Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Character Bibles, Romantic Heroes, and Embracing Your Inner Slut

The character bible is done! I didn't finish it until this morning, but it's printed out and hole-punched and resting in my new purple binder, with the book cover mock-up I did tucked inside the protective plastic.

Revising the character work I did last summer took a lot longer than I anticipated. Willa pretty much jumped into my head as a real, complete person, but that's rare for me. More often, I find that the first, instinctive choices I made while building characters are not as interesting or effective as they could be, and I wind up making changes after the first draft-- sometimes just tweaking, and sometimes a major overhaul.

Saadia and Akenam are the characters that have had the biggest overhauls this time around. For Saadia, this is her third rebirth into a radically different person. She's not a major character, but she reappears in Eleven Names and so I was wary of making any decisions about her that would be hard to live with later.

As for Akenam... I accidentally cast him using the same mold as Bresher, the hero of EN. They had different upbringings and different coloring-- other than that, they were the same guy, just in different circumstances. And one of my Romance pet peeves is authors who write the same hero--who is so obviously their own idealized Dream Man-- over and over. Now, I do think that you need to be at least a little bit in love with your own hero (and/or heroine) to write a Romance (or in my case, a Romance subplot). But I also think that hero-love needs to be polyamorous. There's a whole world of imaginary men out there! Surely your skirt can be blown up by more than just the one!

In my case (being naturally hero-polyamorous), I think it was more that I've spent sooooo long writing about Bresher, I was just falling back on what felt comfortable and familiar. I kind of knew from the beginning that I was off track with him, because I had an idea of the voice I wanted him to have and I just couldn't make the Akenam in my head talk that way. (For some reason, I can build a heroine from scratch, but a hero needs to be based on someone: an actor, another character, or a real person. Not sure what's up with that.)

Then a little more than a month ago, when I was deep in Act III, I stumbled across a new Akenam on a YouTube video (no, not going to tell you which one!). So I fired the old one and re-cast him, and from that moment his voice has been perfect. Seriously, dialogue flowing from my brain through my fingers.

I did the same thing with Bresher, come to think of it-- wrote God only knows how many drafts with him cast all wrong, then re-casted him only to have angels sing.

So, to return to my initial point: my old profile of Akenam needed a lot of work.

But now it's done.

No comments:

Post a Comment