Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Giving Codswallop a Novel

Disclaimer: It is six o'clock in the morning, and I haven't been to bed yet. Anything really ridiculous said in this post will be blamed on said lack of sleep.

Some characters will tell me everything there is to know about them without any pressure at all. Some characters will give me information as I ask for it and need it for the story. And some characters are Codswallop Relicum.

Seriously, I thought I was going to kill Codswallop. He's only a minor character in my most recent book, but he was giving me as much trouble as any villain I've ever worked with. He'd give me hints, and tell me lies, and completely mess up the scenes he was in by contradicting himself. I threatened to cut him out of the book, and he told me he didn't care. I even bribed Morgana to punch him... though she never did. I paid her for that! Ugh.

To help me get to know Codswallop, I set up a Facebook account for him. This was nice because, for starters, he finally gave me a picture of himself. I had written two complete drafts of the novel before I even knew what he looked like! Then I started doing some character chats between Codswallop and my super-fantastic friend Paige's characters (check out Paige's Facebook page: Write On.) Mostly, I learned from these chats that Codswallop is a punk, something I already knew, and that he's super flirty. Which was fun.

What really helped me get to know Codswallop, however, was writing a diary entry from his perspective. Suddenly, I was right inside his head, I knew what he was thinking and feeling. I knew a bit about why he was such a punk. I learned that he's half-gypsy (because my characters love to torment me by being a part of cultures I know virtually nothing about.)

I also learned that he wants his own book.

At first, my response was: "NO!!!" Codswallop had given me so much grief just being my main-character's best friend's first boyfriend. Having him as a protagonist sounded downright miserable. And he's part gypsy! The amount of research I would have to do to avoid offending anyone.... Uggh. No. No, no, and no.

But I'm broken... and you could fix me. And my relationship with my mother is unique and interesting. And I have a beautiful love story. And I made a promise that could ruin my life, but that I'm not willing to break. I can see the future, and I know I am destined for sadness and greatness. And I'm a freaking gypsy! 

Still stoutly denying that I would write his novel, I kept working on Codwallop's diary. It was so full of emotion and great story and confusion and potential plot.... No!

And then Paige and I wrote a scene between him and one of her characters (who are kind of in love, but it can never be, because Cambria already has a guy and Cosdwallop has issues.) I loved writing from Codswallop's perspective. Everything he said was descriptive and thoughtful, and he was filled with so much fear and anxiety and passion... "Ugh! FINE!"

So that is why Codswallop gets a novel.


1 comment:

Quinlyn said...

This is brilliant because it's true. And I can't recommend diary entries for stubborn characters enough. I was having trouble with one of my love interests and so I decided to create his backstory from his perspective. Suddenly, he was different and very interesting. :D

Good luck with Codswallop. *giggles at the name*