I am amazingly lucky. Both of my parents are very intelligent, well spoken, widely read people who I can rely on to do anything from help me solve insurance problems or think of the next silly game to play with my son. My father particularly had been helpful with my novels. He’s an excellent Beta reader not only because he’ll read my stories and tell me that it’s good, but because he’ll also tell me what he didn’t like at all, then he’ll give me a long string of notes challenging my plot, my characters, and on at least one occasion my grasp of history. (I was totally, completely wrong about something, and ended up spending a few days reading about this place. It’s fascinating.)
I bring this up because we’ve been butting heads a bit over one of my upcoming books. Specifically, one of the new characters in the book. He feels that the character should be powerful and strong— a fighter of sorts— right out of the gate. He feels that in making this character, er… a bit wishy-washy at the beginning of the story, and then not making the character kind of a superhero, that I undermine the whole thing.
The thing of it is, though, there’s no reason for my character to be strong, confident, or powerful (in a combat sort of way, at least.) It’s a pre-conception based on the mythology that I based some of my world building on. Michael is a demon, so he must be evil, right? Well… no. He’s powerful, even for a demon, and that’s one reason he’s so sought after in the first book. But he doesn’t adhere strictly to any of the norms of demonic society. He never did, which is how he ended up in this situation in the first place, and that contradiction is part of what makes the character interesting to me.
So I disagree with my father’s arguments on this one. Just because my character comes from a place known for great warriors, doesn’t mean that this individual is one. Nor does it mean that they must be confident or wise or any other specific trait that mythology would assign them.
I mean, the most interesting elf in Rivendell was a brunette, right?