Writing & Revising SHADOW TWINS Part 2: The Plot & Characters
Today I’m going to be talking more about the evolution of SHADOW TWINS, specifically its plot and characters, which I touched on briefly in my previous post regarding the story’s inspiration and influences
I can only say so much about the plot without spoiling the story. The original idea for SHADOW TWINS was relatively straightforward. Theailys An was a glory-mongering apprentice who felt slighted by society, by the people around him because a) he’s a half demon and they’re not thought of highly and b) he harbored a dark energy called mîrkûr, which was the very power of the enemy, Te Mîrkvahîl (which roughly translates to “The Darkener” in phantaxian). He desired recognition and acceptance. His quest to obtain these, though, was one fueled by ignorance and arrogance and nearly resulted in the destruction of his entire country.
That was two or so years ago. Things changed. I changed, and doing so allowed me to look at my story with fresh eyes. I realized I didn’t want to tell a story about some self-obsessed young man whose only initial interest was fame. Don’t get me wrong: I’m still quite confident in the previous iteration of SHADOW TWINS. What I’m working on now, however, is leaps and bounds ahead. I’ve been dealing with depression for several years; I get anxious as well and I wanted to write a character I was intimately familiar with. SHADOW TWINS went from being a story about glory and recognition to one of a depressed man trying to save his country while battling his inner demons and voices.
Also, did I mention time travel and reincarnation? No? Okay, good.
This leads me to…
As I mentioned above, there’s only so much about the plot I can say before I begin to hit spoiler territory. Considering SHADOW TWINS is not yet published, that’s something I would really love to avoid. That said, I CAN and WILL talk about the evolution of the story’s main and secondary characters:
- Theailys An: Theailys has gone from being a mid-twenties glory-mongering apprentice to a thirty year-old journeyman sitting on the queen’s council. Previous iterations of his character show him as a charismatic know-it-all obsessed with fame; he was also quite naive. The current iteration, though, is seasoned; he knows loss and starts the story deeply depressed after having lost his wife three years prior. He knows he has demons, he’s quite aware of his flaws. Despite this, though, he is dedicated to ending the war, even if it means giving his own life.
- Serece: Serece is one of my favorite characters to write. She was initially a secondary main character but her story has expanded greatly and she shares almost as much screen time as Theailys does. The one thing about Serece that’s never changed is her fire. She’s quick to the knife and easily riled depending upon who she’s talking to (see: Theailys An). Her arc mirrors Theailys’ in a way. Much of SHADOW TWINS focuses on the concept of balance. For Serece that means learning to channel her rage, to temper the fury that has plagued her for so long, especially when considering that her anger is quite literally destructive.
- Varésh Lúm-talé: Known more often than not as Vare. Vare began as a plot device character (yikes!) who evolved into a mainstay during my previous revision. He’s loud, whiny, sharp as a tack, and loves to antagonize Theailys, Serece, and the rest of their companions. He’s also an alcoholic. And a wizard, for all intents and purposes. And the creator of the entire planet, Harthe. Vare is many things, including remorseful as of late. His story is, I think, the saddest of all the characters: he’s more or less a parent watching his children die, watching this world he created fail and fester. He has gone from a man eager to flee the planet to one who’s desperate to right his wrongs while also having a bit of fun along the way.
- Te Mîrkvahîl: Here we have the antagonist of SHADOW TWINS and my how he’s grown. Initially called the Darkener, Te Mîrkvahîl was a pretty lame antagonist. Sort of evil for the sake of being evil, but also sort of the eager to cleanse the land because he viewed the mortals as being inferior. Not anymore. I wanted an antagonist that readers could sympathize with. He’s gone from being a stupidly powerful demon to a man searching for a way to reclaim his people from a plague; he longs to see his wife and son again. He shows remorse for the destruction he has caused, something he previously did not. I wanted him to be a character who was not necessarily evil, who meant well but went about his undertaking in as chaotic a manner as possible.
I love where SHADOW TWINS is headed. The plot feels a lot more realized than it did before. It’s still complex but I have a greater understanding of how everything interconnects, and that feels good.
The characters, though, have been the best thing about this revision. I feel like everyone is more well-rounded, I feel like I know them more and I feel like I actually love writing every single POV. Theailys and Serece help me channel my own frustrations. Vare reminds me to have fun even when shit hits the fan. Te Mîrkvahîl, oddly enough, reminds me that the most fruitful of undertakings take time.
I hope those of you who read this find it as interesting as it was fun for me to write. I’m extremely excited for people read the final version of SHADOW TWINS and I encourage you to take a look at some of my previous posts as well.
Additionally, here are a couple of other blogs and resources I have found incredibly insightful (in no specific order):
1. Christopher Husberg’s Blog (author of DUSKFALL, DARK IMMOLATION, & BLOOD REQUIEM)
P.s. Please do comment if you want! I’d love to answer any questions people have or just talk about writing. 🙂