February 12th, 2006


On Inner Conflict and Its Effect on Story Writing

Have I ever mentioned that my character Paul Graves drives me crazy?

I still want to take him out of the HP universe and put him into his own setting.

I am still torn between writing him as a good man who has to become a villain, who eventually abandons that life when the need no longer exists and writing him as a man who never went to the Dark Side. The problem? His life as a villain is so meaty, yet he has to do things he hates and I hate, to accomplish it.

There are only so many times you can write about a man doing something horrible and feeling guilty about it, then having him go out and do it again. It soon loses credibility. The work-arounds I've devised are fine for Paul, but the DE would never accept them. (Yep, I came up with a work-around for Avada Kedavra--but the DE would kill Paul on the spot if he demonstrated it to them).

When I first invented Paul for SPH, I wanted to give his son Seth a problem--'I love my father, but I hate the things he does, and I'm beginning to hate him because of them. Yet I'm also terrified of losing him.'

Then I realized he was a decent man--had to be, for Seth to be able to love him at all. So I began writing a redemption plot.

Then I became more educated about what the DE are like--read more of the Potter books--and knew that Paul could never stand being one. So I changed to an infiltration/rescue plot.

For his own setting, I'm not sure which of these plot ideas I want to go with--the redemption or the infiltration.

*sigh* I'm not like Susan Matthews (author of An Exchange of Hostages). I flinch.

The better story comes from the inner conflict of: 'I hate doing this villainy.' versus 'My God, this is the most challenging, interesting work I have ever done; nothing compares to it. If I leave the criminal organisation, I will never be able to do this work again. But I have made my life so empty now, I don't know what else I could fill it with. I've driven away everyone I ever loved in hopes of protecting them.'

But if I write of him being a villain, I'll have to write of him doing things he hates on a bone-deep level. Ugh. It has to be that way, to make the fight strong. For the story to work, I can't have him doing things he only mildly dislikes. If the inner conflict is not present, then the story will be worthless.

The story is more important than my discomfort. I keep telling myself this...


Edit: Oh my God....I just had a thought. What if it wasn't his father he was trying to rescue, but his wife? *Wibbles massively* How could their marriage survive? I never wrote how Paul's father felt, but he was heartbroken and furious. I'd imagine that Paul's wife would feel the same way if she knew he'd jointed the DE equivalent for her sake. Eeeek.

She'd be somewhat justified in divorcing him. *cries*

But it would increase the stakes enormously. Hm. *whinges*

Okay, I can justify him infiltrating if the authorities refuse to give him any help at all. But why would they refuse him? *thinks*

A Renewable Energy Source? This article discusses the manufacture of cellulosic ethanol. I'm all for it. I like biodiesel, too.
  • Current Mood
    pensive torn

Figuring Out How to Do It

Writing: You're probably all tired of reading my ramblings about the Graves story, but I think I may have figured out more of how to do it.

1. Paul's wife is a magical weapon against the Bad Guys. She doesn't know it, but the 'police' do. For this reason, they do not help Paul rescue her, because they want her to stay right where she is. They also do not tell him she's the weapon because they don't want the Bad Guys to read the knowledge from Paul's mind. So Paul is left in the dark and is furious with the 'police.' Thus, he decides he must go in after her himself. Naturally, he does not tell the 'police' this.

2. Paul and his wife have to somehow be in communication with each other and working together during a lot of the time that Paul is with the Bad Guys. This is the only way I can see their marriage surviving. They have to use Paul's status as a Bad Guy, as well as his wife's slowly realized status as the weapon, to defeat the Bad Guys together, not just to effect the rescue.

Any resemblance his wife bears to Lilith Drachenstein is entirely intended. *looks sheepishly at Viv*
  • Current Mood
    accomplished accomplished