Writing About… THEM
Posted by Will
I keep “not writing”, and we all know how that feels. There were times, maybe two years ago, when I stopped writing my first novel for such long stretches, it occurred to me that maybe I had stopped for good. Work avoidance, interrupt-mode, outside pressure, garden-variety fear- take your pick. And sometimes I really, truly was not writing. But that’s not the problem right now.
Mostly, as I was composing “Judgement’s Tale”, these were times that I just… waited. I NEVER stopped thinking about him. Seriously, I lose sleep over that guy- and work sometimes suffers, and… wait, what did my wife just say? Until I got that first volume done, I was in a daze whether I was writing or not. And all that time, while I was “not writing”, I could almost feel little bits falling into place. A name, a reaction to an insult, two lines of a song… they would drift past my mind and I’d think “oh yes, that’s part of it”. And after a while the writing would come back.
The next story I’m working on is “Perilous Embraces”, the third installment of the Shards of Light series. It’s heroic fantasy with a flavor of political thriller, focused on the career of a high priestess named W’starrah. Once again I’m “not writing” but listening and watching as things fall in place.
But this is different; she’s… one of THEM.
Solemn Judgement from “JT” is absolutely one of the driving characters of my lifetime- I’ve been studying him for AT LEAST thirty years. He’s nothing like me, but I know him very, very well. I can show you Judgement through the eyes of others, regular folks who chop wood and copy books- and that’s good because you will never get inside his head on my watch. You don’t want to go there. If there’s a delay in writing about Judgement, it’s just because I never noticed what he was doing at that point in the story. But HIM, I know. It doesn’t take long.
And those other folks, I think I’m pretty good at them too- heroic fantasy has lots of characters with big handles, and the Lands of Hope is no exception. I do the crotchety old geezer, the burly barkeep, the precocious child, the warrior. I’m a fair hand at the intelligent beast, if that’s not boasting, and I relate a fair villain (cliche, but kind of funny too).
And Justin, Trekelny, Feldspar, to a lesser extent I have known and chronicled these heroes informally for years. I could talk about them in my sleep- and according to my lovely wife, I sometimes do.
But W’starrah Altieri? She’s one of… THEM.
I don’t mean just “women”, although that is tougher, and she is abundantly female. W’starrah is a very active, gregarious, sensual yet courageous and heroic woman. She can foresee the future- she knows what’s coming, and no one else around her can. Foresight, confidence, femininity, mysticism… I don’t know who she is. I haven’t been watching or listening to her very long. So the little pieces come out as I walk around “not writing”, but they don’t make as much sense to me. And I’ve written some of the tale- a very little bit- but it’s like pushing a rock uphill. I could tell you what happens, but I can’t make sense of it yet.
Do you find that you have a certain kind of character that’s THEM to you? Or is it a situation that puts you off? Maybe giving background, or conversation? For me, chronicling is ALL about character, and I must admit, W’starrah is still THEM. What about you?