Tag Archives: antagonist

Another voice

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As I’ve been working through my draft, chopping and changing and adding and tweaking, there’s something I haven’t quite been able to reconcile.

On one level, this novel is a thriller. Something bad is happening – right from the beginning. Except my protagonist doesn’t know about it, and we’re seeing things from her point of view. I need to create a growing sense of dread, a sense that all is not right in the world – but from Grace’s perspective, for the majority of the time at least, everything is unfolding as it should. There are moments where her intuition tells her to be careful, but it’s hard to really work these without things seeming ham-fisted. And besides, she’s not stupid: if she was really uneasy then she wouldn’t take the steps she needs to for everything to pan out as it does.

When I was in the planning stages I thought perhaps I could tell the story through multiple voices, weave the different versions of reality through. I soon concluded that this wouldn’t work, that it would give too much away where I wanted to leave the reader guessing.

Except now I’m not so sure…

I wrote a character exercise last week to explore things as my antagonist sees them, and it turns out his voice is so strong that I don’t think I can silence it. He can’t have equal airtime in the novel – it is not really him that this story is about – but I think there can be flashes, moments of insight into the dark mind at work behind the scenes that will colour the reader’s interpretation of the rest.

That’s where I’m at right now anyway. I’m going to see what happens if I let him have his say at a few key points, whether I can manage to craft his interludes so they create that sense of dread without giving too much away. If I can pull it off it should add an element of dramatic irony as things unfold, give the reader a smidgen more knowledge than Grace has herself to filter their reactions to her through.

And if nothing else then just the process will give me more of an insight into what’s driving him, and that can be no bad thing.

 

Muddled Manuscript

The plan

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***

It was still seared into his memory, the moment when he’d told her. Fear had flashed across her face at first, but that had quickly turned to contempt.

“I can’t actually believe you thought you’d get away with it.”

She’d spat the words at him, not caring how hurtful they were.

“I trusted you, and this is how you repay me?”

He’d tried to explain to her that this, in fact, was the deepest kind of trust. He’d let her be a part of something special, something new. But she was having none of it.

She had almost destroyed him, but this time would be different.

He had it all worked out: how he’d reel her in, draw her closer and closer so that by the time he revealed the truth she would be in too deep to see things any other way. And if she let him down – well, he was ready for that too. He knew exactly how he was going to cover his tracks this time.

She wouldn’t let him down though, not this one.

He scrolled through the information he had about her so far – the photographs, the friends, the good times and the bad. He already felt he knew her intimately, and the next stage would fill the gaps that were remaining.

She had no idea what was about to begin. He wished he could tell her, let her in on his plan and watch the admiration spread across her pretty face, but there was no doubt in his mind that this was how it had to be.

He looked at the bank of screens staring coldly at him for the last time and picked up the black holdall at his feet. If he could just get this bit right then everything else would fall into place.

The leather of his gloves hugged his hands assertively. He could do this. He would prove them all wrong. And he would not make the same mistakes again.

***

Thank you to Sara at Mum Turned Mom for inspiring this post with her prompt: ‘The mistakes we make…’.

This piece is another exercise in character development, this time jumping inside the head of my antagonist at the point the novel begins. The story we actually hear unfolds from the protagonist’s point of view and it is a long way into the novel before the truth begins to come out.

mumturnedmom
Nikki Young Writes