A Character’s True Self

This week I’ve been thinking a bit about how characters in a story see each other. Not everyone shows their true self during a first impression, and it should be the same with characters. Just like people, they approach a new meeting with their own defenses raised. It’s only when another character is found trustworthy that they let them get closer and the shields fall away.

I think many people do the same thing. As I’ve built characters for my novel in progress, this is one of the things I thought about. A few of the characters are involved in the darker things happening, and I’ve had to find ways to understand how they want to be perceived. For everything to work out in their favor, some of their personality and history remains hidden. They’re comfortable with that. To get them to open up, I’ve added interactions with other characters, and put them in situations where pieces of their true selves come out. They may not like the result in some cases. They may not be as perfect as they pretended to be. But that vulnerability makes them something readers may relate to easier. The flaws make characters more human, even if that flaw is never being comfortable with who they are.

I like to compare the stories and the characters I write and read to experiences in life. After all a good story will echo a reader’s own sensitivities. I guess the choice really comes down to how I want to be seen versus how I really am. Like many characters in good stories, I think we all wear shields to protect our true selves from the world.

Check out some of my books.

Malignance, my third book in my time travel series that began with Resonance and Dissonance, is on Amazon as a kindle and a paperback. That was a fun series to write, and for now, it is completed. I have also placed all three books from that series into one volume titled The Machina of Time.

My fantasy, A Map, a Mage, and a Sacrifice, was a fun book to write. It is set in a world with limited technology, but where sacrifice is a necessary element to magical power. The greater the pain and suffering, the greater the magical power generated. The few mages in power use voluntary sacrifice of the citizens to generate power they use to protect and defend the empire. But their rule may be coming to a close.

If you’re looking for a science fiction story, try my book The Promise of Dust, which takes place in a cloud city floating in the atmosphere of Venus. Or Progenitor’s Legacy: Deceit, which takes place many years in the future on a tidally locked world that orbits a red dwarf and has been reached by humanity in their search for the alien progenitors who seeded the galaxy with nano machines.

If a young adult science fiction is more to your liking, check out my series This New Earth, that starts with Demons of a Dead World and Secrets of a Dead World.

If you are looking for a young adult fantasy, check out my book The Threads Unbound.

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