On writing

So, what does your character look like

We’re 80% of the way through our second major draft of LINESMAN 2, which has the working title of KARI WANG, named for the secondary point-of-view character.

“What does Kari Wang look like?” I ask Sherylyn.

She thinks for a moment, before she admits, “I don’t know.”

Either do I.

Some writers would shudder to be so far into the story without having a complete view of such an important character in the book. Some writers can’t start if they don’t know what their character looks like.

Not us. We know the important things that make her who she is. Like how she insists on walking even though her legs are too weak to hold her up. That she’s a captain in a military fleet, so she stands straight (when her legs will let her). That her arms are muscled and strong, because she works out on the bars. Not so her legs, which are pale and weak, because they’ve just given her a new pair. That her body is scarred from all the operations she’s had. That she’s good at her job.

We know what uniform she wears, for she’s part of the Nova Tahiti fleet.

But as to the colour of her eyes, or the shape of her chin, or how she cuts her hair. It’s not important to the story yet. It’s not important to anyone in the story. As a result, it’s not important to us yet.

We know she is 20mm too tall to fit comfortably under the bulkheads because that’s something we need to know.

By the time we’ve worked through another couple of drafts we’ll have a good idea of what Kari Wang looks like. We may even put some of that into the book.

We may not, either.

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