Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Why of It All

So I’m working on Nathaniel Fludd III, and in this book the antagonist comes on screen in a major way for the first time. In the past, he’s merely been an off screen threat or catalyst. And since he’s now fully on stage, I have to spend some time with him and get a handle on his motivation, the why of it all. Why is he doing this? Pursuing this goal?

I started out by brainstorming a list of what the end goal he was pursing was. I ended up with a list of six things, only of couple of which felt like they worked. And then I realized I needed to understand the why of it all.
Why was he acting now?
Why was he compelled to act at all?
What grudge was he nursing, and why was he nursing it as opposed to letting it go? What resentment was he reveling in?
What angers and frustrations had been fermenting deep within him, and why?

Lots of questions. Or maybe, lots of repeating of the same question. I was beginning to feel a lot like a three year old...

However, each why peels back a layer, forces me to drill down to the core of the antagonist. It is only there that I will find the answers.

The thing is, probably only about 20% of this will actually show up on the page, so why do all this? Because I need to know it and understand it all in order to make that 20% ring true. That’s why.