Tuesday, April 12, 2011

K is for Knight in Shining Armor, AKA White Knight, AKA Immen Corper

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Dear Knight Immen,

You are not a real knight, but this post was written with you in mind, so I'm addressing it to you specifically. You see, Faith and I started writing you over seven years ago. When we began to plot the Restoration series, you had several specific purposes in Book 1: Awakenings. What we quickly discovered, though, was that you seemed too stinking good. You were Mr. Nice Guy. You were He Who Could Do No Wrong.

You drove us crazy.

You weren't much better when we wrote Book 2: The Guardian Race, and by the time we wrote Book 3: The Lost Scribe, we despaired for you. What kind of character seems to have no flaws? You couldn't be that perfect. Yet, we found that most people who read you loved you a lot. Faith and I discussed the fact that people really do like the White Knights.  They are safe and comforting and who doesn't like to see the goodness shining through?  But when you're the writer and not the reader, it can be frustrating to encounter the White Knight.  Writers are looking for the flaws, for the things they can dig into and pull to the surface.  They're looking for the tension, the drive, and no matter how good a character seems, no normal character can be all white.

Then Faith and I began Book 4: Binding Ties. We talked extensively about you. And we realized: it's all a matter of perspective.

I wrote a post last month on developing characters and the importance of perspective. And boy, was this important to keep in mind for you. We realized that in the first books, you were seen through the perspective of people who saw you as the White Knight.  These were the people who saw you through rose-tinted glasses and who held you up as a hero.  But when we get to Book 4, we see you through the perspectives of people who are jaded by your actions, people who see you in a different light.

Faith and I rejoiced. We are still ridiculously excited about the prospect of showing your not-so-white side. This is the benefit of writing a series—we have time to drag characters through certain things, leave them to stew for a while, and then come back to them when we're ready to drag them through some more mud.  Bwahahahaha.

So, my frustrating Immen Corper, brace yourself, because you may honestly be a good guy and you may be doing what you think is right, but you also have issues and imperfections that will get dug up and thrown out there for all to see.

Positively gleeful,
One of Your Two Authors



*Do you have a character who seems a little too good when seen through one character's eyes, but when seen through another, you begin to uncover the dirt and imperfections?

9 comments:

  1. Yep. All of me characters are like. Everyone likes someone, but can intensely dislike someone else. Which means that I get to play with the good and the dark side.

    :-)

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  2. I always thoroughly enjoy reading "different perspective" books or parts of books - where we see that even though The Hero may be a true hero, there are always going to be others who think otherwise - the mother of the bad guy he killed, for example, will always hate him. Or, more prosaically but poignantly, the farmer whose fields were trampled in a great battle doesn't care which side won, because he is going to starve regardless (borrowed that one from Lloyd Alexander).

    Sounds like your book 4 should be lots of fun!

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  3. Yes I do! And sometimes being SO good is a fault in itself and something that drives other people crazy. But I've also found out that no matter how perfect someone SEEMS, they have issues just like everyone else that they keep behind closed doors.

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  4. My eyes! lol

    Fun image. I like certain characters who have white knight qualities but the damsel in distress bugs me. I like women who can be knights too (Alanna ftw) or at least could if they were allowed.

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  5. What a great post. I'm wondering what in the world you are going to do to Immen Corper...

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  6. Yes! I hate my perfect characters and ALWAYS give them issues and deep-rooted imperfections.

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  7. I love this post. So good. I think readers, particularly female readers, like the white night because they can project their own perfect 'dream man' onto him. It is more interesting if he's not perfect though.

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  8. Good post! I’m so glad I found your blog. I’m stopping by from the A to Z challenge and I look forward to reading more from you.

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  9. 'But you also have issues' LOL .

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts!