This post previously appeared on my blog, http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/
This month’s blog round robin is about character revolt: did you ever have a secondary character threaten to take over a novel?
Boy, did I ever. And what’s more, he succeeded.
It went like this: After I wrote Relocated I was haunted by a question that I asked myself during the writing of the book: what happened to the partners of one of my characters, Ardaval, who is living alone in a large house in the novel. While contemplating this question, as well as the question about the future progress of my main character, Keth’s, romance with Orodi, I started another novel which I had taking place four years after the first one. I meant this novel to answer both questions.
Thus I was concerned with what would become two four-way relationships, the one between Keth, Orodi, Darus, and Jozi, and the one between Ardaval, Brad Reynolds, another character from the first novel, and Ardaval’s two remaining former partners, Nidrani and Imarin. And I had to pick a main character and a romance to concentrate on.
I’d just finished writing a young adult novel, so I picked Keth as the main character and proceeded to write the novel in the first person, concentrating on his romance. Along the way, I signed up for a writing course that required me to write 1000 words a day for about five weeks, and produced a messy, multi-point-of-view incomplete draft concentrating on the romance between the adults. This consisted of a lot of the YA version rewritten into third person as well as some new material.
I completed the draft of the YA version, which I called New Aleyne Novel, revised it, and passed it by a beta reader. She pointed out some weaknesses in the novel structure and wondered if a version concentrating on the adults might result in a stronger story.
So what did I do? A short while contemplating her remarks convinced me she was right, and moreover, I needed to scrap BOTH version and start over. This time I made Brad Reynolds the main character and concentrated on the adult romance. I set out to pick my point-of-view characters and to lay out the arc of the revised story.
I’d never, outside of the messy draft for the online course, written a multi-pov novel, but I had to pick my point of view characters. Although I loved both story lines, I needed to keep the number of point-of-view characters to a reasonable number. I picked the four characters in the adult romance: Brad, Ardaval, Nidrani, and Imarin, and in addition, the antagonist, Senator Hank Manning. I rewrote the entire novel from scratch. It became Broken Bonds.
I also needed major help managing the multiple POV’s , but that’s another story.
Here’s to Character Revolt — long may it wave.
When Major Brad Reynolds is assigned to head the Terran Federation base on planet Aleyne, the last thing he expects to find is love, and certainly not with one of the alien Aleyni. How can he keep his lover, in the face of political maneuvering and of Ardaval’s feelings for his former partners— and theirs for him?