Questioning a character’s development in a sequel–tricky work!


I wrote an earlier post about asking questions of my writing. I find myself doing a lot of that type of questioning the last few days.

In Disappearing in Plain Sight, Liam is a character who is portrayed as a laid back guy. He doesn’t give other people advice, he’s humble and quiet, a wounded-healer type. He’s human; God knows he makes mistakes, but for the most part he’s a likeable person.

The book does contain hints that Liam has purchased his peace at a price – he says that he may not always be at peace, but most days he can act in a peaceful way. He’s created, with Caleb’s help, a tight box of a life at Crater Lake where he can feel safe. He’s come to grips with his demons and he’s part of something that matters. In Disappearing in Plain Sight, Liam has honed his life down to the essentials.

Izzy does Liam a service when she helps him come to grips with his demons – at the same time she breaks down the wall of  the box he has built around himself.

Thus, the stage is set for the sequel – The Light Never Lies. In this novel, Liam’s life is blown apart – he’s plunged into a world where he’s forced to deal with multi-layered events and much is at stake – he will have to risk much to find his way through.

You must be asking yourself where the questioning part comes in. In the first draft of the sequel, Liam’s interactions with one character in particular, are coming off strident and overbearing. Everything he wasn’t in the first book. He’ll be described as a total nag and there’s some truth to this accusation. I know why he’s acting the way he is, but will the reader? I am convinced that people, and thus characters, are multi-dimensional and capable of acting in one way with one person and quite another way with someone else. Can I make this clear without being overly didactic or making Liam look as if he’s developed a multiple-personality disorder?

I also have to figure out how to deal with the way one character’s perception of Liam is not necessarily reliable. She hears his voice through her own filters. How do I get that across to the reader? I don’t use the omniscient viewpoint, so I can’t step out of everyone’s thoughts and explain.

Time to go for a long walk and see if the writing knot I’ve tangled myself into can be loosened and maybe even unravelled.


(I always tell the kids – don’t go past the number 4 tree – that is where the trail ends)