Forging a character: Shianna

This time, I’ll share the background of creating a character who eventually became more involved with the story than I expected – though, in reality, I probably should’ve seen that coming.

Out of nowhere

Shianna was not a part of the early concepts or even the demo I wrote back in Summer 2015. She was created when I started writing the first book back in October 2015 and appeared out of nowhere. The reason she was created was simple: I needed someone to be at Tyr’eshal’s side through the early story – a close friend, or maybe more. Thus, Shianna came to be.

It worked well, her presence helped me to show more about Tyr’eshal. As she appeared out of nowhere and I had no long-term plans for her, I did not need to worry much about her. In fact, I did not expect her to be relevant more than half-way through the first book. I expected that as Tyr’eshal grows, she’ll be a pleasant memory of a lone wolf.

Then, I reliazed that the early idea of a lone wolf did not work as well.

A changing pair

Given their closeness, Tyr’eshal and Shianna changed pretty much hand-in-hand through the drafting phases of book one. In a way, there were both too similar. I built on what I had and made her more cheerful and lighthearted – traits she hinted in the early drafts but did not get that much space.

As I hinted in the beginning, she became a large part of the story. While she’s usually in the back lines, she’ll have several chances to shine, especially in the second and third book – in those times I thought she won’t reach (at least not as a character of importance).

Unfortunately, I can’t say much more without risking spoilers.

A personal story

To be fair, there’s not much to say about the actual changes to the character. Shianna’s development is more about the development of my expectations – or my approach to loose ends. There’s something in creating a character from nothing and with minimal goals for them, then seeing them grow beyond the initial plan. Shianna became one of my very favorites – to the point it felt harder to put her in the harm’s way than many of the more prominent characters.

In a story of warriors and magi blessed by powers beyond the comprehension of most, she’s a common girl with a lot of talent and compassion. With some hard work, she goes beyond what would many expect of her – even I as the one who created her.

She’s a symbol of what I got to like on the writing process: the unexpected results of spontaneous ideas, a story that writes itself and I only poke it here and there to keep its course.

Anyway, that’s all I’ll share today. Feel free to comment and see you next time.

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