Read the previous post in the Behind The Scenes series: Is Reincarnation Even Possible?
A fellow writer recently asked me what made Sanya special (read the full interview). It was a question I had not dwelt on consciously during the writing of Aymaran Shadow. But it was a question that triggered another: How did Sanya Rawat (the protagonist of Aymaran Shadow) come into being?
As I sat back and reflected, it was evident that Sanya was not born in a character file or one of those creative exercises that writers usually conduct to give birth to their characters.
No, Sanya had already been born long before I even finalized the plot for Aymaran Shadow. For me, as her creator, and in that sense, her “father”, Sanya was a “collision of personalities” I have come across in my life. She had been conceived at an indeterminate moment in the labyrinths of my mind and exploded onto the scene conveniently when it came to choosing a personality to represent my plot’s protagonist.
She was someone who was malleable enough to suit the requirements of the protagonist as required by the plot, even as she dictated the plot itself. Not unusually, I found it was more of the latter as the plot progressed, which strengthened my belief that I had chosen the right personality as the protagonist for my plot. For, if the personality of the protagonist is at odds with the requirements of the plot, it is immediately evident in the narrative’s direction and credibility.
There are certain aspects where this resonance between protagonist and plot stood out. For instance, the plot required a thinking individual that grappled with vulnerabilities in her makeup. Sanya was a Psychology student with an instinctive slant for analysis. Her outward hardiness was tempered by her inner frailties as a person who has to be on guard due to her sex.
The plot also demanded a protagonist sensitive to rapidly unfolding events and swift in response to uncertainty. Sanya responded beautifully to this call of the pen. Her penchant and ability to “out-think” adversaries went a long way in sealing the issue in favor of Sanya as the protagonist.
Perhaps, what turned the dial towards her the most was the fact that she was a girl who was a proclaimed and vocal feminist, but deep within her, she harbored all the insecurities that a normal girl her age would. Insecurities that besiege women as they grapple with the hard realities of a world that lurks, fantasizes, stalks, assaults, and attempts to brutalize a gender known to be the “gentler” sex.
So much so that, at points in the narrative, Sanya despairs over her physical attractiveness and bodily perfections.
It is this vulnerability, coupled with, oddly, her resilience, that makes Sanya real. And perfect for the plot. Perfect, because she had to battle the legacy of her past life. A legacy that was not hers to begin with, but was thrust upon her by a destiny not known to be remorseful. A legacy that was thrust upon her by my pen. A legacy which threatened to suck her very life away if only to sadistically mirror her fate in her previous life. Regardless of the outcome, destiny would morbidly laugh its way into her life every time she thought she had prevailed.
And thus it was that Sanya was born. Into a hellish world called Aymaran Shadow.
Coming soon: the next post in the Behind The Scenes series.