The Red Knight has a vow of silence. Verbal tics don’t apply. Or. Maybe that’s the knight’s tic. The Mage is — well — the mage, and verbal tics aren’t necessary for this character. They may be a distraction.

But. There are the squires. And the rangers. Their stories aren’t really central to The Forge. But. Their verbal tics can help clarify the story.

While many of the minor characters are easy to make distinctive, the squires are a problem. They’re an essential element of the Red Knight. They are minor characters, but, one or more of the squires are in almost every chapter.

Some of the squires are relatively easy to characterize with a turn of phrase or other tic. But a few are tricky. And there’s some Book II problems that we want to — sort of — foreshadow. The foreshadowing can’t get too heavy-handed or Book I becomes confusing.

For me, the tricky part was the evolution of the characters. Another draft based on the overall story arc seemed to be helpful. And fun.

It's strange to query the names and read each squire’s story with large gaps between the sections where they appear. While I’d like to add some narrative elements to make each squire’s story a little more complete, I think it would dilute the mage’s story, and make the book too large. But I think I’ve got most of their stories organized properly in a few words here and there.

Time to build an agent list and start sending out queries. I’ve got to create another draft of Book II. I’ve got non-fiction deadlines, also. It’s all a good thing — if — I give myself some space.