Minor characters with major ambitions

Join me in sharing consolation and appreciation with author A.R. Henle (Alea Henle.) Her novel The Museum of All Things Lost & Forgotten just became one of the 290 books that won’t make SPFBO7’s final 10, although Fantasy Faction did call her work “fascinating and unique.”

Today she tells us how she had a plan for each of her three main characters, and then two of them began negotiating for different roles.

Many minor characters have major ambitions.

In the case of The Museum of All Things Lost & Forgotten, I started with three character who share certain core commonalities: they’re among the youngest of the Forgotten (quasi-immortals who exist only in the museum) and they host the spirit of Memory who powers the museum.

One character would be little more than a walk-on. A second would play a vital role but they would not be “on stage” most of the time. The third gets the biggest role and wound up kicking down a door while wearing Crocs.

The walk-on character accepted his fate (although he’s currently negotiating for a bigger role if/when/when I write another book set in the museum).

I planned for Rumaisa to take the second role and Jay Doe the third.

Note the word planned.

Rumaisa turned out to be a lot more proactive than I expected (she’s the one who insisted she could kick down the door despite wearing Crocs). Jay Doe, on the other hand, proved a lot more tentative. This worked out when I switched her to the second role, where she was younger (chronologically as well as physically, something one has to keep in mind when dealing with quasi-immortals) and arguably still in shock from having shifted from being a human on the margins in the world at large to one of the Forgotten. I suspect Rumaisa had her eyes on the third role from the start (she, too, is negotiating for a sizable role in another book.)

Then there’s Tiy. The assistant director of the museum rather than the director only because, as one of the Forgotten, she can’t physically leave the museum (the director has to be a regular human). Many Forgotten cling to the places and things they knew in their “before lives” and resist change. Not Tiy. She enjoys being on the cutting edge and exploring ways to adapt modern technology to support the museum’s core mission: remembering that which was lost or forgotten. The reason she agreed to join the Forgotten in the first place was to learn to read, and she’s never let go of learning.

The Museum of All Things Lost & Forgotten is told from the point-of-view of a sorcerer from the “real world” (who happens to be the younger sister of the heroines of other books in the standalone Ordinary Sorcery series).

Tiy has made it very clear that she expects me to write more works set in the museum—and intends to be the pov character. She’s willing to wait until I’ve finished a few projects already in-process, but no longer.

She may not be quite so happy when I finally start her book, however, as it will likely require she go somewhere she’s avoided for a very long time: the drought-stricken place she once called home.

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