Behind the scenes (Part two)

character

In relation to my other post, Behind the scenes part one, today we’re looking at giving substance to the characters that will populate our books. When I embark on a new piece of work, I already have a sketchy idea of the people I want in my story; all I need to do now is “flesh” them out. So how do I do this? For me it’s a step by step process.

Firstly, I have the main location fixed in my mind. In the case of Land of Midnight Days, being a dystopian urban fantasy, it needed to be set in a city – one I knew well. Therefore, what better place than the great city of Liverpool, where I was born and grew up, with a little poetic licence, here and there.

liver bird

So what characteristics did I need for my main protagonist, Jeremiah Tully? I need a combination of someone who was vulernable, yet still able to achieve his goals. Someone who was magical, yet didn’t always rely on his gifts to get him out of a sticky situation, and I needed someone who was different from most fantasy heroes, in that he didn’t use a sword or ride a horse.

prince-charming-costume

I wanted something altogether different for Jeremiah Tully, yet something the reader could still identify with, so I made him “mixed race”, that is part human, part Elwyn. The Elwyn side of his nature was designed to portray him as a fantastical creature, with a tall slender build, slightly pointed ears, and silver eyes.  Then came his name, derived from  the 70’s rock band, Jethro Tull. This led to another idea, as the lead singer of the group plays the flute, so why not make Jeremiah a flautist too?

flute

What else did I need to make this character stand out? I puzzled over this for quite a while, then out of the blue it struck me – make him mute! This came as quite a challenge, when it came to dialogue, apart from the fact I know very little about sign language. Even if I did, it would involve reams of description every time the character used hand gestures to “speak.” I got round that by not using inverted commas for his dialogue. Here’s an example:

The trouble at the club wasn’t my fault, he signed. Ezra made another grab and he only just managed to evade it. Wait. I’ll play tonight for nothing. Every penny goes to you.

British sign language letter A

I was a little worried that readers might find it problematical discerning Jeremiah’s dialogue from the narrative, but so far I’ve had no feedback along those lines; it seems to work well.

Anyway, armed with all these ingredients, I created a character who is not a standard fantasy hero, but nevertheless embarks on a quest of discovery, fighting demons, ogres, and his own family in order to discover who he really is and what he’s capable of. He is a fragile creature, but nonetheless fights his corner, until he at lasts fulfills his purpose.

midnight 2

http://goo.gl/qw64zu Land of Midnight Days UK
http://goo.gl/VMJLS2 Land of Midnight Days US

 

 

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7 Responses to “Behind the scenes (Part two)”

  1. I want to read this book. I think my son (TheReluctantWizard) on wordpress would also enjoy it. He writes science fantasy. Feel free to post on my fb page.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great series of posts Kate, so glad I’m catching up on all my lovely friends blogs! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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