Love in fiction is explored very often. After all, our passions dictate our decision making. Love for another person and forming relationships is a vital component of what means to be an adult. From the psychology and biochemistry, love influences our thinking and the story that is our own lives.
Most fiction covers the beginning of the relationships. A happy ending leads to the leading couple being together and all the X-rated things that happen after the final page. To be convincing from a narrative point of view, however, the reader must believe the characters would realistically fall in love. That often defines a bad love story – the reader cannot buy the fact that these characters would fall in love. (Twilight, anyone?) The worst I’ve had the misfortune to come across Anakin and Padme in Star Wars Episode II. I won’t go off on a rant because even just writing the previous sentence made me annoyed. I’ll expand this in a later blog dedicated to the awfulness of Episode II, but that film should be in writing classes of how NOT TO WRITE A LOVE STORY. Seriously, likening it to excrement is being too kind!
Back on topic, most fiction just covers the beginning of relationships, not the middle, end or even the aftermath. Relationships don’t last forever. Death of a loved one is inevitable. When writing the Successor of Ramiel, it became clear to me that the main character, Zera, was not the type of character to have a plot arc where he fell in love over the course of the story. Instead, I was drawn to the idea of him suffering a loss in the past and he still hadn’t fully accepted and moved on.
That ended up being his challenge in the book; to accept his loss and move on with his life. He’s stuck in a hole. It’s been a century since his wife, Laylah was killed by the main antagonist, Valafar and yet, he hasn’t fully come to terms with it. Whilst the time-scale is magnified because of the life spans of Angels in my series are very long, there are people in real life who takes years, decades to accept the loss of a loved one. Some never do! For me personally, that road to acceptance provided a richer avenue for character development.
Zera’s plot arc hinges on three factors being successful:
- Valafar needs to be an intimidating wall to overcome, one that pushes Zera to his limits. Valafar needs to be that strong threat that hurts Zera, puts doubt in his head. It’s a story of revenge and justice at the same time. In order to lay Laylah to rest in his mind, he needs to defeats Valafar, so in order for the reader to feel any satisfaction, Valafar needs to be an effective villain.
- Laylah herself: She needs to be a character that the reader would believe that Zera would fall in love with. She needs to be a character who is strong on her own feet and not completely dependent on Zera. I never imagined Laylah to be meek. Far from it, she was a strong-willed, intelligent Angel who complemented Zera’s personality, pushing him to be something more. As Zera said, ‘Seraph gives Laylah a run for her money’ and in previous chapters and scenes, (SOR Chapter 1) and (SOR Chapter 2) and (SORChapter 4.2 – Saleos, The Fallen Angel), Seraph has shown to be very capable and fierce on her own. Zera sees Laylah as greater, even though she never wielded a mythical Watcher Blader. Laylah needed to be inspiring on her own merits. For me, that’s what true love is; being inspired by someone else and wanting to be around them, so you can learn from being with them and grow as a result. In addition to the biochemical driven passions, there must be respect for them as an individual. You don’t want to interfere with their dreams and you want to help them become the person they want to be. Controlling someone isn’t love, but obsession and you ultimately end up ruining what attracted you to that person in the first place. If this balance of love and respect is achieved, then a sudden, untimely death is understandably going to hard to cope with.
- Zera’s journey must be one that helps him tackle the grief and allow him to grow. We change when people close to us die. That’s a fact of life! Now, the Successor of Ramiel is very much a fantasy book with swords that appear to alive, Angels and Demons lurking the streets and ghosts haunting the night. Zera’s journey might be fantastical (Spoilers: There are going to be some glorious, fantastical shenanigans!), but much like other fantasy books, it’s all a giant metaphor. In this case, it’s a metaphor for the journey we take when moving on and become stronger people as a result.
This is my mission statement for the main character, Zera. The success of his plot arc will come down to how effective the three previous points are written into the narrative. I would like to think the reader would be able to think that the complete picture works well because of these three factors and more. Ultimately, the judgement of whether it works is down to the reader. If you read this and my chapters, scenes and the eventual volume releases, keep these points in mind and please do feel free to comment or message me to give me feedback. What I have released is not set in stone by any means and part of the editing process is to refine after reflecting and evaluating feedback.
Thank you for reading. Like what you’ve seen? Then please do like, comment and follow the website or my social media platforms. After all, an author is nothing without any readers.
- Facebook: @OKerrigan17
- Twitter: @OliverKerrigan
- Google+: Oliver Kerrigan
© Oliver Kerrigan 2017