Every character is a challenge to write. Edward Alan Parker is more challenging than most. His formidable personality isn’t the problem. I sympathize with his love of direct action, I appreciate his impatience with nuance, and I adore his ferocity in defense of those he loves. That’s a nice set of heroic strengths and flaws; it makes for easy scene-building. He moves things along.
I don’t even mind the limitations presented by him being a very reluctant speaker. I studied how other authors presented physical communication, adopted various tricks, and fused them into a style I like to think works well. (As always, this could be my deluded wishfulness. Readers make the final assessment on what works.)
The challenge is Parker’s worldview: he doesn’t think in words.
Not even Serena’s take on reality is as hard to wrap my brain around. He experiences life in a way that is utterly alien to me. I can’t explain how I know that. I can only tell you it’s true. Welcome to the paradox that is creativity.
That mindset is why he has never been a viewpoint character and probably won’t be. I don’t have the writing chops for representing his point of view. Someday, maybe.
Characters have minds of their own in other ways too. Bits of Parker’s past popped into significance at the worst possible moments, demanding to be woven into nearly-completed plots, and his personality sometimes conflicted with the designs I had in mind when I sat down to write a tale.
Case in point: early on in Flight Plan’s creation process, I was ‘shipping Naomi and Carl. Stop laughing. It was early. I was determined they would come together. Parker, Naomi and Carl all disagreed with that idea. Naomi was unimpressed by Carl, and all the goodness in her brings out the worst in him.
And Parker, as usual, wasn’t talking.
It took a long chat between Carl and Alison and me writing Novices to get matters all sorted out so I could finally see Parker’s quiet worship-from-afar thing going on. From there, everything went smoothly.
Oh, yes, LINKS:
Parker and Naomi rescue each other: Flight Plan
And to see what I mean about Naomi and Carl: Joining in the Round
I’d like to give an artist credit, but all I have in my sketchbook is “Mikey!”