Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Honeymooners

Behind the Story of Centenary Separation (Part 4)

Warning:  this post contains spoilers for the first two Watchbearers books, and I recommend reading those before this.  Also be warned that this shows the ‘sausage-making’ aspect of writing, which some of you may not want to know about.

After Anya, I moved on to Verity and Turner.  Both had been only minor characters in Millennium Crash, and their romance had played out in the background.  (Even their marriage was taking place between books.)  So Centenary Separation would give each of them, individually, their first turn in the spotlight.

There was a reason why the two newlyweds landed so far apart in time and space, and why they were destined not to be reunited quickly (though I can’t explain without spoiling.)  Since their stories in this book would be very much about their being on their own, I started with their sudden and disorienting appearances where and when they shouldn’t have been.  And the first good look at their relationship would be as they dealt with each other’s absence.

Trying to show what Verity and Turner meant to each other without their partner’s presence was a challenge, especially since we’d never gotten a good look at them together.  In fact, the only time they’d shared a scene had been when they first met.  And from the beginning I knew how Verity and Anya would meet in the end and that Turner’s tale would end with him isolated and having no choice but to take ‘the slow path’.  So neither of their stories would be about finding the other.

Of course I had a handle on Verity’s personality already – I’d written a couple short scenes from an older Verity’s point-of-view for the Slowpocalypse books, and here she would be younger, but just as competent as her more mature self.  But this would be the very first time I would write a Turner POV.  And getting inside his head would be a bit different.  I’m not writing Christian fiction, but when their faith is part of a person, it tends to show, as it has with some of my characters from time to time.  It would be more apparent with Turner because his faith is more at the forefront of his mind.  I wanted to get that across subtly but clearly in his conscious thoughts.

He was quite capable too, but in a different way from his wife.  Verity had worked hard to earn her independence and develop her proficiency, but Turner’s freedom was more fundamental, a part of who he is at heart, and everything had always come easy for him.  Until now.  I enjoyed the opportunity of showing how he dealt with his predicament in his own unique fashion.

Fortunately, the extreme difficulties both of them faced right from the start helped propel their stories forward, and I find it much easier to get to the heart of a character (and more interesting) when they’re being tested.

In the end, despite the bond between them, both of their stories were very much about them as individuals—independent, self-reliant, and contained.  They wanted and missed each other, but neither of them needed their partner particularly.  Matt and Page, however, would be a different story.
Next:  Part 5 – Missing Each Other

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