A2 Commentary: Establishing Relationships

Let’s talk about A2: Faith, that White Fox, posted today and which you should read before coming here.

In this section I introduce a new character, and thank goodness, because we can only listen to monks set up exposition for so long. Faith Featherway is a cloud-fox-thing wandering the desert and taking ‘lost souls’ to that Mountain we heard so much about last section. I’m hoping her casual attitude is a breath of fresh air for the reader after those stuffy, orderly monks.

Dan and Faith recognize each other, apparently, and used to be friends. Now the reader can relate to them because they know they’re the kind of people who have friends. That might sound simplistic, but building likable characters is important. Who would care what kind of mystical quest Dan and Faith had ahead of them if they were just jerks? By establishing positive relationships between characters we reassure the reader that these are protagonists worth rooting for. In addition, their interactions through dialogue allow me to show their personality to the reader. It’s easier to get characters to open up to friends; then readers have context for conflicts with antagonists later.

The characters recognizing each other is, I hope, funny. At this point the reader might be completely lost. What alien world is this? Is this the afterlife? The characters celebrating a relationship the reader was not privy to is a sort of punchline defusing the rising tension I’ve built. As a bonus, if I can make the reader laugh I can make them remember anything, even when the timeline gets more complicated.

Also notice that Dan said he was worried about Anihilato in the last section, and Faith reinforces this concern, but Dan wants to meet Anihilato anyway. We learn about characters through their decisions and this decision is made to get the reader’s attention. Why is Dan seeking out Anihilato? In the next sections we’ll come to understand this decision as indicative of one of Dan’s character flaws.

So what’s up with the cricket? Strange things, I promise.

Until next time! If you have any comments, questions, or criticisms, put ’em in the comments.

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