I’ve told you about the science fiction book, The Sixth Sentinel, so far this week. Building the characters was a fun journey for me. I had Xylia, my leading lady who was a top level warrior when she had her memory, and my leading man Chronus, who was edgy, and a bit cranky really. Of course there were all the supporting characters as well so I had to figure them out too. Who are they, why are they warriors, and how do they have the abilities they have.
Even though this book is in the genre of science fiction with a hint of romance, I follow the same steps for any genre I’m writing in. I want to know the characters, and I want names that fit them.
Knowing the character’s inner workings is important. Why do they do the things they do? Mistakes, victories, and anything in between and I want to know the why, and sometimes the how, but I’m more focused on why. Like why do people kill people? I guess I’ve always been more about the why. That’s probably why I majored in psychology—tell me the why, not the how, not the when, just tell me the why because back in the day I used to want to understand. I follow my characters the same way.
My question for Chronus was why would he take his wife back in the past without a definitive return date and without even being able to get back to the same spot in time where he left her. My answer came to me. He trusted the higher powers ruling over this new world. He loved his wife. He couldn’t understand why she was going into battle on her own. He wanted to keep her safe and he believed those over him when they painted the picture of a happy ending After all, they were currently advancing toward winning the war and it was supposed to be over within a matter of a few months, maybe even weeks. Nowhere did he realize it would continue onward and ten years later he would still be without his wife.
He also believed in the lower level warrior, Kit, that he agreed on to go with her—not that he had much of a choice there, but there was this warrior code so he didn’t expect Kit to break it and end up marrying his amnesic wife.
Once I got in touch with the why I understood why the man was so angry. He was very much angry with himself. He had done this to her. He had allowed this to happen to her. He couldn’t, with all his time bending powers, go back and change it.
Knowing the why for his character definitely propelled the psychological aspects of the story onward for me.
Xylia, well, she had her own inner workings. I won’t give it all away, but I’ll say that my sweet, amnesia laden woman, was born to be a warrior. No amount of time travel and memory removal can change that.
Now that I have names, the why, and the what, where do I go next? Building the body of the character. Next time I’ll talk about looks and all things superficial—or is it?