Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Remember When . . . Characters Were Contradictions?


Sometimes the publishing industry seems a little strange. A Lady Unrivaled is getting it's final copy edits at Bethany House, in preparation for being sent to press so it can release in September. A Name Unknown is going through its first edits there now. I have turned in my synopsis for approval for the second London Shadows book, A Song Unheard, and am doing research for that one now . . . even though it's a year and a half before it'll come out.

As I'm brainstorming characters and plots for this new book that I'll begin writing soon, I realize that a lot of my planning takes the shape of contradictions or oddities. For instance . . .

In A Lady Unrivaled, my characters are:

A young lady who has always been enamored with romantic tales who . . .
Is afraid to trust her own judgement and fall in love.

A gentleman who is ashamed of his past and determined to be a better man, but who . . .
Will never confess the truth of who he is and his artistic "habits" to anyone.

A ballerina willing to do absolutely anything to hold onto the life she fought to achieve, but who . . .
Can never get her Russian grandmother's voice out of her head.


Then we have A Name Unknown, where the characters are:

One of London's best thieves on a mission to steal information from a wealthy gent in Cornwall, but who . . .
Has a sense of justice that insists she fight for someone being wronged, even if she intends to wrong him too.

A best-selling adventure novelist with a heart of gold and an enormous faith, but who . . .
Can't put a coherent sentence together when speaking and is contemplating changing his name to avoid political fallout.


So now, here I am planning out A Song Unheard. Thus far, my characters are:

A former urchin and current thief who  . . .
Is also a violin prodigy, sent into an orchestra to steal from its lead violinist.

The most brilliant cryptanalyst (code breaker) in Europe who . . .
Is only an eleven-year-old girl.

A charming violinist accustomed to smiling at the right people to achieve his aims who . . .
Is nursing a gunshot wound from an attempt to rescue his little sister (see above).


See now, that last one doesn't come off quite how I want him to, LOL. I'm still figuring out my suave Lukas De Wilde, discovering what makes him ticks and motivates him. The idea of having him be injured actually just came to me the other day--through the book, he's going to be fighting to save his sister and mother from the German occupation of Belgium. But I had to figure out why he hadn't done so already.

I rather like the answer that he tried--and failed. And is still feeling the effects of that failure. Effects that will, happily for me but not for him (mwa ha ha ha), also impact his career, in which he's put his hopes of future success in his endeavors. He has to play, to earn money to go back to Belgium for another rescue attempt. But playing becomes difficult when one has a serious wound in one's shoulder...


So there you have it--a peek into how story shapes up in my mind around characters . . . and their contradictions.


2 comments:

  1. I love the whole concept of contradictory traits in characters....May I use this framework in my classroom with my junior high students?

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