My WIP’s Third Revision
Major Characters (2)
I find myself almost holding my breath at times. And the butterflies swirl every time I think about what I’m doing.
So, how am I doing it?
When I created my characters, I didn’t give a lot of thought to their emotions. This time, I am paying far more attention. I assign two emotions for a character in each scene, one from their positive traits, and one from their flaw.
I begin try to use the same two emotions through Part One. After that, I look at their experience and whether their dominant emotions should change. So far, all of them have. And their changes don’t always match up with big changes in the story. But they do match up with big changes in their experience.
To keep it simple, for each emotion, I pick three or four ways they might physically display that emotion. So, now, they aren’t always jutting their chins out or blushing. Thank heavens for the suggestions. Even when two characters have the same emotions, I find ways for them to express themselves in their own ways.
I’m also finding ways for my characters to speak differently. I’ve done two colonial women, two colonial soldiers, one colonial waterfront tough, and one native leader. So far, I’ve found ways to make them speak differently. Since they also express their emotions in different ways, I hope that is enough.
Before I did my native, I sat down and thought a lot about how to portray him. There was a time when all natives seemed to be comic cardboard cutouts. They couldn’t speak the language well, grunted a lot, and were prone to make fools of themselves when plied with liquor. That so offends me, and I’m determined not to do that to my characters.
Still, ESL people do speak differently. So, how was I going to do that without creating a stereotype? Fortunately for me, my MC’s father only had one scene with a colonial, and he insisted that the colonial speak in the native tongue. I also took out all the contractions. And I softened his language, making him slightly less emphatic than a colonial would be. The other thing I intend to do is have my native characters speak a little differently around colonials than when they are in their native settings.
I hope I don’t get run out of the house for my portrayals. Ha.
How am I doing?
I got through seven important characters. None of them were POV characters, so I didn’t have to worry about their internal thoughts. I have one more non-POV character to do, and then all four POV characters.
Of 238 appearances by my important characters, I’ve written 144 of them.
So, What’s Next?
Each of the remaining characters is more complex than the last, with the MC being the most complex of all. I’m holding my breath.