Friday, February 24, 2006

Characters doing unsavoury things

Huh! While my sinuses are just starting to clear, the dp, who got this bug after me, already has the jolly popping ears and is feeling much better. Anyway, about historical fiction ...

Well, as indicated in the previous blog, the perfidious SoD begins with unsavoury action, and generally goes on that way. Early on, the second lead (Saba) takes part in the torture of captives. Hey, with its objectionable characters, perhaps SoD is a literary novel after all ;-) However, there is a reason for this violence. The torture is to find out where assassins came from, for example, and those tortured were part of a murderous raid. These guys are generally doing what they were likely to do in that era. To humanise them, I try to balance it with lighter scenes where they're having a bit of fun, or doing something that's more day-to-day (though those scenes have to be taking the story forward in some way).

Sometimes I wonder where all this violent stuff comes from. Oops. It just appeared out of my head, unfortunately :-)


At 3:00 pm GMT, Blogger Sarah Cuthbertson said...

You're probably wondering if there's something darkly Freudian lurking in your unconscious, or subconscious, or whatever it is. It's more likely that you have an inborn ability to understand the mindsets of people living in an age when violence was a more acceptable way of achieving one's ends than it is now, generally speaking.

I'm glad you're balancing this heavy stuff with lighter scenes. It makes for more rounded, believable and sympathetic characters. Even in those days, I imagine people would need some relief from the violence. Human nature hasn't changed *that* much, IMHO.

At 3:33 pm GMT, Blogger Gabriele C. said...

I have more problems with the lighter scenes. Torture on the other hand .... *grins evilly*

I have lighter scenes in The Charioteer (fe. when Ciaran trains the horses or Pollienus enjoys the Roman night life) but SoHW is a very dark book. In Kings and Rebels the darkness may benefit from the generally more chivalrous voice of the book that was there from the beginning, and which I've kept.

Good luck finding your balance.


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