Petto is one of two characters that really make me hate myself when I read the original draft. Nora’s six-year-old sister, she has virtually no faults and is one of those annoying adorable children in fantasy who “see clearly,” blissfully ignorant of the world yet completely wise. Petto saves the day because she’s able to trust everyone and “see the good in them.”

Most of my characters I’m trying to grow and evolve, but Petto I’m shrinking. She’s going to be minor. She can still be kind of smart, but no more plot-changing accidental friendships.

The other thing is the name. I’m attached to it, but I think it’s a nickname. Ivy, their mother, is going to have too much sense to name her daughter Petto. I’m toying with the idea of having her be Ivy jr. according to a family tradition.


Nora was me. My persona in the game the sparked the story. Originally she lived in the mountains with her little sister, having watched her parents die at about age six, lived in an orphanage for a while, and eventually brought herself and her sister (Petto) back home.

All by the age of eleven.

For Nora to pull that off, she was going to have to be either really gritty and closed or really messed up. (I’d already decided to make them all older.) She was acting like a strange combination of what I wished I could be and do in her place and what I would actually be and do in her place. (She was the only character with a crying scene and a weakness that didn’t make her stronger.) Either way, she was too close to me and had to be changed.

So now (keep in mind I am not very far into it) she is a pessimistic teenager who, having no idea what her purpose is or why they live where they do, gets pleasure out of life by thinking of smart-mouth answers constantly and cynically discussing life’s problems with her single friend. In other words, she’s lazy, arrogant, cynical, and equipped with a nice “whatever, it’s not like I can do anything to help” attitude.