Today’s Developmental Diary is an insight into my stories rather than the World Building. Though I’m not an avid Literary Fiction reader, I feel like Literary Fiction greatly influences my work. I personally believe that there is a spectrum between Literary and Commercial fiction and the best books have a balance of both.
If you’re a reader of my work and you’re discovering this entry, I hope you enjoy this insight into the characters you have grown to know.
If you’re a writer, I hope this helps spark ideas for what your characters need to make their journey meaningful.
Doing What’s Right
I’m working on a character that somewhat reflects my own angst towards imperfect government. He’s a character who’s capable of doing great things, but still needs to have his abilities focused. His arc deals with him doing the wrong thing for the right reasons and him coming to terms with where he’s most needed.
Many times we’re zealous about doing good, but the world doesn’t always have a clean answer to what good is. So we start hacking out a path that we believe is right for us with the very best intentions at heart, only to find that what we really needed was something entirely different and perhaps the very thing we were running from.
Life isn’t like a story. In the end, we don’t always come full circle to find what we needed all along. Fortunately for this character, he will have the chance to make things right. I sincerely hope he takes it.
Lightening The Mood
I unintentionally introduced characters who might serve as comic relief down the road. I’m not exactly sure if this series will extend beyond three volumes, but I feel like I could easily extend it beyond to four or five. If I do, I think this will play nicely to my advantage.
So This Is Love
Sometimes I create a character in the moment and then realize that they HAVE to be more involved down the line. I recently created a character who I believe will be great as a potential love interest for a character in the second volume. If I want this to work well, she needs to say something that is more meaningful for his character arc at their first encounter. I’ll have to go back and tailor this in revision.
Finding The Light
I have a character who’s far more shy than I originally imagined him to be. Not only is he dealing with loss, but he also knows what his fate might be once the world realizes what he is. It doesn’t look good for him. He reaches out to his older brother for the light at the end of the tunnel, but his brother unintentional says exactly what he fears.
I realized that another one of my characters feels guilty that she let herself be saved. In revision, I need to build in a more decisive moment where she decides to take back her life, but particularly of her own will in order for the prophecy to work. I also need to link her disappointment in herself with the first six scenes she’s in so that I can get away with some exposition. Without that exposition, I can’t properly set up her character motivations.
Drawing the Room
I got lost in one of my scenes. I needed to stop and draw the layout of the room in the middle of writing because I felt disoriented. Two scenes later, I needed to do the same thing, but for a much larger place. I wanted to make sure I could visualize it correctly as I described it. Now I really want to do artwork for some of these places so that readers can check them out too.
I realized that the key to one of my character’s climax moments is being being able to find balance. I already knew that he had to come to terms with what he has to do. These terms are hard for him to accept because he’s been trained from a very young age to avoid it. Until he breaks down that wall, he’ll never achieve his full potential.
In the next book, there is a parallel character arc going on between two characters who never meet. One is learning how to be a good leader by instilling respect while the asserts himself with fear to keep his followers. I was excited to figure this out because parallel arcs and reflective arcs are my favorite tool for expressing my themes.
What About You?
Do you enjoy Epic Fantasy stories in the vein of Robert Jordan, Anne McCaffrey and Brandon Sanderson?
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If you’re a reader from the future, did you figure out who’s who?
And for my writers: Do you have any experience with these character arcs yourself?
Let me know in the comments! I’d love to talk to you about it!