Posted by: reneewildes1 | January 26, 2011

Characters & Their World – My Riever Reality Check

“It’s all fake. You can do whatever you want.”

Oh, the naiveté of a 10-year-old daughter over my latest writing crisis! Was all gung-ho to finish my climactic battle scene and then the end of the book. Riever’s Heart, my current (and overdue) WIP. The book that blew my book-a-year schedule right out of the water.

Wrote the scene. It sucked. No, seriously, SUCKED ROCKS. My crit partner and I had this noble death all plotted out. Couldn’t happen. Turned out the guy wasn’t so noble. And how I thought my hero could take over the ultimate power, leadership of the entire populace, could NEVER HAPPEN…in the world as I built it.

Remember The House That Jack Built? OLD kids’ book. (Is my age showing again? LOL) Well, this is The Isadorikja That Renee Built. Started out as “Spartans-in-Greenland.” That was my jumping off point. Morphed into a weirdling mixture of “Spartans-Sans-Vikings-in-Iceland.” Greenland was too friggin’ cold and my guys were too, well, riever to emulate the united, elitist Spartans. “United” being the key word here. They’re not. The Isadorikjans, I mean.

There are six clans, none of whom like each other. At all. My villain Belok gains control of the three northern clans by force, my hero Aryk gains control of two of the southern clans by accident, and my opportunistic wild card Nomok of White Plains is just waiting for the right moment to eclipse them both. Clan leaders, or daqs, have a medallion signifying their status. Only way to take over a clan is a fight to the death. Raiding each other is common, and accidents happen. How Aryk got stuck with the Blood River people. Ulryk tried to raid Aryk’s village. Aryk defended himself. Ulryk lost.

Point is, it’s all rather Scorpion King – the strongest rules. How they all grew up. What they all believe, whether they profess differently or not. A diplomatic solution was SO not going to fly in this world. Maybe with the NEXT generation, the children, but not with the adults. For all Aryk’s dreams of peace, he can’t lead if people won’t follow. First he needs to be in a position to effect change. He can’t affect, or effect, change before he gets the position. Desire and belief precipitate change.

So, there I was, in a showdown with my daughter last weekend over the fake battle from hell. Defending the realization that fiction isn’t fake. Characters are people, with pasts, and traditions and cultures and having to live with the fact that dreams aren’t enough to create a new reality. Plan A and Plan B aren’t enough. Sometimes, you’d better have a Plan H.

Honestly, I think Aryk and I have reinvented Plan Q. I’m just saying…

So, we rebelled against the rebellion, working within the system to change it. And Belok’s still a jerk, and Nomok’s still a snake. And I really am almost done…again…maybe…



  1. I hear yow! And while I can’t say I feel your pain, as I’ve never had my characters in such an extreme and far-reaching situation, I do get where you’re coming from. One of my biggest pet peeves in any fictional medium is when writers break their own rules. It’s infuriating from the reader/viewer perspective (Can you say “Nightmare on Elm Street IV”?) and right up there with revisionist history (I’m looking at you, Frank Herbert and George Lucas!) for pissing me off. I heartily applaud your diligence and hard work to assure that doesn’t happen in your world. *wild applause*

  2. I say good luck to you on your story Renee. Sure sounds frustrating.

  3. I write futuristic books with strong women and the men who try to keep up with them. I’m curious you don’t mention the women in your story. What are they doing while all the battles are going on? Maybe what you need is a woman who gains all the clans’ allegiance. Of course, that’s another book entirely. Sorry.

  4. Ooh, you’ve touched one of my buttons, where the author warps the character or world to fit the plot. Good for you, taking the high road! You create vivid characters and worlds and I’m sure as always, the climax that grows out of these will sing. Not easy but so worth it!

  5. I just discovered your books and I absolutely love them. You write what I always wanted to read and more. I can’t wait for the Rievers 😉
    Big hugs, M

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