Newspapers and articles. Features. An interesting thing that I’ve learned is working from the outside in with character, especially when working with non-binary personality. I didn’t initially think about elaborating on a character with sociopathic tendencies; but it happened. Of course, a character who leaves yet returns to a familiar landscape in rural Georgia. What’s provocative about this character’s dichotomous behavior is he doesn’t seem to pick up on traits of his own behavior, and it takes a while for him to admit what it is that he is attempting to understand within himself. He has a normal life. A wife–and he has a good job; but when he finds out that he is the cause of unsustainability it’s a challenge for him and the people he’s involved with. Landscape is pivotal for many of the characters in my novel–yet for this character there’s an absurd resistance that doesn’t make sense to people, otherwise known as the characters, or even himself.
One of the interesting things about intricacy, in general, is working with relationships in families, specifically father and daughter relationships–especially when both characters find something they have been wanting to do but never really had the nerve to exercise. I’ve noticed that the more that dig into characters’ inhibitions, the easier it is to work them; for example, I have a character, the father, who finds courage in music going back to his roots and wanting to appreciate life more with aesthetics; he finds life again artistically. The daughter discovers or, rather, appreciates her talent again through painting and sculpting. I’m working on the tension between these two characters and I’m really looking forward to seeing how they develop. Music, as a healant, provides the father with a way to deal with loss as well as discovery. Uniquely, however, art sustains the daughter in the sense that landscape doesn’t offer the escape as it normally would have for this character; landscape is an important feature, obviously, for this character and others; yet, art as provincial becomes a prolific measure not only in subtext but also with begging the question of what really speaks to the family dynamic.
Funny, but I don’t think, as I’m discovering, that it’s never enough time for me to spend on character biographies; and I’m wondering also if starting from the ending of the novel and working my way up makes a difference in terms of time and chronicaling ideas in novels. It really would be interesting to see more diverse development from ending to beginning. All of my secondary characters have more of place or home, now; and the novel is morphing into what I think is working better contextually in terms of organization–yet this first novel has been the experience of additionally expanding more on general subtexting. I’ve been researching a lot with setting/environment and character displacement–getting the so-called goods on the direction that these characters should probably head towards. And geography, for me, helps make all difference in the world; so I’m finding. Maybe, in the future, starting from the ground up may mean from conclusion to beginning…just something for me to think about when I start the next novel.