Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Character Depth

Chapter 47 is under way, though now because of work I'm back to the bits-and-pieces method which means that I need to type the past couple of days' work up at some point and fill in the gaps.  I seem to be writing it in an even greater number of places at the moment which means that a big part of my next page-to-screen transfer will be actually finding all the bloody stuff.

I'm still reading The High Lord by Trudi Canavan - it's so good I want to eat it.  Or cry.  Or cry while eating it.  I read 350 pages on Sunday but have had to slow down considerably since then due to the inconvenience that is Real Life.  I've a little over 100 pages to go and I don't want it to end (this is more where the crying part comes in).  I'm also terrified that one of my favourite characters is going to die.  It's a dangerous thing to grow emotionally attached to a fictional person over whom I have no control.  I find I don't care for it.

But back to characters over whom I do (theoretically speaking) have control over.  I read an interesting quote online yesterday - 'You don’t really understand an antagonist until you understand why he’s a protagonist in his own version of the world.'  It's by a writer named John Rogers and, alas, I'd not heard of him before.  But I do like his quote very much.

It made me think about my own antagonists and whether they had enough depth.  When I was writing my MA dissertation - for which I used part of Hide and See (aka Book 1) - I was told to try and think more about the backstory of my characters.  I wrote one piece relating to my main character's principal adversary.  It's less than 1500 words, just a small but defining scene from the woman's childhood, but it helped to explain her motivations - motivations which I hadn't really considered before I sat down to write them.  And although that piece won't make it into any of the books, it did - and continues to - make her more human.

Somehow, though, I need to recreate this deeper knowledge of her onto the page without stating it explicitly.  How I do this is something of a mystery - is this a thing I need to do consciously or will my deeper knowledge of the character bleed through subconsciously when I write her into the story?  I have no idea.

What I do know, however, is that I'm finding this character to be far more interesting than I ever imagined she would be.

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