Tuesday, October 2, 2007

WIND FOLLOWER - Character Torture

Oh, I can tell that Carole McDonnell loves character torture. And through them, she must love reader torture. (Just kidding!)

I knew it was coming. The cover blurb and foreshadowing in the novel let the reader know what is coming. That didn't make it any easier to read. And now, the waiting until Loic returns has begun. The tension is as taut as violin strings.

The trusting and loyal Satha has found her way into my heart. I knew that she would be betrayed, but like her, I hoped it would not happen. I hoped that she had managed to bring out the best in her enemy. Alas.

As for Loic, I like him as well, but he has much growing up to do.

The alternating first-person viewpoints are much like two old people, recalling something together, each taking their turn discussing their version of the events. Events are not covered twice, but often the narration stops and picks up with the other person's point of view. I can just envision Loic and Satha sitting in front of a house somewhere, perhaps on a swing or a hammock, each taking their turn recalling the events of the story. No scene like this is ever described; this is just something I imagined on my own.

From the cover blurb, I know even more character torture is coming.


Carole McDonnell said...

Hi Tia:

I can't help it. I DO like seeing how far I can stretch the human soul.

About the two old folks sitting around talking about the past: Woman, the prologue! These are the words Satha and Loic spoke to their descendants on the day the Angleni "gathered them" away to the reservation-like place.


John Ottinger III (Grasping for the Wind) said...

I finished this excellent book, and without ruining the story for you, I gotta say it gets a lot worse before it gets better!

Tia Nevitt said...

Now that you mention it, I do remember it. But now I'm going to have to go back and reread it. Boy do I feel sheepish!

Tia Nevitt said...

John, I wish I could read that fast! So much I like to do . . . so little time!

L. A. Green said...

You've intrigued me again, Tia. This one goes on my Amazon order today.

I know a lot of readers skip the prologue, so I often wrestle with using them myself in my WIPs. I'm a prologue reader, as long as the info is entertaining and not epic length backstory info dump. I'll be sure to give this one a look.

OK, can't wait to get my hands on WIND FOLLOWER.

Tia Nevitt said...

I didn't actually skip the prologue, which makes this post all the more more embarassing. I went back and read the excerpt that Carole sent me, and sure enough, it was there. I had read it and promptly forgot about it.

I am glad, in spite of my blunders, that I managed to attract another reader for WIND FOLLOWER!

Carole McDonnell said...


It's a teeny, teeny, teeny prologue. I hate prologues too. And I wonder if i made the prologue a might too teeny. I might have added a line such as...when they were old and gray they sat together in front of the gathered people yadda-yadda.

I hope you like it. Thanks. Aaargh, I'm hoping Miss Tia likes it. (Thanks, John!) -C

Carole McDonnell said...


I just checked out your prologue on blogger. It says you like anthropology. If you like anthropological SF, you'll like WF.

Carole McDonnell said...

A thought on character torture:

I'll admit it. I love a good hero. I liking writing about a hero who is almost alienating in his passionate holding onto a particular virtue. Just to cause the reader to think: my heavens, this is extreme.

I suspect this is part of the Christian tradition and the African-American tradition. And part of the Greek hero tradition.

African-Americans, Jews, and certain cultures have such a history of suffering and maintaining their integrity through all kinds of suffering, hurt, that suffering is part of the literature.

I think that's what a good hero should do.

Favorite heroes... the main character in Prayer for the Dying
The James Cagney character in Angels with dirty faces
Christian in Festen (Celebration)

Joan of Arc, definitely! And of course Jesus...who standing before a perfumed Pilate and probably smelling quite badly and looking terribly beaten up witnessed a good confession and said, "I am a king."

If the hero has a certain strength of soul and holds to his/her integrity and to God no matter what, I'm cool with him/her. Suffering for a virtue and for a God is so unknown among some strata of society and so well-known in other areas. Especially the idea of suffering for God or for a spiritual truth. In addition, life is varied and often unfair and one person's character torture might be someone else's normal every day life. Loic could do nothing else but stick to his integrity. Satha was a slave...normal life for many in the Sudan and for Africans transported to the US during slave days. -C

Tia Nevitt said...

Slavery was often quite normal in Biblical times and I could not help but notice that Satha's story is also Hagar's story in Genesis. I'll have more to say about that in my final post, which is in-progress.

I think all good stories involve character suffering in some way. It makes us empathise with the character.