I’ve been thinking a lot about characters. This is a typical response to when I’m working on an Aryneth novel, because the Aryneth books are so heavily character-based stories, stuffed with colourful personalities, to the point where I have been accused of putting in too many characters (and sometimes I agree with that, but then I remind myself that quite a great deal of fantasy authors are guilty of that, and that eases the pain a little). My favourite thing about most of my characters, though, is that they always continue to surprise me.
“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” – Robert Frost
It’s a bit of a cliched phrase, but I always marvel at how true it is when I come to a situation where something I never expected reveals itself in a character, or a plot point is moved along in a way I never thought of. There’s almost something magical about the way that works sometimes, and a little confusing and baffling. As an author, I’ve created these things, and yet they manage to write themselves more often than not. I usually plan out there characters, their purpose in the plot, and I know what my end point is, my destination for the ending. Usually, I have a vague idea on how they get there, too, but for the most part, it’s just as much a journey for me as it is for them.
And I love that. That element of surprise, even for the writer, is one of the most rewarding and exciting things about writing. I know I was just yesterday talking about another book, but I really should focus soon on the book that directly followed “Serpent in a Cage,” and wait, with bated breath, to see what other surprises are thrown at me. After all, when I set out to write SiaC, I expected Locke to be the main character throughout, but Gilferen wound up being the hero and I couldn’t be happier with the results. So who know what might else develop?