Friday, May 22, 2015

When Quirks Define Character

I've been writing a series of stories called the Magician Series since mid-2013. It began life as mostly stand-alone short stories and evolved into a handful of novellas and 2 (of 3) novels written in the series so far. In time the cast grew, and the magician was joined by a girl named Charlie and a creature from Outside the universe named Jay. It reached the point where Jay and Charlie wandered off to have their own adventures in the world at the end of the second novel. (Charlie had ceased travelling with the magician and come back during that interim.)

And Jay, who was ten(!), fast, tough, very good with bindings and spoke with a lisp, lost his lisp and ended up being blinded at the climax of the second novel in November of last year. the end result of that was that Jay got a tumblr . Granted, he had been 'on' it for some time in the stories before and I had resisted giving him one figuring it was going to be a time sink among other things. But Jay's lisp had been a huge part of him. In multiple-character scenes, it was easier for the reader to know when Jay was speaking and so forth. Jay could cameo on stories other people wrote easily with that short-hand of 'here is Jay'.

But without it, I was left uncertain as to where I was taking the character. How his speech patterns would change without the lisp, how he was going to cope with not being able to see* and how Charlie was going to deal with the changes to/in Jay as well. Jay's response was to become more exuberant, subconscious worries at people making fun of his lisp vanishing leading to dialog peppered with excessive punctuation and emoticons. And also Jay missing his lisp, since to him that was a huge part of being Jay, as it was one of the first things Jay learned about himself when he entered into the universe.

The third novel is going to alter all the characters further. Many details are hazy, but it is the last novel I plan to write for the series though there will likely still be short stories done after that. Some probably dealing with how Jay adjusts to things again. It should prove quite interesting to write, and nicely odd to work on. Jay was definitely the breakout character in the series and it's been interesting to see what worked or didn't work and to explore various aspects of the world via his peculiar world view.

* The magician (and a fae named Dana) promised to fix Jay's eyes when they found a way. Since he tends to take people at their word, a part of him accepts the blinding as temporary so it doesn't alter/define his world as much as it might have otherwise.

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