Monday, January 16, 2012

Dragging a good name through the mud

Characters have a peculiar way of invading your subconscious and changing the rules on you when you least expect it. At least this is how it works in my head. At the onset of this novel, I knew the character of Julian, the White Mage was a bastard. No dancing around the issue, he was a cold, calculating jerk and he would be the villain of the piece.

But then a little niggling sensation began. This character seemed to protest the role he had been cast into and decided to mutiny. I suddenly found myself with a bruising brick wall of character development crashing down on my head. My villain wasn’t my villain after all. How did this happen? What was I going to do with him now.

As I continued to write, the Julian I had pictured in my head grew five new faces. No longer was he a straight out killer, a villain, now he was a scapegoat, a victim, a lover, a best friend and eventually a hero. He also became a gem of misdirection. From his earlier character development I knew he would pull a reader in the direction of viewing him as the straightforward, but through his actions and reactions his true character would begin to emerge and allow me to build up the mystery of who the real villain, or The Master was. In literary terms Julian would be my personal equivalent to a character like Severus Snape, the character whose team you aren’t certain of, whose motivations are vague, who true heroism is not revealed until after the critical moments have passed. Of all the characters I have created writing this book, Julian will be the most difficult to pull off.

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