S3, E67: The Characters of Deviations

Now that I’m working on Deviations revision (mostly…), this episode is all about the three main characters in the story, as well as touching on the importance of knowing your characters with greater depth that may ever seem to appear in your novel.

News & Notes:

  • Not a ton to report this episode – I’ve been kind of lazy and have done very little writing related stuff other than finishing up a beta read. I did finish Deviations editorial map – current draft is 68,000 words – the editorial map came out to just under 5,000.
  • Aisuru got its first book blogger review and it was a pretty awesome one at that! Kariny, host of Kariny’s Teen Boox Frenzy, loved Sakura’s sweetness and Kazuki’s blend of child-like views of the human world and his maturity when it came to the important stuff. All in all, she rated Aisuru five stars, noting “this was definitely a unique and heart felt romance story that every manga/YA reader should try! It has a ‘the fault in our stars feel’ but much sweeter and the book is not actually focused on the dying part. It’s more focused on love and sacrifice.” Though the review did not result in any sales changes, it made me super happy because I could tell I’d reached one of my target readers and I was happy that she enjoyed it so much. 🙂
  • I finished playing Pandora’s Tower – OMG so good. Game has a bug that is annoying near the end, but was able to work around it and it was so worth it for the ending. I’ll probably write up a review type post for the blog later this week 😉 Now playing Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns, the end of the trilogy. Very very different from every other FF game so far, but intriguing and I gotta know how the story ends! 

Main Topic:

One part of getting ready for Deviations revision was to nail down more details about the characters. To me, characters drive the story even more than the action – a story with a character that never changes and grows through the story’s events or who is just flat and dull makes a bleh story that I generally can’t even finish. As such, my writing tends to be more character focused and I get to know them very well. Knowing characters well makes it easier to write about them because it speaks to how they will respond to situations and other people.

There is an excellent example of this in a manga series I’m reading, My Love Story by Kazune Kawahara. Main character Takeo Goda is a very tall, muscular first year high school student who has never had luck with girls. Because of his unusual looks, he’s popular with guys, but not girls who instead always fall for his best friend, Makoto Sunakawa (Suna), who is handsome though standoffish. One day Takeo saves a petite, cute girl named Rinko Yamato from a pervert on a train, and to his surprise, she falls in love with him! Early on, he presumes that Yamato, like all the others, is in love with Suna. There is a scene where they are saying goodbyes when a large steel beam falls from a construction site; Yamato is standing under it. Both boys rush forward in response – but here is where the character differences come into play – Suna throws himself over Yamato to protect her while Takeo catches the beam and holds it up long enough to let the other two escape.

For my characters, I don’t do formal character sheets, though I’ve tried a few, and I don’t do character interviews or the like. But I do get to know them well enough to be able to answer fairly quickly what they would do if…[insert scenario]. Of course, one thing to remember is just because you know it doesn’t mean it will explicitly make it into the final novel – however it likely will come into play as you’re writing because again, it speaks to the person as a whole. For example, in Deviations Miho is bullied, regularly, and puts up with it. However, if she saw someone else being bullied, she’d jump to their defense. It isn’t something you’ll see in the story, but it is something I know about her that also informs her character and gives me context for her moral compass when writing about her…if that makes sense?

To illustrate this idea better, let me introduce you to the three main characters of Deviations, the sorts of things I know about them that are not necessarily part of the story. 🙂

  • Yanasaki Miho
  • Okimura Taka
  • Tsuda Date
Deviations - Character Notes 3

Main notes I refer to while introducing the three characters 🙂