Friday, September 12, 2014

Filling Out the Cast

Behind the Story of Threat Multiplication (Part 6)

Warning:  this post contains spoilers for Certain Hypothetical and Threat Multiplication (though hopefully not for future books in the series) and I recommend reading those books first.

Also be warned that this shows the ‘sausage-making’ aspect of writing, which some of you may not want to know about.

I had decided on four main characters through whose eyes to show the story, but I needed more than them and the villains – I had to have some supporting characters too.  This was a good opportunity to further develop some of the minor characters from the first book, but I would also have to introduce a few new people.  (And I think this is one of the great benefits of writing a series – being able to expand the cast.)

The need for new characters was obvious in Kat’s portion of the story, since the whole point of her mission was to rescue Ken Cameron’s family, who had been mentioned but not met.  That meant I would have to draw clear distinctions between the personalities of four different new female characters (a mother and three daughters.)  But I knew there wouldn’t be enough space to feature all four.

Also, although the outing would be small, Kat couldn’t go on this mission alone – she needed a sidekick.  And since she was now with the Guards and this was their operation, it would be one of the sergeants.  Kat had already worked with MacTierney in the first book, and they had nice chemistry, so it was clear he should be her backup.

That left everything that was going on inside the compound, and there was a lot.  If there was a mystery, there would have to be suspects – primarily Crystal and Carruthers, who had already been introduced, and a few more briefly introduced new people, just to muddy the waters a bit.  And because Security would be investigating a number of incidents, I’d need more than just Tony, David, and Lisa – starting with someone to replace David as Lisa’s partner.  I’d already introduced some officers in the first book – now I could develop them further.

Since the attempted hacking of the FURCSnet was an important piece of the story, I jumped at the opportunity to shine a stronger spotlight on Ben Laskey.  And it would be wonderful to see more of Susan and Paul.

And since the staff at Security was small, I knew we’d eventually see them all.  So I took the time to introduce two new characters – Sara King and Michelle Mori (and give a couple more, Michael Salazar and his partner Gabe, a brief mention.)  I chose those two partly because they fitted well into this book, but also as they would suit the next one as well.

Which brings me to another new character I briefly introduced – Dr. Amita Harker.  She had a small part in the poisoning investigation, but she would also play a bigger role in book 3.  Because even as I was preparing to write Threat Multiplication, I was starting to see the shape of the story that would follow.  But first I had to write this one.
Next:  Part 7 – Getting Things in Order

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