So Chapter Two of The Plot Thickens is long and involved. There are 26 areas to help an author identify who the character really is.
We all know it’s important to know your character inside and out. But by the time I finish describing four major areas in 26 more categories, I’ll probably be dead.
I’ve scanned the categories and identified which are going to be influential in my novel. The first three are pasted below.
That is, of course, if you care!
For those of you who don’t, here’s what I learned:
1. There are things you don’t know about your character
2. Most of them won’t matter
3. Some of the categories will help you develop a more realistic, relateable character.
4. Don’t waste your time writing about what you are going to write. Just scan the ideas, look for important things you’ve missed and skip to the exercise at the end. It’s called the “Personality Test.”
Annie: Annie is a Seer. She’s just coming into this talent when we start the book and she isn’t sure how to control it. She’s always been intuitive—able to recognize and identify other’s unspoken emotions. She doesn’t realize that not everyone has the same ability. As the story progresses, she starts to see emotions. They radiate off people in waves of color. Once she learns to match the color with the emotion, she’s moving in the right direction. She also has vivid nightmares that give glimpses of the future. Once she attains the Seer Stone, she’s also able to look into the past and more clearly into the future (although that is always transient).
Annie’s also kind to everyone. She doesn’t evaluate people by rank, but by their characteristics.
Caellen: He’s naturally good at a lot of things (and it’s a little bit irritating). If he was a real person, he’d probably be in the NFL. He’s big, quick and strong. He’s applied that ability to his sword fighting, and at an early age is better than most men twenty years his senior.
Cael’s great with people. Soldiers respect him, servants adore him, and women can’t keep their hands off him. He’s charming and charismatic. He’s a good and sympathetic listener.
One trait the reader won’t see until later in the manuscript is his ability to solve problems quickly and efficiently. He sees solutions others miss.
Emma: Emma is a Sorceress. In its latent stage, Emma is a good manipulator. She always gets her way. People have a hard time disagreeing with her. Once she comes into her power she will able to control people’s emotions and “encourage” them to complete a specific action.
She has a hard time differentiating between goodness and beauty.
Chisholm: Besides being a wizard (they can control elemental properties: earth, air, fire, and water), Chisholm is quick-on-his-feet and smart. He also has an excellent sense of direction. He is a skilled fighter, but has a big conscience. He is plagued by guilt when he doubts his actions.
Annie, Caellen and Chisholm all believe in the same basic religion. It’s very simple druidism. Their God is simply known as “The Light.” This Light created all things and gives them all things. They don’t have weekly worship; instead, worship is done at the seasons. There are “Teachers of The Light” and “Temples to The Light.” The Light is also synonymous with knowledge. They believe that there is balance in all things. For example, summer balances winter, spring to fall, death to life, white to black.
The opposition to The Light is simply known as The Darkness. When bad things happen it’s because The Darkness must balance The Light. It’s a “sorrow to recognize joy” concept. People can worship The Darkness, but they aren’t common. There is power in The Darkness, but not as much as The Light has. (Light penetrates all darkness).
Life is essentially a circle. You live and die, but will live on again. You are reincarnated until you live a life good enough to reach The Light or are completely unsalvageable. In that case, you are sent to The Darkness. Worshippers of The Light believe that each person is half of a whole. Some people find their “other half” right away and then spend their next several lives together trying to achieve The Light.
Emma is an unwilling participant in Demonai. The Demonai worship a goddess known as Demona. She encompasses both The Light and The Darkness. She has created all, but she can also take it all away. She is a vengeful god. Death is the end for believers of Demona.
The Demonai Priests carry staves that are supposedly powered by Demona. Really, the power in the staves is drawn out of magic-wielders. Not only does it remove their power, but it also sucks out their life forces (results in their death). People who are gifted with magic powers are essentially “thieves of Demona’s power.”
It is a male-dominated church. Women are second-class citizens. The Demonai do not like to be subjects of a Queen even though she’s accepted their religion.
Emma doesn’t believe in Demona. She only participates because she has too.
Annie is a firm believer in The Light. Her faith is a result of all the loss she’s suffered and seen. She wants to believe that life continues; that her mother and siblings are not gone, but they live on forever. This will come into play later in the book.
Cael is also faithful to The Light. He has wrought so much death that he wants to believe that his foes have an opportunity to move forward with their lives. It also helps him to feel less fear in battle; he will continue even if this particular life ends.
Chisholm believes in The Light because it is the opposite of Demona. He’s not going to worship a goddess who looks at him as a thief! He loves nature and feels that it was a gift on The Light.
Emma doesn’t believe in anything. Doesn’t care, doesn’t want to know. She just wants to move forward with her life. She’s only fifteen and figures she can figure out religion later. BUT, she’s fairly certain that the Demonai are wrong (and will be positive by the end of the book).