Yesterday, I let the oldest character in my head get out her frustration. Adriana was created in 10th grade when I was putting the Immortal Wars series together. I wrote the first two books and Vanity Pressed the first book. She was certainly the most fun to write because she was a villain with a heart. Hydrana of the heroes comes in a close second because I had plans for her to grow out of the spoiled brat stage. One of the things I always regretted about scrapping Immortal Wars was that I had to say good-bye to Adriana.
Fast forward to college where I ran a Dungeons & Dragons game in the world of Windemere. A hidden continent where my characters roamed. Well, I needed a rival for Reese Kestrel and this character had to threaten her relationship. In the middle of a game, Adriana was mentioned. At the end of the semester, she made her appearance in the midst of a battle and caused such a ruckus that the entire plot changed. She was in the stories to stay and I had to figure out how new origin. I’m still not 100% certain where I’m going with her though. This time she was an immortal who had been split in two instead of a single entity, but I’m leaning back toward single entity to get her into the Sin series. It requires a lot of overlapping among characters that never meet and if I want to ever write the book on how the Great Cataclysm happened . . . Apparently, I just solved that problem as I wrote that sentence. Sisters. 🙂
This makes me wonder about those original ideas that authors come up with. I’m sure many authors come up with that first idea and run with it to publishing. Others have that early idea that they cut their teeth on. These first ones help an author develop a style and get a feel for the world they are wishing to enter. When comfortable, they step into a bigger story that is more focused and flushed out. So, what happens to all the ideas that came before that? Do they vanish and die, never to be seen again? Do they hide in the shadows and fester?
I know I’m talking as if these mental characters are real and sentient. That’s because I think they are in a way. Not independent of my own mind, but working off a part that I don’t always access. They do things that I don’t plan or expect when I write, but they still work. Every character is jacked into my subconscious imagination where they develop and have a clearer idea about what is going to happen than I do. This is where Nyx’s ‘little brother’ nickname for Luke came from. This is where the Luke/Kira relationship came from. I guess I’m the type of author that feels there is some life in his characters and wonders what happens to the ones I don’t go through with.
Anybody out there have an old character that survived the tossing of their ideas? Are you going to use that character or keep them around in the hopes of finding them a new home?