Notes on Writing: Writing a Character I Don’t Like
My note will be short this time, my blog buffer is low so I’ve been writing the next chapter instead of working on this article. This chapter introduces Brian Wilson, who is Deidre’s father. He and Deidre are estranged but Brian still tries to watch over her. The Year 2038 bug will remove those tools and he will have to find other means to keep an eye on his daughter and grandson.
When planning the characters for this book, I wanted to include a character that leaned towards survivalist ideals. I wanted to portray an individualist who has chosen to turn away from society and create independence on his own terms. Brian is this individualist, living isolated in the country, with a fortified and well-stocked house, waiting for disaster to strike.
The problem for me is that I disagree with parts of his personality, such as how he monitors Deidre and her son, and his choosing to push his grief away instead of facing it. It would be easy to write him as a villain who has some redeeming qualities or an idealized hero living off the land but I want more for the story. It will force me as a writer to stretch and write a character who has flaws and show a person and not a stereotype.
This chapter also shows how a story grows and goes off on its own. When I wrote the first chapter I wasn’t thinking about Brian and how he might interact with Deidre. Now that I’ve finished this chapter, there are things I could foreshadow in the first chapter. When I finish the book and revise things, I can put in the connections, such as the dash cam in chapter one as support for Brian in this chapter. I was also lazy on and threw in quick references for Brian’s monitoring based on knowing some lingo to sling around hither, thither, and yon. Part of the revision will be research on what types of internet activity a cybersecurity professional might monitor for the 2038 bug. Right now, there are filler references for DNS servers, alternate internets and other things that may or may not make the final cut.
It’s getting late, time to finish and post this. I will have more time to focus on writing over the next month and I plan to restock my buffer, I like being prepared. Next week I will have some announcements about our other book, “You Don’t Want to Go For a Ride” so watch this space for more details.