Hello family, friends, and fans!
It was clear in the early stages of writing a first-person narrative that a compelling cast of characters was needed. The problem was I didn’t have any- not from the first work, at least. Names existed sure, but no motives, no heart, no conflict. I want to say that I had a plan all along, that I wrote each chapter intending to introduce someone of importance; that would be a beautiful lie. I wrote without much of a script to follow, then took pruning shears to the words until something resembled a story. This had a fascinating evolution on certain characters, especially when considering word count and clarity. What I ended up with is not, nor will ever be perfect, but I think we got close to a core cast that helps to tell the story without me relying on exposition. Here is a brief glimpse into each, their motivations, and a little bit of their background.
Faerin: He was the start, always has been, always will be. His story evolved the most as I thought of his motivations. He is oppressed, scarred, and alone in a world tilted to keep him (and those like him) continually oppressed and scarred. He dances between naivety and trusting no one. He is also supremely capable, something I had to temper more than once as he came off a bit too shiny. In some ways, he is a product of that tough life- the antithesis or antidote to Cyllian oppression. As the story is told entirely from his perspective, you get a view that is very personal and perhaps more than a little jaded.
Crylwin: He was Faerin’s friend from the start, but his motivations weren’t clear to me until Edwin, and the House Monroe became a fleshed out fixture in the story. There were elements of his character that were the most fun to write. He is angry, bitter, impulsive- but not half the fool he plays to be. His motivations are perhaps more secretive than others, due in part to his own story not really being told until book two.
Lira: This is why you work with editors. Lira’s first pass was a mess; a wordless doll used only as a prop for Faerin to fawn over. This is likely because not even a whisper of her character arc existed in any prior work. She was there, popping up in the second chapter like a flower through the snow- but her character did not get any justice until 2nd and 3rd revisions. To quote more than one early reader/editor, “I hate Lira.” Point taken, and hopefully, the final version gives her the justice she deserves. She is a more complicated character than you might see at first glance, one that is as much at odds with the world around as Faerin. Her pain is more self-inflicted and stems from her desire to change the world and an inability to do so. What does that push her to do, and where does her sentiment stop and action begin? Her motivations can be obvious at times, but I caution all is not as it seems.
One of the interesting aspects of writing from a single perspective is telling only that perspective. How accurate is that perspective? Is it accurate or much like history, flawed with perspective? What does the passage of time do to that perspective? There is an element to that in A Promise of Iron, one of the few intentional, not accidental layers that add depth to each of the three main characters.
Thanks for reading.
Salt and Ruin,