So I wrote out a whole post on pondering competence in characters. There are a lot of things that bug me about how characters “need” to be mediocre or dragged down by their weaknesses in order to have successful plots, but the topic can be a hard one to justify with real life examples of how the people I know really are without crossing lines I don’t feel comfortable crossing in a public blog. So that’s all I’ll say about the topic.
I’m still thinking about it, though. That–and character quirks. I used to think character quirks and idiosyncrasies were gimmicks, but I’ve read two books recently that did these really, really well. Apothecary’s Daughter and The Emperor’s Edge had unique and quirky characters that still managed to feel real instead of like someone’s slapdash D&D Character Sheet.
So, in the mean time, Queen of the Eight Banners is going more slowly than I was hoping. I had to completely restructure the story and I discovered that I don’t know the main character nearly well enough to tell her story. So I sketched her, using period paintings and photographs, trying to get her right in my head — personality, story, etc.
Looks like I’m not going to get the story in by deadline, but hopefully the story will be much better than it would’ve if I hadn’t realized all of the above…