Brand new characters are always an intriguing exercise, because I don’t always know where I’m going to be taking them. Some of them, like Caren in the Bridgetown Trilogy, are sort of based on tropes (she was originally a mix of Agent Scully in X-Files with a touch of Captain Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell but became something altogether different). Others, like Zuze in In My Blue World, are characters I already know inside and out before I even start.
While writing MU4, I’ve been introducing a few new characters into the Mendaihu Universe and it’s true, I’m still working out where they’ll end up by the end. I have an entirely new character, Lizzie Kapranos, whose drive is decidedly not like Caren’s; she knows who she is and where she fits in, so her conflict is the refusal to give in so easily to conformity. [Tuckerization time: she’s named after Elizabeth Bennett from Pride & Prejudice and singer Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand. A fierce free-thinker and a bit of an oddball but not without a sense of humor.] Like Miss Bennett, Lizzie is all about staying true to what she believes in. Also like her, Lizzie will (eventually) admit to being wrong when she makes errors in judgement or action.
This might be partly why my word count has been so glacial these last few weeks, as I work out the scene with all that in mind, but to be honest that’s part of the appeal of writing new characters. I get to learn something new about them, and about the story. Their actions will influence what comes next, whether it’s positive or negative. Another new character, Eika, embodies this to the extreme: she’s the id escaping highly restrictive boundaries and set free. Eika is a chaos element in a way, while Lizzie is the stability element. And both characters are completely aware of that role. In the process, Eika and Lizzie are polar opposites but also the key to Balance. And Balance has always been a big part of the Mendaihu Universe.
Do I know where these two will go, and if they’ll ever meet? Maybe? I’m not sure? But it’s in my mind and it’s a vague signpost further into the story that I’m heading towards. And that’s all I really need.