ORIGINS - CAPY & NEWT
It’s hard to remember at exactly which point in the creative process I came up with Capy and Newt, but I do remember this - I had intended nearly from the start that Bee would eventually meet someone else magical, so they must have been there from episode two or earlier, and that from the start, I conceptualized them as a matched set.
Although, that may not be entirely true. I think in the very, very beginning, I may have wanted there to actually be three strangers at the episode four meeting, because I love large casts and making lots of characters. But I ultimately decided that introducing that many characters so quickly could make it hard for everyone to get the development they needed to seem fully fleshed out. So, then there were two.
Anyway, Capy and Newt were originally designed together and meant to contrast just as much with each other as they do with Bee. That’s one of my favorite kinds of character dynamics after all - two people so vastly different that they would have normally no business being on each other’s radars, but forced to come together for some common goal. So when it came to creating one character as a jumping off point to start molding the other around to be their opposite, I know that Capy, in that sense, did come first.
Group dynamics are very important to me as a writer, and one of the ways I think of it, when trying to get a good balance, is to divide my characters into “high energy” - characters who talk fast, talk a lot, and/or speak loudly - and “low energy” - characters who are more reserved, who would more likely keep their thoughts to themselves, and/or speak more quietly. To me, finding a good balance of low and high energy is key to keeping conversations and group interactions interesting.
Since I think of Bee as low energy character (with her mostly doing the amount of talking she does out of necessity, rather than want), I knew I needed one person in the new magic team to be high energy. Since I already had an inkling that I wanted someone in the group to have super strength, the obvious solution to me for a college setting seemed to be one of those archetypal jock types whose life revolved around being a a good bro and being on the team.
Since meeting two high energy characters at once would definitely be overwhelming for Bee, I knew this jock’s match had to be low energy, but still different from Bee’s own anxious repression. Compared to the upbeat, team player type I was envisioning for the other character, I didn’t just want them to be quiet, I wanted them to be cold. Maybe even a little scary. I began to imagine someone clad all in black, who would stand in a corner, quietly watching and always judging. After that, I began to think of these characters in other terms - as companions in Bee’s journey, they could be her knight and her witch.
But of course, a lot changed after that first concept, including the fact that in my first thoughts, the jock type that would become Capy was originally a boy and the goth type that would become Newt was originally a girl. That, I think wanted to start re-imagining when I realized this high energy, happy-go-lucky character type that was not uncommon in my works (unfinished as they may be) I usually envisioned as male, and I wanted to switch up that aspect, which ended up unlocking a whole bunch of other character possibilities for Capy.
As long as I changing that, I decided to change Newt as well. As a character, he started becoming less “modern witch with a house full of tea, crystals, and tarot decks” and more “reclusive artist with a house full of canvas and paint.” But he kept the tea and the goth look, as well as the name “Newt,” which I had originally picked out because I wanted something to allude to the witch-ish-ness of the character, and kind of stuck when I got attached to it.
Capy was always going to be Capy, because Capybaras are awesome and, as I have said, “chill as fuck.”
Ultimately, I wanted both Capy and Newt to have their own plotlines and agency, so they couldn’t just stay Bee’s anything. In fact, from the moment I started writing them, it became apparent they were both very resistant to being anybody else’s anything, so I started writing them as specifically resistant to those role’s I first imagined for them.
Capy didn’t want to just throw herself in the way of danger for someone, and Newt hardly wanted anything to do with anyone (which clashes with my Pratchett-inspired idea of a witch as someone who helps all the fools in the world, albeit with resistance, either on their own part or on the part of those they’re helping). So while I can’t remember how ultimately helpful I wanted these two to be in Bee’s story, I ultimately just wound up with these three very disparate people, uncertain of just how and if they were ever supposed to come together.