Saturday, 9 March 2013

Character Discussion: Building the Backdrop

Victorie, Mathilde, Morgana, Josephine, William: Building the Backdrop.

Every story has background characters. Some always stay in the background, others come to the forefront eventually, some aren't as far in the background as others.

When I decided I wanted The Afflicted to become a series, I knew that I was going to have to place some interesting characters into the story that I could bring forward later to create potential other 'afflicted'. So when I started building them, I had to keep many things in mind.

While they were details that were common things one would use while building a character, I had to keep certain elements in mind for what I wanted to do later.

In the case of Morgana, what happened in her past plays a big part of who she is now. She talks a little about what happened to her family back in Scotland, but we don't know the true horrors of the situation. She is a complex little person, and I thought that, considering the time period and what had been happening to those accused of witchcraft, that there is a certain way that I believed she would be, whether she was actually a witch or not. Someone who has seen the things that she's seen, lived what she's lived, was a reality in many places at the time. Its unfortunate but its true, women were burned without much question. I wanted that to be obvious in the way that Morgana behaves, her demeanor and her reactions to other people. She's guarded, and she's scary if she really needs to be. Its about so much more then her being traumatized or damaged.

And yes, I use those Character Profile worksheets - the ones that they suggest you use in almost every how-to writing book, but I've tailored it to suit my needs. Some are more elaborate than others, and some are not totally complete. In the case of Morgana, because of how her past has shaped her, her character profile is almost entirely complete. That seems to be the way that the character building works, the more information you need about the character from the beginning, the more you fill in, and if not other things get filled when they come to you.

In the case of Victorie, the idea I had for her did not come till much later, so her original character profile is very basic. But now that I've had this idea, which will probably begin in Book 4, I've started filling in more things. This does not mean that I have not and will not use her till then, it just means that she is still more in the background until what I have planned can be pulled out. The same thing happened with Mathilde once I got into writing the second draft of Ikon, and I'm excited to see what happens.

And then there's William. Originally when I had envisioned the series I had not thought I would make one of the men a narrator, but my fiance has lobbied for William from the beginning so I decided to explore the idea, and it is a real possibility. It would be new territory for me, I've never wrote anything with a male narrator before so it might be fun.

Who these people are, and who they were, is very important. In the supernatural realm of things I had to give them certain abilities, or powers in some cases, for what I intended later, and that would further their own story as well as the overall plot when needed. The supporting cast is always important and should never be overlooked.

It'll be an interesting ride, but that's what happens when you're one of The Afflicted.

Did you enjoy these posts? I sure enjoyed writing them! 
So, I thought I'd run a little contest. Here are the rules: 
Be the first person to comment on each Character Discussion post. You can comment on each post, but you will only win one copy if you are first. In a case of multiple firsts, the next comment will be a winner. 
In the comment, includes something about what you think makes great characters, following along with the theme of the character discussion. And if you've read the book and want to include something about the characters, you can do that too!
Post One: Memorable Main Characters
Post Two: Iconic Characters
Post Three: Dynamic Male Leads
Post Four: Villians
Post Five: Background Characters
I look forward to reading your comments.  
Contest ends March 16....or when someone leaves a comment!! 

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