Friday, May 10, 2013

Demon Soul the making of part 5: Why do the novel have a lot of little personal stories?

In Demon Soul, there is a lot of "side stories" for secondary characters. I'm building a world here. Even though the main plot is about the relationship between Brownie and the soul that was stolen by demons, I don't want to make to story only about her love story. Here is why and also the reason why I think it's really important to have well developed secondary characters.

So at the beginning of the story, Brownie is left by her lover who can't recognize her as his soul has been stolen (see relation between soul and memory here) then there were two choices left to me. 
My first choice was to send Brownie to a lonely apartment were she can cry her eyes out and grudge against fate and try to build back her life and to find a way to get the soul back. There are a lot of story like this where you get stuck with a character who has lost everything and trying to get by on his/her own. I wrote one of them with a depressed main character who end up in the middle of a mystery. (It's called Harajuku Kiss, no demon and no magic here, it's a detective story).
My second choice was to send Brownie back to a very crowded place where she has responsibilities and other problems to deal with. Isn't it what every body faces in their daily life? Even when you are going through a hard time emotionally you still have to face reality, daily work, daily cores, daily people. I wanted to give that to Brownie and that's why I ended up with so many characters including some who are here only for one or two paragraphs.
I think this book is to be taken like life. Yesterday I went to the bank, someone helped me do some money transfer, I don't remember her face or her name but I know she is still working their and might recognize her if I go back. In my book, characters are like people. Around you there are people you interact with at all time and some who just appear for few minutes. The woman who stopped by to tell me in which side of the mail box to put my letter was useful, in a novel I might have put the letter in the mail box directly, it save time and space but I think small interaction are still important and I don't thing we should deny this to our reader just to make things pretty. Life is messy, if they can take it daily, they can take it while reading. It made me smile to have someone helping me even though it was maybe not needed. Some of my characters might be forgotten after few pages but when you go back and reread the story, they'll still be funny and make you smile when you reach that part. 

Here is a "useless" part in Demon Soul's first chapter for you to enjoy:
Mchumba opened the library door abruptly “Brownie, where are you? It’s time for dinner.”
Mchumba wasn’t the most delicate boy of the house, by far.
“I’m here, I’m coming” Brownie said from the second floor. 
Mchumba ran up the stairs to join her, and grabbed her arm 
“Hurry, we’re having spaghetti. What are you doing with all those books anyway?”
She made her list disappear quickly in her trousers pocket. 
“Nothing really, I’m almost finished. You can go first.”
“No, I’ll help”, Mchumba took the book in her hand and put it on the shelves. “See all done, let’s go.”
“You can’t just put books like that anywhere, or they’ll be lost”, Brownie answered taking the book back and looking for its real place.
“Well it’ll still be in the room so that’s not a problem.” Mchumba laughed.
Brownie shook her head, “That’s not what I mean; you need to place them in alphabetical order, see here.” She placed the book carefully on the shelf “or you won’t be able to find it easily next time you’ll be looking for it.”
Mchumba sighed.
Books are so boring anyway and I’m hungry.”
Brownie laughed.
“You didn’t say that when you were little.”
“I wasn’t the king of hip hop when I was little. You want to see my new move?”
His eyes suddenly brightened and he started to dance in front of her without waiting for her answer. She watched him do tenderly.
“So, do you like it?” he said at the end.
“I love it. Now let’s go for dinner before they eat all the spaghettis.” She said smiling.
Mchumba always needed to show her anything new he learnt and she was good audience.

I think it's important to have well developed secondary characters. Even if you meet them for a very short time it is nice to have information about them and to know how they interact with the main character now or in the past before the story even begin. It has the advantages to make the main character seem more lively and real and creates a background for the main character as well. It also helps the reader understand the main character's reactions and purposes. It also gives you a lot of options some that you can use, some that are left open.
One of my reader's favorite character is Yobi. Yobi could be consider as a useless character. He doesn't help the plot to progress, he doesn't help Brownie in anyway. He is just making a huge mess in the house but he is apparently entertaining enough for someone to chose him as his favorite character and laugh while telling me that while thinking about the story. It might not be the main purpose of the book. I totally wanna yell at everyone who doesn't tell me that Sahel is the best character ever or Dylan, or Viorel or... nah just kidding. But I totally consider that a Writer Win ! I made someone laugh with my novel, I mean: Isn't that the best reward for a writer?


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