Please welcome my friend Melissa to the blog, to talk about her character, Tiernan.
The Book of My World was my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, started in 2014. Unlike most of the character driven things I write, this one began as a heavily concept driven project. I created Tiernan Hartwell as my main character for this novel, and to uphold that concept, I dictated pretty much everything about him. He would be attractive, bold, brash, confident, the best at what he did and well aware of that. Every description my brain came up with for him could simply be called ‘over the top’. I told myself that this fit the concept, that I was on the right track, and I started the project on the first day of November.
Everything about this all important concept meant that Tiernan would have to carry this novel. It was from his point of view, seen through the lens of his grasp of reality, and he was going to have to be a character that I loved enough to stay with him for the duration.
It sounded good, it really did. There was just one very big problem…not only did I not love the Tiernan that I had created, I didn’t even particularly like him. Everything about what I thought that he had to be rubbed me the wrong way, and I couldn’t see him being the sort of young man that the female main character would tolerate, much less trust and love. Disheartened, I gave up on the project and let the idea of completing NaNo that year slip away while I returned to other things.
But no, that was not the end of Tiernan, it was only the beginning. After awhile, let out of the stress of being perfect for my concept and the artificial time constraint of NaNo, Tiernan began to talk to me. He was not the brash, confident, over the top Tiernan that I so disliked, but an entirely different character… filled with hopes, dreams, fears and doubts. While still ‘over the top’, he was not the empty facade that I thought would fit my concept. He was fussy, often overly cautious and suspicious, filled with his fair share of concerns. He was hardly the massively confident young man I’d envisioned, terrified but filled with resolve when it came to the struggle he faced. At first, I was dubious, but after awhile I realized I liked him like this. I restarted the novel, listening to his version of my concept, testing to see if this Tiernan could carry this novel to completion. By halfway through, I realized he could indeed be the focus character for this story. And then, I realized I didn’t just like him the way he was, but that I loved him. And more importantly, I realized that this was the man that made the story fit him, and he was the man that was good enough, real enough, for his Deirdre to trust and love.
Get Melissa’s new release, The Book of My World.