Thursday, February 17, 2011

Characters as Placeholders

I realised a couple of months ago that most of my plots consist of the primary character in conflict with a large impersonal force. Environmental change seems to be one of my favourites. Boring!!!

But it meant that I had to start writing nasty characters and that is what I have been battling with for the last few days. One of the male leads in Lodestar has had to step up to the plate and become an antagonist. The male avatar. His name is Sard, short for Sardonix, a semi precious stone. (Yes, I do spend quite a bit of time choosing good names. Once I have a name I have a character.)

I've been battling, myself mainly, trying to convert him into a 'nasty piece of work'. Even writing those few words feel wrong. Like I'm doing him an injustice. He was so much himself, cast in the concrete of a novel that's been on the hard drive for upwards of ten years. He almost had become too 'real' to be changed. But it would be a mistake on my part not to slaughter his good reputation.

Today I came to the conclusion -- wrong word there, it's got to be an ongoing thing -- that the supporting cast must be just that. They must exist to help the main character through the plot and achieve a good resolution.

And as such are nothing more than a set of placeholders. Anyone of them can be written to behave in any necessary way. At least, that's my present understanding. All I've got to do now is make it work.

No comments:

Post a Comment