bogwitch64: (Krohe)
[personal profile] bogwitch64
I am totally off-time this week, and I have no idea why. I labored under the assumption it was Tuesday yesterday, and only realized it was Wednesday when my daughter asked, "Are we going to watch American Idol tonight?" D'oh.

Anyway, here's what I would have written yesterday, if I'd remembered it was Wednesday:

Rescuing Jinna~A story of how motivation can make or break a character
Editor-Kim, and my most trusted pair of eyes (TPoE from here out) who will not call herself an editor, both had a problem with one of my characters: Jinna. At her most basic, she is the wild best friend to my heroine, Linhare. The problem my editor had with her and some of the things she did were not the same things my TPoE cited. While I could have looked at this as a matter of differing opinions, I saw both their points, and agreed with them despite the fact that they conflicted. How could they both be right?

They each had a vision of who Jinna is, and both those visions were as wrong as they were right--because I did a terrible job of giving her character the right motivation. Her character, what she does and how she would go about doing them, maintained only the barest thread pulling her through the story. All the times I "fixed" her in the past tangled that thread. After getting feedback from TPoE about Jinna--which I will not go into for spoilery purposes--I wrote her a note: Jinna isn't NICE. She's selfish and mean and vindictive. Don't expect good things from Jinna, because if she DOES something nice, she's benefiting in some way.

But the fact is, though this is the persona I've had of Jinna in my head all along, it's not who she is. On the outside she is all those things to anyone not looking closely, but the things Jinna does proves otherwise. It's an act that she's not even aware of performing. She is wild, she is selfish, she can be mean and vindictive, but Jinna is also loyal and good-hearted and quite a lot smarter than she gives herself credit for. She's one of those people who makes as formidable a friend as she does an enemy.

Ok, so it means redrawing her character, right? Wrong! Because what I realized yesterday as I edited is that pretty much everything, all the things both editor-Kim and TPoE found wrong with her character aren't going to change. The motivation behind some of the things she does must change, because, you see--Jinna doesn't do what she does because she's selfish and mean; Jinna does what she does because she is angry. Very, very angry. 

Jinna and Linhare grew up together. Linhare was the good girl, Jinna was the bad girl. Linhare was dependable. Jinna was always getting them into some sort of debacle. But the fact is, Linhare always went along for the ride. They both let Jinna earn her reputation that grew bigger as they matured into young women. Then it came time for Linhare to go to university. Jinna's earned reputation--and one she enjoyed--was not conducive to intellectual pursuits. It was time for Linhare to put aside childhood, grow up and accept the responsibilities of her station. Jinna, she believed, never would. And so Linhare left Jinna behind for all the right reasons, the good and proper reasons. Ah, but Jinna didn't see it that way. Was she not always loyal? Did she not always have Linhare's best interests at heart? Take the blame when Linhare was just as culpable? Could she not be trusted to behave in a place as sacred and studious as the university on the mountain? Was she not smart enough? (And there's a lesson in perspective for you, if you care to piece it out!)

Jinna is angry, not only with Linhare, but with herself. She is more than she presents to the world. Why can no one see this? That is her arc, learning to see where she made her own bed, and how she can get herself untangled from those sheets to be who SHE is, and not who people perceive her to be.

This  is the true motivation behind Jinna's character. It is why she does the things that seem conflicting in the story. It is the evolution of her character that these conflicting events must now show.

And now, off I go to do just that.
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