Have you ever fallen in love with a book character? Well, not literally, of course (though if you have, I promise not to judge). Sometimes we really connect with book characters, to the point where we wish they were real. We want to keep learning about them and follow their lives even after the story we’re reading has ended. For those of us who are writers, that connection can be pretty strong. Partly because our characters are in some way an outpouring of ourselves, but also because we have to work so hard to get behind their eyes…to feel what they feel, examine their thoughts, dreams, and motivations. We experience both their joy and their suffering, else we could not adequately express it to our readers.
Sometimes our characters surprise us, too. We expect them to go in one direction, yet they go off in another. The harder we try to rein them in to fit our vision, the more they fight us until we must either strip away their newfound will (which typically results in dull, lifeless characters), or give in and let them take the lead. Characters can take their writers on adventures too, and we end up places we never anticipated.
Such is the case with Einar from my book series. He did not exist anywhere in the back stories I had saved from my roleplaying days. He was a brand new character, dreamed up just for Journey to Aviad; written to serve the larger plot, and only intended to play a minor role. He was bitter and disillusioned, yet still retained a broken sense of honor. In my early notes for the book, Einar truly was a renegade, and not an especially predictable or trustworthy one. He would help Elowyn because it suited his purpose, but he would just as easily have sold her out if by doing so he could win his own cause. But that’s not where Einar ended up once the writing began, and I’m glad of it. Moment by moment, Einar showed me who he wanted to be, and who he was destined to become as the story unfolded. He showed me all his past scars, his present pain, and the silent inner hope he still managed to cling to in spite of all that. In the end, Einar became far more than just a cog in the wheel driving my plot forward. He became real.
I wasn’t surprised when Journey to Aviad readers kept asking me, “What happened to Einar? Is he coming back?” He made a connection with them too. And though for many reasons he couldn’t have a role in Ancient Voices, I desperately wanted to continue his story, not just for my sake, or to satisfy reader curiosity, but for his sake as well. He deserved more. So when I was asked to write a novella that could be included in a charity book (coming out next year), I saw it as my best opportunity.Into the Shadow Wood is that novella, and I’m incredibly excited that it is finally ready for release this coming Tuesday! Once again, Einar took me places through the writing process where I never intended him to go, and yet they suited him perfectly. Readers will be happy to know that Einar’s story has finally been given some closure, but it is far from over. He will be back again, and no doubt his journey will keep surprising me. I can’t wait to find out what happens next.
Also in this Newsletter:
- Medieval Menagerie
- Fantasy Art
- Self-Editing Tips
- Into the Shadow Wood – Cover Reveal and Release Announcement
- And More…