For this post, an excerpt from the vampire novel I’m currently writing will be used, (please don’t take and use the characters or ideas). In last night’s topic, I explained the difference between telling your story Vs showing how the character felt, working to control her powers. While this topic goes hand in hand with that one, I go deeper, and explain why characters shouldn’t be handed much.
Before learning how to truly write, the first draft of my vampire book had me giving my character everything without making them work for it, or had Blackrose use her Alt. form with no restrictions, which looking back, made dull reading After the wake up call that review gave, I pulled the chapters of the alpha version of the book I’ve posted to fiction press and got to work on a complete rewrite, a rewrite still in progress.
When creating stories around characters you created, it is easy to want to give them awesome powers or weapons, which is fine, but having them just be handed the items without tests or restrictions doesn’t make for good reading. If you send your character to do a task for items, like slaying a monster, or the first example below, then your readers will be drawn in.
“After hearing the warrior give the reason why he had been there, Cerberus studied the man for a minute, thinking Blackrose would never send someone, much less a human, in her place, unless she couldn’t come herself, making him nod as he said, “I believe your words, go forth and see him, but there will be battles in your future that maybe to much for you. Hold out your arm.”
You see here, after a long battle to get past Cerberus to retrieve something Blackrose needed, he sees how much of a true warrior my male character is, offering to become his allay. This is an example of setting tasks for characters and making them work for a goal. Now, for an example on restricting a character’s power, keep reading.
When I was rewriting the book, a few ideas were taken off the table, only to be replaced by ideas that restricted some of my vampire’s abilities. Oh, she has her Alternate form, but I made it so she can only use it at certain times.
“While Blackrose still had the war with herself going on, she admitted that Dante was hers to do with as she wanted, which maybe her good half was influencing her action, but whatever possessed her, she had no intent to let this human kill him. With an eye on the woman, and the other looking at the night sky, noting the moons weren’t out, made plans for the fight come to her, like a herd of wild beasts would come to a meal begin to fill her mind, having the cat start chuckling, which turned to an insane laugh. For a second, Blackrose felt something that could be considered pity for what this human was about to experience, but the feeling vanished as fire started burning with in her, burning away the seal that held an unknown power in check.”
Here Is how I “capped” her Alt. form, by having it only be accessible when the moons aren’t out, which I believe is a nice idea. If you design characters with special abilities, it is a good idea to design a way to have them reveal it at certain points of your story.
Again, if I missed anything, or if you’d like to discuss this in more detail, please feel free to comment! 🙂