Learning the Characters

Posted on 21 October 2011

Chapter Six: Hordin House.

First off all, yes, I’ve been reading a lot of Lovecraft and R. E. Howard. How’d you guess? This chapter is a bit of homage more to Lovecraft than Howard, granted, but I think there is more room in Tijervyn for the unthinkable and eldritch than for barbarians. It is also more Halloween-ish, and yes I’m a weekend early for that, but whatever. And who knows, perhaps a Conan or Sword and Sorcery-type feel will work its way in. Or perhaps I’ll just write a short to scratch the itch. Whatever. This isn’t what I want to talk about today. What I want to talk about today is Jak and Gust.

So, I’ll go ahead and spell it out for anyone who didn’t catch it. Jak and Gust are lovers. Did I make a big deal of it in the story? Nope. Am I going to? Nope. At least, not any more than I would of any two characters that are romantically involved. Now here is the really funny thing, though. I had no clue they were lovers (or gay at all, for that matter), until I was plotting this chapter, and it hit me that it would be really poignant to have Gust be the one that actually found Jak. Then, it just kind of hit me like a lightning bolt. Why has Gust been giving Markus so much harder of a time about Jak than everyone else? Why do they both not speak Sentatian after years of working with a Sentatian gang? Why were they two peas in a pod before it the fateful events at Dunny Manor? Lightning, I tell ya.

See, when I first made these characters, they were just two close friends. I did not think “and this couple will be gay” when I was plotting out, because I’ll be honest, that just isn’t something I had ever really thought about on my characters. Yes, I was guilty of ye olde heteronormative bias. I thought I was being fairly progressive by having these two dark skinned foreigners that have equal status to everyone else in the gang, and no one really notes one thing or the other about them. So, yes, it surprised me when I figured out this new depth about them.

And you know what, that is part of the fun of writing organically. If I had hard plotted this trilogy out, I probably wouldn’t have really left the room in the outline for me to even think to do this, let alone actually been able to work it in without major rewriting. I love learning my characters. It is like getting to know a good friend even better.

And I could get into a long winded discussion of LGBT in fiction, but I’ll save my thoughts on that for next week. Yay.

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