Old Characters With New Faces

Raiden from Metal Gear Solid series

While Kira Grasdon might have gone through a transformation like the hated guy above, I found that others had to change.  To connect this story to Legends of Windemere, I needed to have a few cameos.  Nothing too big considering the story line, but enough that people who read the originals will get a kick out of them.  In this post, I’m only going to mention one person who turns up because it isn’t a spoiler for the original series.

This was one of the hardest parts of Quest of the Broken-Hearted because I needed to age the characters 2 years.  Not so much physically, but their stations in life and personalities have changed.  Remember that they survived the Baron and that goes for champions and supporting cast.  Many have physical and emotional scars, which haven’t all healed.  These characters turn up with a new look on life, especially since they aren’t adventuring any more.  Those days are behind them and enough time has passed for them to settle into a new routine.  Unfortunately, not all of the changes are for the better because this is still rather close to the final battle.

Now, I’m going to point out one reason why there was something to work off of here.  I put a final section on Warlord of the Forgotten Age, which has the survivors returning to Gaia 8 years later.  This helped me realize a place further down the timeline that they were going to end up, but I couldn’t have them all there yet.  So, their appearances here are almost like a transition stage.  The trauma caused by the Baron has faded, but it’s still there along with the stress of adapating to their new lives.  This is another reason why Kira had her falling out with so many.  It’s clear that they are moving on while she is screaming for them to focus on the ghosts of the past.  One could say it’s opposing ways to handle grief, which is another aspect I had to consider for the cameos.

Now, the character I will mention turning up is Kellia Solomon.  Not a big spoiler since she wasn’t involved in the final battle at all.  Her father has passed and she is the new Duchess of Serab.  Physically, she is more refined instead of her more tomboyish beginnings.  She is the one who stumbles into Kira and tells her about Lacarsis, but I had to retain some distance to make it clear that they aren’t close any more.  This was probably the easiest change to make since it felt minor.  Kellia is concerned about an old friend, which shows more maturity and responsibility.  That was the gist of her big appearance aside from being a plot tool.  I think the ease of this one is what threw me off when I got to the more complicated ones.

Thankfully, the headache was limited since no champion would ever be found within Lacarsis.  That was the big benefit to the story, but it also meant I couldn’t have any build up to the cameos.  Established characters had to step right into the scene and reveal what they’ve become by simply acting that way.  For one in particular, it was incredibly shocking because you can tell that they’ve been having trouble over the last two years.  Probably just as much as Kira if not more.  I tried to soften this up when I was doing my edits, but I’m not sure how successful I was.  I get the feeling that it’s because my mind was still working off the older version.  2 year jump isn’t much, but future jumps will be far enough that I can see the survivors being more settled.  I have a few real world years before I have to tackle that again since it’s not until I do Darwin Slepsnor’s series that any of them reappear. Small favors, I guess.

So, what do you think about bringing back characters as older and different?  Do you know of any tricks to make it easier?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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15 Responses to Old Characters With New Faces

  1. L. Marie says:

    I immediately thought of the epilogue of the last Harry Potter book, which took place 19 years later. And of the play (Cursed Child) when Harry is an older adult.

    The only tip I can think of is to write a timeline of the events of the characters so that you know where they are years later. And that’s what you’ve already done. I’m working on a story now that takes place after a book I’ve already written. But events happened in the interim that changed the course of these characters. So I’m working on a timeline to see how much has changed in the interim, and what ripple effect those changes will have for the later story.

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    • The timeline would certainly help if they’re going to be more than a cameo. I did a similar epilogue in ‘Legends of Windemere’ that set the stage for things too. That one was 8 years later while this book is going to be 2 though, so you get to see a little of the between time. How flexible do you make your timelines?

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      • L. Marie says:

        I’m somewhat flexible. I leave room for something that I discover during the actual writing. Some time line events are the natural result of a past event (like a character who burns a city and arranges it so that blame falls on a member of a nation that used to be an enemy, thus resulting in escalated animosity between the inhabitants of that city and the alleged scapegoat people group). Those usually stay as planned. But some time line events have changed, depending on how I decide to injure a character. I made one character permanently scarred, but amended where on that character’s body he or she was scarred.

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      • I didn’t go into that much detail since the old faces had already earned their scars. Felt like it’d be too much to hurt them some more off camera. I focused more on family, career, and social influence.

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  2. I think it’s a wonderful idea. Two years isn’t long, but you might check the stages of grieving online. Some will have done all the steps, others might be bogged down somewhere in the middle.

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    • Kira is definitely more in the throes of grief than the others. The surviving champions didn’t get much time to relax and there’s the ‘other’ thing. It’s hard to explain without spoilers. One of the weirdest things with ‘Legends of Windemere’ is that the champions spent 2/3’s of the series knowing at least one of them will die. They were practically braced for it as well as expecting to be a fatality. In some cases, they went through stages of grief before the death actually happened.

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      • Well thought out. Everyone is different though. Some would see the aftermath as a different event to grieve. Others would go to taverns and tell their tale for free beer. Plus you have those non-champions who might not have gotten much page time. Brainstorming and research are two of my favorite things.

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      • The non-champions are an interesting group, but I only had 2 in this book. One is Kira and the other wasn’t involved in the final battle, so there was distance there. As far as the champions go, I will say that none of the survivors were in a position to go tavern wandering. Part of their story ended up being thinking about and preparing for a life after the Baron. So, several ended up with a new set of responsibilities. This is another reason why I didn’t think I could draw out the grief in them. Their time as adventurers was over, but now they had people depending on them in the aftermath. I would say one of the reasons Kira Grasdon fell so hard is that she had nobody else, so there wasn’t a sense of responsibility for her to hold onto in order to avoid the darker side of grief.

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      • Perfect one to focus on then.

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  3. I think bringing back a character who is older and maybe changed by circumstance is a great idea.

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  4. It sounds like you planned everything out pretty well. I like the idea of cameos like you’re talking about. I’m not sure if I’ve seen it done much before, I’ve read books where a character returns years later, but nearly always as a main character.

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    • It’s definitely tough to bring a previous protagonist in as a supporting character. If done correctly in their own story, they have a presence that can overshadow growing characters. That’s why I used them very sparingly.

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  5. To me, if the characters did not change after going through so much and ending in such a dramatic confrontation, that would almost be more alarming.

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    • True. I’m sure there are some situations where that could happen. Immortals might not change too much. There could be a story where the character leaves one life to go on an adventure and then returns to it after getting the journey out of their system. It really depends on what they’ve gone through too. I could never imagine any of my characters staying the same from beginning to end since I put them through their paces. Yet, a character that doesn’t go through much might not change. Not much of a story though.

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