Fly on the Wall Sunday: Character Changes Everything

The thing about writing is you never know who the reader will attach to. In The Rainbow, D.H. Lawrence’s book, I couldn’t stand any of the women in the book. I attached to Tom Brangwen. I found myself connecting to his character, completely understanding what he felt in the situations he found himself wrapped in. So when Tom Brangwen dies I felt completely heartbroken for the character. I have cried on movies before but this is the first time I read a book that I had to walk away from. It took me over a week to come back and finish the book simply because I didn’t connect with the other characters. I didn’t like the other characters at all. And the one character I connected with was gone ever so violently. My heart broke, not for the widow that I couldn’t stand anyway, or the stepdaughter who seemed a bit like a spoiled brat to me, or even his two sons, but for the man, Tom Brangwen, who died far too early, and so alone.

Characters can change everything in a book, not just for the reader, but for the writer too.

I’m currently at work on many stories, as usual, but mostly I’m embarking on my science fiction journey with what should have been the second book in a series, but is now the first book—Destroyer of Worlds.

I saw this story going a certain way. I saw the characters in the lead really pushing my imagination to the limits and building their world one block at a time. But then it happened. A character came into the story that really, in the first appearance, was just going to be kind of a prop character—not a supporting character, but kind of like that handbag that carries nothing but is mandatory to complete the look of an outfit. I saw this character, originally, just being that tag along that did absolutely nothing more than tag along.

But as quickly as my leading lady found herself running for her life, and my leading man got called to duty to fight against the invading aliens, this little girl stole my heart. There was just something about her that pulled me in and changed the entire way this movie in my head played. My heart broke for her, and the protector in me wanted to make sure that nothing else bad happened to her in this book.

The change with this one character has changed not just this book, but the second book in the series as well. And so it happens, a character changes everything.


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