Things we have learned about the characters in the first week of writing

I have fifteen thousand words of book now. It seems like rapid progress — I just had 10K the other day! — but that’s because the number is still small. 5K won’t seem like much once I’m in the middle.

Word count: 15,205
LBR census: Hmmm. I’m actually not sure which this would qualify as.
Authorial sadism: Knowing enough of the ending to be able to foreshadow things. With malice.


What I’m having fun with right now is learning the quirks of my characters. I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet that the focus is shifting a little with this book; Lune will still be in it as a major character, but she’s not the faerie protagonist anymore. Frankly — to divulge a small spoiler from the end of Midnight — a Queen makes a bad protagonist for anything other than a very political story like Ashes; she just doesn’t have the freedom to go running off doing random things. My main character this time around is Irrith, whom you’ll be meeting in Ashes next month.

And there’s all kinds of new stuff to discover about her. She’s turning out to be charmingly amoral in certain ways; she has no compunctions about lying to mortals for the fun of it, and in fact enjoys making her lies as outrageous as she can get away with. Shocking people in general is a great game to her, actually. The scene I finished tonight ended with her and Segraine, a female knight of the Onyx Court, making plans to go investigate something, and Irrith just asked, “So which of us has to be the lady?” (I haven’t decided yet what the answer to that will be. Either way, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.)

As for Galen, the mortal protagonist — I have more to say about him that deserves his own post, but probably his most telling character moment yet came when he went home last scene. He’s young enough that he hasn’t set up a household of his own, and when I asked my hindbrain how we were going to start the scene of Galen At Home, it sent him sneaking in the servants’ entrance after dawn in an attempt to avoid his father.

There are distinct pleasures to be had in writing a single character long-term . . . but this, the odd unfolding of facets you hadn’t yet figured out were there, is especially a new-character thing. Irrith lies. Galen sneaks in the back door. These are the people I’ll be spending the next five months with.

So far, they’re entertaining me.

0 Responses to “Things we have learned about the characters in the first week of writing”

  1. onyxworrystone

    These characters are wonderfully enticing. I cannot wait for Ashes.

  2. Anonymous

    For some reason I was sure you were going to kill Lune in Ashes and that’s why the protagonist changed. I still kind of expect an important character to die, but may well be wholly off the mark.
    Galen and Irrith sound like great fun

    • Marie Brennan

      D’oh! It didn’t even occur to me that my statement also constituted a spoiler for Ashes. <headdesk>

      A great many people die in the next novel, but I refuse to take the blame for all of them; history’s the one that killed them off. 🙂

      • Anonymous

        S’okay, got a new theory about who dies now, and it’s not like you can avoid some spoilers talking about a sequel

        • Marie Brennan

          Well, I’ll be putting up a post for people to discuss Ashes after it comes out; you’ll have to come back and tell me if your theory was right.

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