I follow a number of writing blogs and one that I read today touched upon something which is consuming a lot of my thoughts at the moment in regards to the main character of my novel. The idea of depth, of a journey and making a character that touches the reader. I'm often overly critical of my own main characters, and with this character - I know I am extremely critical of 'her' - or more precisely, my writing of her.
Because this is a first person novel, the story is laced with personal insights from the character. I often feel I get too pulled into her inner monologue at times and that sometimes it is repetitive. The current point I am writing is a crucial point of the character development, it helps define who she is - or more, who she wants to be and sets up the rest of - not just this first story - but the planned trilogy.
This character has certain self beliefs - she is a good person, she is/has been selfless, she would do anything to help others - she's not perfect, she's made her mistakes, she's suffered for them, but all in all, she has a strong self belief in the type of person she is. The early part of storyline shows her that this isn't necessarily true, she has the ability to be extremely selfish, she isn't brave - and shows her cowardice more than once, and her cowardice lets her down. With the back story of the character, it has always been her cowardice that has let her down, and she has a moment of epiphany. A desire - a need - to change, but then is immediately faced with the prospect that she might never get the chance to make that change.
This change - and need to prove to herself who she is, to give her own life - and possible death - meaning is really the undercurrent of the storyline, her behaviour is guided by forcing herself not to become a person she hates, to face her fears and know that if she dies - she leaves true picture of who she was, and not the coward she never wanted to be. Of course, nothing is simple, she is too trusting, too eager, and does get 'burned' and sometimes being the coward or the 'bad' person is the only way to survive, she doesn't have a choice in who she gets to be.
I think the scene I'm writing at the moment is so hard because it has became so important. I'm pleased to announce I'm past the first hurdle and have the majority of the entire scene in note format, I'm just hoping that the feeling is there for the reader. That the character isn't repetitive, or dull - but shows that she's struggling with her predicament and in many ways, her own identity.
I'm eager to hear what my test reader(s) have to say about this scene and how it is building up, and with luck - that elusive 30k word count will be within reach soon. Who knew writing a novel could be such a hard process? ;-) ~ Kitty