On April 12, 2012 in celebration of National Card and Letter Writing Month, we did a post on how to “Deepen Your Character Profile Through Handwritten Letters.” We issued a challenge to readers to create a letter written by one of your characters and see if any new back story appeared. We did the exercise, and here is our letter and what we discovered. If you used our exercise we’d love to hear about your discoveries.
This letter is written by the antagonist in the second Turning Stone Chronicles book Blood Brothers.
My dearest Lila,
It seems like years since our last night together. My quest to become the “Promised One” has taken on a life of its own. I’ve been thinking a lot about the discussion the night of our engagement, and your request to put our rings aside and live normal lives. I wish now I had listened to you and done that. We would probably still be together.
I guess I was afraid of such a major change in my life at that point. Things were starting to come together with my quest, and I knew I would soon be apprenticed to the most important shifter in our community. There had been nothing in my life before you except my training to become “The Promised One” and, as much as I wanted you, I was not sure I could give that up for you. All my life my parents pushed me. Being the Turning Stone’s Promised One was my destiny. I was, they told me, the fulfillment of the prophesy. The one that would unite the warring shape shifters and rule the world.
My parents ensured I had the finest teachers, in magic matters and in things of the world. I was taught how to use everything to my advantage. What I couldn’t do on my own, Dad paid for, including donating heavily to Harvard on my behalf. I guess it worked for both of us since I got my degree, even though I might not have deserved it, and Dad got his name on a Harvard building. Money and power buy lots of things. But they aren’t very good at replacing you.
Remember that shifting thing we did when we were making love? I found out it means we are soul mates and only happens when making love and thinking about each other. Had I been aware of that then I would not have accused you of trying to steal my powers, and I would never have acted on that belief. I am truly sorry for what I did to you. I hope someday you can forgive me…that is if I can ever forgive myself. I love you, Lila, and I will never love anyone else the same way.
You are always in my thoughts.
We discovered upon writing this letter that our villain wasn’t as smart as his brother, something we hadn’t considered before. Dad buying Roc’s degree with a building at Harvard was nowhere in this character’s back story. It’s a small thing, but when he and his brother are pitted against each other, every bit of smart counts. When this tidbit of information came out, Donald did some research on philanthropists who donated to Harvard, and Roc’s family suddenly became a lot richer than we ever imagined. His father’s character filled out, and even though he plays a background part in the story, we can see the monied attitude of Dad and how it will rub off on Roc, thereby deepening Roc’s character more than we anticipated. Roc, who thinks he deserves to be “The Promised One” will discover that money can’t buy everything, and it can’t buy the most important thing in life … true love.
Did you do this exercise with your characters? If so, what new thing did you discover?