I had a personal epiphany this week.
Anyone who knows me or has read this blog before will probably have picked up on the fact that I am a planner. I love planning, I love knowing what the next 897,345 steps are in the process and when those steps should be made. It gives me a feeling of security and a zen-like sense of peace when I have a plan to follow. For me a good plan is better than the coldest beer on the hottest day or the biggest bar of chocolate, or …. I’m sure you get the idea.
But what happens when your plan’s go astray, or when life drops an insurmountable roadblock right in the middle of your plan.
While writing my upcoming novel Ghoul, I created a character designed to serve the function of a ‘talking head’ aka someone for Mya, the protagonist, to bounce ideas off. However, I understand talking heads are bad; they result in clunky dialogue that’s obviously just exposition in the form of dialogue. So, with that in mind, I tried to turn my talking head into a semi-developed character with her goals and motivations.
I made this character a Sphinx. I’ve always been fond of a bit of Egyptian mythology, as those who read Amenti will have noticed, and it didn’t take me long to decide where in London my Sphinx would live and she promptly moved into the Egyptian walk of Highgate Cemetery.
I started drafting a bit of dialogue between my Sphinx and Mya, and before I knew where I was my ‘talking head’ fast outgrew the role she was designed for and took on a life of her own. My Sphinx had become Kepi and all of a sudden I had another book growing in the back of my head.
While Kepi lives in the Highgate Cemetery close to the ghouls who dwell beneath it, there is another Sphinx in London. Ophelia and Ophelia even as a rough character concept was very demanding and spent her first hours of life in my head telling me her story.