Sunday, April 25, 2010

In Character

WARNING: This blog post may contain colloquial language, vulgarity and discussion of different sex acts.

2ND WARNING: Author has had three cups of coffee

Sometimes, as authors, we view our stories and our plots with the detachment of an outsider. I'm not saying we don't get lost/caught up in our stories, because we do. What happens is more like worrying about making sure we get the road to lead where we want it to that we don't pay attention to the actual path.

I was editing a chapter today. In that chapter, Galen the bad guy is coping poorly with the fact that the now-dead ingenue from the previous book (Adelaide) has possessed him. To add insult to injury-- to use a cliché-- Adelaide has noticed a young man her age and her lust has left Galen with an erection. Galen gets into his car where his mate and fellow witch, Flidais, laughs at him for his predicament.

Now the basic road map for this scene required that Galen and Flidais drive from Point A to Point B. I got the sense upon reading it, that Flidais would do more than laugh at him. I spent the next 24 hours contemplating whether Flidais would give him a hand job or a blow job.

Yes, seriously.

One of my friends suggested a little bit of both. But that didn't seem right. As a writer, I typically can write through big problems. Little problems like this, or even smaller ones like what the characters had for dinner, can halt my progress for hours.

Today, I labeled why these things often stump me. It's not because of the sex acts. It stems from not thinking inside the character's head. The chapter I'm writing comes from Galen's third person limited point of view. I pondered the problem as if Galen had a say in which sex act Flidais performed. Which, he could ask, but he doesn't.

As soon as I considered the conundrum from Flidais' point of view, I had to weigh the magical consequences. In that case, a hand-job seemed vulgar and like a waste of male essence. She might try that if she wanted to weaken him or merely distract him. I think she would perform a sex act for her own gain. In that case, what can she receive?

In my series, any sex act has a supernatural weight to it and it all means something. Feminine power must be given, not taken. Masculine power must be taken. Sex, in the male/female intercourse variety, adds something to the universe and provides energy that can fuel rituals.

The answer became obvious, Flidais had to give Galen a blow job because she needed a shot of masculine power and that was an easy way to take it.

The moral of the story:
If you're stuck at a point where characters have to make a choice, make sure the characters reason out the problem and chose according to their motivations, not yours. Don't confuse the POV character's preferences with the character who is actually the one in control of the choice.


  1. Well reasoned, Angel. I think I agree, if I actually follow your logic.

  2. My characters tell me what they want to do...sometimes very different from what I want. And they're usually right.

    Good post, Angel.

  3. Angel, I enjoyed this post a lot - the inevitability of character, makes you write stuff that has you blushing!!!!