Tractable – definition: easily managed or controlled : docile
Are most of your characters tractable or are some intractable?
If your experience is anything like mine, there is usually one, or possibly two characters, that make their presence known in no uncertain terms. They want the starring role in our narrative. These characters are usually more defined in our minds and are ‘easier’ to relate to, whether because of a personality trait or that they are more fun to write. This leaves us with the problem of developing our supporting characters with as much attention to detail as the main antagonist and protagonist.
Flawed characters can be difficult to write on occasion as they are far removed from our own personality (well I certainly hope so!)My antagonist in Life in Slake Patch, was actually the leader of a group of young men fighting against the matriarchal system they wanted to change and in The Rython Kingdom, it was a vengeful witch, Malgraf, who gave my protagonist trouble.
However, in my reincarnation themed novel, The Twesome Loop, I admit to going further into the dark depths of a character. The character, William, is a wealthy landowner, expecting all his servants and serfs to be at his beck and call, no matter what he desires. William has a very dark side and carnal lusts. As I wrote scenes that included William I imagined a loathsome, brute of a man. This imagery helped me write from his viewpoint. Compassion was not a trait William possessed, he felt as the law of his domain nothing was forbidden to him.
Once I had finished my first draft and gave it to a few trusted friends, I waited for their reactions. Yes no-one liked William – perfect. However, it was suggested I write a redeeming feature for him. This would give some balance to his character without detracting from his main personality traits. Bizarrely finding and writing this part of William’s personality was the hardest.
Eventually I found a ’cause’ for his despicable attitude to women but it didn’t completely redeem his actions. I still needed my readers to dislike him after all.
Excerpt – adult content: Gabriella has tried to evade William during the wedding reception but he is impatient to have his new bride alone.
“My sweet, it is time to go.”
“But maybe a while longer…”
“No more dancing. Watching you sway back and forth has my mind on more delicious delights.”
His breath stank of ale and his brow gleamed with sweat. She was at his mercy now, the night ahead a fearful proposition.
With her cloak wrapped tightly around her shoulders, Gabriella stepped into the carriage. She looked back at her childhood home to see her mother wave. A tear ran down her cheek as William stepped in and closed the door. The horses hooves crunched on the gravel and the carriage lurched forward.
“Make haste, Hall, we are impatient to be home.”
William’s hand grabbed Gabriella’s thigh.
“Alone at last, my sweet, now I can taste your young flesh with no interruptions.”
“We must wait…”
“Wait, whatever for?”
“I have a surprise for you but I cannot show you until we reach our bedroom.”
“A surprise, how wonderful, you are quite the temptress. In the meantime I will enjoy those beautiful breasts.”
Before she could stop him, William plunged his hands down the front of her bodice and squeezed painfully.
“You are hurting me, please stop.”
Who are your favorite despicable characters from your stories?