzaleia

    Hyzaleia Acolyte

    Hey guys,

    I literally just made my account so I'm brand new. I have never been in or on a forum so I'm not used to asking for help. Hope I'm doing this right?

    So in this book of mine, I created a character. She's only going to be temporary. A roadblock in the other characters travels. She's an old hag basically, and I really want to keep her in as a character. My issue is that she wasn't a planned out character at all so I am not really sure what her 'thing' is going to be.
    My story's magic runs along the lines of old magic, old gods, etc. So I'm not wanting to make her typical spell casting hansel-and-gretel witch and sort of ruin the seriousness of the story.
    Right now she has tempted a young girl and her infant inside their home. So they're in her hands, vulnerable.
    Obviously she's not going to attempt to kill them. I had the quick idea that maybe (similar to the witch in little mermaid) she stole a part of them. Like the other maid she had serving her had no voice, etc. But that's kind of cliche isn't it? Is there anybody out there who can at least help me come up with inspiration for what the witch does?!
    Also, more info on her. The witch is sort of like a cult leader to a 'family'. She doesn't even necessarily have to be a witch, but something along those lines. Sorry for this total mess of a paragraph, been stuck on this and just need help.
    Black Dragon likes this.
  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    Welcome to the scribes Hyzaleia!

    When you say your magic system runs along the lines of old magic, old gods, do you mean Lovecraftian horror? Or do you mean that statement more generally?

    What you do with the witch depends a lot on what else is happening with the story, whether she's intended to be and remain a villain or if she has a different kind of arc. But the first thing that jumps out at me is that instead of taking something from them, she could offload something onto them. Perhaps her magic builds up some kind of corruption inside of her and she just needs to pass it along.

    The reason I suggest it.... once the corruption has been passed along, it might start to change her, she might start to recover from it, and that might make her more useful as a character.

    To sort of put it together a full hypothetical, perhaps she's a powerful good sorceress, but the more she's forced to channel her horrible old god's magic, the more she turns crazy evil, until she dumps that corrupt evilness onto - you said there was an infant? A little time later she starts coming to her senses, she regains her powerful good sorceress powers, tries to atone for what she's done, while the process begins to repeat itself over again.
    FifthView likes this.
  3. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    Welcome to Scribes!

    I had a thought while reading about your witch. What if she's actually an old god herself? Perhaps diminished and seeking to return to power through some means, maybe like regaining followers? What if that's what she's seeking from this girl and her infant? Belief.
  4. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Sage

    I say the creepiest thing she could do to a young mother of an infant, is offer a prediction of the child's fate. A horrible fate like SIDS/early death, a tragic accident, being kidnapped. Turning into an evil monster of a person, etc.

    This would 1. Create tension between characters who are just crossing paths 2. Not make the witch evil, just off-putting or very strange and 3. Make the mother keep *thinking* about a prediction/witch throughout your narrative. Does she take the witch seriously? Does she develop superstitions or paranoia that make her behave differently, just in case the witch wasn't wrong?

    The witch could additionally have a twisted sense of humor and just gives everybody she meets impending, cryptic, bad news for her own personal amusement as a practical joker. Maybe she gives two details that will be correct, but never the third, so the person sees the 'signs' and alters their behavior.

    Or, if you want to make your witch slightly nicer, she makes the partially correct predictions in a hope to offer positive behavioral intervention. For example: the young mother ignores her crying fussing baby for just a bit too long for the witch's liking. She'll make a prediction "that one day soon, when a x-bird sings out of season on a clear day, the baby will be crying and the mother will ignore it, but if she does, the baby may never cry out again."

    That would creep me out. Every time I heard that stupid bird in the wrong time of year, I'd probably be hyper-paranoid about tending that infant.
    Firefly likes this.
  5. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    My first thought: she's looking for recruits for her cult. So she drops hints about wonder and mystery, maybe does a cantrip or two.
  6. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Archmage

    So something wicked this way comes. If she's got the magic, nothing stopping her from using it and playing it up. Maybe the infant is sick and she has the power to help (or more brain cells to rub together the the local village population) and it comes at a certain cost. To both her and the mother. At the very least that cost could come back at some later date (as they tend to) and it will play havoc. Gives the witch a stronger role and keeps up her roadblocking ways. It could even tie them to her eventual or possible already cult.

    And now I have Welcome to the Family running through my head. And welcome to the Scribbles! Before I forget that bit.
  7. ascanius

    ascanius Inkling


    Reading this I say make her an a sinister mother figure. Initially she is caring helpful a loving mother figure, later she is very manipulative and emotionally abusive, she makes the young woman dependent on her and feed off her emotionally. Cult leaders are a lot like this, however one thing she would need is some type of divine knowledge or Divine quality. For example she claims the God's choose her to lead the worthy through the coming apocalypse, or she is the true saviour and all others are false prophets. In this case you could have her claim she knows the answers to the problems of the young woman, or something similar.

    Best of luck
  8. Bandicoot

    Bandicoot Dreamer

    Do you have to make her evil? Can't she just be sheltering them because she knows there is peril ahead. She wants to tell them, but is scared of scaring them away, right into danger. She is conflicted. She must warn them, but she doesn't know how. Don't go with evil witches. Subvert the trope.
  9. Hyzaleia

    Hyzaleia Acolyte

    Thanks so much for responding! Your reply actually sort of fixed two of my issues. One, what could the witch do to add to the plot, and the other issue was another character I have that basically becomes possessed throughout the course of the book by the spirit of an ancient witch. So, having this witch sort of carrying that power not only gives her a purpose in the story, but also helps with the process of the other woman becoming possessed! I change the moment of possession from the first draft, so wasn't sure how I was going to do it in this draft yet.
    I really love the idea of the witch corrupting or passing on the power to a younger more able-bodied presence. Gives me two answers, which is awesome! :)
  10. Hyzaleia

    Hyzaleia Acolyte

    I really love your idea of having her as being able to see or predict futures. That would definitely be the creepiest for the young woman, and I think I agree that I need to sort look from her perspective more as what would be the worst for HER, not just something random that the 'witch' does. But something that genuinely would horrify the woman....
    Night Gardener likes this.
  11. Hyzaleia

    Hyzaleia Acolyte


    I am definitely going to go with tying in to the cult in some way. I'd like there to be a scare like that as well, where she's either going to bribe them or use them in some way for her benefit. Not killing them, since she's not that 'evil', obviously. But something that shows her lack of care for everybody else, and ultimately since she's the leader of her family, she makes the decisions. It's simply poor luck that the woman and baby have fallen into her laps but she will probably take advantage of it.
    I think her role will be important to the story for sure, but If she was even more of a focal point maybe I would dive into the cult/village/family thing a little bit more. I just don't want to have a bunch of details on her and then suddenly cut back to the main storyline/journey and just leave her behind. But I also definitely want that eerie cult vibe that you're talking about! so many ideas now :)
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019
  12. Hyzaleia

    Hyzaleia Acolyte

    The thing is, I use the word 'witch' for lack of a more specific word. She is simply just supposed to be a genuinely creepy old crone, living in a cult-like family and leading it, and I need her there as an obstacle in the story.
    Her 'scenes' are going to be important for a bunch of different factors! Since it's second draft, I'm bringing in this character to tie other pieces together... I do love the idea of having a witch that comes across as creepy but is genuinely trying to help. And maybe I'll do something similar with her after all! I just don't want to make her too much of a focus, since her presence is more important if she's a stumbling block to the main characters, you know? Thanks so much for replying though! Love the suggestions :)
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019
  13. Hyzaleia

    Hyzaleia Acolyte

    I do like the idea of her being maternal in a messed up way, forcing either the woman or maybe the members of her 'family' to depend on her... I think that's sort of the aim within her cultish family, but if she were to also put that onto the young woman I think that would be super creepy too. She definitely has some sort of divine ability, so that would tie in really well! I just need to do it in a way where I don't spend too much time writing about her, since I want her to advance the story past her point and not linger on her too much.. Hmm.. Thanks so much for replying :)
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019
  14. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Sage

    If the witch is just odd-- or ambiguous-- and not transparently evil, I think you'd get so much more depth and options for your writing. If she is sheltering the young mother and infant, the act should be genuine. But, if the travels ahead are perilous she might be reluctant to let the young mother leave. That would give you thematic options like... cabin fever, feeling trapped or imprisoned, doubt, paranoia, getting creeped out by other 'cult' members, etc. It could be something really mundane, like the geography being legitimately dangerous after torrential rains. Years of living in the area would tell you if you got 10 inches of rain in 24 hours, the roads and bridges 2 miles out from the cult compound will be impassible and dangerous to attempt traveling for X amount of days. The foot bridge over the river will be underwater, rock avalanches and mudslides are routine, etc. If your young mother character can't get a good read on this witchy-matriarch for whatever reason, you wouldn't want to overstay your welcome... but refusing hospitality can be insulting.
  15. Seira

    Seira Minstrel

    Welcome to the forum!
    I love the people on here so much and would spend all my time on here if I wasn't so busy. On a lot of forums, if you just join and immediately ask a question you can get slaughtered for it! People are awesome here.

    First I love your idea. And I also like what others have added about the witch being someone who enjoys toying with people rather than just evil I mean if she has a long life (immortal) and no way to fill it. No use in getting close to people, she'll only out live them and it causes her pain to watch loved ones die, she has to do something to fill her time. Her powers allow her to interact with people which otherwise she couldn't, it gives her a feeling of worth and importance that other wise she wouldn't feel. There's no reason why she might not take advantage of her powers - maybe she's an opportunities and her "help" comes with a price.
  16. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

    I agree, this is a pretty special place. Lots of wonderful, helpful people set us apart. :)
    Seira likes this.
  17. Verona L Jones

    Verona L Jones New Member

    As a Witch - I'm kind of against the typical stereotype that witches are ugly old hags that are evil. I like the idea that she protects the woman and child from an outside source. the crone, woman, and child fits the symbolism of the triple goddess - maiden, mother, crone. If you wish to use the magical aspects, then this would be perfect. She shelters them because their power added to hers? Makes her strong enough to fight the evil cult that wants her power too. Working together and combining their powers allows them to tip the balance of evil and good towards good.
  18. MorioKitsune

    MorioKitsune Acolyte

    So something like the Charmed ones from Charmed?
  19. Sammo2191

    Sammo2191 Acolyte

    My first thought when you said about the witch taking the children, what if she took a part of their youth/life force to return her own youth? You said that she was a hag. Is there a backstory about the way she became what she is? Or is she just an old bitter woman? Do you intend to keep her on as a villain or a hero?
  20. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Sage

    She could tell them their fortune. Try to get the woman to hand over her infant with mind manipulation. But without knowing your plot it's hard to for to say.

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