Friday, October 5, 2007

Context, character and stuff like that...

...'cause really I can't think of a better way to put it.

I've been doing a lot of research into Singapore, which a) tells me I'd like to visit and b) that there's a lot I don't know. Funny how the more we know, the more we find we don't know. Anyway.

So there I was, researching Singapore, and thinking about Connor and Jacey, and how they meet and creating Connor, the guy I built to be a throwaway character. I'd penciled him in so broad, he was more of a cliche than anything else. Drop dead gorgeous, smart, strong, tough, ex-Delta. Keegan's little brother. The last three words pretty much sum him up. Keegan's little brother.

Then I realized, little bits of personality had crept into him whether I'd consciously meant them to or not, in the beginning of Hot Contract, he triggers the book by saving that kid. Later, when he's finally back after being held hostage for two weeks, he's frustrated because he couldn't save himself and Keegan had to rescue him. He also walks around with his shirt up over his head.

That part I didn't know until I wrote it.

I think he only shows his face when it doesn't matter, like the scene is moving fast, or when he's comfortable in a contained setting, like at DalCon. He's got the opposite of "look at me" issues. He's got "stop looking at me" issues.

A pivot point in this book needs to be where Jacey does something to trigger his fear that she's with him because of his looks. And closer to the end, I think I'll have to mess him up--so she can demonstrate how she loves him for who he is, not what he looks like.

But context. The whole thing about context is how environment shapes traits and viewpoint. The simple fact that the Dalfries came out of the Richmond slums--and yeah, Cowboy. I know they don't have slums or anything close to my take on it, "the red-bricked Richmond slums". But the description triggers a peg. Sort of like a desktop shortcut.

So Connor has security issues on top of his body issues, and he's probably got a lot of prove-myself stuff going on in his head, and maybe he has this thing about eating because food was scarce growing up. My husband has a similar thing about food pars. Because of how he grew up, to this day, he won't let the amount of food in our house drop below a certain level. We always have at least twenty cans of vegetables and enough frozen meat to gag a horse. Which shows you how context influences later behaviors.

I'm thinking Connor isn't a hoarder, though. He's an opportunity eater.

Jacey is harder. Because while I know what she became, I need to know what made her re-create herself as a Seth operative. So that means--yeah, flashback time.


Jennifer McKenzie said...

Oh man I LOVE this!!! I CANNOT wait for Hot Contract to come out.

Alice Audrey said...

So your heroine catches his eyes with opportunity food? Cool.

jodi said...

lol--I NEVER thought of that, but yeah--I guess that's what she does. She feeds him.