… both Grave and the Glass. One is one of the major components of my novel Court of Dreams, despite being technically a minor character, while the other is my name for the slightly unusual evil creatures in the novel I’m very slowly putting together at the moment. I’ve gone with them both here because they both represent the same kind of thing: a moment where I took a fairly straightforward idea as a writer and just added in a little flash of something else that somehow made the whole thing better. I’d like to go through how they developed to show how that process works.
Grave, for those who don’t know, is an eight foot tall, fairly forgetful fairy assassin with a coat that seems to have far too many pockets, and who has a rather put upon approach to his job. He started life as an unnamed minion in the very first incarnation of Court of Dreams. After several more, I realised that I needed some kind of hunter or hunters, and I put him in almost as a bad guy parody of figures in other novels (Hagrid, assorted David Gemmell heroes, Santa). The part where he came into his own was when I realised the novel was still quite short, and so I gave him his own plot line centred on the idea of what it would be like with someone who had done the same rather unpleasant job for a thousand years.
The Glass are a more recent thing. They’re essentially creatures who live on the other side of the mirror, and they exist because I didn’t want to do a straight angels and demons thing in the novel I’m working on, even though those are present. So I had to ask myself what else there could be, and that’s kind of my point here today. Whether it’s Grave, the Glass, or anything else, don’t just settle for the obvious story told with stock parts. Look for those unique elements that are yours and no one else’s. They’re what make the thing you’re writing special. And much funnier, in Grave’s case.