Have you ever been asked to do a character analysis in English class as a student? I don’t remember much from the ones I did, but I do enjoy the concept. Obviously, not every character ever written is worthy of the bother, but every once in a while you get one you could spend hours on the couch with (in psychoanalysis…). You think you know them, but the more you look, the deeper you see. Part of why I love reading, re-reading, and writing is that all three allow you to revisit a certain situation, a certain place and time, a certain sentence spoken, and look beneath the surface in a way you can’t do in real life. Nuance and subtlety are the most irresistible lure for any hardcore bookworm. Yes, we enjoy action and passion, and witty dialogue, but what really keeps us coming back isn’t the obvious, it’s the things you have to dig for, think about, and chew on.
Why would you do that to a person??
Not too long ago, I was confronted with a reader’s question that gave me pause. The question was about Aiden from Wolfen and a certain thing that happens to him about halfway through the book. My answer was going to be simple and to the point: it was a test for him and another character, and their arcs hinged upon how they responded to it. But I paused because as I was typing this answer out, my mind veered off to a place I hadn’t gone before, even while writing this book, and it completely changed what I wanted to say. That place was Aiden’s past.
“Why would you do that to a person?” they asked.
Here’s my answer: