Eighteen pages so far on my Screnzy project, and that’s without any writing yet today. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. (Although at least this time I’m talking about Screnzy rather than religious intolerance/GMOs/unions/politicians/other things that piss me off).
As you know, I changed my setting from Germany to Scotland not long before Screnzy began, all because of a piece of Celtic music.
(Apparently it was the beginning of “Lord of the Dance,” when the goddess is dancing alone. But I haven’t seen River Dance, so I just have to trust my boyfriend on this…and I now have this piece in my head. Just from mentioning it. I’m pretty sure I have an iPod Shuffle in my brain.)
Something I didn’t count on when I decided to change my setting – although I probably should have known, since I’ve been writing for years – was that one character had to completely change due to the setting change.
The other characters were little affected by the change – honestly it just made more sense to have them all in Scotland than it did to have them in Germany. The character that changed was the catalyst of the story, the character who introduces the young American couple to the vampire, sparking the entire plot. The reason this character changed is that he is a native of the country – so if you change the country in question, the character completely changes too.
Like I said, I should have known this, but for some reason I didn’t. Not only do the man’s nationality, language, and accent change, but his physical appearance, the way he meets the vampire, the way he feels about being the vampire’s stooge all change as well. He’s much more sympathetic now, which I like better. I like it when none of the characters are completely good or completely bad.
John Findler, for example, who is my favorite character to write. The vampire. Technically he’s evil: He’s a vampire, after all. He kills people, although, as a biologist, I can’t really condemn him for that for the same reason you can’t condemn a cat for killing a mouse or a lion for killing a gazelle. (Although I’ve heard there are vegetarians who keep their naturally carnivorous pets on a vegetarian diet.)
People are just his natural food source. I realize “vegetarian” vampires are all the rage right now, but aside from the fact that I’m going for a slightly more traditional kind of vampire, I’m just not into Twilight, True Blood, or any of those other vampirey things where the “good” vampires are “vegetarians” while the “bad” vampires consume human blood.
(Honestly that seems a bit like another example of human arrogance – but that’s a whole different blog entry.)
Anyway, Findler is technically evil. But I hope the audience will still sympathize with him, so I have to write him in such a way that you feel bad for him even though he’s killing people and acting very indifferent about it. Mostly what I’ve got on him is that he’s still in love with the same girl he was in love with two-hundred years ago and is very bitter about being immortal when she’s long dead, but maybe I’m the only person who’s willing to sympathize with a character when “true love” is their only redeeming quality.
Well, true love and kindness toward the present-day girl who looks like the long-dead girl. But at the same time he’s trying to off the present-day girl’s husband. So that might cancel out some sympathy.