I was getting nowhere in the plot of my story. The setting had been difficult to nail down. It speaks to my inability to embrace it as I once did. So in order to reignite my interest in the project, I have spent time on honing the descriptions of the characters in the core of the narrative. This is what I have so far.
The matriarch of the Chen household. She is a progressive woman, noble to the bone, but holds onto one traditional belief to keep a dream of her son alive. He was her only tie to the world and ripped from existence in a far away land.
When Meifeng and Chen Fu become embroiled in a scandal so harmful to their family name, she orders Meifeng's death in a public drowning to save face. At Li Li and Chen Fu's pleadings Meifeng is able to leave and runaway with Leo.
The last of the Chen family's servants. An orphaned raised by the matriarch herself, her main station in life is to be Chen Fu's wife. Nurturing, she took over primary care of young Chen Fu when he out grew his nursemaid. She keeps the peace in the family.
Meifeng's return symbolized Li Li's insecurity. She knows about the history she had with Chen Fu and fears that Chen Fu's love for her had never been resolved, thus destroying the relationship she had struggle to build between them.
The master's son with his mistress. He was brought home as an infant, after his mother's death. Raised by Li Li, he spent the formative years of his life away at boarding school. He was a robust youth when he completed his education. He and Meifeng maintained a close friendship that grew to be more at the chagrin of the matriarch. Unable to marry for love, he fell into a depression that drove him to military service until he succumbed to consumption. The illness left him sterile when having children meant a great deal to his role in the family.
Learning of a daughter he had never knew born abroad complicates matters. It causes him to lash out at unexpectedly at his wife.
The older of two brothers that Meifeng first met. He became a newspaper man's apprentice. After reuniting with Meifeng years later, he moved to another city with his new bride.
A diplomat's son. He was one of the suitors vying to be Meifeng's living husband after she officially married the Chen family ghost. He would have been had Chen Fu not win her heart first.
Meifeng accepting to be his wife was the happiest news he ever had.
The immortal form of the Chen elder born. He appeared to Meifeng when she awakens in the underworld facing final judgement. He stands in her defense and gives up his immortality so she may live. The events she experience could had been a dream. No one can say for certain about superstitious beliefs.