Today was pretty wretched on the writing front. BftM is proceeding alright; I’m about to hit 30,000 words, which is pretty solid.

However.

I’m increasingly aware of what needs to go into the planning of such a novel. Things that I have not done, and which I now am feeling the lack.

For example.

There is no clear opponent to Tharok, no single figure to thwart his will. I’m currently positing that he will become his own greatest opponent, but even then a straw man would be required. As of yet, nobody fits the bill.

Second, the cast of secondary characters need their own motivations and desires. At the moment they are passively drifting along in Tharok’s wake. They need agency, they need to complicate matters, not simply act as a Greek chorus.

I’m going to spend the next few days examining some key examples of how best a cast of characters can be assembled and then set into conflict. I’ll be looking at Firefly and Spartacus, both fine example of compelling characters and conflicting passions.

Do you have any ensemble shows or novels that you particularly admire, and if so, what about them ‘worked’ for you?