For the post this week, I decided to tackle the questions fellow Word Whore Linda presented in her excellent post on Wednesday. I applied them to the hero in my latest WIP, Ghost of the Nile, the first draft of which I’m happy to say I finished this week. I LOVE being a fulltime writer now! ( Off-topic: Here was my post on that recent change in my life: Living the Dream)
So here were Linda’s probing questions, my answers and a tiny hint of Chapter One from the WIP:
1.) What is privately at stake for your antagonist and how can you use that to force him into the fray? The hero of my story is Periseneb, an ancient Egyptian warrior who was murdered and never received the proper burial, nor was the Book of the Dead recited for him. Consequently, his heart will never be judged by the gods in their golden scale, and he can never enter the Afterlife. He’s been condemned to endlessly wander the gray wastes, fighting demons and other perils. The goddess Ma’at offers him a chance to win entry into the Afterlife, if he’ll serve as her champion in the battle against an enemy deity and its human agents. She’s surprisingly vague on the details of what he will face and must accomplish. Of course there’s a catch – if he doesn’t satisfy the goddess with his efforts, he’ll be returned to the gray wastes forever. No second chances.
“What do you need done?”
Smiling she said, “I need you to complete your interrupted journey home.”
Disappointed, since he’d been thinking of battles with demons perhaps, he said, “That’s all? Just show up 200 years late and say, here I am? Who would know me now? Who would care? I have no place there, Great One.” His voice cracked just a little on the last sentence and he clamped his lips closed, taking a deep breath. Thinking about the dreams he’d had, simple as they were, hurt like a knife to the heart. All gone, turned to dust.
Leaving the chair, she walked to him and the scent of her blue lotus perfume was calming. “Complete the journey and act as your heart dictates.” She tapped his chest with her index finger and he felt his heart thump loudly. “Do what you feel best represents truth. What represents me. I request no more and will accept no less.”
2.) What is it that your hero is in the position to learn that would make a difference to or effect only his or her own life? For good or bad?
Periseneb really wants to find out who murdered him and exact some kind of justice, even though he now knows it’s been 200 years or so since he died.
3.) What has he or she already sacrificed to keep the peace or be happy in their personal life in your story? How do they feel about it and how does that increase the internal conflict for your viewpoint character(s)?
I can only answer the third question in the context of my novel. As Periseneb steps back onto his home territory, he finds it increasingly difficult to maintain his emotional distance from the current occupants of the Heron Marsh estate, especially the Lady Neithamun. Things he discovers about those who lived on the estate in his time, as well as the facts about his murder, shock him.
And, he’s an akh, a ghost given human form by the goddess. Ghosts were much dreaded in ancient Egypt, believed to have dark powers. He has to keep the secret of who and what he is, while attempting to discern exactly what the Great One Ma’at wants him to accomplish. He’s deeply conflicted about being among unsuspecting humans as a despised ghost, even with the promise of the Afterlife within his grasp.
So, that’s my post on inner conflict for this week and a BIG thank you to Author Linda!
(Ghost of the Nile is in the editing process and will hopefully be released toward the end of April this year.)