Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Tale of Three Boys: Jarvis, Gervais, and Hywel

In the same vein of Writing is a Process, I bring you a story of three different characters from three different novels in three different genres...and how each has influenced the other--and convinced me, once again, that I have not wasted a single word.

Jarvis was the brother of my heroine in Betsy Flowain. Once during the rough draft phrase, he actually stole the title from my main character because, I realize now, he was the most interesting character in that book. I often said that if I ever re-wrote Betsy it would be from Jarvis's point of view. It's not that Betsy wasn't likable, she was just...boring. Anyway, so this story starts with his existence.

I started to write this book called The Bow--a copy of which only one person in the entire universe has (that is, my #1 fan Leah)--at this time, I was actually thinking about Betsy Flowain and about Jarvis. If you're a writer, you'll get this next bit. If you're not, sorry, this is really how I think. I couldn't help this feeling that Jarvis was intolerably bored over in his "finished" novel where he was the only character that had real life. And he was bugging me. So, I thought, "what the heck, I'll stick him in this novel." I re-named him as Gervais, and put him in The Bow to pacify him. He was supposed to only be around a little, you know, a very minor character. Just to quiet him.

Then he jumped onto a frozen brook to save my heroine, Rosamond, from drowning. After which I fell in love with him. And found out he wasn't Jarvis. He just looked like him. CONFUSION GALORE!!

After the monstrosity that was The Bow, I started on Etched in Black, which was basically the same book from Yvette's POV--except it was in third person...Gervais kept "stealing the show" when I switched to following him around. And, so, again...

Now the book has the ironic title of Worthless, and was told from the first-person POV of Gervais. Which, if you remember, I dropped in late June because of story goal problems. However, when I first found myself plunging into the first person perspective of a BOY, I kinda freaked out. This is important, because...

Hywel myspace graphic comments
Hywel is a boy. Hywel is NOT Jarvis or Gervais, and he never will be (at least, I hope so, because if he did become them it would be horrendously confusing). I realized a few days ago that I had absolutely no freak-out whatsoever with writing a male hero for Quintessence. I can't even remember considering a female having that part. The hero of Quintessence was male, and that was that. It is, for the most part, flowing very naturally. Plus, I haven't had complaints from male readers (so far!) so I must be doing a decent job.


Why am I dragging you through the labyrinth of some of my creative process? Well, one reason is because (some of)  you asked for it. The other (real) reason is because I'm a little in awe. Until I discovered this, I still felt like The Bow/Etched in Black/Worthless was really a little worthless. Sure, I still have plans for finishing it eventually, but I've written something like 120,000 words on it and have nothing to show for it.

Now noticing this, it again shows me how writing builds. How each story I've attempted or succeeded at has bolstered and pushed the next one higher.

And, once again, how nothing is wasted.

Have you ever fallen into the trap of considering old and failed novels wasted effort? Do you still see them that way?

P.S. If any of you are feeling sorry for Hywel 'cause I put a baby announcement under his name...I do too. It was just too funny not to miss. And he says it's okay. He guesses. And "hey, you're writing that?!"

Why yes I am. Readers, meet Hywel. Hywel, meet readers.

Hywel: Robin's right. You are annoying.


Charlotte Grace said...

I definitely have seen my past novels as wasted effort.
I think it's time to change that. Thanks :)

Taylor Lynn said...

Haha, I love how Jarvis and Gervais were sort of the same person, and yet not quite the same person. xD I haven't written anything from a male perspective yet (I've tried, it didn't work out) but I'm sure I'll try at some point! I had trouble with the past attempts, though, so... :) I'm glad it works for you, though!

Nairam said...

@Charlotte: I think lots of writers tend to do that. That's part of the reason I've decided to post as my perspective has changed a bit.

@Taylor: How dare you laugh at my confusion!! :P Yes, take it from me: don't supplant characters like that. It's very confusing. I've never made it very fair with a male hero either, but I'm certainly enjoying Hywel's voice. :)

Mercia Dragonslayer said...

Oh, I know the feeling. XD I've recycled characters many times. I recycled Brinian loads of times--she was a girl from the 21st century, then a sorceress, then Robin Hood's daughter (actually she might have been this last one during the first two O.o), then eventually she morphed into Fallor's daughter.

Let's see--I think I've also recycled all the characters from the old sagas Samii and I used to do. Most of my characters are from there. *blink*

Anyways. Yeah. I have nothing else to say. Interesting post, though.

Godsgirl95 said...

A fellow girl who writes from a boy's POV! XD I never thought I would do such a thing. And then Caleb came a long. Poor guy. He has suffered quite a bit from being in a girl's brain. And now there is Jason. Jason, I think, is going to have an easier time of it. I understand his inner workings more. *nods* Nai, you are a blessed writer, you know that? God has planted in you a marvelous gift :)

Nairam said...

JASON. I love that name. >.> I think I do because of Jason Whittaker. I finally have a character named Jason myself, after waiting forever for the right one. >:D

I know that. Thank you. :)

NarnianWarHorse said...

...And this post was fabulous. ^_^ I can totally relate with the situation, in a different degree. :P

I have a character, named Umbra, who was supposed to be the unlikeable traitor at first, then slowly became likeable, even interesting, but was supposed to remain just 'one of them' in a group of 7 fun characters -- And now he's stealing more & more of the story, 'cause he's proven himself to be just plain awesome. :P Nice going, Umbra. XD

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