Why the little things matter: character backstory

So, in both the first draft and the first edit, I seem to be getting stuck in the same places. The past few days, I’ve been struggling to get past Myles confronting Meliki. The reason?

I don’t know his character at all.

His actions and general attitude run all over the place in that scene, because I have no idea what motivates him, aside from the desire to get Rain back. Meliki owns that confrontation, and she really shouldn’t have. Myles should have been more in control, at least of his own emotions.

That is, assuming he’s a proper Academic witch. He might not be. We assumed he was, because of reasons, but that might not be entirely right. So do I adjust his actions to make him more like an Academic, or do I adjust my perception of him?

The answer is: I have no idea. I don’t know enough about the character to tell. So I did a little digging, and discovered his nasty past.

I’m still not completely secure in the character, but knowing where he comes from helps me understand why he thinks the way he does. Maybe tonight’s editing will yield some better results.

But, if it doesn’t, I’ll do what I did with the last scene that threatened to halt all progress.

I’ll just move on.

You can always come back to something that doesn’t work later, but only if you keep going past it first. I don’t expect to get it right the first time, the third time, or even the ninth time. But I won’t stop until it’s right.

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