And a sequence it is. One story after another. So I experiment with starting the first story. And this character, I realize, must act here. I had, after all, ascribed him as the expert in protection spells. (I needed a protective plot device, and why not? I had to provide the handful I knew about with some classmates.)
Now, I know very little about him. I can skip over his background. That he's lean and brown perhaps may be all the physical description needed.
I simply can't write him knowing only that his name begins with "N." grumble grumble grouse grouse grouse. All the handy masculine names starting with N either don't fit the era or just don't fit the character. grumble. Other writers manage to write with placeholders, but not, alas, me.