Monday, September 11, 2006
The Stubborn Merchant
Shnakvorum Rikoyoch (Greetings, friends).
I don't know how it works for other writers, but some of the characters in my science fiction novel can be incredibly stubborn. I'm not talking about in the story, but during the act of creating them. I've had to learn to listen to what they're telling me when I go about bringing them into the story. Case in point, the merchant Gruln.
For a long time I was struggling with this character. All I wanted him to be was a bit character who would show up early on when my protagonist, Rathe, was getting some new gear. But the character was adamant that he wasn't going to resign himself to such a small part and that his name wasn't Gruln. No matter how many ways I tried to write the scene with him in it, things just wouldn't work.
I fought with him for days on exactly what his role would be, but he'd just stomp around in my head refusing to act right. Finally I gave in and asked him just what role he thought he should play, but all I got was "not Gruln" and "one leg." Nothing like characters in your head talking in cryptic code to make you feel one mile past the end of insanity.
Frustrated, I packed up my gear and headed over to Java Joint. After all, what better place to figure out a character than in a place full of them? Plus, Bailey has always shown an interest in my writing, and I always feel better talking about Saurian troubles out loud. When I got there Bailey asked how Sauria was doing, and I told her about this stubborn character--and wouldn't you know it, just as soon as I voiced his demands out loud the answer hit me like a falling blite!
You see, back during his days of training, Rathe had rescued a hatchling that had one of its legs bitten off. The pieces started falling into place. Due to reasons I can't divulge here, this hatchling would be one of the last people Rathe would want to see again. And enough time had passed that this young hatchling could believably be working as a merchant (three aboyoch, to be precise). But best of all this would add a new layer to Starfire and work to flesh out Rathe's character even more.
So I guess I've learned to listen to my characters when they begin acting stubborn. After all, I have to assume they know themselves better than I do. And they've never led me down a wrong turn yet.
Maybe I'm more of a short story guy.
No wonder they look at you a little strange down at Java Joint. You don't speak English.
Can't wait to buy the book.
What's a blite? What's an aboyoch? What's a hatchling (OK, maybe I can figure that one out.)
A blite is a large, airborn plant that is quite common on Sauria, especially around active volcanos.
An aboyoch is a Saurian year.
And yes, Saurians hatch from eggs and aren't live-born. Usually the young are called hatchlings until they reach 3 aboyoch and begin their first apprenticeship or enter military training.
And I'm just as eager to sell the novel as you are to read it Domino. :) Hopefully we'll both have our wish fulfilled soon as Starfire is coming along nicely.
LOL! Loved this line. I think that's where all writers exist. And the whole character disagreement/argument? Yeah. I can relate. It's the same for me. Of course, I'm not contending with alien creatures. :) Still, the experience is the same.
Glad you found a solution. Amazing how talking out the problem goes a long way toward solving it.
S-man, you add real flavor to the place. Thank you!
Links to this post:
Bailey Truitt ~ Java Joint owner
Leslie Brymes ~ reporter extraordinaire
Carla Radling ~ realtor at your service
Wilbur Hucks ~ ya gotta love him
Jake Tremaine ~ retired logger
Ted Dawson (S-Man) ~ sci-fi writer
Hank Detcher ~ pastor and friend
Janet Detcher ~ keeps Hank in line
Bev Trexel ~ retired teacher
Angie Brendt ~ Bev's best pal
Sarah Wray ~ Simple Pleasures owner
Jared Moore ~ Kanner Lake Times
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