Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Changing characters in a series.

I'd like to introduce to you an author that has been a great friend. I've actually been there when his writing career started, and it makes me so proud that he is here on my blog today.

Please give a warm hello to my wonderful friend, Jack.


I have a new book release this month, The New King, the third book in the series Castle. I don’t intend this blog just to be a promo for the new book, but I thought I might as well get the name out of the way early and then concentrate on some writing information. So now I can begin: The challenge in writing a series is to be consistent with each character’s behaviour while allowing them to grow. 

For example my main character in the series, Jon, starts off as a meek individual. While he is big and a good athlete, he rarely got fired up and preferred to let others lead (kind of like the guy in your office that hides in his cubical). In the story he gradually develops into a stronger character and takes on more responsibility. In the third book he becomes a leader, strong and determined to have things on his terms. In Jon’s case the environment and situations changed him. If he didn’t change he likely would have not survived his journey, which would have sadly made it a one book series. 

Another character, Gilbert, changed as well. But it wasn’t the environment but rather the people around him that taught him how to act better. As the series went on he gradually became less selfish and fell in love with a woman he used to take for granted. I know, shame on him. But I did point out he was selfish.

I mentioned this because when I write I like to keep small notes as I write on characters and places. For example I might have “Gilbert, dwarf, selfish, thief, gambler, girlfriend Donna, knows magic, tattoos, Page 26”. The page refers to the first time I mention him in my first draft. The other details can change. Gilbert, in this case, stopped gambling due to pressure from Donna. He also started to change under Jon’s influence and in The New King he had become a much different person than the first book. 

The Castle series had a lot of different characters in it, and as I wrote I had to adjust for the change in their behaviour, if any. Some, like Lord Perry, was consistent throughout and it made easier to write about him. Most changed over the course of time and there were also relationships to consider, such as Jon and Liz (and Jon’s relationship with Nicole and Liz’s with Anthony. Yeah, it got a bit complicated.). 

Lastly, sometimes I have to say goodbye to some characters. That hurts a bit because I develop their personalities, what they look like and give them a past. Whether they are good or evil, there comes a time when a character’s traits will put themselves in a situation where survival is at risk. I don’t like to kill off characters for the sake of shock or suspense but it doesn’t make sense to believe everyone will survive either. 

However, I want you to know that when I eliminate a character I don’t usually have a preconceived notion he or she will die when I first introduce them to the reader. (Rest in peace, dear Character. Thank you for time and influence.) I like to let the story flow by itself and sometimes find myself surprised where I end up. No, I’m not drunk when I write.

Thank you Mila for giving me time on your blog. For those who are interested I do have a blog of my own, http://www.jhwear.com/jhblog. While it is technically a writer’s blog, I write about a variety of subjects, such as road construction, wine fairs, small towns and even my own stories. 

I hope you will drop by.
Jack Wear   www.jhwear.com

1 comment:

Mila Ramos said...

Great post Jack!!! Really loved how you described eliminating a character. You are much more civil than I could ever be lol.